How to Upcycle Furniture: A Guide for Beginners

Reprinted with permission, originally posted on Porch.com

Evan Dunn

In today’s throwaway world, it’s more important than ever to reuse the things we already have in circulation. The process of upcycling involves taking something old or already used, and repurposing and revamping it into something even better. Whether you’re new to the concept of upcycling furniture or you’re just curious, and want a DIY project, there are lots of ways you can take existing items and give them new life. Read on to discover more about products you can upcycle yourself to enjoy unique products for the home while contributing to a greener world.

The Benefits of Upcycling

Upcycling furniture is a great way to reuse items and give them a fun personal touch. There are many amazing benefits to upcycling, including:

  • Saving Money: When you upcycle furniture, you’ll save your hard-earned money since most items can be obtained from thrift stores, yard sales, or even the dumpster. Instead of shelling out tons of cash for new designer furniture, you can enjoy beautiful pieces that are new to you without the high price tag.
  • Creativity: The process of upcycling allows you to express and show off your creative side. Whether it’s through painting, distressing, or literally rebuilding furniture, it’s a great way to learn new skills and creative techniques. Upcycled furniture tends to have tons of personality and unique features that mass-produced products don’t.
  • Giving New Life to Old Furniture: Used furniture may look like it’s worthy of the trash but upcycling it can give these items a whole new life. A coffee table with a scratched tabletop can be completely transformed into a beautiful statement piece. Chairs with torn upholstery can easily be revamped to become your favorite reading chair.
  • Less Waste: Furniture that sits in a landfill can remain there for years, causing harm to the environment. When you upcycle, you’re helping to create less waste by repurposing and enjoying things that already exist rather than buying something new.
  • Customize Your Furniture to Fit: Whether your home is large or small, you can customize your upcycled furniture to fit your lifestyle and your space. You can make tables shorter or taller, and you can also make sure that the furniture fits with your décor. Essentially, upcycling furniture allows you to customize items to suit your home and your taste.

Upcycling Techniques

Even if you don’t consider yourself artistic, it’s easy to upcycle furniture and make it fun. One of the easiest ways to do this is by painting old furniture in a new color. A wood table can easily be rejuvenated by transforming it from a dull brown color to something vivid and vibrant like grass green or sky blue. You can also update or change the finish of most wood furniture. Simply sand the wood to remove the old finish, then apply a new coat of finish or stain to give the furniture a fresh, updated aesthetic. Another upcycling technique involves changing out parts and replacing them with new ones. For example, add some metal casters to an old wooden crate or discarded tabletop to bring a fun, industrial-inspired vibe to your living room. If you love the farmhouse style, give your upcycled furniture a rustic look by distressing it or using chalk paint. The possibilities are endless, so make sure you’re creative and have fun while making your new creations.

Upcycling Ideas for Different Rooms

From your home’s entryway to the bathroom and beyond, there are several ways you can use upcycling to add new looks and new furniture to various rooms.

Entryway

  • Coat Rack: Take an old wood board or plank and paint or refinish in your favorite color. Attach some hooks or bent spoons to the wood, and hang it in the entryway for an easy DIY coat rack. Even a large tree branch can be made into a coat rack. Sand the branch and cover with a coat of paint or varnish, then attach it to a block of wood at the base using nails or screws to keep it upright.
  • Storage Containers or Boxes: Vintage wooden crates make awesome storage containers. You can also take cardboard boxes and cover them with fabric or wallpaper to create charming shoe storage for an entryway. Take clean, empty paint cans and decoupage the outside in fun designs for quick storage of small accessories like mail and keys.
  • Décor and Crafts: A vintage table lamp can have new life by simply adding a custom fabric shade and placing it on an entryway table. Cut the top of old shampoo bottles off at an angle, paint them, and hang them from a rope to add some fun hanging planters to your entryway.

Bedroom

  • Nightstands, Dressers, and Bedside Tables: Look for antique or discarded nightstands and dressers and give them new life with a fresh coat of paint. Take a stencil and spray paint a unique pattern on the drawer fronts for a contemporary look. A simple sand and refinish can easily breathe new life into this bedroom furniture. Remove old hardware and add updated metal drawer pulls and handles for an instant furniture refresh.
  • Old Mirrors: Revamp an old mirror by updating the frame. You can take a hot glue gun and glue seashells, glass, or tile mosaics around the mirror frame to give it a modern vibe. If you want something a bit simpler, just remove the mirror, then spray paint the frame in your favorite color.
  • Lamps and Lamp Shades: Vintage lamps are easy to makeover by painting the base in a new color. You can even paint the lampshade itself to give your bedroom lighting a new look, or glue new fabric over the old lampshade. For a fun upcycling project, take old Mason jars and hang them upside down and use a light kit to create easy, rustic pendant lighting.

 Living Room

  • Couch: Vintage couches are awesome, and you can upcycle one with a reupholster job. Switch out torn upholstery with luscious velvet fabric for a beautiful touch. If the old couch is in decent shape, simply change the legs to something new. Wood blocks or metal posts are great options to update old, scratched couch legs. You can even patch a damaged couch to make it look brand-new again.
  • Coffee Tables and TV Stands: If the coffee table or TV stand is made of wood, a new coat of stain or paint is an easy DIY project. Paint the base or legs of the table in one color and stain the tabletop in another for a two-toned look. You can also use a nail gun and attach planks of plywood to the top of a TV stand or coffee table to give it a fresh, farmhouse-inspired feel. Take a vintage dresser, paint it or add decoupage to the case and drawers, and use it as a TV stand in the living room.
  • Shelving: Make old shelving unique by applying patterned wallpaper to the inside or directly on the shelves themselves. Fabrics also work well to create a fun touch to older bookcases and shelving. If you prefer wall-mounted shelving, decorate or paint old wooden crates, wood planks, or raw wood slices and attach them to the walls using anchors and screws.

