Small house living: furniture placement challenges

Living in a small house (625 square feet on the main floor) can be a challenge for a gal like me who loves to collect vintage and antique everything. Therefore, I am constantly looking for ways to make the most of the available space. The fact that my rental house has an open floorplan is a big plus: when you walk in, the combined kitchen/dining/living room doesn’t feel as small as it really is (312 square feet).

In today’s post I really only set out to share my dining room table… I love setting it with pretty dishes, but I also really like the way it looks on a typical day. I also enjoy my collection of dining chairs – more on all of this in a moment!

Small house dining space | Vintage Floral Cottage

As I was taking pictures, it occurred to me that the placement of the table has helped to create two distinct spaces out of one larger one while still keeping that feeling of openness. So I want to talk about that too in case it’s helpful for others!

When placing the living room furniture, we started with the biggest piece – the sofa. We put it across the width of the room for a couple of reasons: one, it allowed for watching television while laying down. And two, it established the boundary of the living room in relation to the eat-in kitchen without creating an actual wall of any kind. This was essential – the space is small enough without being “cut up” visually by tall objects! Here’s the room in April of this year:

Small house furniture placement | Vintage Floral Cottage

With the dinner table placed directly behind the couch, it defines the dining space within the eat-in kitchen without blocking the view into the living room. And placing it here allows me to have a much bigger table than I could have if I had opted for a drop-leaf style over by the window.

Small house furniture placement | Vintage Floral Cottage

Now back to the actual table and chairs… they have evolved over the few years I’ve lived here! We started out like this, having found the whole set for free just prior to moving. This photo was taken right after I recovered a couple of the chairs. The table sat four, but the top was only 30 inches by 40 inches – barely room for TWO people to eat, let alone four!

Dining table curb find | Vintage Floral Cottage

So when I asked Greg to make me a harvest-style top for the existing base, he made it much bigger: 36 x 60 inches. It now seats six people.

Small house furniture placement | Vintage Floral Cottage

My “inspiration chair” is this one from my great-aunt Hazel’s home – she painted it in this crazy color scheme decades ago, and I don’t have the heart to repaint it! I love its shape and style, and so I keep an eye out for these everywhere.

Farmhouse dining chair | Vintage Floral Cottage

I have found three others that I use inside, and two others that I have outside in the garden. The red one is the newest acquisition – both it and the green one are curb picks. The taupe one was a flea market find.

Farmhouse dining chair | Vintage Floral Cottage

Farmhouse dining chair | Vintage Floral Cottage

I don’t know if this exact style has a name – it may be a variation of the Windsor style – but I just call them Hazel chairs! I think they have a lot of cottage charm, especially in their different colors, and their smaller scale makes them perfect for a small house.

The other two chairs are a different style altogether with cane seats and pretty detailing across the backs. I found these on Facebook Marketplace and repainted them, plus painted and aged the detailing. I call these my storybook chairs because the detailing now looks like an illustration you might find in a fairytale book.

Cottage dining chairs | Vintage Floral Cottage

Overall I like the way the specific furniture pieces have evolved, and I think their placement contributes to (rather than hinders) the open feel of the room.

Small house dining space | Vintage Floral Cottage

What are your thoughts? What’s your biggest furniture placement issue at home? If you are also living in a small house, how do you make the most of the available space?

Pin this post for future inspiration!

Small house furniture placement | Vintage Floral Cottage

 

 

Please share on your favorite sites!
Posted in Decorating | 4 Comments

Vintage dinnerware summer garden tablescape

If you have a thing for vintage dinnerware like I do, you know exactly what I mean when I say the last thing I need is more dishes. But you also know what I mean when I say there’s no such thing as too many dishes! So that’s essentially the battle taking place in my mind whenever I come upon a stack of, say, twelve pretty somethings marked $3.99 at Goodwill. What’s a tablescape-loving girl to do?

If you said, “buy the dishes,” you are invited to lunch at my pretty “Summer Garden” tablescape!

