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Design Tips Other

Best ROI on House Renovations

Every part of your house has a different value, according to the real estate market. If you are thinking about renovating, you should start to research the ROI (return on investment) for different parts of your home. For instance, will a new bathroom or a new kitchen have a bigger impact on the value of your home? This article is going to cover the best ROI on house renovations.

a plastic covered windowsill holds paintbrushes, tape, and a paintroller

If you’re a first-time home buyer, then you should use this article to help you assess potential properties. Buying a house is considered one of the most important financial decisions in an individual’s life. It’s not just about investing money, but also your time and your effort! Maybe you want to buy a house with a lesser quality kitchen, and plan to renovate it yourself. Remember that a simple paint job and high quality furniture can make any home comfortable.

Or if you are already a homeowner, you can make plans to increase the value of your home!

Why should I renovate?

A house is a reflection of the people who live there. If you move into a new house, it’s unlikely that it will perfectly meet your needs or reflect your style. And on the other hand, if you have been living in the same house for many years, then your taste has probably changed!

It takes a lot of effort to convert a house into a home, and that’s the ultimate reason behind renovations and home makeovers. You’ll feel more at home while you live there. And if you ever decide to sell, a renovation will increase your home’s resale value.

What factors affect a house’s value?

It’s a little complicated. Some elements are fairly static and can be predicted well by the market and real estate agents.

  • Location
  • # of rooms
  • Size of the rooms
  • # of bathrooms
  • Additional features: garage, patio, extra storage space

Other elements are a bit subjective. We’re talking about interiors.

  • Condition of the walls
  • Lighting
  • Flooring
  • Layout
  • Materials used

How do I know which interior projects will give me the best ROI?

A better interior is more valuable than a shabby interior! But how do you know which give the best ROI for house renovations? Should you just paint the walls white and call it good?

One thing you can do is hire an interior designer.

a floor plan for a renovation by an interior designer

Lots of people resist doing this because they’re afraid of wasting money on something they could do themselves. Unfortunately, these people are shooting themselves in the foot. There are a lot of things that interior designers know that you probably don’t.

Not only do interior designers have technical knowledge, but they also have connections to suppliers and manufacturers that can actually save you money in the long-run. Plus, they are experienced project managers. They can assist you in negotiations and bidding. They can help vet and manage contractors, and ensure your renovation project is finished within the stipulated timeframe.

Some projects are too complicated to DIY. Hiring a professional can save you from making costly mistakes!

How do I plan the renovation budget?

Ask your friends and neighbors who have done similar remodels. They can give you insight into local pricing and connect you with trusted business partners and contractors.

a man in a neon yellow shirt paints a wall in a house undergoing renovation

Costs depend on which room you are renovating, how big it is, and what quality of finish you’re aiming for.

Average Range for Kitchen Reno: $13,059 – $37,044

  • Budget Reno ($10-$15k): sink upgrade, painting kitchen walls, installing tile backsplash, refacing cabinets
  • Luxury Reno (+$50k): high-end appliances, hardwood flooring, granite counters, customized cabinets

Average Range for Bathroom Reno: $5,957 – $14,833

  • Budget Reno ($10k): new fixtures, new flooring, new paint
  • Luxury Reno (+$54k): new shower/bath, expanded layout, fan installation, custom vanity

Average Range for Bedroom Reno: $7,880 – $30,000

  • Budget Reno ($15k): new furniture, painting walls, new light fixtures, new trim
  • Luxury Reno ($1m): top-end finishes, smart technology, high quality soft furnishings (bedspreads), walk in closet

Average Range for Living Room Reno: $6,700 – 7,900

  • Budget Reno ($6k): new couch, new paint, TV console
  • Luxury Reno (+$15k): new flooring, new furniture, paint the walls, recessed lighting, console

Sources here and here.

How does the billing process work?

Talk with your interior designer. Most designers charge fees based on hours. If they are handling the purchase of materials and furnishings, they may ask for a mark-up or percentage. However, some designers prefer a flat fee.