Kitchen/Dining Room

  • Tables and Cabinets: Use an electric sander to gently sand off the old finish of dining tables and cabinets. Re-paint this furniture using spray paint, chalk paint, or a high-gloss enamel. To update an old dining cabinet, consider adding new doors or hardware. It’s an easy way to refresh old pieces by giving them a modern touch.
  • Chairs and Stools: Repurposing dining chairs and stools is easy, especially if they’re made of solid wood. Follow the same steps for wood dining chairs that you would for tables to elevate their look. You can also reupholster old fabric dining chairs and add features like nailhead trim or button tufting to the back. Cut foam to fit a vintage stool, then cover it with your favorite upholstery.
  • Frames: There are endless ways to upcycle old picture frames. Glue rhinestones, beads, and crystals to the frame for a romantic touch, or add some faux greenery or flowers around the edges to give it an organic vibe. Painting old frames is a quick and simple way to give them an update, too.
  • Racks for Kitchen Utensils: Hang an old rake upside down and use it to keep your kitchen utensils organized. A vintage rolling pin can be mounted to the wall or cabinets to become an adorable towel holder. Bend vintage silverware into a hook shape, then attach them to a wooden board with a screw to hold all of your cooking tools.

Bathroom

  • Reuse Cabinets for Towel Storage: Take an old cabinet and use your creativity to paint or finish it in your favorite colors. Replace a solid door with a clear glass door and use it to organize folded bathroom towels. Upcycled cabinets are also great to store toilet paper, cosmetics, and toiletries so you can declutter your vanity top.
  • Shelves Above Toilet: An old baker’s rack makes a great etagere for shelving over your toilet. Paint the rack in a new color using an enamel spray paint to protect it from moisture. You can also mount shelving on the wall directly over your toilet using pieces of old wood or metal for a quick update.

Backyard

  • Décor Ideas: Old flower pots made of wood, ceramic, or metal make beautiful garden décor. Hang vintage gardening tools on a fence and wrap them in string lights to create a whimsical backyard space. Metal tins and buckets are wonderful planters and you can re-paint them or wrap them in fabric to add some new color to them.
  • Chairs and Tables: An eco-friendly way to make backyard furniture is to take old wooden pallets and repurpose them into tables or chairs. Add some cushioning to your custom chairs for a comfortable and unique outdoor space.
  • Old Window Frames: You can repurpose and upcycle old window frames and use them as a wall succulent planter. Staple chicken wire to the back of the frame, then use it to attach your plants to it, creating a “living wall.” Attach old windows together to create a custom outdoor greenhouse.
  • Old Tires and Wooden Spools: Wooden spools make great accent tables, and you can also use old tires for backyard seating or décor. Tires can be repurposed as planters, or you can stack them up and attach them together for a casual seat outside.

Whether you’re looking for ways to declutter or need inspiration, upcycling furniture is a great way to bring new life to old items. Use your creativity to come up with new ideas that will make vintage furniture brand-new to you. Browse a variety of paint colors and fabrics that will inspire you to give each upcycle a breath of fresh and air personality. Through upcycling, you can contribute to a greener world and enjoy the quality that vintage furniture provides.

Furniture Warranties – Tricks, Traps and Warnings

Furniture warranties have three primary purposes:

  • Marketing (Creating the “perception of quality” for a brand or product line.)
  • Legal protection (for retailers and manufacturers) against consumer complaints.
  • Additional profit for retailers.

This article will first give a basic overview of how warranties are used by retailers and manufacturers to avoid costs and increase profits.

  • At the end of the article is an annotated copy of a Wayfair extended warranty.
  • A Flexsteel manufacturer’s warranty is also analyzed in detail.

My annotated comments at the end of the article highlight specific terminology used in actual warranties to avoid coverage for most warranty claims.

Warranties are a marketing tool.

Customers want to be told that their furniture is well made and will last a long time.

They want to be told that they will be protected if the furniture is defective or arrives damaged.

The large bold print at the top of the warranty tells customers the things they want to hear.

Very few customers read beyond the big bold broad coverage terms to the smaller print, often scattered in multiple places throughout a long document, that disqualifies almost everything they think is being promised.

Warranties are legal documents written to protect manufacturers and retailers.

Furniture is fragile. It can be easily damaged in shipping or can “wear out” in just a few years.

  • Wood furniture shipments often arrive at the retailer’s warehouse with minor damage. Often it is uncartoned, inspected and “touched up” before delivery to your home.
  • Before picking up cartoned furniture at the retailer’s store or warehouse, have it taken out of the boxes.
  • Then inspect it carefully.The receipt you sign may certify that you have picked up the furniture in good condition.
  • If the cartons remain sealed and you do not inspect the furniture until you get home, the retailer may disclaim any responsibility. You signed a legal document stating that you took possession of the furniture in good condition.

Upholstered furniture is more likely to have hidden damage if a heavy piece, especially reclining sofas and sleepers, was dropped or mishandled during shipment or delivery.

Inspect the furniture as soon as you can. There is often a time limit for claiming shipping or delivery damage.

If you have even a small suspicion that something might be wrong, notify the retailer. Do not phone.

  • Send an email so that you can later show proof of the date when the defect was first discovered.

Aside from damage caused during shipping, most customer complaints and warranty claims concern problems that occur over extended time periods.

Most common types of problems will be excluded from coverage. These include:

  • Cushion problems: Worn-out, sagging or uncomfortable cushions are all excluded. This includes cushions that have lost their shape or resilience, even after a very short time period.
    • If you read the preceding paragraph and think to yourself, “That doesn’t apply to me. My warranty says my cushions are covered for life,” keep reading until you get to the detailed analysis of an actual warranty document.
  • Fabric problems: Exclusions include peeling, pilling, stains, discoloration, open seams and “normal wear and tear.”
  • Frame and foundation problems: Squeaks, sags and wobbly arms that occur over time will not be covered.
    • Proving that a frame problem is a manufacturer’s defect can be a long and difficult process.
  • Loose joints on wood case pieces: Unless this is noted when the furniture is brand new, it will be attributed to either “normal wear and tear” or “customer abuse.”

Watch out for an incredibly tricky clause that will specify the warranty only covers “accidental” damage. Damage that occurs over extended time periods is excluded.

  • Mechanism problems: Defective mechanisms are usually covered if the problem occurs during the limited time period specified in the manufacturer’s warranty.
    • Don’t be surprised if the warranty coverage does not include shipping and installation costs.
    • For older or discontinued items, replacement mechanisms may no longer be available.

