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.

Hydrate

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

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

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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American Furniture Then and Now

As the 4th of July approaches, we think about the history of the United States -- and the history of its furniture! Many different groups of settlers brought their own style of furniture to the mainland and since then, these furniture pieces have evolved and changed into the style we know as: traditional American furniture. 

The Bald Eagle

After the signing of the constitution, the eagle became a national symbol of both freedom and the United States. The image of the eagle found its way carved into furniture, within artwork, and even on embroidery. As you look at traditional rooms and designs, you'll often be able to distinguish the similar English and American style pieces if the Eagle makes an appearance in the decorations.

Cabinetmaking

Since each American colony was separate, they often had their own unique style of cabinetmaking. Cabinetry found its way throughout the house: cupboards, kitchens, dressers, chests, buffets, and more. These differences could include the style itself and the type of wood. Different colonies had access to different types of wood with different finishes and grains. For example, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the two-tone wood chest became popular. It featured two types of wood that was locally available, versus other colonies that had access to more exotic wood. 

The Swivel Chair

Our own Thomas Jefferson invented the swivel chair, a chair that you often see in offices and homes across the world. He adapted the Windsor chair -- an English classic -- and added an iron spindle with castors so that he could move in between desks in his office. The chair is now a staple. 

Made in the USA American Furniture Buy

Arts & Crafts or Mission Style

The Arts and Crafts or "Mission" style era occurred during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The style featured heavy uses of woods including oak and maple and simple decorative carvings, very different from English and French influences. This style continued through the 1920s and you can still find it in some homes today. 

High Point, North Carolina

High Point, North Carolina is often referred to as the furniture capitol of the world. In fact most furniture factories opened there in 1889. Today almost every furniture manufacturer has a factory or warehouse in High Point and it's where most trends, styles, and looks come from. 

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Prep Your Home for Summer

With summer just around the corner, it's time to start thinking about how to prepare and maintain your home for the summer. Summer brings on a whole new set of elements, such as heavy rains, drought, and hot and humid temperatures. It's important to keep your home cool throughout the summer, not only to avoid overheating but also to keep your energy bills down. We have some easy tips to make sure your home (and you!) are ready for the summer heat. 

Turn Back Your...Fan

If you have a ceiling fan, then here is a quick and easy tip. Change your fan to rotate counter-clockwise. This allows more cool air to flow throughout your home. The way the blades turn and force the air, creates a wind-chill effect within your home. You'll save on energy costs related to using your AC or keeping your fan on for longer time spans.

Plant Some Trees

Plant some trees around or over your home. Think about it: outside trees keep you cool by providing shade. The same applies to your home. Trees block the sun's strong rays from directly hitting your home, saving you costs on cooling. Another tip is to have a tree planted over your AC unit, which allows it to run more efficiently. 

Swap Your Bulbs

If you have incandescent bulbs inside your house, summer is the time to swap them out for some LED lights. Incandescent bulbs tend to burn significantly hotter, making your space even warmer than it already is. 

Turn Off the AC

On more moderately warm days, turn off your AC and let the outside cool air in. Our homes tend to absorb heat from the sun, even when it's cooler outside. On days when it's not super hot, let the cool air in and save on energy costs. And before the summer starts, clean out your AC unit so that it can run more efficiently for the days you do end up using it. 

Keep Warm Air Out

Alternatively, for days when it's really hot out, you want to block outside air from coming in. Just before summer begins, take inventory of any cracks in baseboard molding, windows, or walls that could be letting cold or hot air in. And if there is, use caulk to keep it out. This will let your AC run more efficiently and keep your home cooler throughout the summer months. 

Don't Forget Your Attic

Hot air rises. And if you have an attic, you probably know this. Your attic will absorb heat from the sun and hold hot air without any ventilation. Install a fan or vent so that your attic can have a proper air flow like the rest of your house. 

