House / Office Dressing Room, Storage & Organization, Thrifting, Upcycling, Trash Picking

Office Update: Replacing bossy furniture

Do you ever find yourself being bossed around by furniture?

Last August I hung curtains in my office.  Immediately the room looked so much more polished, but the process of hanging them showed me just how much a few pieces of furniture were constraining my design choices.

Once the curtains were hung, I wanted to move the furniture around more, but my dresser only fit on one wall.  (see below)

Office Dresser After July 2012

The dresser was my grandmother’s and not my style. I’ve used it because it was free from my parents.    Guess what?  They had more “free” furniture in their basement – my grandfather’s old dresser, which was half the size of this.

So over the holidays, as part of my January goal to “clear the clutter,” I ruthlessly downsized my wardrobe in an effort to have it take up less space.  I choose the same clothes over and over, because I love them and feel good in them, so why do I need all those other pieces that I don’t love wearing as much?

My grandmother’s dresser went to live with my brother and his wife, and my grandfather’s dresser moved in with me, fitting perfectly in the corner with my mirror and jewelry display window.

Office Small Dresser Jan 2013 | The Borrowed Abode

The dresser is very sentimental for my father, who said it was the first thing he ever saw as a baby.  His family didn’t have a lot of space, so he was in a crib in his parent’s room, and this was right next to it.  Later on, he and his siblings each had one drawer of the dresser for their clothes.

One drawer for clothes? If he could do that, I thought, then surely I could whittle things down to one small dresser.

It needs to be refinished after 70+ years of use, and I will not paint it because it’s got huge sentimental value for my father.  It’s simple enough in design that I think it will look great after a good sanding,  some teak oil, and some fun drawer pulls – I’m thinking pretty ceramic ones.

Vintage Dresser Detail

I added my grandmother’s hand-embroidered linen runner to the top of the dresser.  I love this because now I have a little corner with vintage items from grandparents on both sides of my family!

Vintage Embroidered Linen Runner | The Borrowed Abode

We have several embroidered table linens that my grandmother made, and the detail is just stunning.Vintage Embroidered Linen Runner | The Borrowed Abode

On top of the dresser, a vintage cigar box hold assorted jewelry that I don’t use or that is broken.

Vintage Cigar Box for Jewelry  | The Borrowed Abode

A pretty monogrammed tray from one of my good friends holds hair ties and bracelets that I wear a lot, and my flower clips are in a pretty Turkish bowl from my best friend.

Jewelry Tray   | The Borrowed Abode

As for the drawerganization, now the top drawer holds undergarments, and the second drawer is dedicated to socks and tights.  Um, I do have a bit of a sock problem, but I can tell you who gave me almost every pair of socks in there.   Organizing drawers with cardboard boxes | The Borrowed Abode

I still use cardboard boxes and shoe boxes to keep everything corralled.  I don’t like things bleeding over into the “wrong” sections.

The third drawer is leggings, spanx, and PJs.  I have 2 sets of winter PJs and one set of summer. The bottom drawer is workout / painting clothes, one sweatshirt, and leg warmers (because the heat doesn’t work in my car).

Organizing drawers with cardboard boxes | The Borrowed Abode

Now that the large dresser isn’t bossing me around anymore, I’ve moved my desk to the largest wall.  The only problem?  Now one half of the room looks nice and classy, with my antique dresser and mid-century secretary, but the long wall side has an ugly white Ikea desk.

That’s why I’ve started building a farmhouse-style desk using shelving boards from my old apartment.  I think I’m going with less of a mid-century modern vibe in this room, and more of a modern country style.  Everything in moderation.  Reclaimed Wood Desk in Progress | The Borrowed Abode

Are you being bossed around by furniture?  If so, are there any changes you can make to the situation?

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  • Reply Kiri at 8:57 pm

    Bossed around by? Hmmm that’s a strong term. Am I constrained because of pieces that I love from people that I love. Yeah, definitely.

    I have a piano in the loungeroom from my great uncle that was the piano I learnt to play on.
    I have an armchair that was given to my grandmother as reward for her work in WW2 for a particular group that I can’t recall. It also happens to be the single most comfy chair I have in my home.

    In the bedroom, I have the bed of my parents the one my parents had when I was born. I’ve slept in that bed as baby, and it feels right that I sleep in it as a 50 yo. It’s also cedar. I have the pictures up that my grandparents used to tell stories about to me when I was a toddler.

    While my tastes are modern eclectic, I would not give up any of these pieces for anything. Because basically I’m a sentimental old thing, who’d rather have things around me with high love-value than have everything matching.

    I am however slowly working on getting the rooms to have cohesion.

    • Reply Jane at 10:39 am

      Well, if you love the pieces then I definitely don’t think they’re bossing you around! It sounds like you have some really awesome and meaningful things. My grandma’s dresser was one that was bought for her when she was in a nursing home. . . it wasn’t particularly sentimental to me because I have so many things from her that she chose and loved prior to that.
      I LOVE that you have the bed that you slept in as a baby.

      • Reply Kiri at 5:50 pm

        Yeah – it sounds like your Grandfather’s dresser is way more meaningful for you and your family, and I love that you have complimented it with things that remind you of them. Its a completely gorgeous vignette in that corner now and looks great!

        I know what you mean about your Grandmother’s dresser. My mum had a china cabinet that she didn’t want but wanted me to take that would take up more space than I have. No sentimental value at all. I’ve managed to avoid taking it so far and will only sell it if/when it ever comes to me.

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