Manufacturers will cover proven defects in materials or workmanship.

  • Proving that your furniture has a manufacturing defect can be extremely difficult and frustrating.
  • You may have to prove that the defect was present when you first purchased the furniture.
  • Manufacturing defects that do not show up (and are reported) within the first year will probably be excluded under the standard “normal wear and tear” exclusion clause.

Repairing or replacing defective furniture or parts is expensive.

From a retailer’s perspective, customer service issues that require sending inspectors, paying for refunds, replacing parts or exchanging entire pieces are a direct cost against profits.

  • These costs can be substantial. Retailers do everything possible to avoid them.

Repeated studies have indicated that “price” is by far the most important factor for most people shopping for low and mid-range furniture.

  • Competitive pressures to lower costs have dramatically restructured the entire furniture industry over the past 20 years.
  • Where there used to be thousands of small independent retailers, there are now only a handful.

The furniture industry is now dominated by a small number of huge national and regional chains.

  • According to the May 25, 2020 issue of Furniture Today, the top 100 retailers account for almost 80% of all furniture, bedding and accessory items sold in U.S. furniture stores.
  • The top 10 largest furniture retail chains account for more than 40% of total U.S. furniture store sales.
  • The top 14 furniture stores all have annual sales exceeding $1 billion.

These mega-retailers have tremendous power to dictate pricing to the limited number of furniture manufacturers large enough to supply them.

  • 20 years ago it was possible to buy a basic sofa for $399. It is still possible to buy $399 sofas.
  • Costs of lumber, foam, fabric, transportation and labor have all increased over that time period.

The large furniture retailers have created cut-throat competition among the limited number of manufacturers whose production is large enough to supply them.

In order to sell furniture today at the same prices as 20 years ago, certain quality compromises have been made in mass produced furniture, especially upholstered furniture.

Wood furniture does not have as much of a quality problem as upholstered furniture.

  • For mass produced wood furniture, advances in automated technology and much larger scale production have increased efficiency for lower priced mass produced products.
  • Lower cost wood furniture, in many cases, is superior to the quality made 20 years ago when more of the work was done by hand.
  • Higher quality wood furniture, made by expert craftspeople, does cost more now than it did 20 years ago.

Manufacturers and retailers are well aware of the massive costs they could be exposed to because of lower quality furniture products.

On the other hand, retailers are also aware that popularly priced furniture which needs to be replaced every 5 years is more profitable over the long term than furniture that lasts 10 years or more.

  • More profitable unless the cost of warranty claims and repairs overwhelms the financial benefits of selling more furniture.

Repairing defective furniture is expensive and disruptive to the normal manufacturing and selling processes.Taking care of warranty claims is neither profitable nor enjoyable for manufacturers and retailers.

  • Manufacturers have traditionally reacted by structuring warranties so that there are very few potential problems that are actually covered.
  • Retailers used to follow the same logic, but have recently evolved into a far more profitable solution.

Over the past decade, furniture retailers have transformed warranties from a significant negative cost on their income statements and balance sheets into a highly lucrative profit center.

Introducing the extended warranty.

Extended warranties have been available in the furniture industry since the 1980s, but were not fully weaponized until the past decade.

When purchasing furniture over the past few years, it has become almost impossible not to buy an extended warranty.

Whether you are purchasing furniture in a store or online, the pressure to add an extended warranty is almost overwhelming.

The basic pitch is that:

  • Without the extended warranty, you have no recourse for any problems that might occur.
  • With the extended warranty, you have complete protection for almost anything that can possibly go wrong.

The language of the warranty seems to confirm this – all the way up to the point where most people stop reading the warranty document.

If you read the entire warranty document, and understand the legal and furniture industry terminologies, the sad reality is that it offers very little protection for anything that is likely to go wrong.

From the retailer’s viewpoint, the extended warranty is a “win-win” product. They make substantial profits for doing nothing.

  • The retailer does not stand behind the extended warranty.
  • Although the retailer receives a substantial portion of the money you paid out, they have no responsibility for servicing claims.
  • Even better, it completely eliminates all of the costs the retailer used to incur for servicing warranty claims.

Extended warranties transfer responsibility for servicing customer claims to a 3rd party insurance-type company.

  • That 3rd party (which is not a furniture company) is who you contact if you need to make a warranty claim.

This can be confusing to the customer.

Manufacturers’ warranties do not apply if you are covered under an extended warranty.

Extended warranties do not apply if the manufacturer’s warranty is in effect.

It is not unusual for consumers to find themselves bounced from one warranty to the other. Determining who is actually responsible for the warranty coverage is not always obvious.

The company responsible for servicing your extended warranty can only make a profit if the cost of servicing customers is less than the amount they receive.

Manufacturers do not receive any of the money you pay for your extended warranty.

  • Their warranty costs have to be built in to the low profit margins they make when selling to the retailers.
  • As a result, manufacturers are careful to craft warranties so that they have very little exposure to anything that might result in a significant cost.

Manufacturers do take responsibility for repairing (or replacing) products with provable manufacturing defects.

  • Proving that a product is “defective” in a way that is covered by the warranty can be quite difficult.
  • Customers are often responsible for shipping costs. They may also be responsible for labor costs.
  • The cost of shipping and labor is typically far more than the cost of replacing a damaged part.

The cost of cartoning and shipping large pieces of furniture can be prohibitively expensive.

Even the cost of shipping small items can be surprisingly expensive. For example:

  • Shipping a set of replacement seat cushions will cost at least $100 and could cost over $200 for individuals without access to special shipping rates.

Retailers earn a sizable profit on your extended warranty.

  • According to ConsumerAffairs.com this can be 200% or more.
  • About half of this amount will go to the 3rd party actually servicing the warranty.
  • The other half is pure profit for the retailer.
  • The 3rd party insurance company servicing the warranty needs to make a profit on only 50% of what you paid.

Keep in mind that if the furniture store thought they could make a profit servicing the warranty for the amount they pay the 3rd party, they would have kept the entire amount you paid and serviced the warranty themselves.

Extended furniture warranties are different from extended warranties for cars, appliances or electronics.

