How to Have the Best Summer Ever

We're halfway through the summer, but that doesn't mean it's over yet. With August just around the corner, it's time to enjoy the season as much as you can -- before it's too late. And we've got just the tips you need to relax, rewind, and enjoy the sun.

Fruit Smoothie SummertimeHydrate

Summer is the perfect time to sip on some cool strawberry lemonade, or a new juice and smoothie blend. Try out something new like a muddled blueberry lemonade, kale smoothie, or carrot juice. Try out new flavors and get healthy and hydrate at the same time. And when chilly November and December come around, you can still enjoy one of these cool tasty drinks inside (you just might have to turn the thermostat up!)

Explore Hike TravelExplore

With school out and some added vacation time, take some days to yourself to explore some new places with friends and family. And you don't need to go all the way across the world. Check out what great hiking, rafting, or biking destinations are near your area. Or have a staycation and see what it's like to visit your hometown! 

DIY

With extra time and the warm weather, try your hand at some home improvement. Is your home looking a little dull on the outside or inside? Take a day and paint your house. And try out a new color. Do some research on Pinterest or Houzz and see what colors people paint homes of a similar style to yours. You might be surprised that a coat of warm gray can make your home look that much better. And you'll feel great when you've finished your DIY project (and the neighbors will feel jealous!)

Grill and BBQGrill

Take advantage of our outdoor BBQ and cook or entertain as much as you can outside. In just a couple of months, you'll look outside longingly to your BBQ and yearn for summer. So make sure you plan ahead and grill, grill, grill. And try out some new recipes! Almost anything can be grilled and be delicious. 

Try a Sport

Try out a new sport in the beautiful outdoors. Whether you've been thinking about taking tennis lessons or want to take up softball, summer is the perfect time to explore. And then when winter comes around, find indoor arenas where you can keep on playing the game now that you love it. 

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Caring for Your Outdoor Furniture

We've launched our new outdoor furniture line just in time for summer! And in the spirit of enjoying your very own backyard, we've rounded up the best in tips and tricks in caring for your outdoor furniture. Outdoor furniture sees many different elements throughout the course of the year -- especially during the summer. Because of this, maintaining your outdoor furniture is a tad different than how you care for you family sofa. 

Outdoor Furniture

First and foremost, it's important to take a look at the manufacturer or care instructions. These instructions will tell you what material it's made of and how best to clean it. There are four basic types of outdoor materials: rattan/wicker, wood, metal, and plastic. And of course there are outdoor fabrics as well. Each type of material should be treated uniquely and cleaned accordingly. 

Rattan/Wicker

Rattan or wicker furniture is usually made from natural fibers, coated papers, and reinforced with metal for a stronger structure. Since natural woven materials are susceptible to damage, most outdoor pieces come covered in clear resin, varnish, or paint. This way sunshine and water won't wear on the fibers. Since the sun can damage your rattan or wicker pieces overtime, it's important to leave your furniture outside for no more than two weeks if you're not using it. When cleaning rattan or wicker furniture, use a dry paint brush with mild soap and water. Or use a vacuum. Try to avoid using too much water as you'll weaken the fibers.

Wood

Wood is a common outdoor furniture material. And most woods chosen for outdoor furniture tend to be more durable and hold up against the elements. However, it's always a good idea to use a sealant on your wood furniture every 1-3 years. A sealant will help preserve the color and protect against general wear and tear. If you're looking to remove stains or mildew, mix a solution of 1 gallon hot water with powdered oxygen bleach. Then use the solution to scrub the furniture with a soft bristle brush and then rinse with water. And to restore the original wood coloring, use fine-grit sandpaper and then rinse off. In the event that the area of wood is too large to sandpaper, mix water with oxalic acid crystals (also known as wood brightener) and that should do the trick. 

Metal

Since most metals are prone to rust outside, most outdoor metal furniture is treated with resin, clear varnish, or paint. So when cleaning, use a mild solution such as soap and water and then wipe it clean. After cleaning, apply a quality liquid paste or auto paste wax with a lint-free cloth, to seal it and give it a sheen. If you do need to do a touch-up with paint, try and find the closest color in an outdoor paint, or reach out to the manufacturer. Avoid painting on days that are extremely humid as the increase in air moisture can affect the way the paint dries.

Fabric

All outdoor fabrics are considered performance fabrics so they are extra resistant to sun damage, stains, moisture, and mildew. Outdoor fabric has pigment-infused fibers so that they are less prone to damage from elements. If you have removable outdoor covers, then you can put them through the wash or hand-wash them. Or for covers that are not removable, try a power-washer or rinsing them with mild soap and water. In order to avoid permanent staining, regularly brush off dirt and debris and rinse as needed.

