Non-Consumer Photo Essay — Invasion of the Living Room TVs

by Katy on January 9, 2012 · 21 comments

Our spare bedroom will be used for hosting Japanese exchange students and teachers until next summer. This means that our normally hidden TV comes front and center into our living room. However, we were able to find a nice TV stand at a local thrift shop for $23.50. (The TV normally sits in an enormous cabinet that looks as at home in our living room as a 747 in a model plane shop.) Because this unit has tempered glass shelves and a dark wood front, it's less intrusive.


However, the TV-in-the-living-room required a complete rearrangement of the furniture. This was the best I could manage.


This was how our living was arranged before the TV invasion. The picture is from a few years ago, so it shows our old coffee table, which was beautiful, but simply too big. It also kind of tipped the room from period-appropriate-antiques to this-looks-like-your-grandma's-living-room. (I do have to say that I love my $10 garage sale ottoman as coffee table sooooo much! And since I sold the old coffee table for $100, it was an income producer to boot!)


While TV-cart shopping, I came across a tuchus-load of wooden hangers for 25¢ apiece. I've been replacing our plastic hangers with wooden ones from thrift shops for a year or so. I just think it's such a better look, as our closet door is almost always open. The funny part is that I am more interested in the hangers than the clothes themselves! (You'll notice that almost all the clothes are my husband's.)

While at my father's house, I came across these old dresses that my mother sewed for me. They were prairie-style, and I felt like Laura Ingalls Wilder whenever I wore them.


My mother almost always embroidered my name on my dresses. A tradition I carried on with my sons' overalls when they were little.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Dogs or Dollars January 9, 2012 at 9:51 am

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a full on room picture from your house. Your living room is gorgeous! Love it!

Also, kudos on finding a thrifted TV stand, a pleasant one even, on such short notice.


Laura's Last Ditch--Adventures in Thrift Land January 9, 2012 at 10:00 am

Those dresses are darling. My mom, too, sewed me a Laura Ingalls dress. It had a matching bonnet and a matching book bag which had my name on the front. I wore it to kindergarten without the bonnet, and I used it for Halloween with the bonnet. I was ever so sad when it no longer fit.


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi January 9, 2012 at 10:03 am

LOVE the wood hangers! My problem with buying them used is that I’ll freak out if they don’t all match….but yours do! I hope I can score such a great find too!


Sarah January 9, 2012 at 10:09 am

That TV stand is great! So much better and sturdier than one you would’ve gotten from IKEA. Looks good!!!


erika January 9, 2012 at 10:23 am

Hey Katy! Love the photo of your living room. Looks great (before and after). I totally understand your aversion to centering around the TV – you guys just don’t seem to be that type of a family, so it must feel weird to look like one. Maybe some type of a TV cover (fabric) and a plant on top of the TV, so you can “stow it away” yet keep it in the same spot. That’s what we do. Just lift that fabric up off of it, and you’re ready to go. Cover when you don’t want that screen looking at you. You could even get creative and somehow figure out a way to put different messages on the fabric that covered the screen. All I can think of now is a felt patch with felt letters you could change around or the boys could change around. Just a thought. Take care!


Robin January 9, 2012 at 10:44 am

Hmmmmm, looking at the before picture of your living room has me rearranging our living room furniture in my mind…..hmmmm….


Donna January 9, 2012 at 10:48 am

Love your living room! Also, I have replaced the hangers in our closets for wooden and I love them.


Linda in Indiana January 9, 2012 at 10:54 am

I am like Erika, loved your living room before and after. You have very good taste along with excellent financial management skills. Also enjoyed the prairie dresses very much. I am glad that your mother saved them for you. Somethings are different than clutter and keepsakes are such a sentimental journey–part of who we are! Also think that those wooden hangers are pretty darn nice–they are a lot gentler on clothes and aesthetically pleasing also! Enjoy your visitors–sometimes we have to change our lives around to accomodate guests, but we gain so much and learn so much by welcoming them into our homes,


Jinger January 9, 2012 at 11:26 am

I like the new arrangement and the cart is definitely a keeper…subtle lines and a good color. Kudos to you. And the prairie dresses…sigh! I remember making myself prairie skirts in the late 70’s.


Diedra B January 9, 2012 at 12:58 pm

those dresses are so sweet. . .


Katy January 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Thank you, one thing that I love is how completely worn out they are. I wore those poor dresses to death.

I get such a visceral feeling when I see and smell these dresses.



Katie January 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Oh man, that TV stand is EXACTLY the right width. Rock it, thrift goddess.

Agreed, the dresses are totally sweet. I love the embroidered name.


Katy January 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Ooh . . . “Thrift Goddess?!”

Coin Girl has a new name!



namastemama January 9, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Hi Thrift Goddess,
Wanted to let you know that extreme couponing seems to be short lived. Thank goodness ! While spending a few minutes today to clip some personal product coupons. Saving myself $3.50 @ Dollar General I noticed many coupons were printed with the following warning.
LIMIT ONE COUPON PER PURCHASE of products and quantities stated. LIMIT OF 4 LIKE COUPONS in the same shopping trip. Any other use constitutes fraud.
I’m all for saving a buck but could never wrap my head around spending 30 hours a week looking for coupons and ‘deals’.


Practical Parsimony January 9, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Katy, you are about the same age as my two girls. I made them prairie dresses, too. One was more flamboyant, a Nellie Olsen style. My daughter insisted on wearing it to school. The teacher said she gathered up the skirt and crawled through the barrels. My girls dressed for play, and when they weren’t, they did not let that stop them from playing anyway. It developed a rip. But, the girls were so pretty and happy in them that it never bothered me when they tore things in play since I knew they were so sad about ruining a dress they loved. I did not raise any Nelllie Olsens…lol.


Shelley January 10, 2012 at 2:02 am

Love your beautiful windows! And I definitely prefer older style furniture. I’ve been missing having a coffee table, but their just isn’t space. We pull out some nesting tables that normall live in the front hall when we have guests who need a place for their tea cups/wine glasses.


Liz January 10, 2012 at 3:44 am

Katy, it would stand to reason that most of the clothes in the closet you photographed were your husband’s. I am assuming that you wear a uniform to work as a nurse, and have purged your non-work wardrobe to a handful of workable outfits.


Katy January 10, 2012 at 8:17 am

Actually, both my husband and I wear uniforms for work.



cathy January 11, 2012 at 9:10 am

Love your living room! And I had to laugh when I saw it (it’s a good kind of laugh) because we are in the midst of building an addition to our house and have just completed the framing. Your living room is EXACTLY what we are building for our new family room. Now I can just show my husband what I want the finished product to look like!


joanna @ I Won't Be A Hoarder Too January 26, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Yay, another person who hasn’t succumbed to the flat-screen TV disease!


margot January 27, 2012 at 1:34 am

Oh my goodness, just seeing your new living room arrangement, your crammed closet, and your guest bedroom (in another post) gave me anxiety and made my heart beat faster. What a cluttered mess! Why not donate some stuff and get rid of the clutter as part of your environmental and somewhat minimalist lifestyle? Those 3 chairs that are crammed into your living room look awkward and mess up the energy of the room. I’d rather try going without the TV (usually a good thing!) just to have the old furniture arrangement back. And the 2 chairs awkwardly crammed into the guest bedroom…why not just have 1 in the corner rather than squishing in all of the old, mismatched furniture that you possibly can? And no family needs so much stuff that closets are bursting at the seams.


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