  • Car companies keep the full amount you pay and do the servicing themselves.
  • Electronics and appliances have predictable, fixed costs and a very predictable lifespan.
  • Even with these advantages, most experts who study extended warranties do not recommend them.
  • From an economic perspective, the cost of an extended warranty for cars, appliances and electronics is rarely worth the cost.
  • For furniture it is never worth the cost.

The only way for an insurance company to make a profit on an extended furniture warranty is by:

  • Rejecting as many claims as possible.
  • Reducing costs as low as possible.

Eliminating potential claims is the most important factor in making profits.

Extended warranty providers are experts at this.

Extended warranties always include clauses that they do not cover anything covered under another warranty.

This can include denied claims under other warranties.

Example 1: You call the extended warranty company to fix a sofa with a broken (non-removable) leg. They will immediately refer you to the manufacturer’s warranty.

The manufacturer agrees to repair the broken leg, but points out under their warranty you are responsible for all shipping and labor costs after the first year. These costs amount to several hundred dollars.

Because the problem was covered under the manufacturer’s warranty, it is ineligible for the extended warranty coverage.

Example 2: The manufacturer rejects your claim for warranty coverage of the broken leg on the grounds that an inspection indicated “customer abuse,” a term that can be applied for many different reasons.

The extended warranty does not apply for the same reason.

Extended warranties exclude coverage for anything that falls under the jurisdiction of the manufacturer’s warranty.

This applies whether or not the manufacturer accepts or denies the claim.

When you purchase an extended warranty your salesperson will tell you all of the things the warranty covers.

They will never tell you about what the warranty does not cover.

Wayfair’s advertises its extended warranty as covering “accidents, common malfunctions, and product failures from normal use.”

This is further defined as “Coverage for accidents (like stains, rips, burns, and chips) and coverage for common malfunctions (like broken hardware and seam separation).”

Wayfair’s SquareTrade Protection Plan includes a paragraph stating that its coverage includes:

  • where the problem occurs as a result of normal use of the Product, as follows: seam separation; broken hardware and pulls; separation of joints and welds; structural defects to frames, cases, seat or back construction; broken hinges, casters, slides, drawer pull/guides or swivels; and damaged mechanical elements.

Taken together, the coverage listed above sounds pretty comprehensive. But that is before any exceptions have been listed.

Here is a list of exceptions taken from Section 8A of the SquareTrade contract. The title of this section is, WHAT IS NOT COVERED. My annotated notes are underlined.

(A) Except as otherwise provided, normal wear and tear;
The term “normal wear and tear” is used to exclude the most common problems that customers are likely to encounter. It includes worn out cushions, loss of foam resiliency, worn out or peeling fabrics and many other problems that customers think are covered.

(B) Any and all pre-existing conditions that occur prior to the Coverage Start Date of this Protection Plan;

(C) Natural flaws or inherent design or manufacturer’s defects;
For upholstery this can exclude frame or foundation problems, fabrics that fall apart and cushions that collapse. For wood products this can exclude: delamination of wood or plastic surfaces, staples that pull out, fasteners that loosen, warpage and many other problems.

(D) Intentional damage;

(E) Lost, stolen or irretrievable items;

(F) Any Product that is fraudulently described or materially misrepresented;

(G) Secondary or collateral damage;

(H) Except as otherwise provided, maintenance, service, repair or replacement necessitated by loss or damage resulting from any cause other than normal use, storage and operation of the Product in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications and owner’s manual;
This is a wonderful clause. Paragraph (A) excluded coverage of damages caused by “normal wear and tear.” Here we are excluding “loss or damage resulting from any cause other than normal use.” The extended warranty will not cover any repairs that you have attempted yourself or had done by other professionals. This includes damage or stains that were not removed by professional cleaning services.

(I) Damage caused by exposure to weather conditions, improper electrical/power supply, improper equipment modifications, add-on products or accessories, attachments or installation or assembly, collision with any other object, vandalism, animal or insect infestation, corrosion, battery leakage, act of nature (any accident caused or produced by any physical cause which cannot be foreseen or prevented, such as storms, perils of the sea, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and earthquakes) or any other force majeure or peril originating from outside the Product;
Many people who purchase extended warranties often think it will protect them in case of hurricanes, floods etc. It does not.

(J) Damage caused by “accumulation,” including, without limitation, damage from any repeated use or gradual buildup of dirt, dust, oils or similar, such as hair and body oils, perspiration or darkened bodily contact areas;

(K) Damage caused by: any improper care, negligence, neglect, intentional acts, misuse or abuse of the Product; any repair, replacement or handling of the Product other than as recommended or authorized by the manufacturer and/or Us; or any failure to comply with the manufacturer’s warranty;
This clause can exclude coverage for many reasons you may not associate with negligence or abuse. A few of these may include: damage related to smoking, using common fabric protection or cleaning products, damage caused by pets or unsupervised children, and more.

(I) Damage caused by cleaning methods, products or materials;
Damage caused by not cleaning or maintaining the product will be excluded elsewhere.

Paragraphs J through L refer to non-furniture products and have been left off this article.

(M) Defects due to the installation, assembly or hookup of Your Product;

(N) Damage caused by transit, delivery, redelivery, removal or reinstallation of the Product, or the Product being moved between different locations or into or out of storage, including damage caused by packing or unpacking of the Product;
A significant percentage of customer complaints relate to damage related to these causes. They are not covered.

(O) Claims made under any improperly or incorrectly purchased Protection Plan;

(P) Except as otherwise provided, “cosmetic damage,” defined as any damages or changes to the physical appearance of a Product that does not impede or hinder its normal operating function as determined by Us, such as scratches, abrasions, peelings, dents, kinks, changes in color, texture, or finish or similar conditions;
This is important. Many salespeople selling extended warranties (and many marketing materials) will specifically tell you that these damages are covered. They are not.

Paragraphs Q through U refer to non-furniture products and have been left out of this article.

(V) Except as otherwise provided, any product used for heavy commercial, educational, rental or industrial use;

(W) Product(s) with removed or altered serial numbers;

(X) Manufacturer defects or equipment failure which is covered by manufacturer’s warranty, manufacturer’s recall or factory bulletins (regardless of whether or not the manufacturer is doing business as an ongoing enterprise);
It is not unusual for furniture manufacturers to be out of business or have the name sold to to a new owner. Extended warranties do not cover you in that case.