Vintage dinnerware summer tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

Vintage dinnerware summer tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

Vintage dinnerware summer tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

I knew it had been awhile since I had set and posted a pretty table – but I didn’t realize until I looked it up that it was actually in April! I was still hobbling around on my broken foot at that point!

Anyway, we’ve had some very hot weather so far this summer but for the past several days we’ve had a bit of a reprieve. So I’ve been outside as much as possible, enjoying the cooler temperatures before August rolls around. (It is an Iowa law that it has to be in the 90’s during the State Fair, which takes place in August.)

This table is all about the summer garden!  Our place setting includes three beautiful vintage plates:

Vintage dinnerware summer tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

The smallest plate is hand-painted Bavarian china by Heinrich & Company. I found just a few of these about a week ago for 99 cents each, then over the weekend I found quite a few more. Same price, same maker and pattern, but a different Goodwill store! Because these are hand-painted, each one is just a little bit different.

Vintage Dinnerware summer tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

The vintage dinnerware also includes this beautiful salad plate by Edwin Knowles. These were the “stack of twelve” I mentioned earlier for $3.99. They are not marked with a pattern name, but the backstamp does note that the specific shape (smooth unsculpted edge, size of shoulder) was called “Hostess.”

Vintage Dinnerware summer tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

And our luncheon plate is by Baum Brothers. The series is called “Formalities” and the pattern is Bernadotte.

Vintage Dinnerware summer tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

Oooo those edges…

Vintage Dinnerware summer tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

Vintage dinnerware often has that pretty gold rim – and I wanted more than a little bit of gold on this table to represent that summer sun! So I’m using my American Golden Heritage flatware set by International Silver. I first used this set for my Golden Glow of Christmas table last December. It was an antique store find, service for four plus a few serving pieces at just $12.

Vintage Dinnerware summer tablescape | Vintage Floral Cottage

Our tablecloth is a beautiful lined drapery panel by Pottery Barn Kids, in a soft green and white stripe. This was also a Goodwill find.

Vintage dinnerware summer table | Vintage Floral Cottage

The taper holders were thrift-store finds in the softest green with sculpted roses, and our napkins are in a deep botanical green by Pier 1. I believe the gold napkin rings (there’s more of that summer sparkle!) are also by Pier 1.

Vintage dinnerware summer garden table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Vintage dinnerware summer garden table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Vintage dinnerware summer table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Glassware is all from Dollar Tree – they have so many lovely colors in stemware, but availability varies by location. These are two different shades of green, but the short brighter one seems to tone down a bit sitting next to the taller one.

Vintage dinnerware summer table | Vintage Floral Cottage

The centerpiece is a beautiful handpainted Lefton pitcher I’ve used as a vase. I’ve simply set the salt and pepper shakers on one side, but on the other… I placed a bit of summer reading material: my antique field guide to wildflowers, which belonged to my great-aunt.

Vintage dinnerware summer table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Vintage dinnerware summer table | Vintage Floral Cottage

You are welcome to pick up the field guide and take a look – it’s organized by flower color!

Vintage dinnerware summer table | Vintage Floral Cottage

I love the way this table looks with two distinct kinds of chairs: the “storybook chairs” I made over last year…

Vintage dinnerware summer garden table | Vintage Floral Cottage

… and my casual painted cottage kitchen chairs (remember Elinor?).

Vintage dinnerware summer garden table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Since my tiny “dollhouse” has only an eat-in kitchen (no dining room), all pretty tables take center stage in the open-concept main living area. (My OCD friends will please ignore the thing that will drive them nuts in this picture.)

Vintage dinnerware summer garden table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Vintage dinnerware summer garden table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Here are a few more views around the table –

Vintage dinnerware summer garden table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Vintage dinnerware summer garden table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Vintage dinnerware summer garden table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Vintage dinnerware summer garden table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Vintage dinnerware summer garden table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Vintage dinnerware summer garden table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Vintage dinnerware summer garden table | Vintage Floral Cottage

And by now you know that one of my favorite pictures of any tablescape is the “put-away shot.” This is where everything is just gathered together, waiting to go back into the cupboards!