More Tips

  • Apply a fabric protector such as 303 High Tech Fabric Guard once a year. 
  • Before making a purchase, look at the seat width and depth for maximum comfort and lounging. 
  • Outdoor umbrellas not only keep you cool, but they also keep your outdoor furniture in tip-top shape by blocking natural elements.
  • When you're not using your outdoor furniture, store them inside or invest in furniture covers. 
  • Before cleaning and caring for your outdoor pieces, read the care instructions so you know what materials it's made from and how to best clean it.
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Get the Look for Less: This Glam, Art Deco Living Room

Art Deco Living Room

This living room by interior designer Elizabeth Gordon exudes glamour. With its gold accents, zebra rug, rich velvets, and neutral tones, this room pulls inspiration from art deco and Hollywood regency styles. And while we're guessing this room cost quite a bit, we've recreated the look for much less! Start with the clean, tuxedo lines of the Darcy Taupe sofa and add in some flair with the Marquette chair. The gold tones in the Rhone table and Bellevue II chest will take the room up a notch in glamour. Don't be afraid to try out rich paint colors and mix and match with different textures and tones, for an ultra sophisticated look.   

Darcy Taupe SofaMarquette Accent ChairRugMarquette ChairRugBellevue II ChestRhone Cocktail TableSullivan Chair

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Get Ready for Spring Entertaining

Time to open up the patio doors, invite friends and family over, and get ready for spring entertaining. We've got some great tips to help you get ready for outdoor entertaining and getting your backyard ready just in time -- don't forget about all the lawn and garden prep!

Outdoor Decor

Bug Prevention

If you're moving your entertaining to the outdoors, one of your biggest concerns is probably bug prevention. Don't let mosquitoes or other bugs ruin your event. Invest in decorative citronella candles, lanterns, or sprays. These candles and lanterns will not only keep the bugs away, but they'll also add an intimate atmosphere to your outdoor party. So your guests won't leave with bug bites all over. 

Outdoor Lighting

Need to add some decor and vibe to your outdoor space in a pinch? Outdoor hanging lights are a great way to do this. Hang them from your gazebo or across perpendicular roofs on an angle. And invest in extra long cording so you can plug in your hanging lights. 

Outdoor Lighting Hanging Lights

Prep the Yard

Before you think of inviting guests over for a backyard party, make sure you've prepped your lawn and garden. Time to pull out the weeds and get your grass back to green after a harsh winter. Stagger potted plants on your stairs and invest in fresh cut flowers for your table decor. A true garden party is exactly what it sounds like: embracing the garden!

Make It Cozy

Make your outdoor lounging area cozy and comfortable -- especially with bright and colorful cushions, throw pillows, and umbrellas. Spring (and summer!) is the perfect time to embrace color everywhere. So have fun with your background. Pair up coral with lime green, or pink with teal blue, and don't be afraid to mix and match different patterns. Outdoor decor is very forgiving to mixing and matching both patterns and color palettes.

Outdoor Entertaining and Decorating

Games

The best part of any outdoor party? Games! Set-up outdoor games such as croquet, badminton, cornhole, shuffleboard, or handball. Have game stations set up, so guests can rotate throughout each game for hours of endless fun. 

Image Sources: KBC Developments, SF Green SpacesDebi Treloar

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Mix & Match with Spring Color Trends

Spring is in the air and cheerful colors are everywhere. Celebrate spring's arrival and lighten up your home from winter with pops of color. We love the new colors of the season with Pantone's bold and stunning Dazzling Blue, soothing Hemlock, awakening Freesia, vivacious Cayenne, calming Placid Blue, gentle Violet Tulip, edgy Paloma, bright Celosia Orange, cheerful Radiant Orchid, and neutral Sand. But you may be thinking: how do I bring in these colors to my current space? And, what do these colors go with? For example, if you have a palette of navy blues, Celosia Orange may be a bit too strong. But Hemlock can work nicely.

Freesia

Pantone's Freesia is an electric yellow. But you can create a sophisticated look with just the right splash of fun using this yellow with a bold navy, bright teal, or a muted chocolate. But use this color in moderation -- it's a strong color and has the power to take over other colors.

FreesiaPlacid Blue

Go tropical with Pantone's Placid Blue -- a calming and low-key color that lets more powerful and saturated colors take over, while toning them down. 

Spring Colors 22Spring Colors 2

Hemlock

Escape to your own in-home resort with Pantone's Hemlock. It's a soothing, soft green, giving you the freedom to mix it with more saturated and cheerful colors. Such as a preppy green, a cheerful coral, or even a warm beige. We love the pairings in green and coral in this room. And the whites help tie everything together. 