Paragraphs Y and Z refer to non-furniture products and have been left out of this article.

(aa) Items sold in a private sale (e.g. flea market, yard sale, estate sale, Craigslist);

(bb) Any Product that is a demonstration/in-store model, or that is sold “as-is”;

(cc) A Product that is no longer in Your possession;

(dd) Any failure, damage, repairs or loss that is covered under any other protection plan, warranty, service plan or insurance.
Anything covered by your manufacturer’s warranty is excluded from this coverage.

Additional exceptions and exclusions are listed in Section 8C of the extended warranty:

(A) Products made of “X” coded fabric, dry cleaning only fabric, non-colorfast fabric or silk fabric;

(B) Natural flaws, inherent design defects or manufacturer’s defects, including, but not limited to, natural inconsistencies in wood grains, fabrics, coloring or leathers; wood stains; delamination of microfiber; manufacturer’s defects of leather or upholstery;

(C) Stains caused by from incontinence, hair and body oils, perspiration, paints, dyes, bleaches, flooding, rust, fire (including cigarette burns), smoke or other caustic materials as determined by Us;

(D) Damage caused the application of topical treatments to the Product;
This includes fabric protection or cleaning products.

(E) Damage to the Product caused by gum, mold or mildew, fading, color loss, non-stain related discoloration, dust corrosion or similar;
Almost all claims related to fabrics will be disqualified.

(F) Odors, pet or animal damage from teeth, beaks or claws;

(G) Splitting, cracking and/or peeling of A&P leather, bonded leather, bycast leather or coated fabrics;
Peeling bonded leather is such a major problem (and so expensive to repair) that it gets its own exclusionary clause. The other terms used here are sometimes used to describe bonded leathers.

(H) Scratches of any type;
Many salespeople and marketing materials will tell you this is covered.

(I) Loss of resiliency;
This is the number one complaint for upholstered furniture owners. Cushions on popularly priced couches typically wear out within 3 – 5 years. For larger individuals (or especially cheap sofas) they may wear out even faster. This is especially significant for reclining furniture or couches with non-removable seats and backs. When the foam loses resiliency, the furniture becomes uncomfortable (and may look worn out.) Most people buy new furniture rather than pay the cost of replacing worn out foam.

(J) Separation of seams along mattress seam lines.
This is the most common complaint about mattresses that have passed the trial period allowed for free returns.

Section 6 of the SquareTrade extended warranty includes still more restrictions:

Depending on the Product and failure circumstances, at Our discretion, We will either:
Repair Your Product (on-site, mail-in or local repair service may be available, in Our discretion);

Replace Your Product with a product of like kind, quality and functionality (replacement products may retail at a lower price than Your original Product); or

Provide a cash settlement or a Gift Card reflecting the replacement cost of a new product of equal features and functionality up to the Coverage Amount.

If We elect to repair Your Product, We will, at Our option,
(1) provide cleaning or repair advice,
(2) mail You a stain removal kit, including products to aid in stain removal,
(3) mail You a parts kit to replace missing or broken parts and/or
(4) arrange for on-site service as described below.

Please note that We cannot guarantee that any such repair or replacement will result in exact matches (such as color matches) with the original Product due to differences in dye lots, natural grains, external conditions or other similar reasons.

Extended warranties have become an important profit center for retailers over the past decade. It has the highest profit margin of any product sold in the store.

Salespeople are instructed to push hard to add these warranties on to every sale. They receive a substantial bonus for each extended warranty sold.

This creates a tremendous incentive for sales personnel to oversell the warranties, exaggerating the benefits and completely ignoring exceptions and exclusions.

Extended warranties are one of the three most common types of complaints cited in furniture reviews. (The other two are worn out cushions and bonded leather.)

Most furniture purchased online or through major retailers are now sold with extended warranties.

In addition to an extended warranty you will also be protected by a manufacturer’s warranty.

The manufacturer’s warranty is designed so that it appears to offer tremendous benefits to furniture purchasers.

An equally important function is to shield the manufacturer from potential service, repair and replacement costs.

Manufacturers have a different perspective than extended warranty companies.

Negative reviews do not affect Extended warranty companies. Complaints are always directed at either the retailer or the manufacturer – never the extended warranty provider.

Manufacturers are more sensitive to negative reviews that can result if their warranty practices appear to be too restrictive.

Although manufacturers also use exceptions and exclusions to limit liability, they also use more subtle strategies.

Here is an example taken from Flexsteel Upholstery:

Upholstered Furniture Limited Warranty Information
Lifetime Limited Warranty
Internal structures:
Springs
Wood frames
Metal bases
Reclining mechanisms
Seat cushion foam
Feathers

Five-Year Limited Warranty
Electrical components
Mechanical components
Sleeper mechanisms
Sleeper mattresses

One-Year Limited Warranty
Finished wood
Plastic components
Metal components
Battery packs
Filling materials
Pillow fiber filling
Upholstery materials*

Reading through this part of the warranty makes it appear that Flexsteel is standing very strongly behind its products.

There’s even a lifetime warranty on important parts, including cushions.

Cushions are a major source of complaints for mid-priced upholstered furniture.

Many customers specifically look for long lasting cushions before purchasing.

Very few people read beyond this part of the warranty. The next part is headed:

Exclusions

The first paragraph states:

“Flexsteel products are not warranted against wear and tear or damage resulting from neglect, abuse, misuse, rental or commercial use, pets, extreme temperatures, exposure to sunlight, chemical treatments, excessive soiling, accidents, or improper storage, care, or cleaning.”

The furniture is not warranted against “wear and tear.” This is usually interpreted by the manufacturer as meaning that any condition resulting from “normal use” is not covered.

This includes the most common complaint for sofa owners – Cushions that look or feel worn out after only a few years.

Cushion replacements are also excluded from warranty coverage by another clause:

“Slight softening and flattening of seat cushion foam and fibers as a result of normal use and aging is not covered under warranty.”