Be clear and upfront with your requirements, and establish good communication with your designer. If you are planning to DIY your renovation, you might just want to hire a designer for an hourly-based consultation fee.

Keep in mind that interior designers have access to trade discounts that can save you a lot of money. Almost all major home decor websites and hardware stores have trade programs. By working with an interior designer, you can save money on materials and furniture that justify the price of hiring an interior designer.

So what interior areas offer the best ROI for house renovations?

If you’re only looking at interiors, then a minor kitchen or bathroom remodel will offer you the best ROI for house renovations.

a bathtub in the center of a bathroom in front of a faux stone column

If you are willing to consider exterior renovations, then you should consider a roof replacement, siding replacement, entryway revamping, or patio / deck additions.

I’m still not ready for a reno yet. What can I do right now to make my house feel nicer?

Good for you! It’s never smart to rush into a renovation.

If you are dreaming of a reno but you’re not ready yet, there is one perfect way to update your space: new furniture.

Check out some design-and-furnish companies!

a living room with dark grey couch, black midcentury chair, and glass coffee table in natural light

These companies take your floor plan and create a custom design just for you. You get all the fun of doing a DIY design, but you also get the added bonus of working with a professional! They ensure a cohesive, stylish design and they measure everything to your layout.

One of these companies, Furnishr, will even order, ship, and assemble the items for you. Talk about one-stop-shop!

It’s free to request a custom room design, so what are you waiting for? The home of your dreams could be only two weeks away!

Categories
Design Tips Furnishing 101 Other

How to Decorate a Studio Apartment on a Budget

Living in a small space can be fun, affordable, and downright cozy. But decorating and making a small space comfortable can be a challenge for even the most design-oriented person. You don’t have to be an interior designer to know how to decorate a studio apartment on a budget.

However, if you’re short on time or moving soon, then it might make sense to use a design-and-furnish service rather than DIY-ing it. Don’t worry, if you work with a furnishing company, you still get to play designer!

You start by requesting a custom room design. Then you collaborate with a trained designer to choose a layout and furnishings for your unique floor plan. You can actually get a better price than sticker price because furnishing companies have direct relationships with suppliers. All you have to do is pay a flat fee and they handle delivery, assembling, and set-up for your stylish new room.

Here are some simple guidelines to get you started. Keep in mind that rules are meant to be broken if the final outcome isn’t appealing.

Turn on an episode of a home design show on Netflix while you decorate your studio, and have fun! It’s your space. You have to live in it.

Choose the Right Colors

A living room with a light grey couch and two turquoise cushions.

You know that feeling when you walk into a room or bathroom with dark walls or lots of dark furniture? You feel closed in. Maybe even a little claustrophobic. That’s not how you want your guests to feel when they enter your place. That doesn’t mean you have to have all white walls either.

In the right place, like an accent wall behind a bed, or in the right shade, like lilac or seafoam green, light or dark colors can be used to make your small space more inviting and livable. But before you pick up a brush, check out some pictures of rooms painted in colors decorators think are ideal for small spaces.

The most important part of choosing a color is finding what you like. Start by looking at your wardrobe to get an idea of what colors appeal to you. Do you wear lots of pastels? Or are you more attracted to earth tones? Do you wear a lot of denim and t-shirts? Or do you feel your personality shines best in brights and neons? Whatever colors you choose, make sure they make you feel at home in your space and spark some joy.

Select Multi-functional Furniture

Your furniture will be used to help you relax, sleep, and eat. You also want to be able to entertain guests and maybe even work from home. Choosing furniture that can serve numerous functions in your small space will not only save space but fewer pieces will make your home easier to navigate.

A convertible sofa

A convertible or sleeper sofa is a smart choice for the main piece in your living/entertaining area. There are several furniture brands that make sofas for small spaces that range from the sleek and simple to the plush and luxurious. Or just use a design-and-furnish company to help put together a complete floor plan for you, and ask for a convertible sofa.