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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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Find the Perfect Sofa Shape for You

When shopping for a sofa, you should always think about the fabric, quality, and the size. But here's something you might not think about: the shape of your sofa. Before researching sofas, it's important to know what to search for - and what style you like or will work with your room. There are so many different sofa shapes, and variations of those shapes, as well as styles of cushions, legs, arms, and more. We explore some of these differences so you'll know what to look for when shopping for your dream sofa. 

Sofa Shapes

There are a couple of classic sofa shapes that are standard throughout the world. These include the Bridgewater, Camelback, Chesterfield, English, Lawson, and Tuxedo. These names might not mean anything to you now, but they soon will! These six sofa shapes originated throughout different times (and countries) becoming classics that keep on being reinvented with different variations and fabrics. 

Chippendale Camelback: The Camelback sofa is a more traditional sofa, with a curved back and tight-back cushions. The arms are usually rolled, at a higher height and the sofa features exposed legs. These sofas tend to have uniquely round backs, often arching (hence the name, Camelback). The Camelback is meant to be a statement piece in a parlor so it's often never placed against the wall, but instead in the center of a room.

Camelback Sofa

Chesterfield: The Chesterfield sofa originated during the early 1700s, believed to have been commissioned by trendsetter-at-the-time Lord Phillip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield. He wanted a sofa with a lot of tufting (which at the time showed off wealth as the tufting process required more fabric), quilted leather upholstery, rolled arms, ornate wooden legs, and low-seat base. As Lord Stanhope aged, so did his Chesterfield pieces, thus showing off the distinctive look of the aged Chesterfield sofa. If this is your sofa, you should explore the Marquette Beige or the Marquette Chocolate.

Chesterfield Sofa

English: The English sofa is also an English classic, with a low and deep seat, loose-back cushions (usually three), rolled arms with pleats, and differentiating front and back legs. The back legs are usually a sloped, tapered leg while the front leg is a tad more ornate, and some times feature a wheel. The English sofa tends to be a bit lower and with very deep seats, allowing for the perfect lazy Sunday afternoon lounging. If this is your sofa, then you'll love the Fairchild Cream or Fairchild Bark

English Rolled Arms

Lawson: The Lawson sofa tends to be a more traditional sofa with rolled arms, loose cushions, and either traditional legs or a skirt. The sofa tends to have a thicker, bulkier shape than other more delicately-shaped sofas. The Lawson sofa was originally commissioned for a wealthy Boston financier named Thomas W. Lawson in the late 1800s. He enjoyed furniture that was more comfortable and layered with pillows. We love our version of the Lawson sofa: the Englewood.

Lawson Sofa

Tuxedo: A tuxedo sofa is a much more contemporary shape, usually connected to Art Deco style and the look of early 1920s club houses. It was invented in the 1920s, with its name originating from the same place as the tuxedo - Tuxedo Park in New York. Similar to the Chesterfield, the Tuxedo's arms are the same height as the back of the sofa, and therefore the back cushions are either tight-back, or loose cushions that rise above the back of the sofa. The Darcy Violet is a great example of a more elegant Tuxedo sofa shape. 

Tuxedo Sofa

Arms

There are two different shapes to arms: square or rolled arms. Most of the time, rolled arms tend to be more traditional, while square arms tend to be more modern or casual. With square and rolled arms, the height of the arm itself can vary on the type of sofa. For example, a Chesterfield has rolled arms that are high (at the same height as the back of the sofa), whereas an English sofa has arms that are much lower, closer to the base of the sofa. The lower the arm, the more casual a sofa tends to be. A lower arm is also great for a smaller space, where it can make the space seem much larger than it actually is. 

Legs

The legs of a sofa can really define its history -- whether it's mid-century modern from the 1960s or from the days of Marie Antoinette. Cone legs tend to be more common with the mid-century modern style -- a thinner and sleeker leg holding up the weight of the sofa. Whereas a thicker, tapered leg tends to align with a more classic sofa such as the English. And more ornate legs, with spindles tend to be tied in with Chesterfield sofas, a much much older style. More formal and traditional sofas do not have legs, but rather a skirt which shows off luxury and conceals the legs. Notice the more traditional look of the Preston sofa's legs with the more contemporary look of the Concord sofa's legs. 

