Just Like HGTV, Only Not

The first night we lived in this house, I stayed up until about four in the morning trying to arrange the living room furniture. Sister was staying with us to help with the move, and we slid sofas and chairs across the floor until we were delirious. When we finally found a configuration that worked, I looked at her and said, “DONE.” Then I vowed that I would never move the living room furniture again.

And I’ll have you know that I kept that vow until around ten o’clock yesterday morning when I became fixated on the fact that THE FURNITURE, THE FURNITURE HAS BEEN IN THE SAME PLACE FOR A YEAR AND A HALF, HOW IN THE WORLD DID I LET THIS HAPPEN?

No kidding: I was OVERCOME with the urge to rearrange the living room. It hit me out of nowhere, much like all the times I’ve been driving down the road, minding my own business, and suddenly felt an inexplicable gravitational pull that left me no choice but to turn into the nearest Popeye’s and order a bucket of fried chicken.

Oh, you could look at it as a compulsion, but I prefer to think of it as a calling.

So, given my sudden, all-consuming desire to spend my day caught up in a swirl of home decor-related OCD, I started moving the furniture. And really, the rearranging conditions were optimal: since we weren’t going to church until six, I had plenty of time, and since D and the little man were outside, I had plenty of solitude.

The solitude is especially important for me since moving furniture requires intensive periods of introspection and no small degree of prayer. I am a woman obsessed when I’m trying to rearrange a room, and once I start the process I cannot stop until everything is JUST LIKE I LIKE IT, and if that means I keep the whole family awake because I’m trying to walk an armoire across a room, then that is just too bad because THERE IS NO SLEEPING UNTIL THE ROOM IS FINISHED, AND BESIDES, SLEEPING IS FOR QUITTERS.

I am a joy and a delight, aren’t I?


Here’s what everything looked like when I started…


…except that it wasn’t dark outside because that picture is one from a couple of months ago. However, I guess that if it had been dark when I started rearranging furniture at ten in the morning, then there probably would have been more pressing issues than where I was going to put my coffee table.

(Off the top of my head, there are several possible scenarios that would render it dark at ten in the morning, and I will list them for you at this juncture, only please keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive, and I’m sure that if we put our heads together, we could come up with many, many other possibilities, because that is what the internet is for:

1. The sun has stopped working.

2. The Rapture has occurred and tribulation is about to begin, at which point I should probably wonder WHY AM I STILL IN MY LIVING ROOM, ALONE, BECAUSE I TOTALLY THOUGHT I WOULD MAKE THE CUT.


2a. Sidenote that is completely unrelated to furniture placement but relevant to that second option just the same: when I was going through a particularly strong season of rebellion in my early 20’s, I had a recurring dream that Jesus came back to earth – specifically, he descended from heaven in a cloud of glory in the pasture behind my parents’ house – and he was walking around and inviting people to go back to heaven with him.

And I said, “Hey, Jesus, remember me?” and he did but he didn’t ask me to go back to heaven with him, and then he kept walking, at which point I got in my car and chased after him, NOT THAT MY DREAM WAS SYMBOLIC OR ANYTHING.

3. Global warming.

4. I don’t really know what number three has to do with it being dark at ten in the morning, but people blame global warming for everything else, so I figured I’d jump on board the party train, thank you.)

(And SCENE.)

So about an hour after I started my elaborate redecorating process, the room looked like this:


Clearly I was making fantastic progress.

About two hours later the boys came inside for lunch, and D was uncharacteristically interested in why I had decided to rearrange furniture. So he sat down on a step in the living room and was all, “Do you like it?” and “What made you do this today?” and “I think it looks really good.”

And I think I did a bit of a double take because these comments were coming from the same man who would be utterly delighted if our TV were housed in some sort of black laminate cabinet with smoky glass doors.

And if said smoky glass doors could be opened and closed via remote control.

I finally finished everything around three o’clock, and do you know what? I think I actually like the end result.


I don’t think for one second that the room will stay like this forever, but it’s a nice change. And best of all, it’s a change that forced me to vacuum underneath the living room rug, where, by the way, I discovered roughly sixty-four cashews, some yellow grass from an Easter basket, and a very small Donald Duck action figure.

All of which I plan to lovingly display in a curio cabinet next to the front door.

I think they’ll add a real touch of decorative klass, don’t you?

