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Decorating Around Government Issued Furniture

I have a fun post for you today!  Especially for my military readers or anyone else who has had to decorate around government issued furniture or ugly hand me downs.


When a USMC family is moved across seas, we are limited to weight restrictions.  The government provides us with an allotted amount of furniture (depending on your rank and size of family) and we take what we need.  We decided to bring our couch and mattresses and use what we could from base.

Tip one:  Only take government furniture that you absolutely need.

I made the most of the bedroom furniture by putting  two tall government issued dressers in our closet, bedside tables under our son’s desk for more storage, and only kept the dresser for our bedroom (and left the mirror and bed frame).

Tip two:  Use government issued furniture for hidden storage when possible.

government issued furniture

I don’t usually like matching dresser and mirror sets for the bedroom so leaving the mirror was an easy decision.  It also gave me the opportunity to create a pretty gallery wall using renter friendly command strips.

Tip three:  Split up sets.


I like to play with arrangements on the floor.  I then start with a center piece and work my way out. dresser wall art

I had all of the art and pictures hung but still needed something behind the lamp.  A quick trip to the 100 yen store and a rice basket later… The perfect “filler” piece! dresser vignetteI also found a tall mirror for under $10 at a local thrift store.

Tip four:  Use local thrift and dollar stores to “fill in the blanks.”tall dressing mirror

The photographs and art are very special to me.  I have pictures of my grandparents with my mom and aunt and our family. Both my grandmother and aunt have passed away so I love seeing their beautiful faces every day in these photos.  The cross stitch is the Lord’s Prayer that my mother made.

Tip five:  Bring personal photos and art to create a home you love even if you are halfway across the world!

photo wall around dresser

updated frameAfter I hung the cross stitch, I realized there was a lot of gold.  I quickly taped off the gold frame and added a band of white into the ornate frame while it was still hanging on the wall.  wall gallery above dresserThe photos and art are special to me but what really stands out is the beautiful floral lamp shade (and a couple of art prints) from Minted.

floral lampshade

Golly, our bedroom is looking different!  Do you remember last summer when it was dressed in Mediterranean blues?  master-bedroom-update-blue-and-white

Master Bedroom in Blue and White

You can also see the government issued headboard and dresser in this fun post full of renter friendly decorating tips.  (Bed was replaced with the GORGEOUS gold quatrefoil bed that shipped out here for $4.)


Decorating Tips for Renters

The bedroom restyling and rearranging is almost done!!  Can’t wait to share the rest but for now, I’m off to Taipei! kathy-signature


  1. Hi Kathy! I just recently go out of the Corps and was stationed in Iwakuni Japan for my first duty station. I noticed you mentioned something about the 100 yen store (Daiso was my fave) so I had to share. And I lived in the barracks so I feel your pain about decorating around government issued furniture. Great post, not a lot like these around. Hope you’re enjoying Japan!

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