Change in the weather

How quickly we’ve morphed from Spring to Summer.  It seems like yesterday I was wearing sweaters and now I’m sweating.  A change in the weather alters the affairs of daily life, so it makes sense to alter your home to match. Subtle changes in décor can turn a living room or bed room into a space that’s comfortable for different seasons.  This isn’t about doing costly makeovers, but  keeping the major furnishings and swapping in some versatile, seasonal accessories. You’ll find that your rooms are more appealing.  Putting items away for half the year they look new when you bring them out again.

The idea that household embellishments should reflect the time of year is an old one.  In eighteenth century France, wealthy people owned sets of curtains and coverings that were switched with the season.   These transformations don’t have to be the stuff of royalty, of course.  In fact, they can be as commonplace as it is to slip on a cardigan in winter or a linen shirt in summer.  Throws and curtains in lush textures, for instance, offer warmth when the ground is outside is covered in snow and set a formal tone that is approiate for holiday celebrations.  Fabrics in bold patterns are in keeping with the more casual lifestyle of spring and summer.  In short, your decorating should be rooted in practicality.

Summer is the time for dressing casually and mixing things up in the fun way.  Think seersucker, batiks and sheers and brighter colors such as shell white, ocean blue and green grass.  Winter is layered in quiet and ice, layer the indoors in textures and heavy fabrics.  Velvet, wool and silk are not only warm they’re dressy.  Richer colors like forest greens, midnight blues and silvers are a perfect compliment.

When the cold weather arrives, have a collection of cozy, fluffy throws to place on your furniture for snuggling. Remove them or replace with soft cotton or silk throws for warmer months.  Remove the toasty down-filled duvet from your bed in the spring and substitute a light cotton matalasse bed cover or a simple cotton blanket.  Floral arrangements of pine and holiday colors can be changed for light, colorful ones for the spring and summer. Put away dark brass or pottery containers and bring out clear glass or crystal vases. Change dark-patterned decorative pillows by covering them with fresh, floral prints or plaids for warmer weather. Either change out the pillows with a second set or alternate the decorative covers.

If you have a collection of plates on display, put classic holiday designs away for the winter and replace with pretty floral china from grandma.  Have your draperies made so they are reversible allowing you to easily turn them from lively to neutral with the seasonal changes.  A plain ivory on one side can be a neutral option while a more colorful stripe on the reverse offers a fresh look for another season. Be sure to put garden magazines and flower books out on the coffee table in the spring and summer. That will help bring the outside in and add color to your interior.

Changing with the seasons gives you an opportunity to get out some long-lost pieces and make them the center of attention for a while. The change of decor can come all at one time, like spring house cleaning, or over a period of several days or weeks.  You’ll be surprised what a difference just a small change can make. If winter seems especially long, forget the calendar and get your spring things out even if there’s snow on the ground. You may still need the warm blankets, but the look can be light and uplifting.  My thanks to my associate Stephanie Jollie for authoring this article.

Painting Used Furniture

If you think of painted furniture as a scraped-up old chair you pick up at the flea market to put in the laundry room, think again. Painting used furniture has many benefits. It is great if you want to update your home on a budget, while keeping it stylish and is the most eco-friendly way to do so. It also allows you to get creative and add your own personality to your home. Consider it a work of art. Did you ever think of painted furniture as art? You don’t need to be especially artistically gifted to successfully create a conversation starter as well as a true work of art.

painting furniture 1Before you get started, take a mental survey of what it is that you want.

What piece of furniture do I want? Where is it going and what will it be used for?

Once you know what piece it is your painting, start thinking about the style of the piece.

What look are you going for?  If you don’t have an idea of the look you’re trying to achieve, then look on the internet for inspiration. Pinterest.com is an awesome site for ideas of all kind and will show you different styles of old furniture and what they look like painted.

Now that you have an idea of the style of the piece you are looking for, you can begin your furniture hunt.painting furniture 2

Start your search on Craigslist. Many people do not see the need for their grandmother’s 1940’s highboy dresser and are selling it for next to nothing. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Flea markets are also a good source but the prices can run a bit high.  Here at Furniture Works, we have a large selection of affordable used wood pieces, such as dressers, nightstands, and hutches. All of which can be repainted to look like a one of a kind designer piece.

The next step is choosing the colors and the design.

Choose a base color; buy some acrylic paint in a can and a good brush. Get a set of small bottles of acrylic paint in several colors at a crafts store and an inexpensive set of little brushes. Paint your furniture item. Acrylic dries quickly, so you’re ready to move on in half an hour.

painting furniture 3Use any colors you fancy. Bright, primary colors are favorites with kids. For your teen daughter, various pastel shades may be just the ticket. If you’ve chosen a dark green as your base color, a burnt orange can provide a nice contrast.

When you’re doing this type of painted furniture project, you can ad lib, painting an appealing shape wherever it pleases you. Maybe you’ll then outline that shape in a contrasting color. Painted furniture can be a kind of pop-art creation. Perhaps you want to paint a vine that drapes gracefully across the chair seat or runs across the table like a runner. How about stripes on the rungs of the chair? Anything goes. A geometric pattern can look very attractive, a la Mondrian.  If you are not so good with painting freehand, then create or download an attractive stencil. You can also find painted rollers with patterns on them at hardware stores.

