If you like to continually change your space and you shop each time for a new look; it could become a very expensive and time-consuming exercise. Instead, examine the space you would like to change and visualise what you would like to do with it. you can then go around the house and look for objects, boxes, books, lamps or anything that you think would be appropriate for that area. This is where the fun begins: Open your box of goodies and start putting your items together ensuring you always take a few steps back and check whether the overall arrangement looks balanced and the colours don’t clash. Add function and accessories until you strike the right balance. Grouping objects of varying sizes will add interest and create a focal point. Conversely, you could decide for repetition to achieve a harmonious look.

Take the following as an example of shopping your home (and simplifying) the family room space:
With two teenage children, this family room is now primarily used for reading and watching television. It is a small-ish area with an additional problem… all roads lead into the family room! Thus, the sofa is used as a room divider (as well as storage, seating and relaxation) and the ottoman helps to further define the space. Thus, the family room looked like this:


Albeit the coffee table provides great storage for coffee-table books; it was under-utilised in this area and didn’t allow the necessary space to fully open the doors on the entertainment unit. One option was to remove the coffee table and repurpose it as a sofa table (of sorts).
As this area is mainly used to watch TV and play video games; the “shopping” around the house started by finding items that would be used at the time the family sits down to relax in this area. A lamp, a few ornaments (including pot plants), books and a diffuser made it into the box (a.k.a. shopping trolley). One issue was that the lamp was not tall enough to provide the diffused lighting required whilst watching TV so another trip around the house ensued. The height and width were paramount to ensure that the lamp had a solid base and the correct height to turn the lamp from the sofa. An unused apothecary glass jar did the trick in this case (by removing the lid and placing it upside down). Thus the new sofa table looks like this:


The coffee table has now been reused and repurposed! The apothecary jar being glass provides an unobtrusive element to the lamp (being a crystal base lamp) so it doesn’t detract from the lamp itself. The cord is neatly stuck to the side of the glass to keep the look tidy. Once the kitchen is clean and the family seats to relax, we turn on the diffuser with our favourite scent and the muted lighting from the lamp provides the perfect mood to sit back and unwind.

Alternative ways to achieve the look:

    • In lieu of the apothecary jar, stack a number of books with the same colour spine to colour block to the desired height and place the lamp on top.
    • A neat way to hide unsightly cords is to sit the lamp on a colour co-ordinated gift box and make a small hole behind the box for the plug and hide the excess cord away inside the box.