Category Archives: Home and Garden

Tips for Spring Cleaning

Spring is the season of renewal, manifestation, and celebration. Now is the time to take those bold steps and manifest your dreams. A good spring cleaning of your home can do wonders for your personal energy; it will nourish and strengthen you. Feng shui, as always, can help with a variety of easy, powerful tips for spring cleaning your home.

If you still feel sluggish and low-energy after a long and maybe challenging winter, here are some proven-and-true feng shui steps to lift your energy up.

Spring cleaning will help you make space for new, fresh feng shui energy to come into your life.

  1. Declutter your kitchen: If you are looking to improve your health, get rid of all the items that are cluttering and blocking the energy flow in your kitchen (especially your cupboards and the freezer.) The state of your kitchen is the state of your health, so do yourself a favor and thoroughly clean that kitchen!

    De-clutter the refrigerator; clean the stove and all the pots and pans. Let go of all harsh chemical kitchen cleaners and go for natural ones. Clean out all the drawers, surfaces, light fixtures, etc – create a fresh pathway for strong vibrant Chi to flow and nourish your energy.

  2. Decorate with plants: Bring three new pots with vibrant feng shui green plantsto refresh the energy of your space and symbolize, as well as ground, the energy of new beginnings. If you plan to place them in the kitchen, go for lush and aromatic herbs, such as basil, rosemary or mint. Focus on your front entrance, as well as your kitchen, as both are strongly connected to your health.
  1. Clean your bedroom and bathroom: Thoroughly clean your bedroom and your bathroom, get rid of anything that you haven’t used in the past 6 months. Clear the space under the bed, clear the windows, refresh and redecorate for spring both your bedroom and your bathroom.
  2. Make space in your closets: If you would like to welcome a new love relationship into your life, make space, and I mean actual, physical space, for this new person to be in your home. Clear out your closets for a better flow and more space. You literally have to create an open flow of energy in your home to be able to attract and manifest more of what you are looking for. Spring cleaning time gives you great opportunity to do just that!
  1. Clear your space: Last but not least, be sure you understand the importance of space clearing and are comfortable with at least a simple feng shui space clearing session for your home. Better yet, find the time to do a major space clearing session; as spring is the best time for clearing stagnant energy in your home.

Clarify, purify and let go this spring season. Renew your home and renew your body. Step into a new way of being, and fill it with a happy and healthy energy of excitement.

The Most Money When You Sell Used Furniture

The need to sell used furniture results from several situations. They include simply wanting to replace old furniture, moving, or needing to get rid of furniture that sits in storage. Get the most out of selling used furniture by following these tips.

 

Determine Value

Buried treasure status or trash? If you are selling furniture that is in good condition or you think is valuable, get an idea of how much it is worth.

Do you own antiques that belong to a period valued by collectors? Do you know if your furniture was made by a famous manufacturer?

In the case of antiques or valuable collections, consult pricing guides at the library or online or ask an expert. Visiting local consignment stores and looking at newspaper and internet ads for similar objects can also give you an idea of how much your furniture is worth.

Even if your furniture is not old enough to be classified as antique or have value as a collector’s item, it is still worth something. Consider how much you paid for it, who manufactured it, how long you have used it and its present condition.

Another fact worth remembering is that upholstered furniture is the hardest to sell, and you will have more takers for case goods.

 

Price Appropriately

This can turn out to be tough. You don’t want to undersell, but you don’t want to price it so high that no one wants to buy it.

Be realistic when pricing your old furniture. The memories you might have attached to a piece are yours alone and provide no added value to the buyer. Similarly, a customized couch might not have any special value for a buyer either, and customers are usually savvy enough to recognize if you have inflated prices or overstated the value.

When pricing, also take into account any stains, scratches, tears or dents, just as you should make a note of a well-maintained or mint-condition item.

Your prices should not be any higher than the asking rate for similar products that you see advertised or displayed in used furniture stores. Decide ahead of time how firm you are going to be on your price and whether you are open to bargaining.

For ideas on how to price your used furniture, read these tips for pricing used furniture.

