Furniture Arrangement Ideas for Small Living Rooms

If your home has a living room which is on the small side, you may feel cramped or even isolated, as though you can’t relax with your family or even entertain guests for fear of them feeling claustrophobic. You’re not alone, but there are actually a lot of tips and hacks you can use to make the most of your space. Not only can you make your living room appear larger, if you are savvy with your arrangement you can actually open up a lot more space – and that means enough room for both you and your visitors to feel cozy, but not cramped.

Tips for Making Your Living Room Spacier

Be Smart with Light, Shade and Color Palette

When you make use of white pained walls, subtle pastel furnishings, and tie it together with neutral drapes and carpeting, your living area will feel much brighter and lighter, which will result in it appearing much roomier.

Make sure that you make the most of the light entering the room, as this illuminates and further visually expands the space. The easiest way to achieve this is by keeping your window treatments as simple as possible to avoid obstructing the light from the windows. Using visually light furniture also goes a long way toward creating a light, open feel to your living space. Light wood, metal and glass pieces all fit very well with this approach.

Create an Unobstructed Path

A great way to create a free flowing space is to ensure that there is a clear path through the space. Be sure to arrange your furniture in such a way that it directs traffic centered around the conversation midpoint, as opposed to directly through it.

Functional Furniture

Let your furniture provide function as well as decor, and make the most of that functionality to maximize the space you can get out of it. An example of a very handy space-saving furniture piece is your bank of cabinets. This provides storage to de-clutter the room, and if it is a pale wood then it adds to the airy lightness of the room.

Choose furniture which is appropriate to the scale of the living room. For example, a small bench or ottoman can double as a coffee table without requiring additional space.

Let Your Decor Multi-Task

You don’t need so much furniture if your pieces have more than one purpose. For example, your window niche can become a small relaxing area, complete with a window seat, which can further provide storage functionality. You can even add extra storage space by building shelves in between your wall studs.

Choose a Focal Corner

Your living rooms space is determined by more than just it’s square dimensions, If you can arrange your furniture and decor to accentuate the vertical lines, as well as additional lines to converge at eye level, then your living space will never feel cramped or claustrophobia.

About the Guest Author

Apex Window Werks provides wood window repair services in Chicagoland area. Their specialists can replace a broken window glass, remove moisture from double pane windows and even replace your old windows. Feel free to get in touch with Apex for a free quote.

Everything you know is wrong

I’ve been married for more than 15 years so I’m accustomed to being told I’m wrong.  I used to think that maybe I was occasionally right, but now I know even that was a mistake.  And as a note to my wife, honey, if I really was right, I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to be.  Like most folks, I’ve even been wrong about furniture. In this article, we’ll tackle a few myths about furniture that I used to cherish.

Furniture made long ago was built better than today’s furniture.  Yes, the quality of the wood was probably better because first growth forests were plentiful with tighter grains and there were some cuts of wood (like quarter sawn oak) and kinds of wood (like Cuban mahogany) available that are not available anymore but the tools of today’s trade allow for accuracy in cutting and joinery that were impossible a hundred years ago.  In addition, most furniture is glued and the glues of today are much better than the old hide glues especially the polymer glues like Gorilla Glue.  Finishes of today are also much more resistant to wear and tear than was the shellac of yesteryear.

Wood finish needs to be fed.  As we talked some months ago, there’s nothing you can add to a finish (unless it is more finish) that it can absorb or bond to.  The only thing a finish needs is a good waxing with a paste wax once a year and that’s just to put a protective layer between you and the finish.

Wood is alive and needs to breathe.  Sorry, once the tree was cut down, the wood died.  In fact, there’s some reason not to expose wood to the air since that makes it more likely it will absorb (and give off) moisture, making the wood move and causing cracks and loosening joints.

Wood veneer is bad.  Plywood, with its grain running in alternating direction with each leaf is actually more stable and harder to break than straight lumber.  What we’ve sadly become accustomed to is cheap pressboard furniture where the veneer is just painted paper that can peel off.  Real wood veneer is an opportunity to have visible wood grains that would be impossible to purchase if the entire piece were made of them.  And the choice of veneer can be one of style.  I’ve seen solid oak furniture from the 1940’s with a walnut veneer because oak was not a popular “look”.

All the wood in a set will exactly match.  Even if all the wood came from the same tree, there will significant differences in the grain between areas of the tree.  As the saying goes, wood is a natural product…some variation is to be expected.

The most expensive fabric is the most durable.  Silks and damasks can be gorgeous looking fabrics (and quite expensive) but they won’t hold up like some of the new nylon and olefin materials.  If you really like the look of silk, consider a blend.

You can’t clean leather or keep it looking clean.  Leather does change with time as the oils and dyes in the leather shift but this can be as much an affect of the type of dye as it is the leather.  Pigmented leather will change color less than aniline dyes.  Most of the places you can buy leather furniture will come with recommendations for how to clean it.

Fabric on the bottom of leather cushion is a cheap shortcut.  When you sit on the cushion, air escapes.  The fabric helps the air to get out of the cushion quickly.  Otherwise a leather sofa would feel like sitting on blown up furniture.