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  1. I completely understand! When the mood to rearrange hits I am forced to follow it through. It amazes my husband that I can move a million pound tv cabinet when required but have trouble lifting the 35 pound of cat litter. Sometimes I don’t understand it myself.

  2. I really like your new arrangement! What a great place for family life!

  3. I think it looks LOVELY. And, again I say “I love your living room.” Seriously — those windows? How I love them.

  4. The last time my best friend and I decided to rearrange my living room, it was midnight and she’d had several white russians. We didn’t make too many changes, but it was enough that my kids were impressed. And now I lay awake at night and keep trying to come up with a better way to do it. Care to come over and pray over my living room? I think it needs an intervention.

  5. I am so proud of you, dear Sophie, because I fully expected to see the “after” photo exactly the same as the “before” because after spending the whole day rearranging you had put it back to where you started.

    No, that would have been my own schizophrenic personality . . . I digress. . .

    Your room does look loverley, and I agree with Amy about the windows! I love me some gorgeous light-bearing windows like those.

  6. I get that feeling all the time. My living room has been rearranged 3 times in less than a year. I’m sad!

  7. I rearrange every month the week after PMS. Horrible, but therapeutic. This looks great!

  8. I really like the new arrangement! And by the way, this is a classic post with all of the side notes and tangents you went on. I loved it! :) Its just how i think! I followed you the whole time!! :)

  9. Is that really all you found under the rug? I am impressed!

    But I wouldn’t let that big leather couch block all the spring sunshine streaming in those gorgeous windows. I would switch it with the 2 armchairs. But don’t tell your husband I put you up to it.

  10. Love the new arrangement, although I can’t really relate. I tend to choose a layout and leave it like that for all time.

  11. I love the new arrangement so much better. But only because I can look at the pictures side by side.

    I think it was a work of creative genious.

  12. I think I’ve become addicted to your blog. For me, rearranging the furniture is the only incentive to clean a room. So, either my furniture gets rearranged every week or my rooms get cleaned twice a year. I won’t tell you which…

  13. Love the new arrangement!

  14. Ooo, I like it this way. For some odd reason, I’m not a diagonal kind of gal.

    I’m just sayin’.

  15. I’m with my gal Cindy. I like the straight lines better. More pleasing to the eye and inviting.

    #3 – pashaw

  16. It’s lovely. Your furniture is delightful – we have similar tastes, only your budget must be larger than mine, ’cause I can only afford TWO windows in my living room. (I kid. Surely you know I kid.)

  17. Mary Kat's Mom says:

    It looks great! Hey! I know! Why don’t you invite Trent Monk over for a living room concert and let’s try out the new design? ? ? Love ya! And him!

  18. 5. Tornado storms.

    That would make it dark at 10 am., no?

  19. Great arrangement…I am the same way…I get bored with the same ole’ arrangement all the time! In fact, I think after buying a new matress set this week, that our bedroom will be rearranged….New post here I come!!!

  20. i used to do that all the time. now i think i’m stuck in a rut.

  21. Love it. I am all about the angles sometimes but then I have to go back to the “squared with the wall look.” That is a professional decorating term.

  22. Looks very nice, but….Won’t the direct light bleach/dry out your sofa ??

  23. There is no klass like klass with a K. Just so’s you know. And I remember something from Geology class in high school about how every kajillion years or so, the magnetic poles switch (like, north becomes south and south becomes north and insanity ensues), so I guess that could make it dark at 10 am? Maybe? It would also make your magnets fall off your fridge.

  24. You are by and far a champion rabbit chaser–so much fun to watch those rabbits you think of!!

    I would love to have some “swate tae” (sweet tea) and chase some rabbits with you in that very lovely room!

  25. OH. MY. GOSH! My room looks JUST like the middle picture! It’s like we’re sisters – only you’re our parent’s favorite child because you have a third picture.

  26. I’m confused–where’s the black laminate cabinet? I want my wife to see how classy it looks, so we can get one too…

  27. I really like the color of your walls; do you happen to remember what it’s called?
    I also looove the big bank of windows. In our next house, I hope we get to do that. Also, I love the way you’ve got furniture grouped like people actually sit & talk to one another. Everything in our tiny apartment living room faces the TV (except the kitty tower, which faces the birds outside). And I shudder to think of what’s under our couch right now (littlest pet shop? goldfish crackers? whole lotta kleenex?) You’ve inspired me to clean my bathroom today. maybe.