 

Decide How to Sell

Garage sales, yard sales, or moving sales might work for you, depending on how much time and inventory you have.

If you want to use the internet, include pictures and details in your ad to encourage serious buyers to contact you. Be prepared to meet with potential buyers, depending on how the site you choose works. If possible, move the furniture to an area where you don’t have to let strangers inside your home.

Contact a consignment store or a used furniture dealer. They will come to your house, make you an offer and pick up the items if they think they can sell them at a profit.

Although this is very convenient, you might not get the best price for your furniture because they will only buy it if they think they can make a profit and will not give you top dollar. If you are short on time, don’t want to bother with trying to organize a garage sale or need to get the stuff out quickly, this might be a good way to go.

Contact a professional liquidator if you have a lot of furniture to sell, and they will suggest the best method for disposing of your furniture. They might suggest an on-site auction, moving everything to an auction house or having a tag sale. They will set the prices for all items, and you can expect them to charge 20 to 30 percent of the sale proceeds. Go through all costs and commissions before you sign any agreements. To find liquidators look online under “estate sales.”

In the end, if you are left with items you were unable to sell, consider donating to charities or furniture banks. You get the satisfaction of helping someone and a receiving a tax break.

 

Create an Attractive Ad

If you are selling the furniture yourself, you need to create an attractive ad that describes your furniture and creates a little excitement around it.

You could also mention a need that your furniture might fill to nudge potential buyers into action. A word of caution, though: Refrain from false advertising. Be honest about the condition of the furniture. Don’t call a sagging couch “practically new.” If you are advertising online, include a photograph. Most users click on listings that have images attached to them.

If you are holding a garage sale, in addition to advertising in the newspaper and online, create signs announcing the date and venue of your garage sale. List a few items to give an idea of what you are selling.

Check out regulations concerning signs in your area. You don’t want to put a dent in your profits by having to pay fines.

 

Learn How to Negotiate

You might find that you have to negotiate with the buyer for the price on your piece of furniture.

You want to get the best price for your furniture, while the buyer is looking for the best deal. It might seem that both of you are looking for completely different things, but there is a meeting point: the place where both of you find value in the transaction.

You can make a counteroffer if the buyer’s offer seems too low. Haggling is part of this process. But in the end, it depends on your level of comfort with it. Haggling might get you the price you want, or you might simply find greater value in finally being rid of the item and sell it for less than what you wanted.

Easy Tips to Make Cool And Contemporary Home

It’s amazing how an interior can be transformed. How with the right design team, a space can go from tired and dated to absolutely breathtaking. That’s the result of the work done by Pulp Design Studios to update an old Spanish-style interior into a modern family home fit for five. Walls were moved, the main staircase relocated, and features were added to take this home firmly into the 21st century. All was done with a steadfast attention to detail that allows this contemporary space to feel warm, cozy and inviting. 

 

Just beyond the entry, you’re inside the home’s living room. Modern furnishings sporting sleek metallic finishes catch the eye when walking into this spacious living area. But it’s the mix of woods that create warmth in this room. From the reclaimed flooring, to the paneling around the fireplace, and accessories, like the stacked wood side table, the addition of natural elements make this living room feel grounded.

Details matter, and Pulp Design Studios has not overlooked one in this contemporary home. In the entryway, a classic console table is the ultimate statement piece. The bentwood design features brass feet for an unexpected touch of bling. The mix of wood and metallics is a centerpiece of this home’s design.

Dinner for six? This dining table has all the room you need. A raw woodgrain table is the centerpiece of this dining room. For a modern mix, sleek white chairs have been brought in for contrast. Above, woven lighting completes the design. And, as big fans of color, we can’t forget about the art in this dining area. The large-scale painting is the perfect finishing touch.

Kitchens are the heart of the home and this dreamy kitchen is no exception. Taking the house down to the studs, Pulp Design Studios balanced the need for a clean and modern aesthetic with the need for soul and warmth in this family home. In this kitchen they achieved that balance, making the choice to add wood paneling. Going beyond the stark white kitchens that many modern homes offer, the honey wood tone makes this kitchen feel as cozy as this home’s living areas.