Box springs don’t need to be replaced as often as mattresses.  Sometimes the sag can be the box springs and not the mattress.  Most manufactures design box springs and mattresses to work together, when it’s time for one to go, they both should.

That said, I still prefer real wood to veneer, older furniture to newer and organic fabrics to synthetic.  What the heck, I may be wrong but at least I’ve got my opinions.

Shopping Case Goods

Let’s talk about the Great American Pastime…shopping…and how to find good furniture.  First of all, I’ll start with 3 axioms.  Everybody wants a bargain. Value is made up of both price and quality. And, lastly, you should buy the best quality piece of furniture you can afford.

Of course, there are exceptions to this last one.  If you’re moving every year, or on an extremely tight budget, you may want dispose-a-furniture, but for your sake and the sake of the environment, it’s better to get something that lasts.  It’s better to give something away than to throw something away.

We’ll start with case goods.  These are chests of drawers, vanities, dressers, sideboards, armoires, entertainment centers, think anything big and rectangular.

Low budget case goods may be made up of particle board or Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF).  Their finishes will be paper or vinyl veneer with the grain painted on or covered in house paint or enamel.  The joints are butt-lapped (end to edge) and held together with staples.  The back is likely to be cardboard (glued or nailed on) as will be the bottom of the drawers.  The drawer fronts will be attached with glue or screws.  If it’s an armoire or entertainment center, the doors won’t open all the way back to the sides of the case.  The carved details will be plastic or resin rather than carved wood.  Based on my own experience, expect three to five years of use.

Middle of the line pieces will be made out of plywood with multiple ply veneers and have a finish of colored lacquer or Formica.  The joinery may be a mixture but the best joints will have dovetails, dadoes or mortise and tenon joints.  The back will be recessed in a rabbeted joint and be nailed or screwed on.  Only the back of the piece will look different than the front or sides.  The drawer bottoms will sit inside a dado joint ( a little groove) and be either masonite or thin plywood.  The drawer fronts will be attached with a mortise and tenon joint.  The drawers will use metal glides and you’ll be easily able to access the back of the drawer.  The inside may be sanded and finished. Depending on use, you’ll have these items for ten to fifteen years.

Heirloom pieces, those which you can pass down to your grandkids, will be a whole ‘nother cat.  They’ll be made out of solid wood or may have up to 7 plys in the veneer.  The look will be a hand rubbed finish, although, truth to tell, most commercial finishes are sprayed on with a high volume low pressure (HVLP) sprayer these days.  The inside of the cabinet should have blocks in corners to increase stability.  The blocks should be at least glued and may be screwed.  Almost all the joinery will be dovetails, dadoes, some mortise and tenon and even some miter joints.  Like before, the back will be rabbetted in and sometimes will have a finish (although since this is rarely seen, not all do).  Under the drawers, which set inside a dado groove, you’ll see corner blocks and the bottom will be made of plywood or solid wood.  The quality of the drawer glides should be noticeably better and allow full access to the inside.  The inside of the drawers may be stained and finished.  The doors should have either piano (long) hinges or slide back into the cabinet (pocket doors) or be double hinged so they’ll open all the way to sides of the cabinet.

It’s worth noting that these are really ideals and you’ll frequently find a mix of better and lesser qualities (hey, just like me) in the same item.  A visit to an antique or used furniture store (shameless plug) is a good way to see a variety of techniques, woods and finishes.

And I highly recommend talking with your customer sales associate (aka salesman) if you have any questions.  Shopping is all about trust.  You trust that what you’re buying is worth your money.  The salesman trusts your check is good.

Old Furniture Deserves a New Life

If you want to have something truly unique in your home without wasting tons of money and, most importantly, increasing your carbon footprint, consider the art of upcycling and repurposing. Even the oldest furniture pieces can look dashing with a little bit of effort. Basically, you can figure out a whole new idea and purpose for an old chair or simply breathe new life into your furniture. There’s no reason to rush into consumer craze when your own creativity can achieve so much, both for your home and the environment.

Photo Credits: blog.confessionsofanewoldhomeowner.com

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Painting and refinishing

If you have some old, shabby-looking wooden furniture pieces, there are plenty of options in store. You can go for a really rustic look by simply sanding the wooden surface. You can leave the piece half-sanded and add paint for a true antique vibe, or refinish the entire piece and give it a fresh coat of paint all over. Of course, you’re not limited to only one color. You can mix and match different shades and patterns in order to get an amazing, unique piece. This project can involve old shelves, tables, chairs, cabinets and whatever else you want to spruce up.

Spray paint to the rescue

Another great way to give your old furniture a new look is to use spray paint. If you’re going to upcycle wooden objects, make sure to sand them first. Pieces made of stone and metal don’t require this step. Recently, metallic style décor has become really popular. In that respect you can add a touch of gold, silver, copper or rose gold to your old pieces in a jiffy. The best thing about this easy trend is that you can choose between matte and shiny spray finishes, and even combine the two. What’s more, there’s this trend of gluing little bits and bobs to larger surfaces, thus making something completely extravagant. Take a look at interesting home décor online to see if anything can be a good match for a such project. You can spray the decorative pieces as well to unify the look.