Cushions

There are two different types of cushions -- tight-back and loose-back cushions. A tight-back cushion tends to be more formal, lining up to the counter of the back of the sofa, Although it can tend to be less comfortable as it has less cushioning than a loose-back cushioned sofa. A loose-back sofa tends to have cushions that are either not attached, or attached at the base. For example, the Darcy sofa has a tight-back cushion with tufting, whereas the Highline sofa has loose cushions with tufting.

 

Sources: Elizabeth Reich, Insignia Homes, Marcye Philbrook.

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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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The Spring Cleaning Guide

Now that spring is here, it's the perfect time to get your house ready for warmer weather, more entertaining, and some good old, well, spring cleaning. Spring cleaning has been around for ages and it's suggested that the origin of it dates back to the Persian New Year, which falls on the first day of spring. For the New Year, everything in the house is thoroughly cleaned, from the drapes to the furniture. Other cultures have very similar traditions during the spring time. Whether it's wiping down those high-dust areas, or updating your furniture, we always think it's best to start with a list to help you organize and prioritize.

Spring Cleaning

1. Inspect Your Furniture and Take Notes

As you begin spring cleaning, take a look at your furniture. Are there items that need a touch-up on polish or paint? Are there items you want to keep or get rid of? Has the family sitting chair seen better days? Do you want to reupholster it or invest in a new one? Take a look at your upholstered items like sofas and ottomans. Are there stains? Tears? Make a list so you know what materials you need to make everything as good as new. This way you won't forget everything and if you need to make a trip to your home hardware store -- you won't forget anything. 

2. Take a Step Back

Take a step back and look at the room as a whole. Is the layout right? You've probably had the same room layout for a couple of years but maybe there's a different way to approach the room. Is the sofa against the wall? Does it have to be? A new layout will help you feel like you're in a completely new space. Eliminating or updating furniture will help with this. As you figure out what pieces are old or won't work anymore, you'll be able to re-design a space in addition to cleaning.

3. Give Your Furniture Some Love

Day-in and day-out, your furniture sees a lot of use. Whether it's your family-old dining table or your family-friendly sectional, it's good to have your items routinely cleaned (or clean them). Especially upholstered items which attract dust, dirt, and spills over time. Make sure you consult the manufacturer's cleaning directions first so you can read up on the best way to clean it. Test a hidden spot on the furniture first to see how the product mixes with the materials. With upholstered furniture, focus on the smaller spots and blot any spills immediately. If you are using a cleanser, opt for the mildest option possible with a soft brush to work into the fabric's fibers. And don't forget to vacuum it after to absorb all the dirt and chemicals.

For leather furniture, use a damp (but not soaking wet) cloth to clean built-up dirt. Always make sure to use a white cloth so you don't deposit any dyes on the furniture. And you'll want to vacuum with the leather furniture as well. For wood furniture, make sure to wipe all dust with a soft damp cloth, cleaning the surface in a circular motion. After cleaning it, you can then oil or wax it, depending on the type of wood and style.

And remember, the best way to care for all of your furniture is to try and tackle any stains as soon as they hit. And don't be afraid to call a professional for larger stains. 

4. Donate or Throw Away

It can be hard to say goodbye to things. Especially when you have a history with them. But sometimes you have to face the facts: your beloved coffee table has seen better days. And it's not just furniture -- sometimes it's time to get rid of those mail piles that seem to collect over the years. Here's a good rule of thumb: If you haven't needed it for the past year then think about if you'll use it next year. Is it something you really need? Or is it something that could be eliminated to open the space up and make you feel more clutter-free? 

Spring cleaning can be an overwhelming time -- so make sure you set aside a weekend or a couple days to it. So you can really get rid of things you no longer use and then clean your home from top to bottom. 