Black and white is always a classic. In the family room, the color palette has been used to great affect. The mantel surrounded in black is a unique touch for any home. Touches of the dark hue continue with the media unit and flatscreen above.

Get Rid of a Used Sofa

It is no secret that getting rid of a used sofa or sleeper can be difficult. Upholstered furniture may not find many takers, especially when it is damaged, torn, or stained. It can be frustrating to think about the fact that you once paid good money for a piece of furniture that now seems to be of no interest to you or anyone else.

Unfortunately, with the exception of leather, upholstered furniture can depreciate greatly with use.

It is difficult to get rid of it, even when you’re not looking to make money.

So, what is a sofa owner to do other than abandon his unwanted furniture by the road? As it turns out, there are plenty of options.

 

Hold a Garage Sale

While it is difficult to sell used upholstered furniture, it is not impossible. To a great extent, it depends on the condition of the piece. Only consider selling if it is in reasonable shape. Here’s a good way to gauge the condition: if the tables were turned, would you want to buy it?

If you feel your sofa is in good enough shape, get it cleaned professionally. It may not fetch big bucks, but it will sell more easily.

If you’re holding a garage sale, your sofa can simply be part of it, making it potentially easier to sell.

Read more about selling used furniture here:

  • How to Sell Your Used Furniture
  • Tips for Selling Your Old Furniture

 

Place the Sofa in a Rummage Sale

Consider placing your used couch in a church, community center, or school rummage sale.

Your participation could be limited to hauling it there, which eliminates any worry about organizing a sale on your own. Consider this if your sofa happens to be the only item you need to sell, as just one piece does not warrant holding a garage sale of your own.

Place an Ad Online

There are numerous online resources that can help you get rid of your used sofa.

Craigslist, eBay, and www.freecycle.org are some of them. You can try either selling it or giving it away for free. Don’t forget to mention whether you will deliver, or whether the buyer will be responsible for pick up.

Old Sofas for New

Some stores will take your old couch if you are buying a new one from them. It’s always worth asking.

 

Pass it On

Ask friends and family if they have any use for your used sofa. Chances are someone might, especially if they are heading to college soon.

 

Advertise to College Students

If you live in a college town, college students might be your best takers. Students are always looking for furniture that is cheap or free.

 

Donate to a Charity

Charities like Goodwill, Salvation Army, or St Vincent DePaul may be eager to take your furniture off your hands. Most charities will arrange a pick-up from your home and even give you a tax receipt.

Check to see if you have any furniture banks in your town. They will also haul away your sofa, give you a tax receipt, and find a new home for your unwanted piece.

You may also consider donating to a shelter for the homeless, your local theater, or school.

 

Have Your Used Sofa Hauled Away

Try everything you can to prevent any furniture from going to a landfill, but if your couch is badly damaged and beyond repair, have it hauled away. Consult your city before you dispose of it on your own. Many cities will have services for hauling away your items, often for a fee.

 

The Moral of the Story

While it might be too late for the sofa you are trying to get rid of right now, here are some steps you can take in the future to make things easier for yourself:

  • Buy a good quality sofa, which should lessen your need to get rid of it anytime soon. If you do need to sell it for some reason, you will be able to find more takers due to its high quality.
  • How to Judge a Sofa for Quality​
  • Top 13 Tips for Buying a Great Sofa
  • After bringing your new furniture home, take good care of it. It will last longer and should be easier to sell when you need to do so.​​
  • How to Clean and Care for Upholstered Furniture
  • Caring for Leather Furniture
  • Consider reupholstering. This may not work for everything, but if you have a good quality sofa with a sturdy frame, reupholstering is definitely an option.
  • Use slipcovers. They often end up being less expensive than re-upholstering and can be custom-made or bought ready to use.​
  • Slipcovers as a Budget Solution for Tired Furniture
  • How to Choose Sofa or Chair Slipcovers

Run a Successful Furniture Retail Store

If you think about it, a furniture retail store should be among the most successful businesses out there. Everyone needs furniture. But only a few furniture stores succeed, while most flounder, so what makes a furniture store successful?