  28. Well done.

    And with that curio by your front door, I would expect HGTV to come calling any day now.

    Seriously. Any day.

  29. Think I have the same problem as you, I think change is as good as a holiday or new furniture.
    My Hubby use to complain that he would get home after working late (about 11pm), me in bed, turn on the lights and think
    “have I got the right house????”

    Love the new layout BTW…
    Love Naomi

  30. Boo–

    Since the pictures aren’t actually coming up on my computer for some reason, I can’t truly comment on your decorating prowess– but I will say that when the urge comes- you must give in. Or bad things happen to your brain!

    Thanks for the laughs!

  31. When I grow up, I want to be you.


  32. That is a huge room with some huge furniture. Awesome.

  33. I think it looks really good!

    And also I’m sure there’s some way it could be dark outside at 10 am due to an Extreme Right Wing Conspiracy or The Liberal Movement. Or maybe it could not really be dark but you only think it is because you have been brainwashed by the back-masking on your newest Contemporary Christian CD. Do they use the words “net,” MA or “krad” by any chance?

  34. That is a totally awesome room; in fact, I wish it were MY room! The new arrangement seems more intimate and cozy than the old. I like it! :-)

  35. We have a pretty big living room so next time you have 11 or 12 days to blow, drop by. We have two 3-cushion sofas, two love seats, a swivel rocker, a double-size recliner, and a Morris chair (really) plus 2 coffee tables, four end tables and a “sofa table”. And a humongous TV.

    And, oh, maybe 15 or 16 remote controls.

    Hey .. we NEED space! There’s TWO of us living here!

  36. LOVE it. And I am with you, there is something inside me that clicks without notice sending me into rearranging frenzies.

    A state for which there is no cure except decorational success–which you have achieved with your room, my friend!

  37. My husband wonders how we’ve been married for 6 years because I re-arrange every room in my house about 2 or 3 times a year. Sometimes our bedroom more than that.

    Looks good though! Great job!

  38. I think you and I are related. For real.

  39. your home, she is gorgeous.

  40. If that room (lovely, btw) doesn’t land you on HGTV, the flow and clear direction of this post should land you a journalism award. Fer sure.

  41. I am so happy for you. Happy that you have the courage to rearrange after a year and a half. My furniture has been in the same spot for, um, 7 years. Since a friend that is a decorator put it there. I took pictures and put everything right back after cleaning. So, yeah. I am really happy for you.

  42. 5. Nuclear winter. Although, at that point, I don’t think you would be rearranging furniture.

  43. I rearrange my lounge once or twice a year. It’s something I get an urge to do that builds until I have to do it. I also clean out various storage units at the same time.

  44. I’m a recovered home stager, and I rearrange every season. I’ll be doing the “summer” arrangement in june. It’s our little nesting gene, we can’t help ourselves…

  45. 6. Total eclipse of the sun.

    7. You went totally blind from too much computer time.

    8. Your Sonic diet cokes ate away your brain and your ability to see.

    9. Your mom was right, if you cross your eyes, they will stay like that,and everything will appear dark.

    Love the room.

    Kelly S.

  46. When I was a little girl, my mom would suddenly decide to re-arrange the WHOLE HOUSE. Like… we’d spend the whole day swapping bedrooms. (That was long before the days of HGTV and designer paint colors, so it wasn’t like my brother would get stuck in a bubblegum pink room or anything). AND then, if enough stuff hadn’t changed, we’d move the living room around too. My mom’s still prone to doing that kind of thing, but I just *think* about it, and remind myself that sweeping under stuff is highly overrated.

  47. Sophie: You may come to my house once, but never again if rearranging the furniture is a necessity to life. You would be utterly disappointed in me… again.

  48. So Funny, I am the same way! Can’t keep furniture in the same spot for too long!
    Love the color of your living room!

  49. Michigan in the winter. I am sure it is still dark at 10 am. I think we only get light from 11 – 1, on a good day.

    You are lucky that you have a room that allows for different arrangements. Sometimes you have no choice. Well, you could do it a different way, but then it would just look goofy. Or you would have a couch in your hallway or something.