Living RoomColors

Image Sources: Kristina Wilson Design and Alisha Gwen Interior Design

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Mad for March: Score Points with These Entertaining Tips

March is here and with that come the big games. Basketball season is at its peak and if you're house is the spot for game-day watching, then you should be prepared for those 65 games. We have some easy tips to get your home ready for the madness. 

Game Day

Room Layout

It's best to make sure that everyone has a spot to sit, so do a day-before check of everyone who's attending and count out your seating. For the layout, a semi-circle set-up around the TV is best so that everyone has a good view of the game. You'll want your snack arrangement to be on a coffee table in the middle of the semi-circle so that everyone has access to food and drinks during the game. And of course comfortable seating is a must: whether it's comfy accent chairs or a reclining sectional, you'll want to make sure that everyone is comfortable for the games. 

Lighting

If you're having guests over for a day game, you'll want to make sure there's no glare on the TV and that the game is easily view-able. Draw your blinds or curtains and turn off the lights for day-time games, so you can be sure that every play is seen.

Food/Drinks

Just like with any party, food and drinks are a must. Especially finger food which is easy to snack on during the game such as wings, mini hot dogs, burger sliders, or chips and salsa. Try out some game-day themed sweets like basketball cake pops or cupcakes for a more festive approach. Try and keep the food centered on a solid surface to avoid any fabric stains. And definitely try and move your rug out before you have a ton of guests over. Someone is bound to spill!

Brackets

Have your guests fill out their basketball brackets a head of time and have them as the games progress. Some friendly competition is always good to keep the fun going. 

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Sofa vs. sectional: What's Right for You

Whether you’ve just moved into a new space or are redecorating your home, you may be facing a major dilemma: Should you shop for a sofa or a sectional? There are many pros and cons to examine when you’re making this purchasing decision. For example: what works best in the space? How many are there in your household or family? Is comfort or design more important to you (or the room)? And, how do you plan to use your living room?

Thinking about all of these questions when shopping can be overwhelming. So here is a breakdown of things to consider when shopping for a sofa versus sectional.

Space

Take a look at your space from a far. Whether it’s a new or old space, take note of the windows, entryways, and even ground heating vents. Do you have low windows that might be blocked by a sectional on one side? Or will a sectional with a chaise make an entryway into the room difficult? By taking a look at the structural elements of your room, you’ll be able to understand what shape of furniture will work in the space. And luckily, Furniture.com offers left- and right-facing options on almost all their sectionals.

Function

Take some time to think about how you will be using the space, and who will be using the space. Is it for entertaining or TV watching? Is it a place where kids and the dog hang out, or a place where you read by yourself? Think about the function of this piece of furniture and how many people it should accommodate. If you have a smaller space and it’s just you or a significant other, a loveseat or smaller sofa makes the most sense. Have kids or a dog? Then look for a larger sectional.

Comfort or Design, or Both?

There’s one other perspective to consider when you’re thinking about designing for your new space: comfort and design. Overall a more traditional living room is one with a sofa and two accent chairs, or a sofa and a loveseat. And this combination can definitely be comfortable when paired with an ottoman, despite the absence of a sectional chaise. If you’re looking for a space to feel more elegant or put together, then try out one of these options. If the room isn’t meant to be super formal, then a sectional is a great option here.

Shop sofas and sectionals >

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Try Out These New Colors in Your Home

It's the right time to embrace the colors of 2014 in your home. Pantone recently announced that their color of the year was Radiant Orchid - a bright and cheerful violet. But that's not the only color of the year. Try out muted purples, happy blues, and coral pinks in your home. And learn how to pair these 2014 colors with other hues for a bold and beautiful home design. 

Radiant Orchid

Pantone's 2014 color is a vibrant blend of purple and pink, a feminine and awakening color. The hue can be used in smaller decor touches (like flowers or throw pillows) or larger accents (like painting an entire room). This color pairs great with hunter or emerald green, turquoise, teal, or a tangerine orange.  

Exclusive Plum

Another color in the violet family, Sherwin-William's Exclusive Plum is a subtle, elegant, and rich purple. And it's easy to work with -- pair it with a bright orange or citrus green for a whimsical look. Or try out a fun teal for a bold statement. More reserved colors such as blacks and navys will turn this color towards elegant and rich. It's very close to Benjamin Moore's 2014 color, Super Nova. 

Coral Essence

Benjamin Moore's Coral Essence is a bright and cheery coral that stands beautifully on its own. But when paired with a grassy green, this color becomes preppy and light. And when mixed with grey, it becomes mature and sophisticated. It's a great color for your kid's bedroom or a playroom. 

Caribbean Teal

A dramatic and bold blue, Benjamin Moore's Caribbean Teal is a rich and elegant color. This color works really well with reddish brown woods. So it's a great color for a wood-heavy space such as a dining room. It also works well with bright white (for contrast) and dark hunter greens. 