 

While there is no single formula that applies to all furniture businesses equally, some rules do apply, such as offering value and outstanding customer service.

 

To offer value, you have to know and understand the community in which you set up your store. You have to understand their needs, desires and aspirations. That understanding should guide and inform your merchandising, advertising and pricing.

 

To offer value, you also need to understand the product you are selling. Value never goes out of style whether times are tough or whether there is a boom.

Outstanding customer service is also part of offering value. What customers experience in your store counts for as much as what they buy. Hire people who reflect your values, and treat them with the same respect you want them to extend to the customer.

You have to get the word out. All advertising is not expensive, as there are many different ways of getting the word out. Pick one that suits your budget and market.

 

  • Know your market. Target your advertising to your customer’s needs.
  • Emphasize your strengths and never misrepresent.
  • Mention if you are offering a free service or item. More than discounts offering something free can bring customers in. You can offer free sales tax or free delivery. Think about ways of making this possible and the trade-offs.
  • Make your advertising more concentrated. Instead of advertising within a 25-mile radius, bring it down to 15 miles and advertise more intensively.

While advertising will bring people to your furniture store, you need to have quality furniture to back it up. If not, you’re throwing money down the drain and actually doing yourself a disservice.

 

  • Offering quality furniture and other home furnishings will earn you respect and a reputation for reliability.
  • Compare what you carry with what the customer wants. Always monitor customer complaints about the furniture you carry, as returns and complaints will give you a good idea of what the customer does not want.
  • Continuously adding new collections to your merchandise offerings will keep it exciting.
  • Offer choices.
  • Offer unique accessories that complement your furniture mainstays.
  • Create an exciting floor display by arranging vignettes.

Turn Any Room Into a Bedroom

You can turn any room into a bedroom or guest room by furnishing it with a quality sofa bed. A sofa bed by any name — sleeper, sleeper sofa, sleep sofa — is one of the most versatile and hard-working pieces of furniture you could own. It has come a long way from being the uncomfortable, insomnia-inducing nightmare it used to be. As a matter of fact, some sofa beds are as comfortable as a regular bed.

When shopping for a sofa bed, it helps to remember that it will most often be primarily used as seating. So, it makes sense to look for the same features you would in a regular sofa, such as a design that fits your needs and style preferences. The only difference is that you will be looking for a comfortable mattress and efficient operating mechanism as well.

 

Look for a Hardwood Frame

The strongest and most durable frames for any type of sofa, including sofa beds, are those made of kiln-dried hardwood or a combination of kiln-dried hardwood and furniture-grade plywoods. Avoid buying frames made of softer woods such as pine.

 

Look for a Good-Quality Open-and-Close Mechanism

The mechanism in a good sleeper should lift up and out in one smooth motion without squeaking or sticking. Look for units designed with a lock-down bar to ensure proper closure as well as easy opening. Inspect closely to make sure the opening mechanism is put together well, and parts will not break or come loose easily.

Feel for Smooth Edges on All Inner Mechanisms

All parts of a sofa bed’s inner mechanism should have smooth edges so that sheets and blankets don’t snag or catch and rip as a result. When you are using a sofa bed in your own home, and even on ones with the best operating mechanisms, it’s always a good idea to remove sheets and blankets before closing the unit.

That way it will not cause the alignment on different parts to shift.

Check Mattress for Quality

A quality mattress makes for a good night’s sleep and will comfortably support the body at the shoulders, hips, and lower back. A thicker mattress is not necessarily better; a thinner, better-built one might offer better support. You can also consider using a comfortable mattress pad on top when you use the sofa bed for sleeping.

 

Test It

It’s always a good idea to test a sofa bed before you buy it. Try opening and closing it to see how it feels. It should be easy to operate, and you shouldn’t have to strain to open it. Open it and lie down to see how the mattress feels.

 

Measure It

Always make sure that you measure your sofa bed before you commit to buying. Don’t neglect to find out what the measurements will be when it’s opened all the way. Remember that it needs as much room as a bed or more when fully opened. If you are planning to place any pieces of furniture in front of it, be sure they are light and easy to move so that you can easily lift them out of the way before opening the sofa bed.