Vintage dinnerware summer garden table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Are you ready to go sit on the patio with a glass of lemonade? We can watch the Eastern Goldfinches and the hummingbirds enjoy their treats! Plus, the sunflowers are just about to burst open!

Here’s an image to Pin if you would like!

 

Vintage Edwin Knowles, Baum Brothers, and hand-painted Bavarian china combine to make this lovely garden-themed tablescape! Blog post by Vintage Floral Cottage. #tablescapeideas #prettytableideas #gardenthemetable #vintagechina #baumbrothers #edwinknowles #bavariachina #goldflatware #dollartree

I’m sharing my Vintage Dinnerware Summer Garden Tablescape for Tablescape Thursday over at Between Naps on the Porch! I’m also linking to Dishing It and Digging it at Rustic & Refined. Be sure to visit these wonderful blogs for much more table inspiration! 

 

 

 

 

Please share on your favorite sites!
Posted in Dishes, Tablescapes | 11 Comments

Five things you should never buy from a thrift store

Never buy these from a thrift store. So because I’ve had literally zero problems buying used items, my list of “what you should never buy from a thrift store” is pretty short. #neverbuyused #dontbuyfromthriftstore #secondhand #thriftstoreshopping #thriftstoreadvice

I know you can find lots of advice out there about what items to avoid when shopping in a thrift store – one article I read listed sixteen different things! (I mean, what could be left at that point? Certainly not my wonderful upholstered – used – sofa, shown above!)

But I’ve been a thrift store shopper for over 30 years – my success in shopping at these venues has been the single biggest factor in being able to create the cozy cottage style I enjoy in my home! Now maybe I’ve been lucky but I’ve never encountered any of the hazards listed in these articles. For example –

  • I’ve never brought home bed bugs, mold, or other pests.
  • I’ve never gotten lead poisoning from eating off vintage dinnerware, hanging around architectural salvage, or using old hardware.
  • I’ve never found my body suddenly out of alignment from wearing used shoes.

My secret weapon? Common sense. Yep. I don’t just grab – I inspect. (Well, except for vintage dishes. Those I just grab.)

If the shoes are obviously mis-shapen from someone else’s feet, I won’t buy them. If the non-stick coating is flaking off the skillet, I won’t buy it.

So because I’ve had literally zero problems buying used items, my list of “what you should never buy from a thrift store” is pretty short. Here it is:

Underwear/swimwear – Because of the body parts that touch it, I always buy these items new. Including bras.

Mattresses – Even if there are no bed bugs, there’s still “other peoples’ gunk” (OPG) like body dirt, dead skin, hair oil, etc. I prefer to start fresh with mattresses and add my own gunk.

Bed pillows – See OPG above. I’m specifically talking about the pillow you lay your head on here. If I found a great bolster or other decorative bed pillow in a thrift store, I wouldn’t have the same hesitation. I purchase throw pillows for my sofa (also secondhand) from thrift stores all the time.

“Expired”, damaged, or old safety equipment – Bicycle and motorcycle helmets and children’s car seats contain energy-absorbing foam that is considered “spent” if it becomes too aged or absorbs an impact. So with no way to know if the protective foam is any good in these items, I would always buy new. And I didn’t know this until recently, but apparently car seats actually have expiration dates due to potential deterioration of inner materials.

Vintage baby cribs – Drop-sided cribs and those with slats spaced more than 2-3/8 inches apart present suffocation and entrapment hazards for Baby.

What are your thoughts? What would you never buy from a thrift store?

Please share on your favorite sites!
Posted in Thrift Store Maven | 2 Comments

Grab my e-book and have your best yard sale ever!

Friends, I’m happy and excited to announce the release of my latest e-book, “How to Have an Epic Yard Sale“!