Photo Credits: diysmartly.com

before and after 

 

Stencils and wallpaper

You can make something even more interesting and eye-pleasing than a simple repainted furniture piece. For example, you can use store-bought stencils or use pretty much anything you want for imprint in order to add a personal touch to your old furniture. On the other hand, wallpapers and decoupage technique can be used to jazz up the entire piece or to add decorative details. For example, you can refinish and repaint your cabinet, but also liven up the cabinet doors with decorative paper, wallpaper, pages from comic books as well as napkins.

Décor bits and pieces

It’s not all about giving a completely new look to your old furniture. Sometimes you just want to improve the furniture you already have. In that respect, you can reupholster your chairs and sofas instead of buying completely new ones. You can give a whole new look to your bed with some nice curtains, thus making a canopy bed. And sometimes, a few tiny tweaks here and there can transform any room. For example, check to see whether your furniture doors need new knobs. Moreover, you can bring old furniture to life by adding beautiful faux plants details that would match a vintage look really well. Also, you can use faux vines to decorate the beds and mirrors even.

Photo Credits: toneontoneantiques.blogspot.com

 old furniture

 Repurpose to your heart’s content

Have you ever thought about various ways you can reuse your old things? An old mirror frame can be used as a picture frame and vice versa. Old trunks, chairs and ottomans can be transformed into coffee tables and storage solutions. Your outdoor table can also be a desk, while that tall and sleek wardrobe can end up being a perfect shelf or cabinet. Window shades as well as ladders can be a great solution for vertical gardens, too.

There’s hardly anything furniture-wise that cannot be repaired or reused. In that respect, put your creativity to the test. Play with online ideas and inspirations or try your own out. You may find that the product of your own work is a lot more functional and beautiful than something you can buy.

For more useful articles, visit our blog at https://olyfurnitureworks.com/blog.

Less Known Eco-Friendly Elements for Your Home

Eco-friendly products are products that cause no harm to the environment in the process of their production, use or disposal. With today’s technology and raised awareness about the environment, there are more and more such products and they have found their way into our home décor. Most people think that going green in your home is difficult and that it takes plenty of time. However, that is not entirely true, since there are also some small items, gadgets and tricks that can help you go green.

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Cloth Napkins

Millions of napkins are thrown away each day all around the world after being used only once. If you wish to green up your home, you should rely on reusable products. This means you should use cloth napkins or the ones made of bamboo. You can easily wash these while contributing to reducing the amount of disposed paper napkins.

Moss Carpet

This unusual carpet is for bathrooms only, but it sure is interesting. Additionally, this is one of the cutest eco-friendly products you can get for your home. The moisture in your bathroom helps the moss in the mat grow. These mats are made of imperishable foam which soaks up and retains water. Not only do they look good, but they can filter the air in your bathroom and make good use of all that moisture.

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Green Door Mats

Nothing says “welcome” better than an eco-friendly doormat. Replace the old synthetic mat with some of the brand-new door mats that are made of durable spun PET yarn and contain no toxins. Also, they give a rustic, more natural look to your front door, wish everyone a warm welcome and help you keep the dirt outside.

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Eco-Friendly Furniture

Furniture is the major element of interior design and you should consider using eco-friendly furniture. Since it is omnipresent in the house, toxic materials can only damage our environment more. That is why you should rely on rapid renewable and sustainable materials such as bamboo and cork. Additionally, you can turn to recycled pieces that actually look elegant and luxurious even though they are not new. Moreover, natural materials that go through minimum amount of processing, such as granite, stone, wood and slate are also considered green and they will maximize the interior design while minimize consumed energy and toxic exhaustion.

Water Powered Clock

If you want to stop using clocks that use batteries or electricity, you should consider getting a water powered clock. All you have to do is fill the cap and add water and the clock will use the cutting edge technology and create its own energy. It is a small detail in your home, but it can reduce energy usage, and lower the need for batteries.

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Eco-Friendly Kettle

While preparing your afternoon tea, you are actually wasting energy if you boil more water than you actually need. In order to always be sure that you are not wasting water or energy, you should rely on an eco-friendly kettle. Such kettles have a special compartment where the water is stored when poured in. When you wish to boil some water for your tea, you have to press a button which will transfer a desired amount of water into the second compartment where the water will be boiled.

Low Voc Paint

For repainting your interior walls and brightening up the atmosphere you should use low voc paints. Such paints contain no toxins and chemicals that can harm you and your family, and they are practically odorless and 100% acrylic.

Going green doesn’t necessarily mean that you should replace everything in your home. Even though that can be your end goal, you should start smart and replace the smaller things first. These several tips and items will show you how easy it actually is to commit to creating a better and healthier environment.

For more useful articles, visit our blog at https://olyfurnitureworks.com/blog.