If that is not sufficient, there is another exclusion which states:

“Under normal use and conditions, cushions may lose up to one inch of the original height standard of the cushion foam core within the first year of use.”

If you call with a complaint that the foam core has lost more than one inch, you will run into another obstacle:

The foam is not the only thing inside the cushion. There is also a layer of fiber above and below the foam.

Proving that the loss of height was in the foam core and not caused by compression of the fiber is difficult and not worth the trouble.

Going back up to the top of the document – “seat foam” is listed under the heading of “lifetime warranty.”

This intentionally gives customers the impression that the cushions are so good they will last forever.

On the other hand, when the cushions wear out (a process that is indicated by “softening and flattening”) in the usual 3 – 5 years after “normal use.” they will not be covered.

Flexsteel’s list of exceptions and exclusions is nowhere near as comprehensive as the SquareTrade extended warranty discussed above.

Although Flexsteel takes great care to exclude cushion and foam replacement, it appears that many other important parts do have excellent warranty coverage including frames, springs, recliner mechanisms, etc.

But there is a catch!

  • Hidden at the end of a paragraph relating to how a claim should be reported there is a small clause.
  • After the first year of the warranty period, the purchaser is responsible for labor and shipping costs associated with returns and repairs.

Major parts such as frames, springs, mechanisms, etc. are unlikely to break down within the first year, unless they are damaged during the shipping or delivery process.

If the damage occurs during shipping or delivery, Flexsteel is off the hook. Either the shipping company or the retailer will be liable for repair or replacement costs.

If the damage occurs after one year, Flexsteel is also off the hook (mostly.)

The cost to you of shipping large upholstered pieces to and from a manufacturer’s factory, combined with the cost of labor, will be far more than Flexsteel’s cost of replacing the damaged part(s).

At this point, you may turn to your extended warranty, which your salesperson told you “covers everything.” Unfortunately “everything” does not include issues covered under the manufacturer’s warranty.

Since you have the option of shipping your furniture off to the factory, it is still covered under that warranty.

The extended warranty does not apply.

-Reprinted with permission from SimplictySofas

Thrifty Tips and Tricks for Home Decorating on a Budget

Published at Redfin.com on July 16, 2020 by Emily Huddleston Updated on July 20th, 2020

Buying decor for a house or even just a room can easily become an expensive endeavor. However, we’re here to tell you that decorating on a budget is totally possible. Regardless of whether you live in a spacious loft in Dallas, TX, or a two-story home in Atlanta, GA, you can create a one-of-a-kind space without breaking the bank.

The secret is to take a detour from the regular big-box stores and head to your local thrift or second-hand shop. With a little creativity and some patience, you can furnish and decorate a home that looks uniquely yours. 

To help get you started, we reached out to some of the top bargain shopping and decorating experts. Keep reading for their best tips and tricks for home decorating on a budget. 

White comfortable sofa in living room

Start with a mood board. Fill it with decorating inspiration and ideas, then keep it in mind when you go thrifting. Once you’re in the midst of the mountains of used goods at a thrift store, it can be challenging to envision how that funky vase could possibly work in your home or where on earth you might put that giant vintage basket. But if you’ve done your research ahead of time, you’re more likely to have an open mind and a creative vision for the unique treasures you’ll find. – Vagabondary

Look for items that can be easily transformed. When I go thrifting I love looking for items like pottery/vases, baskets, and lamps that I can easily flip using spray paint, or plaster of Paris to give it that new but vintage vibe I often use when styling my spaces. These items are great to use as fillers, to add height, and to create dimension in the areas you want to quickly and easily style. – Kindred Homestead

Don’t be afraid of germs, stains, and used items. A lot of people worry about buying things second hand because they are unsure of where an item came from. This is a valid concern, and there are definitely some items you shouldn’t buy at thrift stores. However, for the most part, buying second hand isn’t any more “germy” than buying retail. That being said, especially in the time of Covid-19, I always wash or sanitize whatever comes into my home before using it. There are lots of eco-friendly ways to make sure your thrifting treasures don’t bring any unwanted critters or germs into your home — baking soda and vinegar are your best friend. – Reluctant Mother

Balance the old with the new. Mixing modern elements in with old, vintage finds keeps a room feeling fresh, interesting, and ultimately balanced. Tossing an old thrift store find on a more modern piece of furniture creates depth and adds an element of the unexpected. – Lemon Street Home

Put your own spin on it. Looking for trendy side tables or dressers? Buy a cheap but solid wood piece and don’t be afraid to spruce it up by painting it yourself! Bright colors are always fun. Try a hipster turquoise or red, or you could always go with a timeless black. Old pieces often have sturdy bones. – Destined For Grace Thrift Store

decorating on a budget by transforming white dresser

Transform an old dresser. Find an old wood dresser, a bit vintage and a bit damaged. Give that dresser a few coats of chalk paint to transform the piece into something beautiful. You can learn how to do this here. –  Create With Cynthia

Be open-minded and don’t look for anything specific. One of the best pieces of advice we got about shopping at our stores was from a shopper who said, ‘I try not to look for anything specific because if you are looking for anything specific, you miss a lot of the unique items.’ Being open-minded and a little bit creative are really the first steps towards curating a beautifully decorated home without spending lots of money. It also helps to shop at multiple stores every week since the new inventory is donated daily. – Triad Goodwill

Look for decor items outside of your own style. Don’t be afraid to be bold and thrift outside of your own style. Designing a space to be subtly – or full-on – eclectic adds character and warmth. Not only does it make your space playfully unique, but it also makes shopping for your next vintage addition a lot easier if you’re not limiting yourself to one style. – Ruinous Revived

Envision an item in a different color. If you stumble across an item at a thrift store, say a basket, vase, or cutting board, and you love its shape or design, but you don’t like the color or decoration, try to envision it in a different color. Chances are it will make a vast improvement! Drive yourself to the hardware store, pick up some chalk paint, give the item one or two coats, and voila–you have a brand new home decor accessory to love. – Adirondack Girl @ Heart

Keep your eyes peeled for one-of-a-kind items. Check out the art on the walls–and their frames–for a thrifty way to restyle your home. Know that with a fresh coat of paint or new hardware, you can totally transform found furniture into a centerpiece. – Habitat for Humanity Tuscon