Dazzling Blue

Say hello to the royal and regal Pantone's Dazzling Blue. It's a bold color, no matter which hues you pair it with. You can mix and match almost any color with Dazzling Blue, including burnt orange, browns, reds (a more regal look). 

What are your favorite colors of the year? 

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Get Your Home Ready for 2014

You’ve most likely gotten a head start on your resolutions. The New Year is the perfect time for a fresh start – and to shake things up in your home, improving your energy and making you feel refreshed. It’s always good to make some tweaks and updates to your home throughout the year. If you’re resolving to eat healthier or get more active, you can also improve the quality of life in your home. Here are some tips to get your home ready for 2014.

Try a bold new color

Don’t be afraid to try a bold new color – and it’s an easy way to add a “wow” statement to your home. Try painting your entryway in a bright and festive color – like a teal blue or Pantone’s Radiant Orchid. Or upgrade an older piece of furniture with an unexpecting color. You’ll love coming home each day to a change in color and a change in your space.

Deep clean your home

Resolve to clean your home once a week and do a deep, through clean once a month. Not only will your home be cleaner, so will the air quality. And don’t forget your upholstered furniture: every 3-4 months take your sofa cushions to be cleaned. Or clean them yourself. Just make sure you look up proper cleaning instructions based on the fabric. By doing this, you will avoid dirt build-up and increase your furniture life.

Have your fireplace inspected

There’s nothing better than celebrating a new year by the fireside. If you have yet to use your fireplace, make a point to use it. Have it looked at by a certified chimney inspector for a reasonable price so you can enjoy it for the coming winter months (and years!). This is something you can cross off your never-ended to-do list.

Bring in fresh flowers

There is a saying in interior design, and it’s that a vase of fresh flowers is all it takes to transform a room. The fresh cut smell along with a pop of color do wonders to your home. In 2014, once a week or twice a month, invest in fresh flowers in your home. Try out new flowers each week – you will love coming home to a fresh bouquet.

Invest in a programmable thermostat

While not as fun and colorful, a programmable thermostat can be chic and cheap. With a programmable thermostat, you can regulate heating and air conditioning based on your schedule, so you’ll save money. There are different kinds of programmable thermostats including 7-day systems and 5-day/2-day systems.

Change to energy-saving light bulbs

Switch to energy-saving CFL or LED light bulbs and you’ll save about $15 each year, per bulb. And the life of a CFL or LED light bulb is several months to a year. So you’ll spend less time on the ladder trying not to get shocked. Be sure to appropriately choose a light bulb with yellow or blue depending on the type of space you have.

Test out wallpaper

Try a classic wallpaper pattern that you absolutely love (this is important!) and test it out in a smaller space like a hallway, entryway, or bathroom. Most wallpapers are not too costly and are a great way to try a bold new style.

Save up for your dream piece

Chances are you’ve already resolved to save more money. If there's a piece of furniture or art that you love, make a goal to save up for it. A timeless piece that you love is well worth the investment and you will admire it for years to come.

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Our Favorite Holiday Crafts Round-Up

Get your home holiday-ready with these festive and merry crafts. With floating cranberry candles and handmade pillows, here are some easy DIYs to get your home in the holiday spirit. Swap out your decor pillows with some holiday pillows, and add some winter frost to your mirrors. Share your photos with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Holiday Candles
Create floating candles in mason jars with
cranberries and pine. Learn how > 
 
Holiday Wreath
A multi-colored pom pom wreath is a great
way to add some spirit. 
Learn how >
 
Holiday Poms
Hang some honeycomb pendents over your
dining table. 
Learn how >

 

Holiday Pillows
Add holiday-themed pillows to your sofas
and accent chairs. 
Learn how >

 

Holiday Gloves
DIY your winter gloves with handmade
monograms. 
Learn how >

 

Holiday Trees
Pine tree candle holders for the dining
table. 
Learn how >

 

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6 Last Minute Ways to Decorate The Thanksgiving Table

Happy Thanksgiving from the Furniture.com team! Chances are you're most likely rushing around to finish cooking and getting the house ready for guests. But don't let your dining table become a last thought for decor. We've got 8 great (and quick!) ways to easily decorate your Thanksgiving table. So you can do it in between cooking the turkey, the pie, the cranberry sauce, and the gravy. And if you're looking for more Thanksgiving tips, check out our Turkey Day cheat sheet

Turn to Mother Nature

If it's an hour before guests arrive and you've got absolutely nothing in your home, it might be a bit too late to run to the store. Look no further than outside. There is probably limited plant life thriving outside -- but this is perfect for the seasonality of the Thanksgiving table. Grab your coat and head outside. Look for pine cones, pine branches, fall leaves, or acorns. There's a lot you can do with Mother Nature's beauty. We love some of these ideas below that transform basic napkin rings or candles into fall masterpieces. 

