My Mom’s $0 Decorating Tip Gives Me a New Living Room Whenever I Want

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Growing up, my mom wasn’t one to hand out too many chores to my brother and me. Knowing that we had it all coming in our adult lives, her philosophy was to spare us while she could (thanks, mom!). But there was one major exception to that house rule, though. My mom was a serial rearranger of our living room layout, and when inspiration or an idea struck, no one — not even my dad — was off the hook. 

When my mom wanted to rearrange, which was often, it was never just a quick shuffle of the big pieces of furniture. Sure, sofas and couches and tables were moved, but so was every little object in the room, whether it was on the floor, on a shelf, or on a table. Books, art, sculptures, clocks, plants, lamps — you name it. It was all included. By the time we finished, the room was unrecognizable.

As a teenager, I hated giving up a whole day to something so boring when I had far more important things to do, like sleep. Little did I realize then that this activity would become an obsession of mine in adulthood. Today, it’s me rounding up my partner and kids to make them spend hours switching up our living space.

My living room is the room I spend nearly all my waking time in; as someone who also works from home, that means I’m logging many hours there. With every switch-up, I feel like I have a brand new room. It’s like looking at your room through the just-returned-from-vacation lens, where everything looks a little less familiar, so you get a chance to fall back in love with things you may not have noticed in months. 

This zero-cost decorating trick has some unexpected benefits, too, like preventing a build-up of clutter. With every shake-up, you can edit your decor and only keep what you still love. It’s also the perfect opportunity for a deep clean under sofas and other big furniture pieces. 

Maybe I love rearranging because I get bored easily, or maybe it’s in my DNA. But I think, ultimately, it’s the cost-effectiveness. Why stick with one living room when you can have five with just a little bit of elbow grease and a free afternoon?