Furniture can impact your health

Because furniture can impact your health, your comfort, and your efficiency, it can literally change your life. While this realization can make buying furniture a bit challenging, it is essential. You want to buy furniture that fits, supports and enhances the way you live.

If you are new to buying furniture, or have discovered that the furniture you have isn’t helping you, here are some suggestions:

Furniture is essentially a functional commodity and is used for solving problems related to how your home functions for you. It is important to determine your needs before you buy furniture, and for that there are some important questions you need to ask yourself before buying any.

Along with your needs, there are also constraints when it comes to furnishing. These constraints could relate to space, health, budget, or any other special need. Knowing both your furniture needs and constraints, can help you explore furnishing possibilities better. Make this the first and most basic step of your buying process.

Knowing how to find your style will help you buy furniture that is truly your own.

Knowing your style gives you confidence to buy just the right piece. Furniture that is in keeping with your own style or complements it successfully, makes your space not just comfortable, but attractive as well.

Knowing your style also gives you greater flexibility because then you are likely to find it in even the unlikeliest pieces of furniture. You have the ability to tie in seemingly disparate pieces to create truly unique and personal spaces. You also have the ability to find other furnishings that complement your furniture in a way that is all yours.

Buying green furniture seems like the best thing to do to protect your own health and that of your home. With the raised awareness about the plight of our planet, buying green furniture seems even more important.

Along with the raised awareness, there are so many misconceptions about buying green that even the most well intentioned buyers can get confused. Sometimes it is the manufacturers who like to confuse through misleading advertising or greenwashing.

Quality is important for any discerning buyer of furniture. Sometimes two sofas can seem almost identical, but you will notice a huge price difference. When you explore further you will almost always find a great difference in quality, and the quality comes from what is inside, and how well it is constructed.

Quality determines how long your sofa will last after you buy it and how long it will be able to retain its looks. Quality also determines the level of comfort you can expect to get from your sofa. Make sure you know what to look for so you can buy the best sofa you can afford. You will not have to replace it in a hurry.

Home Decorate with Color Ideas

Color has the power to envelop a room and the people in it (in a good way!). Take this bold blue paint color for example. It doesn’t just fill the wall with color, it engulfs the entire space and gives it an electric jolt. Different shades of blue have different meanings, but this particular shade is often associated with wisdom intelligence, success, and confidence, and there’s no doubt that confidence plays a part in choosing a shade this powerful. This kind of dramatic treatment is not for the faint of heart, but for those who crave intense color the effect is irresistible.

Sometimes color can create a bridge between styles. In this case of this living room from HGTV’s Income Property, a colorful Persian-style rug adds a little traditional flair to an otherwise modern (or transitional) room. The warm shade of rusty red plays against the deep brown of the sofa and helps to make the room more inviting. The red and orange pillows enhance the overall effect. Had the rug been neutral it would not have had the same impact and would not have provided the traditional hit this room needed to feel complete.

Decorating with unexpected colors can update a traditional room, making it fun and playful. Take this example from Ethan Allen. The style of the furniture is most definitely traditional, but the combination of kelly green and lime brings it into the present day in a fun and fresh way. Using color in such a way reminds us that there is no reason to get stuck in old definitions of decorating styles. Use color to turn those old styles on their heads!

When pulled into patterns, different shades of the same color can be part of a fun and eclectic mix. In 99% of living rooms you’ll find a sofa, coffee table, side tables, and a couple of chairs, but a coloful collection like this takes that predictable formula and turns into into something totally unique. Anytime you’re using a lot of patterns full of similar colors remember to contrast it with a different, but complimentary, color. In this case the coffee table base adds just enough contrast to ground all the activity and give it a sense of order.

The Best Upholstery Fabric

The first thing that comes to mind when you are thinking about buying upholstered furniture is usually what color to pick. It’s usually the single biggest factor in fabric selection. But while color is important, other factors are equally important.