  50. I understand your calling, and the way it physically takes over your brain and body. I like your end result.

  51. Great results.

    Maybe you could take this on as another bloggy service for your bloggy readers (‘cos I know you have SO much time on your hands). Could you do a Makeover Monday, where we send you pics of our rooms, and you can link us to fab accessories and tell us where we have all gone wrong?

  52. There you go, Boo! GREAT POST! WHOO HOO! (And the house looks great!)

  53. OCD has led me down some of the same scary roads. Truly. I hear there is medication. But what would I blog about and how would I accomplish so much in a day? You know like carrying all the laundry up the stairs WHILE dragging the kitty litter with my big toe. Thank you, OCD.

  54. Very lovely!

  55. Wow! It looks great! Next time, you can use graph paper and make it muuuuch easier on yourself. Every time we move, I measure the rooms, then I spend time playing with my little graph-paper furniture and have it all “arranged” before we move. The movers always laugh at me…until they figure out that it works.

    I may have some control issues. Maybe. :-)

  56. You are a woman after my own heart! I rearrange on average of once a month. Clearly I have a problem…

    I would love to have one of the designers on HGTV…(Or Laurie Smith from Trading Spaces) come over and “do” my family room!! Oh well…until I inherit loads of cash, I’m stuck with my bright ideas and those often land me soaking in the jetted tub and taking Aleve for DAYS….

    I LOVE what you did it looks great… :)

  57. Ya’ll work pretty quickly! I was impressed at what you got done. A new view is always a good thing with Spring and all.

  58. Colleen says:

    I just have to say that you are hilarious!! I love reading your posts…they bring a smile to my face no matter what mood i’m in (which right now was a BAAAAAD mood to start, and so I thank you).

  59. I totally get that “bug” too sometimes. However, I can’t do so much right now b/c I’m having a baby in about 3 weeks.

    Also, I gotta warn you…my mom had back surgery at the age of 51…ruptured disks. They told her it was many years of wear on her back that caused it. You know she was doing to wear out her back…moving furniture BY HERSELF. SO YOU BE CAREFUL!!!

  60. That very same urge to move the furniture strikes me at times, too…but it’s usually when I’m already up to my neck in projects around the Holidays, or when my mom is coming for a visit and I have tons of cleaning to do, or when we’re going to have a big dinner in our home…which necessitates having to put a rush on everything, and I end up staying up into the wee hours for days on end, and on Christmas morning, am ready for a long nap just about the time the kids are up wanting to open gifts.

    I LOVE your windows, too. And the new configuration looks great! Good job, BooMama!

  61. Did you know your house screams ALABAMA!!? I love it. I’d steal it. If I, you know, was closer and all.

  62. Looks great! Completely understand the urge for change. I go through that about once every 3 months in different rooms… or life, whatever. In my 3 years of marriage, I have brought up a serious discussion of moving probably 374 times. I like change!

  63. Ditto to Amanda, Amy Beth and Lora Lynn’s comments.

    I spent ALL weekend painting the great room, dining room and entry. All my furniture is in the middle of the living room and now I desperately want to change the layout. I’m ready to “get all David Bromstad” and start graphing the layout BEFORE I move the super heavy furniture.

    Then I’ll promptly ask the hubs to carry in the 35lb bucket of kitty litter for Miss Emma.

  64. Shannon H says:

    Personally, I think the “after” is a big improvement. Way to go!!!

  65. theroost says:

    It looks so inviting now…..like you want to take a book out & sit a read a while. Good job

  66. Lovely! Your recurring dream had me laughing out loud. (Not that it would be funny if you missed the rapture, but that you were chasing Jesus in your car!)

  67. It looks beautiful!

  68. Bailey's Leaf says:

    Bad furniture photo with dark windows. Good furniture photo with BRIGHT AND SUNNY windows. They had beams of light coming through them. Are you sure it wasn’t Jesus?

  69. It works!!

  70. Heh heh the rapture… If I couldn’t find my mom in the house growing up I’d freak that I’d been “left behind.” I’d have a 9 year old panic attack right there on the spot.

    Oh, there you are…”

    Oh and the living room looks great…

  71. I love the new look!

  72. Reading this post, I was thinking, “She’s baaaaa-aaack!” Because you seem to be feeling more like yourself again. :)

    I’m glad!

    (The living room looks great, too!)