Mother Nature

Add to the Table Setting

A simple yet elegant way to add some flair to your Thanksgiving table is to add to the table setting with a striking artichoke or pumpkin. Have some extra vegetables or starches around? See how you can incorporate pears, apples, artichokes, pumpkins, or squash with the center of your plate. This will offer up a finished look to the table. Finish it off with a hand-written name card attached to the top of a pine cone or tied to the pear stem for a personal touch. 

Table Setting

Find Some Paper

If you're not into the natural look, then find some paper and get your craft on. Cut up fun leaf or acorn shapes to scatter across the table -- like a Thanksgiving confetti. Or create leaf napkin rings like below. And if you have kids, this is a great activity for them during the day while you're cooking. 

Find Some Paper

Get Painting

For a clean and modern look, try transforming your favorite Thanksgiving decor with some paint. We love how clean and elegant these white and gold painted pears look. Or stack painted squash and pumpkins in jars for a new approach to the Thanksgiving vase. By adding some metallics, you're sure to make any table setting more glamorous.

Get Painting

Start Crafting with Vegetables

If you have some extra vegetables or starches left over, put them to use on your candles. We love how fresh and natural these asparagus and string bean candles look. Create an assortment and place them throughout the table for a farmhouse look. Just make sure you put the vegetables low enough around the candle to avoid a fire hazard. 

Vegetables

Kids Creativity

Get the kids to work with some creative drawing and art on butcher paper. You can use it as a runner on the table and it will keep them busy during the day! And to make sure it's ready in time, opt for markers or crayons so you don't have to worry about drying time. 

Kids Creativity

Image Sources: Babble, MBDesireChatelaine Magazine, Soleil Selene, Free Decorating Ideas, Top Dreamer, Today's Creative Blog

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How to Master This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the best time of the year to sit down with family, say thanks, and enjoy a deliciously prepared meal. But it can also be the best time for things to go wrong. Your dog could eat the turkey (it happens quite often!), your pie doesn’t cook right, or there isn’t enough seating. It seems like there are endless things that can go wrong. We’ve got some tips for you to make sure that you’ll have a wonderful meal and a great time with family.

Master This Thanksgiving

Gather Your Recipes

A week or two before Thanksgiving, lay out all the recipes you plan to use. Take inventory of all the ingredients you’ll need across all of the recipes. This will help with a couple of things. First, you can check your pantry and fridge to see what you already have. Second, this will then help you create a master grocery list in advance. You may have to buy certain things in increments. For example, you may need to buy pears a couple days in advance for ripening. Try to avoid shopping at the grocery store at least a day before (or on the day of!) Thanksgiving.

Make a Schedule

While you have all of your recipes laid out, take notes of how long each dish takes to prepare. This will help you create a master calendar where you can block off the exact stages of food preparation. This way you’ll know how early you need to wake up, how many helping hands you need in the kitchen, and when exactly dinner will be ready. Be sure to factor in time to set the table and add some décor items!

Going Shopping

Before you head out to the grocery store, group your grocery items by aisle. You’re probably familiar with your grocery store layout so you can figure out which aisles you’d like to hit first. You’ll have a fast and easy shopping trip. And don’t forget your list!

Confirm the Guest List

If you’re having relatives and friends come by for Thanksgiving dinner, make sure you confirm the guest list a couple days in advance. This will help you keep tabs on that grocery list and also make sure you can plan for extra seating if needed. You never know when an extra guest will tag along! And we’ve got some great ideas for extra seating.

Prepare Some Appetizers

Chances are guests will arrive early, or things may not finish cooking right on time. If you’re still getting things ready as people arrive, this is a great time to have appetizers and cocktails ready. Have these out in the living room – away from the dining room and the kitchen. This way they will all gather in a separate room and you can “effortlessly” get everything together.  

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Have a Holiday Staycation

Staying in town this holiday season? Often times the stress of packing, traveling, and being away from home can take all the relaxation out of vacation. Plan a holiday staycation instead and you won’t be missing out on a getaway. We have some easy ways to transform your home into a winter wonderland so that you can relax and unwind, all from the comfort of your own couch.

Deck the Halls

The best way to embrace the holiday spirit in your home is to transform your place into a winter wonderland. No matter what you celebrate, bring out some seasonal or holiday-themed decorations and accents. Try out natural wreathes and garlands for a fresh, wintry smell. And add on some sweet-smelling candles like gingerbread or cinnamon. Take some tips from boutique hotels and opt for decorations that are elegant but not invasive. Like fresh floral or plant accents.

