How to Live with Less Furniture

Is your home filled with furniture - beds, dressers, tables, couches, chairs, etc? What if I said you could eliminate half of your furniture, still have everything you need and still enjoy your home? It is possible, here is how to make it happen:

Common Expectations

When we first bought our home, I was obsessed with buying furniture. I wanted to fill our home, make it look like those beautiful catalog pictures. A cool living room with a comfy couch and cute chairs. Don’t forget the large television encased in a super cool entertainment center. Finish the look off with a classic coffee table and end tables. Oh wait, don’t forget the cool lamps and beautiful curtains to add warmth to the room.

Next was the master bedroom. An awesome bed frame with headboard and a cozy classic comforter with matching pillow cases was a must. Then add in the nightstands with lamps and a fun picture display above the bed. Next, add in the dressers, armoires, and maybe a television. Finish the look with warm curtains and a full-length mirror and you’ve got your master bedroom complete.

Your Ideal

Now, let’s do something CRAZY! Toss the catalogs away and wipe your expectations clean. Forget about the pictures of perfectly decorated rooms. Instead, think about what you want your living room and bedroom to feel like. What do you picture happening in these rooms? What is your ideal?

When I picture my ideal living room, I think about visiting with friends and snuggling up with a good book. I’m not picturing the decor or the type of furniture. I’m thinking about how I want to enjoy the space. In order for me to do that, all I need is a few places to sit. Gone are the entertainment center, television, end tables, coffee table, lamps, and curtains.

When I picture my bedroom, I think about snuggling up with my husband, sleeping with cozy bedding, and waking up to a sunny morning. Once again, it’s not about the decor, but the feelings I want to feel - closeness to my husband and coziness. In order to meet this ideal, all I need is a sleeping bag. This might sound funny, but for the past few weeks, my husband and I have been sleeping in an empty room with a double sleeping bag and been perfectly happy (we are still trying to figure out the right pillows)

Try It Out

Now that you’ve cleaned the slate of common expectations and gave some thought to your own ideals, it’s time to try it out.

Remove the excess items from your room. Store them in your basement or in a spare room of your home. Practice living with less furniture. Give yourself at least a month to adjust to the changes.

If at the end of the month, you are enjoying your new decluttered space, feel free to sell or give away your stored items. If after the month is over, you’ve missed something, bring it back. Maybe try a new layout if the first trial didn’t meet your ideals. It’s all about experimenting

Reap the Benefits

There are so many benefits to having less furniture. When you are experimenting, note the joys less furniture brings…

  1. Cleaning and maintaining your home will be a cinch. Less furniture means less dusting.

  2. When we focus on our feelings instead of furnishings, we remove the need to stay in trend. You can just enjoy your space and feel contentment.

  3. Because you aren’t falling into the trap of the latest trend in home furnishings, you will save so much money. These savings can help you get out of debt or save for something really important to you (like our family road trips).

  4. If you find yourself happy without all that extra furniture, sell what you aren’t using anymore and get a few extra dollars in your wallet.

  5. When you have less furniture, your spaces can be more multifunctional. We removed the beds from our girls’ room - they sleep on the floor in their sleeping bags like us. In the morning, they roll up their sleeping bag and stuff their blankets and pillow in their personal basket. The room is then open for playing all day long.

  6. With less furniture, you need less square footage to live in (especially if you make rooms multifunctional). You could eventually live in a smaller home, saving you money on a mortgage, property tax, and heating/cooling.

Make it an Adventure

Living with less furniture has been a fun adventure for our family. Trying out new ideas, finding what works and what doesn’t is part of the journey. I use to look at every Pottery Barn catalog that showed up in my mailbox. I would note the furniture I liked and what I hoped to make my home look like. I spent so much money on items that didn’t bring value to my home.

Now, when I think about furniture in our home, I think about usability, multifunctional use, and buying reused. This afternoon, my husband is buying a gently used futon from a couple who is moving. We are going to replace our heavily used couch with this futon, making our living room multifunctional (living room/guest room).

Have fun experimenting with less furniture. It can be such a rewarding adventure!