During the day you can use it to read or watch television and in the evenings it can be used as a guest bed. Whether your style is strictly traditional or leans more eclectic, choosing a sofa that is proportional to your space is key to keeping your space from feeling crowded. This may mean selecting a sofa with low or no arms and in a light color and fabric type. 

When choosing a bed to decorate your studio, select one that can be used as additional seating. A futon sofa bed is a great option when you don’t have a lot of space or money. They may seem outdated, but futon sofa beds have come a long way since they were developed in the 1980s, now available with durable wood frames, plush mattresses, and removable covers. The mattress and frame can be bought together saving you some money. Futon sets are widely available from numerous retailers ranging from online discounters to big-box furniture stores.

A coffee table with storage

One piece of furniture you shouldn’t pass on is a coffee table. You may think you don’t need or have room for one. But the right coffee table can actually save you some space. A simple ottoman topped with a tray can be used as a small coffee table and doubles as seating for guests. Or elevate the look with a small square or rectangular coffee table with a storage shelf, drawers, or cubbies.

Prefer a coffee table that can be stored to give you extra floor space? Look for folding or nesting tables. A “C” table is a great option if you want something stylish to slip over your sofa or chair arm. Convertible coffee tables are the latest in multi-purpose furniture. Many of these pieces have one or more lift tops so they can be used as a desk or eating tray. Some have wheels so, when moved into the center of a room, they look and feel more like a traditional dining table.

Stylish Storage Solutions

A living room console with multiple forms of storage including drawers, shelves, and box inserts.

Once you’ve decided on your furniture placement, you need to consider how to incorporate storage solutions into your space. Options abound so take into account how much storage you need, how much floor and wall space you have, and how you will style your storage.

If your studio apartment has a closet, you can maximize the space with inexpensive wall-mounted shelves, wicker baskets, and shoe racks. The space on and behind the door is ideal for hanging jewelry, scarves, and handbags. If you don’t have a closet, decorate your studio with storage units that have vertical and horizontal storage options. Home improvement stores, big-box discount stores, or online will have affordable modular shelves or closet systems.

Without a lot of floor space, you need to think vertical when determining how to decorate a studio apartment on a budget. Solutions such as floating open-air shelves will draw the eye upwards and make your apartment appear less crowded. You should also think of all of your unused space for storage. Turn the empty space under your bed into a dresser, book storage, or overflow from your bathroom. Why not add a great bidet to save paper? You can either purchase a bed with drawers or fashion your own from inexpensive under-the-bed containers

Accessories and Lighting

A bright bokeh effect photo of Edison light bulbs in the foreground and blurry bright lights in the background.

Your home wouldn’t feel like a home without the added touch accessories will give. Items like candles, framed photos, and plants are not required but can be an inexpensive way to personalize your space.

Keep in mind the designer’s rule of three when styling your shelves, walls and table surfaces. Try to create vignettes of three distinct items. Don’t be afraid to mix high-end items with thrift store finds. Try to balance your space with books, candles, small storage boxes, baskets, bookends, and clocks of varying shapes and sizes. This will prevent your space from feeling over-cluttered and will make it look like you hired a professional designer. 

Even if your apartment has wall-to-wall carpeting, try throwing down a patterned or colorful area rug in your living or sleeping space. It’s an easy way to define different zones in a large room without using dividers or screens. Don’t forget to continue the color and pattern throughout your apartment with thoughtfully-placed pillows and throw blankets. 

Installed in the right locations, the light fixtures you use in your small space can make it look larger. Fixtures come in a variety of styles so try to stick to your design style and not get overwhelmed. Try placing wall sconces and tall lamps in corners or behind large pieces of furniture. This adds height to your space while adding warmth.


If you’re looking for a more comprehensive budgeting guide, then check out our post, “The Cost of Furnishing an Apartment: A Step-by-Step Guide With Breakdown of Furniture Costs.”

Want to book a free design call? Go here to claim your spot.