How to Have an Epic Yard Sale E-book | Vintage Floral Cottage

I’ve taken all my best tips from 30+ years of attending and hosting sales, and compiled them into a fun little volume that will help you earn some extra cash and clear the clutter from your home. The book includes:

  • My four simple keys to having a successful yard sale, and how to implement them
  • Information to help you plan the layout of your sale to it’s appealing, fun, and safe to shop
  • Pricing tips to ensure brisk sales, great bargains, and money in your pocket
  • Tips for creating and placing effective signage – and when NOT to place signage
  • My exact plan for setting up a yard sale – what goes where for easy shopping
  • Hints on dealing with difficult customers – because there are always a few stinkers out there!

… and a lot more, all for just $2.99 – that’s less than a Starbucks, y’all!

You can get the book in PDF or Amazon Kindle formats. (No Kindle? Just download the Kindle Reader App for any smartphone!) To grab  your copy of “How to Have An Epic Yard Sale,” just choose a link:

 

or

It’s only late July as I write this, so that means there’s still plenty of time left this year to host a great sale. And don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t fun… because it is! Let my book show you how to have fun, make money, and reduce clutter! Grab “How to Have an Epic Yard Sale” now!

Please help me promote the book – click this instant Tweet to share on Twitter!
Let my yard sale e-book show you how to have fun, make money, and reduce clutter! Click To Tweet

 

 

Please share on your favorite sites!
Posted in E-Books, Yard & Garage Sales | Leave a comment

Five best ways to decorate on a budget

Are you looking for ways to achieve a unique style in your home without spending a fortune? Five best ways to decorate on a Budget . #budgetdecorating #decorateonabudget #budgetdecor #secondhand #thriftstoreadvice #shopyourhouse

Are you looking for ways to achieve a unique style in your home without spending a fortune? Over the years my love of home decorating and my personal cottage style have both evolved, but my desire to decorate on a budget has not.

Okay I’ll just say it – I’m cheap! A tightwad! A miser! Everything I’ve done to enhance my home has always been done with very limited funds, and as a result I’ve become more patient in my shopping,  and more creative in my repurposing.

Here are the best ways I’ve learned to decorate on a budget, whether buying secondhand or (occasionally) brand new.

Shop your house. Is it possible you already have something that will work for the space you’re decorating? Walk through not just your rooms, but your attic, basement and garage too. Maybe-just-maybe there is something you already own that you’ve forgotten about!

Shop secondhand. Thrift stores, garage sales, and other secondhand venues are all great places to find great furniture and other décor items.

Repurpose. Look at an item you do have (or are considering buying) and determine if it can be repurposed or upcycled to solve a new problem. Can you turn that low-slung wooden coffee table into something for the kids’ playroom? Turn a pretty flat sheet into café curtains for the kitchen? Make a hall tree out of a vintage door?

Make your own. In an online décor group recently, someone asked for help in locating a sign for her kitchen that read, “Pantry.” She told the group she had already looked at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby, and couldn’t find one. My thought was, why not just make one? A hand-made sign would be simple to do, and have a lot more character and personality than something mass-produced.

Shop sales, coupons, and deals when buying new. Speaking of Michael’s and Hobby Lobby, they have had some really cute décor in recent years! And they both have pretty amazing coupons such as 40 percent off a regularly priced item. Even a store that doesn’t coupon is likely to eventually put items on sale, so pay attention to the circulars and online ads.

Here are the best ways I’ve learned to decorate my home on a budget! Click To Tweet

There are so many ways to decorate on a budget… honestly, my style is all about timeworn, well-loved, vintage items with character and history, and that means I would very rarely buy something brand new. It also means that I almost always pay less-than-new prices.

What are your favorite ways to decorate on a budget?

 

 

Here’s a Pin-able image for this post!

Pin 5 Best Ways to Decorate on a Budget | Vintage Floral Cottage

Please share on your favorite sites!
Posted in Thrift Store Maven | 10 Comments