 

Fabric Durability

The importance of fabric durability varies depending on the piece of furniture, which room it is used in and personal aspects of the family, such as if children and pets live in the house.

Your fabric selection should reflect those issues.

  • Woven patterns hold up longer than printed ones, as do higher thread counts and tight weaves. Thread count refers to the number of threads per square inch of fabric, and denser fabric lasts longer.
  • Choose a fabric based on who will be using your sofa. If your pets will be sharing your sofa with you, consider a microfiber fabric or leather because these can withstand extra wear and tear.
  • Fabric durability is important if your sofa or chair will get daily use.

 

Fabric Style

Choose a fabric that complements both the piece of furniture and the interior decor of your house.

  • Your fabric choice should be harmonious with the style and character of the piece it is covering. For example, a traditional fabric is the go-to choice for a traditional-style frame. That said, if you have an adventurous sense of style and know how to merge two seemingly different styles together, go for it. This approach adds originality to your space. An example of that unexpected choice might be a geometric design on a wing-back chair. This example works best in a room that is contemporary, with the wing-back chair an accent in itself, so that the print connects to the rest of the decor.
  • Some fabrics appear casual, while others look more formal. Choose a fabric that echoes your own style and the mood of the decor in that room.
  • Consider the scale of the pattern. It should be appropriate to the size of the furniture it is covering as well as the room size. A large bold, pattern might work better in a larger room, while a more muted or smaller one might be a better choice for a smaller space.

 

Fabric Color

Color of the fabric is very often the first choice you make when buying furniture, and it has significant impact on your decor, especially if the furniture piece is a large sofa that will dominate the room.

  • Make sure your color choice is one you can live with happily for a long time. For instance, it might be best to avoid a very bold color for a smaller room, especially if your sofa is also large. Neutrals are generally the safest route since they tend to satisfy over time.
  • Avoid delicately colored fabrics if you have children and/or pets.
  • To strike the right mood, consider the color temperature. Warm and cool colors affect the mood of the room and that aspect should be part of the decision.
  • Avoid trendy colors, unless you really like them. They can look dated long before the sofa or chair needs recovering.

 

Special Considerations

There are some other factors that you should consider before you make a selection. These have to do with the environment in which you’ll be placing your couch.

Does your room get a lot of sun or is there any dampness? Are there pets who share the furniture with you? Does anyone suffer from allergies?

  • Fade resistance: This factor is important if it will be placed in a room that gets plenty of sunlight or close to a window.
  • Mildew resistance: Look for fabric that is mildew-resistant if you live in a humid climate.
  • Allergies: Consider fabric such as microfiber for certain allergies because it is lint-free and does not attract dust.
  • Pets: If you have pets avoid using delicate fabric such as silk or any fabric with lots of texture. Select pet-friendly upholstery instead.

Furniture Makeovers You Need To Pin

This formerly blue and white bamboo dresser was refinished to be more vintage glam with white oil paint and by stripping the paint off the existing hardware to return them to their metallic finish.

 

It is hard to recognize after the beautiful transformation, but originally this blue burlap panelled dresser was just the regular 6 drawer Tarva chest from Ikea. With the addition of some decorative burlap, moulding, paint and some extra wood to thicken the legs the end result is absolutely stunning.

Add a glam finish with this easy Ikea Hack for the Vittsjo Nesting Tables by using gold spray paint on the frame and white spray paint on the bottom shelf to give the tables a new chic look.

Often it can be hard to find the space in a bedroom for a vanity to get ready in the morning in front of, but using Ikea’s Alex Shelf as a base, you can add wood legs and additional wall brackets for extra support to create your own narrow vanity that can fit even in small bedrooms.

A long black second-hand tv unit was beautifully updated with white paint and gold paint on the legs to give it a stylish new finish without spending much money.

Every creative needs a moodboard, and Thompson showcases a colorful one in her home office. It’s a true reflection of the color and pattern that she brings to her online boutique. With pieces from artists like Andrea Pippins and framed prints like the popular, “Keep Calm and Carry On” adage, the moodboard is true expression of the Interwoven aesthetic.