There are some other tricks of the painted furniture trade you’ll want to explore while creating your work of art. Acrylic paints can be diluted with water and layered over another color, a bit like batik. A swath of light blue crossing over a purple area creates a new shade and added dimension. There are clear acrylic gels which you can use to dilute the color while retaining the same body of the full strength paint.  You can also create a cottage chic look by sanding the corners and edges lightly after the paint has dried. Experiment and have fun.painting furniture 4

When you’ve completed this first project, consider the possibilities.  Remember that practice makes perfect so plan ahead and practice your designs and experiment with colors on a piece of paper beforehand. This will ensure that you are satisfied with the piece and will encourage you to keep going. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t look like the pictures. Your piece is unique and it is a one of a kind created by you!

A painted furniture project is one you can put away and pick right back up when it’s convenient to your schedule. I can almost guarantee you’ll be eager to come back and work some more, because it’s a therapeutic and satisfying activity. Be forewarned that painted furniture projects can be addicting (at least, that’s what they say, I prefer the natural wood look), just for the pleasure of creating a little work of art.

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5 Great Open Concept Design Ideas

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Open floor plans are considered to be both practical and modern; so, if you’re decorating an open space, this article is exactly what you’re looking for. In order to help you with your creative project we’ve prepared a list of 5 great open concept design ideas.

Make your place look trendy – use a monochromatic colour scheme

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Open floor plans have become quite trendy, so it’s not a surprise that so many people have decided to tear down the walls in their place. Additionally, it’s highly advisable that in the case of open floor house design one goes for a monochromatic colour scheme. Basically, all you need to do is choose a colour that you like and decorate the whole floor in it. Of course, you’re more than welcome to combine different shades and tones of this colour in order to make the place look fun and inviting. Finally, once you’re done decorating, you can create a contrast by incorporating an accent colour into the design which will break the monotony.

Make a small place look bigger and more urban

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Another amazing thing about the open concept design is that by simply tearing down a few walls you can make your apartment look much bigger. Just imagine that the wall between your small living room and kitchen doesn’t exist. You like the idea, don’t you? And that’s not all. You can make your apartment even more urban by adding a bar where the wall used to be. We guarantee that all your friends will simply go crazy about your new home design.

Add a touch of luxury

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Open floor houses are perfect for those who want to get a taste of luxury under their own roof. For example, unlike other houses, those with the open concept design are spacious enough so that you can install an indoor pool. It will make your home look as if a celebrity lived there. Additionally, you can include some useful pool equipment such as pool lights and make your place look even more sophisticated. On top of that, owing to them, you’ll be able to create a perfect atmosphere for romantic nights with your loved one. Finally, an indoor pool is a great replacement for a home gym since all the workout equipment would spoil the elegant design of your open house.

Use rugs instead of walls

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Another key feature of open floor houses is that their design is much more economical, even though it doesn’t seem so at first glance. For example, instead of investing in building walls, you can go for nice carpets which will define the space instead. You just need to take one and place it under your dining table, and then place the other one where your sofa and TV are, and voilà – your rooms are separated!

Create your cosy corner

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Finally, an open floor plan is great because it gives you a lot of freedom to experiment with your available space and adjust it to your own needs. So, if you’re done decorating the major parts of your house, think about the empty corners and what you can do with them. For example, if you like reading, you can create a nice cosy reading nook in one of the corners near the window so that you can enjoy the daylight. This way, even though it’s a part of a larger space, it will have its own character and purpose.

As you can see, there are a lot of different ways to design your open house. However, it’s most important that you follow your wishes and go for decor that makes you feel comfortable in your own home.

Faith McGregor

Faith is a writer, seeking beauty everywhere she goes and finding it in art, nature, family, and home. Passionate about just living life to the fullest, she’s into home decor and healthy lifestyle, trying to be the best version of herself and make her surroundings match.

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

What’s new in the furniture world?

Much as I obsess about my own business, Furniture Works, I’m also interested in the furniture business as a whole.  Here’s some more recent news about the industry.

Importing

80% of case goods (chests of drawers, etc.) and 45% of upholstery sold in the US comes from overseas.  Overall, the percentage has increased 2% over 2016 with increases for Canada (1%), Malaysia (6%) and Poland (13%) and decreases for China (-1%), Taiwan (-16%) and India (-18%).  The biggest increase is in upholstered goods.

Ditto, exports from the US have fallen by 2% overall, the biggest has been metal furniture parts (-12%).  The largest change in buyers have been France (up 28%) and the UAR (-28%).  Canada’s imports dwarfs the other countries at $631.9M.

Costs

This fall, costs for constructing furniture have gone up.  Frames, foam & packaging have all gone up 15% which has driven up the prices of upholstery by 2%. It would have had more of an effect on retail prices except that overall sales have not risen by much.

The Players

The “big boys” in the business are Ashley HomeStore (#1 at $3.8B in revenue), Mattress Firm (#2 at $3.4B) and Ikea (#3 at $3.2B).  These are followed by Williams-Sonoma, Rooms to Go, Berkshire Hathaway & RH.  Big Lots, interestingly enough, comes in at #8.

Online?  Yep, it is having its impacts.  Wayfair had $1.2B in sales and was up 41.9% over a year ago.  They are not yet profitable, however.  Amazon has begun selling upholstery with a couple of lines.

And what would you like for Christmas?

61% prefer gift cards & certificates, 55% clothing, 39% books & other media, 33% electronics & 24% home décor & furnishings.  59% will shop online, 57% in department stores, 54% in discount stores & 46% in grocery/supermarkets.

And what’s the future for us?

We’ll continue to bring you the best quality used furniture & reasonably priced new furniture that we can.  Just to add a couple more numbers, there are nearly 500 items available at any time in our 6000 square foot store.

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.