This has been a guest post by Steven Wood of Swankyden.com

Categories
Design Tips Other

Spring Art Projects to Tackle While You Shelter in Place

Are you spending more time at home these days? Here are some spring art projects to tackle while you shelter in place.

Due to shelter in place orders around the country, there are now millions of people who have had to forfeit the normalcy of their day-to-day schedule. If this sounds familiar, then you’ve probably realized that this extra time brings unique challenges and unique opportunities. 

Why not consider some spring art projects? School is out indefinitely, and most workplaces have offered options for their employees to work from home. A global pandemic is not necessarily the time you need to pressure yourself to be productive. But this moment does present a prime opportunity to focus a bit deeper on your living space – and just maybe make a few small updates. 

Small projects can be a great way to keep kids involved and occupied. In addition, you will get to check off some boxes from your Spring Cleaning to-do list! 

Here are some excellent family-friendly spring art projects to tackle while you stay at home and help flatten the curve. They all have a creative element and will make your home more comfortable.

Freshen Up Your Walls

Wall updates are a simple task that can be completed in under a week. If you own your own home, you don’t have to answer to anybody! If you’re a renter, just make sure you get permission from your landlord first. Painting can be fun, creative, and fulfilling – the perfect spring art project! Most hardware stores have kept their doors open to the public during this pandemic, so you should be able to place orders for curbside pickup or home delivery. 

We recommend that you compare color swatches online to figure out which color shade is best for you.

If you feel like you need a full interior design consultation before getting started, try booking a free design call with the designers at Furnishr. They look at your floor plan and recommend layouts, furnishing, and accessories to meet your needs.

  1. Select an appropriate paint color.
  2. Order the paint & supplies from your local supplier (delivery or curbside pickup).
  3. Protect your floors, tape it off, and get painting!
A pair of hands in yellow work gloves is holding a can of white paint and a paintbrush dripping white paint.

Painting the walls is a great opportunity to get the children involved. This is especially effective if you can give them some say in the decision-making process! One way to do this is select shades that match throughout, and then give the children the option to pick their colors within the scope of your design taste.

Let the child choose a brush and paint their own room. This can be a great activity for older children that will keep them busy and assist the time frame of your overall process for spring art projects.

Create Art Together with Spring Art Projects

If you do not own your home, arts and crafts can come into the picture. Spending time at home might give you a new perspective on the landscape of your walls. Maybe it’s time to replace those old picture frames or rearrange some paintings. You could also take this time to create art with your family and hang it up on the walls. The Internet is full of free and easy spring art projects to help you create gorgeous, abstract art. Just choose a color scheme that matches your home, and you’re good to go.  

a woman and child paint together doing a spring art project

Need materials? Blank canvases and poster boards remain inexpensive from craft stores or dollar stores. Or you can buy them online and have them shipped or schedule for curbside pickup. 

  1. Collect art materials from around the house (paints, markers, paper, tape, scissors, clay).
  2. Decide if you need other materials, and order online or from local art store.
  3. Choose a color palette that complements your home design.
  4. Look for an online tutorial – especially good at engaging elementary-aged children.
  5. Display your gorgeous, custom artwork.

Not only can this brighten up your home, but you’ll be investing in your child’s artistic skills by creating opportunities to be creative. Each of these activities can be completed within a limited time, and you can have new paint or new art on your walls in just a few days’ time.

Spruce Up Your Backyard

More and more research points to the benefits of green space. As a result, more people are investing in their everyday living spaces as opposed to taking lavish vacations to get their dose of greenery. Outdoor living space is definitely a red hot renovation idea, especially during a period of shelter-in-place when outdoor amenities like parks and playgrounds are closed!

Of all the spring art projects, this one might have the biggest impact on your daily life.

  1. Figure out what your yard is missing, and see what you already have that could be used.
  2. Decide on a budget and enlist help from the household.
  3. Tidy the yard first, then drop in furniture or decking.
  4. Accessorize to perfection.
  5. Enjoy your outdoor oasis!

