Breaking The Rules & Breaking Free

Rules are important, right? I mean, they help us to maintain order, keep things running smoothly, and know what is expected.

However, a lot of times we all have "rules" that we live by that are unconscious assumptions--beliefs that we don't question that can greatly limit our ability to try new things and realize potential and possibility.

Maybe like the rule that a used, little old green couch found at a consignment shop has to be ugly and could never work to beautify a ever.

Before & After

Or better yet, what about TWO ugly, used, old green couches?!?

Before & After

SCORE! Time to challenge some rules...including my own. (*I cannot pretend that I did not question my sanity as we loaded these slipcovered 1960-era babies onto the truck....*).

SO, you may be asking why I would want to purchase two ugly couches, and the answer is this:

Before & After

I was asked to help my clients get their house ready to go on the market. The room above is the living space/kitchenette of their house's in-law suite--a feature that is very desirable to buyers.

However, the room as pictured above, with an over-sized couch dominating everything and treadmill looming large, does not convey how the space can be used to its best potential. A buyer could possibly walk in...and walk right back out, thinking "ugh, I don't have a treadmill. I was really hoping for a place for mom to live." Really...this kind of thing happens all the of the time.

Before & After

With a very limited budget, I needed to find a diminutive piece of furniture to signify a seating area, and create an eating/dining area in this space as well.

Enter our little green sofa pair stage right...

I was able to get an AHH-MAAAAZING deal on these settees, and I hoped that when I got them home, cleaned them up, and removed the 1986 slipcovers, maybe between the two of them we would have a working, attractive loveseat. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.....

Underneath, it turns out they were even more green. *Who knew that was even possible?* And had more kitschy mod details, like a tufted back cushion.

Before & After

As I stood in my garage regarding my purchase, I texted my cousin pictures of my find...secretly hoping she would give me words of encouragement. Instead she asked me if I was now designing houses for leprechauns.

Very funny.

*Okay. Don't panic. Remember, there are no hard and fast rules. Let's forge ahead. *

Because the room's color was a deep rose, and the color of my sofa was green (don't know if you picked up on that already), I needed to find something to bridge the two colors, and make the two choices seem intentional. (Don't worry we can DO THIS!)

On clearance at Target (yes Target! yay!), I found the perfect plates, tablecloth and dishtowel that just made the whole thing come alive.

Before & After


Now it was time to put everything in place.

Using a small tilt-top table and two chairs my clients already had, complimented by the accessories I had gathered, we now had a sweet little spot to eat by the window...

Before & After

and, with the addition of a throw, a throw pillow, new lighting, side table, a cute little mirror, and the owner's own coffee table...

Before & After

we have an adorable place to sit and read or watch tv.

Before & After

So satisfying. And so easy for potential buyers to see all the possibilities that are there for them!

In my line of work I often bump up against "the way things have to be" and have to soften the friction that is created when certain "rules" are questioned. This is a very good thing. When I gently encourage my clients to think about whether their rules are based in truth--things like "I don't like yellow," or "Everything in this room has to match," or "Those kind of things are too expensive"--all kinds of new ideas can emerge, both for them and for me.

Before & After

SO, as you live in your house, don't let your rules keep you from trying new things, being a little bold--and becoming a lot more free. Be open to how you honestly feel about something, rather than reverting to a learned knee-jerk reaction that has nothing to do with the present moment.

Always living by unconscious rules cuts us off at the knees. As author Wayne Muller says, "like a bulldozer paving a straight path through the lush convolutions of the rainforest, we miss endless opportunities for learning, for surprise, for awe, for wonder, and for the exhilaration of discovery. Simply put, we play out the curse of a decided life."

So, don't decide...yet. Be open and be free.