Holiday Decor

Bring on the Layers

You’ll want your home to look super cozy for the perfect winter wonderland retreat. And the best way to do this is to add in extra throw pillows and throw blankets – even more than you may have now – for that perfect comfy and cozy winter look. Mix and match patterns or even add in a new color to shake things up a bit. Try for different sizes and shapes of pillows too. Mix and match larger pillows (like 20x20) with smaller pillows (like 16x16).

Cozy Holiday Style

Holiday Tunes

It’s the only time of the year you can get away with playing your favorite holiday tunes. We love classics like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Have them play softly in the background so you really feel like you’re living in a holiday movie.

Host a Matinee

Host a holiday movie night at your home – complete with caramel popcorn, spiced apple cider, and roasted nuts. Invite friends and family over and turn up the coziness by using your fireplace or lighting some candles. And add on some fun! Make a game and keep tabs on how many times characters say a word like “holiday” and see who wins at the end.

Light a Fire

Have a working fireplace? Light it up to keep your home toasty and the holiday spirit high. And if you don’t have a working fireplace, try filling your fireplace with birched wood to embrace the winter spirit. For a cottage look, stock 2-3 logs in the fireplace, and for a sophisticated and elegant look, stack the whole space with logs. 

Fireplace with Logs

And check out some more holiday posts to get ready for the season!

Images: Apartment TherapyBosworth Hoedemaker, and Pinterest

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Hosting Holiday Get-Togethers with Limited Space

During the holidays, you need a lot more space. Space for guests, gifts, and of course -- food and drinks. Apart from Thanksgiving and holiday eve dinners, most family get-togethers take place in the living room. And you may realize that you're running tight with table space for kettle corn, hors d'oeuvres, board games, and egg nog. Here are some quick tips to get the most out of your limited space. 

Thanksgiving

Squeeze in a Sofa Table

The sofa table is the perfect piece for small spaces -- especially around the holidays. It's narrow but has enough surface space for a variety of dishes and drinks. Try sliding it behind a sofa or against a wall. Usually sofa tables are 12-20 inches -- like the Shannon sofa table. Add on some holiday decor touches, like a tall vase of flowers or a wreath hanging above. It will help tie your look together. 

Double-Up with a Side Table

Take advantage of your end tables for extra food and storage space. Move off any current items -- like lamps to make more space. And it's always good to look for side tables with two shelves so you can store extra board games or drinks. The best part? The second shelf will help minimize any additional clutter. We love the new Charo bar side table -- it's a must for holiday entertaining. 

Try a Tray

Have an ottoman? Use it to your advantage! Ottomans are great for extra seating -- but it's also good for food and drinks. Just simply add a chic serving tray to avoid spills and you've got an extra spot for apple cider and gingerbread cookies. Or double-up with trays to get even more space for food. 

Fitting in Decor

If you're crammed for space, you may be worried that you won't have room for holiday decor. But you will! Opt for tall and narrow decorations that will bring extra drama to your room but won't take up too much width or depth. Like winter branches or a tall vase with ornaments stacked. Or look to the walls! Wreathes or hanging ornaments are a great way to add on decor without taking away from extra space. 

Image Sources: Martha Stewart, Aspen Home, and Martha Stewart

 

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5 Tips for the Guest Bedroom Makeover

It’s that time of the year again. Friends and family are popping by for surprise visits and overnights. Most of the year, your guest room is forgotten. It’s probably used to store that treadmill or extra school projects. But during November and December, your guest room should be ready to become the perfect oasis. After all, you don’t want your mother-in-law complaining of a bad mattress every morning!

Guest Beroom

Clean Up

You probably haven’t used your guest bedroom in almost a year. Since then, you most likely have used the space for storage and miscellaneous items. The guest room usually becomes a catch-all and that’s okay. But now it’s time to clean it up and de-clutter.  Try and find another location for any miscellaneous items or if it has to stay in the room, invest in chic storage bins that will help clutter look clean.

Make Your Bed

The first step is to choose a bed that is hypoallergenic, comfortable, and relaxing so that your guests feel right at home. Start with the mattress: everyone has different mattress preferences so find one that’s in the middle of being too hard or too soft. That way it’s likely to suit any guest’s preferences.

And make sure you have a plethora of pillows – both soft and hard. This will help the room look homey but also help if your guests have a pillow preference. And with a combination of heavy comforters and lighter blankets, your visitors will sleep well whether they have a tendency to get too hot or too cold. And here’s the true test: spend a night or two in the guest bed to see how you feel the next morning.

Give Them Space

You’ll want to make sure your guests have storage space and table space for any unpacking or work that they need to do. You’ll want at least one nightstand, a dresser for clothes and accessories, and if room allows – a desk where they can use the internet or catch up on work. Adding in these pieces will help them feel more at home.