Decorate with items that make your home look like you’ve traveled the world. There’s nothing better than the look of a well finished, eclectic home. Even if your design style is soft contemporary or transitional modern, a mid-century bar cart or a French antique console can ground your space and give it a sense of warmth. While shopping for resale items, focus on vintage, architectural salvage, or rich wood antique pieces to give some interest to your home. Your home should look as though you’ve traveled the world even if you haven’t. – Lost and Found Resale

Find items that just need a fresh coat of paint. Many things only need a coat of paint or a few embellishments to look great in your home! Have a plan of what you are looking for when thrifting by keeping up with the latest trends on Pinterest. You would be surprised by the furniture and other home decor people get rid of that just needs a little time and love. – Flipz and Findz

Shop for eclectic glassware. Finding essential glassware for a home bar or rec room area has never been easier. Thrift stores are known for their assortment of drinkware. So stock up on mix-and-match pilsner, tumbler, cocktail, highball, and shot glasses as well as wine goblets and pitchers. You can find everything you need to host the next neighborhood gathering. Bonus points for scoring beer glasses from breweries around the world. – Goodwill NCW

Cacti in pots near window

Think outside the (planter) box. Houseplants are an essential decor element and they can even purify the air in your home. Look beyond the usual pots and make a statement by creating unique DIY planters out of upcycled objects from the thrift store. Try antique teacups for small succulents, vintage ceramics for hearty spider plants, or create a mini-garden in hollowed-out retro electronics. – Community Thrift Store

Use your imagination to create something unique. If you love DIY home projects, old windows can become picture frames or old fireplace covers/screens can be wall art. Use your imagination and you will have endless possibilities. For more traditional decor, you can find vases, lamps, wall art, lighting, pillows and so much more – just be patient – it may take a few trips, but it will be worth it, and your wallet will love you. – ToniOn Thrifting

Take advantage of spray paint. Don’t let the wear and tear of a well-loved piece scare you away. Spray paint can elevate table legs, picture frames, planters, even hardware, and give new life to a vintage favorite. It’s an affordable and effective way to create your cohesive space on a budget. – Stories by Mackenzie

Incorporate vintage books. A great, simple way to add some personality, color, and a touch of real nostalgia to your home is to use a few carefully chosen vintage books. There is a warmth and dimension to classic hard-cover and leather-bound books. If you’re looking for a little fun and a conversation starter, nothing beats vintage versions of the childhood classics (even comic books!) that we all read growing up. – Allora Vintage

Take your time and search for items you may have overlooked. The secret is to walk slowly, look carefully, and take three laps around the store as you may not see everything on the first or the second lap. Shopping at Hilton House is a treasure hunt. Visit frequently, as new items could arrive at any moment. The secret is to mix the old with the new and find high quality for a fraction of the price. – Hilton House

When shopping, go all-in for some r&r (repurpose and reinventing). I’m constantly on the hunt for quality, well-priced furniture and decor that I can repurpose and reinvent into some fabulous ‘new’, one-of-a-kind statement piece. A dresser becomes a bathroom vanity, a buffet transforms into a media console. An old armoire becomes a bar cabinet. The possibilities for creating truly unique, stylish, and really affordable home furnishings are endless. – Alchemy Eclectic

Repurpose thrifted goods into functional and artistic lighting. I shop for just about anything that a cord can run through, like vintage colanders, cute teapots, or even simple glassware, to turn into lights. Repurposing thrifted items is rewarding not just for the affordability, but the sustainability of making use of goods that already exist in the universe. – UnicornitureCo

Take the time to go through the “fabrics” section of a thrift store. I love searching through curtains especially to reupholster chairs, wrap my image boards for clients and even wrap birthday/holiday prizes in. The fabrics are usually high quality and the handmade craftsmanship is one of a kind. – Thrifty Mama

Don’t underestimate the importance of the finishing touches. The old globe, the mid-century photo frame, or the hip 80’s ceramic vase are easily found at your local thrift store. These items can help put your own vibe and signature on your space. – Casa Victoria

decorating on a budget with blue wall and layered accessories

Layer things to create a high-end, lived-in look. I like to stack a couple of coffee table books and top them with a nice chinoiserie lamp or potted green plant, and a collection of little brass photo frames, all corralled onto and anchored by a woven basket tray. That just feels like home to me. – The Tiny White House

Look for the potential in an item. When looking at thrift store furniture, consider what it could be, not just what it is. – Furniture Works

Know that not all “thrift stores” are equal. There are good, better, and best choices when it comes to shopping second hand. Look for a consignment shop with recognizable brand names like Ethan Allen, Stickley, or Arhaus to be sure you’re buying well-made furniture and accessories that add style and longevity. Find a store with design associates who can help you make choices based on photos of your space and an understanding of your individual preferences. – Sequels Consignment

Collect items in a specific category or group. When thrift store shopping to decorate your home, collect items in a category for visual impact and appraised value. Whether your category of choice is based on an artist or maker, character or subject, color, time period, or material, thrifting will present many options while sticking to a budget. Remember, a few unrelated objects are fun to assemble but to avoid clutter it’s the category that makes a collection. – Dr. Lori Verderame

How New Furniture Can Transform Your Home

For every homeowner, it comes a time when the furnishings at home aren’t exciting anymore. This could be due to outdated installments, the need to try a new furniture arrangement, or the initial furnishings were less than ideal. Regardless of the reason, most homeowners are ready for some transformation at some point. Knowing what you want in your home is often different from achieving it. As such, you should explore several ways to achieve a complete transformation. Since furniture is a crucial investment, finding the right furniture brings forth the following transformations.

It Defines Functionality

Installing the right furniture defines the functionality of the space. For instance, what are the essential installments for a bedroom? How about your dining room? You don’t have to research widely to find the right pieces for each room. Fitting the right and modern furniture gives context clues of the room. They announce key information about the functionality/purpose of the room.

As such, as you select the new furniture, you should define how you intend to use the room. Your reason for this will dictate and guide on furniture selection. For instance, if you are furnishing a room to entertain your guests, you will need enough seating and infotainment systems. On the other hand, if you need an extensive reflective or working space, get appropriate desks that provide ample comfort to complete the essential tasks.