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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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How to Choose the Right Recliner for You

Choosing a recliner isn't as simple as it sounds. There are so many technologies and features to consider when choosing the right recliner for you. Whether you're looking to add a reclining seat to your living room or a recliner set to an in-home theater or media room, choosing the right reclining features is an important decision. We've got some helpful things to consider when choosing the right recliner for you. 

                Which recliner is right for you?

Fabric vs Leather

One of the first things to think about is whether you'd like a fabric or leather recliner. There are some things to consider when making this decision. Bonded leather tends to be easier to clean than fabric, as you can simply wipe down spills. But fabric can be softer and retain heat much better than a leather feel. Before making your purchase, take a look at the type of fabric and the cleaning instructions. Some fabrics, like microfiber are great for pets and kids and are almost as easy to clean as bonded leather. 

Power Versus Manual

The difference between power and manual is the functionality of the reclining. With a manual recliner, your back moves the chair into the position you'd like. So there is more control in getting to your preferred reclining position. With a power recliner, there are several different positions you can recline into. However, you adjust the recliner using a level on the side or near the foot. Both style chairs allow you to recline easily, but in different ways. 

Cord Length

Every power recliner has a different cord length, and this can help you determine how far it needs to be from an outlet. If you're sofa isn't going up against a wall with an outlet, then the length of the cord (and a power recliner) is something to think about. You'll want to make sure that you can't trip over the cord if it has to be plugged-in across the room. And this may also affect the overall layout of your living room or home theater space. 

Comfort

The more padded a recliner is, the comfier it is. Many recliners offer a padding pillow-like headrest, and some headrests are even adjustable. Other recliners offer up pillow-top arms which are extra padding arms for maximum comfort. 

Cupholders and Storage

A recliner doesn't just have to be for sitting! Many recliners come with arm storage. So if you're looking for a place to store the TV remote or magazine, a recliner with storage might be perfect for you. Other recliners offer cupholders and even light-up cupholders for when you're watching a move in the dark. These types of features are perfect for an in-home theater. 

Positions

Some recliners offer unlimited positions, where as some offer 3-4. Think about how you like to sit when you watch TV or read a book. Do you find yourself moving around frequently, trying to find the right spot? Or, do you stay stationary? Answering this question will help you determine how many positions your chair should have and can help eliminate all the reclining choices out there. 

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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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Find the Right Living Room Fabric for You

Whether you have kids or pets, or neither, it's important to find the right fabrics for your living room. Specifically for your sofa/sectionals, accent chairs, or ottomans -- anything that will be used frequently. There are many types of fabric out there, so we've pulled together a list of these fabrics and what they're best for. 

Acetate: Acetate was developed to be similar to silk, however acetate can withstand mildew, pilling, and shrinking. Similar to silk, it doesn't offer a lot of resistance against dirt, wearing, wrinkling, and the sun. So if you have kids, pets, or lots of natural light, avoid this material. 

Acrylic: Acrylic is meant to be an imitation to wool that holds up to wear, wrinkles, dirt, and fading. High-quality acrylics are great for kids and pets as they hold up to a good amount of wear. 

Bonded-Leather: Bonded leather is great for those that love the look of leather but need something a bit more durable. Bonded leather can be easily wiped down and isn't as prone to scratching and fading as real leather is. We love the lux look of the Carmen Collection

Cotton: Cotton is a natural fiber that's great for standing up to wear, fading, and pilling. However, it's prone to staining and wrinkling -- just like with cotton clothing. If you like the look of cotton but want something more durable, look for a cotton blend with other fibers that will make it more resistant. For example, damask cotton weaves are best for formal spaces while canvas weaves such as duck and sailcloth are better for casual spaces. We love the light and refreshing look of our Nantucket Stripe Collection

Leather: A tough and durable material, leather can be vacuumed and wiped down with a damp cloth as needed. Just make sure you use a leather conditioner or saddle soap. Depending on the type of leather, this material can be good for kids. We say depending, because some true leathers scratch easily as part of their character. So if you have furry friends, they can easily scratch the leather with their paws. 