In The Details

It’s the smaller details that will really make your guest feel at home. From extra hangers in the closet, to fresh towels, to a bathroom stocked with fresh toiletries. Most likely your guest will have forgotten something. As the host, you should act as a hotel and make sure they have what they need.  

Extra Space?

If there’s extra space in the room, create a small reading nook or sitting area. This can take the form of a bench or wing chair. Either are great – but choose one that will work best in the space. This will allow your guests some “getaway” time from all the holiday craziness. 

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How to Maximize Seating During the Holidays

With Thanksgiving, football season, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, and other gatherings, you’ll be entertaining a lot more in the coming months. And most likely you’ll have guests gather in the living room to be near the fireplace, the tree, or a holiday movie. And with more entertaining, comes more guests – and a need to maximize seating. Your sectional for six or sofa and loveseat may be more than enough during the year, but now you’re scrambling to find seating for friends and family. We’ve got some tips to make sure everyone has a seat while your living room stays clutter-free.

Cocktail Ottoman

During the holidays, a larger ottoman becomes your best friend. The cocktail ottoman is usually square or rectangular and takes the place of the coffee table. When you need two to three extra seats, you’ll be able to use your ottoman. And, with the addition of a serving tray, you can still use your ottoman for food and drinks. Having an upholstered ottoman in the center of your room also adds coziness and luxury to any room. Like the Diamondback cocktail ottoman shown below. 

Cocktail Ottoman

Accent Chair

If you’ve got the space for it, invest in one or two accent chairs. For a larger space, invest in two wing chairs to add a statement of  elegance. For a smaller space, look for one or two slipper chairs in a fun color or fabric to add some pop. We love the sophisticated style of the Diamondback accent chair for some extra seating. 

Blog Accent Chiar

Small Ottoman

If you plan on keeping your main coffee table, then look for extra seating in smaller ottomans. These smaller ottomans are great because they tuck under furniture (for example a sofa table or coffee table). And they’ll add a bit more visual detail and color to your living room. Like the Ritz ottoman, which is perfect for someone in a much smaller space.

Small Ottoman

Bench

If you’ve got a long or narrow space, a bench is a great way to add a lot of extra seating (usually about three to four per bench!). Like the Avenue bench. And when the holidays are over, you can store your bench somewhere else – like the foot of your bed. It’s a great multi-purpose piece that you can use in any room of the house. And if your bench is high enough, you can use it in the dining room for extra seating. 

Bench

Sources: Domicile Interior Design, Toby Fairly Interior DesignLDA Architecture and Interiors, and CWB Architects

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Our Favorite Fall Crafts Round-Up

Now that Fall is here, it’s time to get your home holiday-ready. From fall leaves to pumpkins, we love these craft projects to get you in the holiday spirit. Try these DIY projects this coming weekend and share your photos with us on Facebook or Twitter!

White Pumpkin
Try out chic white pumpkins for your Hallow’s
Eve dinner. Learn how > 
 
Acorn Mirror
Transform a mirror with acorns for the
season. 
Learn how >
 
Bat Mobile
Add a touch of whimsy to your window with a
bat-mobile. 
Learn how >

 

Halloween Decor
Update your fireplace molding with some fun
clip-art. 
Learn how >

 

Glitter Pumpkins
Re-invent the pumpkin with some
glitter. 
Learn how >

 

Painted Pumpkin Faces
Turn pumpkins into fun candle
holders. 
Learn how >

 

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Mix and Matching Living Room Colors

Your living room may feel a bit drab right now -- and you might be missing color or mixing the wrong colors. In a multi-function space like the living room, it's a great place to test out different colors and patterns. While neutral tones like grays and beige will always be classic, adding in punches of color will help give the room a bold and elegant statement. 

There are two ways you can explore color in your living room. Try bringing color in with accent pieces (think pillows, a side chair, or curtains) or start with a dramatic focal point (such as a bright blue wall or red sofa). A bold color in an otherwise neutral room will give your home a clean and contemporary feel. Think about your favorite color -- or what you want your main color to be. For example, if you love grassy green, start with that as your main color and think about where you'd like the green to be. Once you've figured out what your color focus is, explore some accent colors. For example, grassy green goes great with burnt orange, pale pink, or teal. Mix these colors together using paint chips, fabric swatches, or print outs. This way you'll be able to see how the colors react to one another. 

You may notice that the burnt orange is beautiful next to the green, but is also very saturated. In this case, you might opt for a smaller orange accent like a vase or tray. There are a lot of different types of pieces that can add color to your living room. Have fun with colors and patterns. Try out different throw pillows (like a mix of 4-5 different patterns that work together), vases, trays, accent walls, rugs, or curtains. Whether you're transforming your living room with a mix of colors, or opting for one statement color, your space will feel much more alive. Below are some great ways to mix color palettes for your living room. 