Keep in mind that the right furniture creates a vital focal point in any room. As such, pick items that clearly define the room’s intended use. You should also center your design on the item and arrange other furnishings to draw attention to this same spot.

It Dictates the Flow of Movement

Apart from defining a room’s function, new furniture also dictates how your family members and friends move around the house. It might not be comfortable squeezing in extra-tight seating areas. If you have been in this situation, you understand the importance of leaving enough space, both physical and visual.

To create a seamless flow of movement, observe the following basic rules;

  • Minimize the number of pathways in a room – two pathways are enough.
  • Send movement around the furniture and not through them.
  • Have enough room between the tables and seats.
  • Position your furniture away from the wall. Observe the 3-in-1 rule.
  • Segment large rooms into several groups.

You shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with various furniture arrangement styles. Spend some time changing positions of the furniture to get a visual clue of what you are subscribing to.

New Furniture Balances the Rooms’ Visual Weight

Visual weight in your home helps in balancing the space. If you have multiple and heavy furniture, ensure to spread them throughout the room so that one part of the room doesn’t appear more weighted than the other. Consider grouping large items with small items together to vary the points of interest in the room.

The best tool to confirm an achieved visual weight within the room is observing with your eyes. Once you have landed on a working arrangement, step back, and view the room as a whole. The small shift in your perspective provides enough clue as to which sides appear weighted than the other. You should then make changes to the furniture accordingly.

New Furniture Shows Personal Style

New furniture also presents a unique opportunity for homeowners to express their sense of style. While you might prefer the simplicity of Scandinavian designs, others may opt for the seemingly collectivist comfort of eclectic designs. Regardless, new furniture pieces allow homeowners to announce their personalities.

The choice of your furniture affects other people’s perceptions of you. You should also take into consideration the various psychological effects of interior designs. Fortunately, finding a style that suits your personality shouldn’t be challenging. Take into account the seating space that you need, comfort versus style, and brand to find the right furniture. The best choice should define and embrace individuality. However, always trust your instincts.

Bottom Line

New furniture can be a gateway to an entirely new transformation at home. Without a doubt, furniture plays a significant role in shaping the interior design of your home. When making the installations, begin with important rooms and consider the key pieces of furniture required in these rooms. For instance, in the bedroom, choose a bed with a good frame and a quality mattress. In the living room, the couch is always the centerpiece. For all your furniture choices, the size, color, and comfort are key to ensuring an effective transformation.

5 Ways to Redecorate Your Home During Lockdown

Being at home more frequently than before is one of the milder effects of being caught in the middle of a pandemic. This has prompted a lot of people to spruce up their space and redecorate. Since people are now spending most of their time confined in the four walls of their homes, it may be high time for a change.

For one, many employees have transitioned to home-based work. The safety risk of stepping out too often has also forced the majority to take up a new hobby at home. What better way to busy up than finally getting to that home redecoration plan you outlined months ago?

Whether or not you had plans of fixing things up at home, now is an excellent opportunity to do some interior decorating. You may want to make it even more comfortable and relaxing. Below are a few tips to inspire you to get started!

Declutter and throw away non-functional items

Ah, there it is. You may have been dreading to see “decluttering” in this list, but it truly is the first step to a beautiful home. It’s time to take a look at those overflowing boxes, haphazardly thrown clothes in the closet, piles of shoes, and old gadgets and equipment that may just be gathering dust in the other room.

If you need a bit more convincing, here are a few things you can benefit from decluttering:

  • It can help you create space, which is much appreciated, no matter the size of your home.
  • You can donate, sell, or repurpose anything you see in the pile.
  • It is such a satisfying feeling to get rid of the junk that you’ve been unknowingly accumulating.

After you have gotten rid of the things that you don’t need anymore, you will have more freedom to decorate! This will also help you create a minimalist home.

Rearrange your furniture

This seems pretty straightforward, but you will be surprised at how big of a difference a new sofa or table arrangement can do to your living space. Try to experiment where you can reposition your furniture, as there may be more space available to you now after the decluttering. Survey each room and face it head on one day at a time.

If you don’t find that you need to move a lot of stuff over, focus on the details. You can also take advantage of the cleaner space to reorganize books, candles, and other trinkets and add them as decorative pieces in your coffee table, for instance.

Add a splash of color

There are plenty of ways you can incorporate an accent color. In most cases, this can change the vibe of any room. You can do something as small as getting an accent chair, patterned curtains, or new light fixtures. If you feel like you need more change, then maybe you can repaint the walls, get a new wallpaper, or put up wall decorations.

You can get a shelf that can be the new home of your books and potted plants or try out a vibrant color for your living space to add excitement to your space. Whatever you do, make sure it feels you! While you can always redecorate again if things do not go to plan, you want to stick to your budget to avoid running out of resources or materials for your home DIY project.

Create a dedicated work area

If you are one of those people who had to transition to remote work, then you will undoubtedly benefit from a well-organized home office. If you keep doing your tasks on your bed or dining table, you may not have the same productivity rate as to when you were working in the office.

Your work area doesn’t have to be grand, either. A simple desk, comfortable chair, and a few feel-good trinkets are all you need to make sure you are motivated to power through your day!

Follow a theme

If you’ve always wanted to bring your Pinterest board to life, now’s the time! Redecorating your house based on a theme can help you achieve symmetry and streamline your vision. If you’re unguided by a theme, it could be overwhelming to know where to begin. On the other hand, it is also easy to go overboard. Try to stick to the look you want to create, so you also don’t end up overspending, too!

Let Your Imagination Run Wild

It’s time to let out that pent up frustration, creative juices, and stored energy into creating a beautiful space for your home. You can go as grand as you like or fix it up with the details—it’s totally up to you! Be comforted by the fact that no matter which route you take, you will always end up with much more beautiful interiors than when you started. Have fun!

Author Bio:

Oscar Florea is a content contributor for Avida’s lifestyle blog Pursuit of Passion. He is an engineer by profession but a multipotentialite by destiny. Just like a normal dude in a basketball-crazy country, one of his passions is shooting hoops.