Micro-Fiber: One of the best options for kids, pets, and an active family lifestyle, microfiber is soft and tough, and holds up against absorption and water spillage. And it gives off a luxurious look, similar to velvet, like with the Darcy Violet Collection

Nylon-Blend: Nylon is blended with other fabrics which makes it one of the most durable upholstery fabrics. It's great for kids and pets as it doesn't soil or wrinkle, but keep it out of direct sunlight as it can fade. 

Olefin: Olefin is a great choice for kids and pets -- it holds up very well to wear and tear and doesn't really have any cons. 

Polyester-Blend: If you're looking for a more durable fabric, look for a polyester-blend. When added to other fabrics, polyester provides resistance against wrinkles, wear, and fading. We love the look of polyester blend in the Pompano Collection

Wool: Wool and wool blends are sturdy and durable, standing up to pilling, fading, wrinkling, and dirt. In most cases, you'll be looking for an upholstered item that's a wool blend so it's easier to clean. You'll also avoid felting the fibers -- something that's unique to wool. Wool blends can be spot-cleaned easily when needed, but can be more difficult for more intense cleanings. 

Vinyl: Vinyl is less expensive than true leather and great for kids and pets in your living room. You can simply wipe them down -- it's very rare that this material will absorb stains. 

Silk: If you have an extremely formal and elegant room where kids and pets won't be present, then opt for silk. As you probably know, it's a delicate fabric that needs to be professional cleaned when dirty. But be sure to avoid any food or drink nearby. 

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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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Home Design Trends in 2014

The New Year is almost here. And we’re excited to look forward to the trends and styles of 2014. Two thousand and thirteen brought us trends such as gold and brass accents, emerald green, and Aztec and ikat prints. We have wrapped up the 2014 trends – which ones are your favorite?

Art Deco

Nothing quite glams up a room like a touch of art deco. You'll be seeing a lot more of the art deco look in 2014, from rich coffee tables to glossy nightstands, these pieces will take your space to the next level. We love the luxurious look of the Hanson Console Chest in black with silver details.

Art Deco

Industrial Chic

For more down-to-earth and contemporary spaces, the industrial chic trend is emerging more so than ever. This look originates from old factories, warehouses, and farmhouses and uses reclaimed wood, recycled wood, exposed brick, pipework, and unique and aging metals. In the past year or so, the look has been popping up in trendy restaurants, and now it's coming to your home. Lighter and happy colors, such as mint greens, work well with industrial chic pieces, like our Columbia Cocktail Table.

Industrial Chic

Geometric Lines

There’s a new furniture trend here, and it will bring something completely new to your space. Furniture pieces with geometric lines are a great way to break up your space and introduce the unexpected. This style brings a “wow” statement to any room. Like the Volare Collection, with sharp geometric lines and cutting-edge design. 

Geometric Lines

Preppy Pieces

Preppy is in, like never before. Preppy fabrics and prints are now making their way onto unexpected furniture lines and styles. Modern pieces mix with bold colors and patterns, like the Dempsey Accent Chair's checkered print on a modern chrome chair. These preppy pieces go great with hunter green, burnt orange, navy, and fresh pink.

Preppy Modern

Midcentury Modern

Say hello again to the clean and fun styles of the 1950s with midcentury modern pieces. With simple lines and organic forms mixed with fun colors and patterns, these midcentury pieces will blend in nicely with other styles in your home. We love the lines of the Arden 2-Piece Sectional with it’s tweed-like fabric, tapered wood legs, and funky pillow prints.

Midcentury Modern

What trends are you looking forward to? 

Image Sources: Tiffany Eastman InteriorsChris A. DorseyYanic Simard, Garrison Hullinger Interior Design, and Flegel's Construction Co., Inc

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Merry Christmas from the Furniture.com Team

Merry Christmas

The Furniture.com team wishes you a Merry Christmas.

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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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The 12 Days of Accent Chairs





   

There's nothing better than cozying up in your favorite chair during the holidays with a good book and some hot cocoa. To celebrate the season, every day we're sharing our favorite accent chair.

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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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