Chevron Ottoman

Try an orange/gold and tie in a contrasting purple and blue, with softer tones like gold and beige. These colors will create both a fresh and regal look. 

Blue Sofa

For a calmer space, try out a robin's egg blue with a sunny yellow, tangerine orange, and a bright green. These colors are calming but also add a bit of life to an otherwise neutral space. 

Purple Chair

Pair a rich purple with a sage green, coral red, or teal for a fun and festive living room space. 

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Fall into this Season's Chairs

The season's changing and so are the colors -- outside and inside. Warmer and darker colors are replacing summer's light and bright pastels. Fall's darker and richer colors -- and fabrics -- make a bold and elegant statement and will get your home ready for the coming months. With sage green, dark red, cheery orange, and muted yellow, we think these accent chairs are the perfect fall companion to some hot apple cider and a good book.

A fresh, vibrant orange will add warmth to any room -- and a burst of color during the colder months. Look for tangerine or burnt orange and pair it with a darker teal for a more dramatic effect, or a lighter blue for a fresher style. The darker tangerine orange in the Splendor accent chair is great way to add that color burst. Mix and match your fall colors with bouquets of dried leaves, sunflowers, or aubergine dahlias. 

Chair

Color isn't the only way you can embrace fall in your home. Some chair lines are a bit more classic with a heavier look which is perfect for fall and winter. Like the Chadwick accent chair. This French chair's dark wood finish and subtle fabric embraces the colder season. To amp up the look of fall, add on a velvet or wool throw. And during the summer months, pair it with brightly-colored throw pillows. 

A dark, rich red will add a dramatic fall statement to any room. Whether you're adding this red with a chair or an accent wall, it will amp up all of the other colors in your room. So your room will be a bit brighter and bolder. And it adds the perfect touch of coziness and warmth, like the Nouveau accent chair

Chair

Or try a mix of fall colors -- like a burnt orange, sage green, and muted blue. Mixing and matching is the perfect way to bring in the fall changing colors while also adding a new pattern or color scheme to the rest of your space. Opt for a fun and classic pattern, like that of the Avenue accent chair

Image Credit: Mandarina Studio Interior DesignB Fein Interior Design, Robeson Design, and Crisp Architects

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How to Create Your Dream Home Office

If you have the extra space, creating a home office is a great addition to a home. Whether you work from home full time, or just like to catch up on things over the weekend, designing the perfect workspace will help you be more productive and make you excited to get things done.

What kind of work environment do you want?

What kind of work environment reflects your personality? Do you like bright and white? Colorful and fun? Or serious with black leathers and dark woods? Think about the kind of environment you want and what will set the tone for the type of work you’ll be doing. Look to sites such as Houzz, Pinterest, or Google Images for inspiration and take a look at what you like and don’t like.  

Home Office   Home Office

Where will you be working?

You may be fortunate enough to have an empty room to transform into your dream office. Or you may be trying to create a workspace in a guest room or open living area. If you’re combining two spaces into one room, look for a desk or console table that works with the current décor of the room. This way it won’t stand out as an office space when you have company over. Your desk could double as a vanity in a guest room or as a sofa table in a living room. And add a comfortable chair that adds a bit of flair to the space.

What kind of work will you be doing?

Think about the kind of work you’ll be doing and what you’ll need storage and space for. Will you mostly be working on the computer? Will you need a larger surface for spreading work out? Make sure that your furniture (and space) will support the type of work you’ll be doing so you can be as productive as possible.

You’ll also want to think about the types of storage you’ll need, from bookshelves, to filing cabinets, to baskets and binders. Think about the best way to store everything that you’ll be using in the most aesthetic way – and look for inspiration images in your field too. You’ll find best practices in storing whatever it is you’ll be working with.

Home Office   Home Office   

What helps you be productive?

Explore what helps you get the most work done. If brighter light helps, move away from window treatments and look for stronger lighting options with a higher bulb wattage. Or if you want less light, look for black-out curtain panels. You can also think about sound and insulation (things like rugs and upholstered items help absorb more sound).

Play around with the layout too. If you work best with a view, face the desk towards the window. Or if you want to avoid any distractions, try having the desk face a wall.

Helpful Tips

  • Look for inspiration images in your field to find out what works best.
  • Think about the layout and color palette to make sure you can get the most work done.
  • Invest in a desk that makes the most sense for you. If you want something much larger than a standard desk – like a small-sized dining table, then go for it!

Image Credit: Stephanie Wiley PhotographyNancy Sanford, Inc., Rossington Architecture, and Maria Killam.

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