If you have a yard, there are many things you could do to make it more appealing. Consider adding a deck or a concrete pad, or extending your existing patio slab. Creating an outdoor oasis is easier than you think, and it’s nice to think of the day when you can finally entertain guests again. You’d be surprised at how a few simple touches can totally transform the backyard appeal of your home.

two Adirondack type white lawn chairs sit on a grassy lawn beside an old stone house

The cost of decking is also flexible. A smaller, minimalistic deck averages around $1,200 for supplies and labor. If you’ve already got some type of space in your yard, the cost of adding some character to it is minimal. You can add some lighting accents, or mount some speakers, all for less than $100. 

Rejuvenate Your Balcony

If you have a patio or balcony, now is a good time to look for some potted plants. You could also grow some from seed by ordering from your local hardware store. A little greenery goes a long way on a patio or balcony, and it’s even better if you grow edible plants!

Now that the weather is warming up, you might want to recreate the layout of your outside space. Look for an outdoor rug that can handle the elements. You’ll also want a small table and place to sit. Mood lighting, like twinkle lights or standing lanterns, create ambiance that can make any small outdoor space feel special. If you need ideas for using natural elements to make your home feel more cozy, start here. Spring art projects should be fun, so get creative!

  1. Clean your patio thoroughly to rid it of dirt and leaves.
  2. Figure out where the sun comes from, and design a layout accordingly.
  3. Find lighting, seating, and plants to make your space feel cozy.
  4. Enjoy fresh air from the comfort of your own newly styled balcony.
an older woman sits on her balcony beside potted cacti in a salmon colored building

Think about your daily routine and look for an activity that could be made better by doing it outdoors. You could turn your outdoor space into a meditative morning yoga lounge with room for a yoga mat and a small table for your laptop. Or maybe you’re an extrovert and you’re having an especially hard time with quarantine. So make your balcony a happy hour spot, with bright pennants hung up as a nice backdrop for Facetiming with your friends and family.

Organization Projects 

During this time, the whole family has probably been home a lot more than usual. So, it’s likely that there are some piles of clothing, an accumulation of random toys, and lots of other things that remain out of place. Despite what the younger members of your household might think, organization time is an activity that all family members can (and should) partake in. 

a messy white children's room with papers and toys everywhere

This is another great opportunity for children to service the needs of their own room or playrooms. Plus, they can sort out their favorite toys from unused items as they organize. This means less clutter, and they just might discover a new excitement for a forgotten item found under the bed. A great method for keeping playtime fresh is to batch your kids’ toys into several baskets, and then rotating them every few days or once a week. This way, you have less clutter out at once, and the kids are excited to see new items and be inspired to new creativity.

What kind of organizational strategies and materials can you use? We recommend storage totes for this activity because they allow children the opportunity to store the things that they are not using, gifting additional space. Something stackable is even better. 

  1. Gather up some sorting containers and organizing boxes.
  2. Decide on categories (keep, store, giveaway).
  3. Go through one room at a time and sort everything.
  4. Celebrate and mark your progress – especially important for children.
  5. Set aside items to donate when thrift stores reopen, or post for free online.

The adults can do some sorting, too! Go through your dresser drawers and your closets and you might find some extra space. Sort through your kitchen and garage and look for items that no longer serve you. Maybe you’ll find some things that could be used for spring art projects.

Unfortunately, thrift stores aren’t accepting donations right now due to public health concerns. But you can still set aside items you wish to donate. You may even post them for free to your neighborhood exchange group, since there might be someone nearby who could use those items. Just make sure you have a sanitization process in place if anyone in your house has been sick.

Hour-Long Bursts of Productivity

This is a classic technique promoted by lots of entrepreneurs and busy people. Setting a timer for just one hour can help you overcome procrastination and start to see some visual progress on any of these tasks. You can fight cabin fever by starting with a few small projects.

a close up of a watch face on someone's wrist. The watch face says "better times."

Plus, you probably don’t have hours at a time to spend on spring art projects. Most people are still working from home, and now they’re balancing childcare with housework and their employment. So, it’s okay if you don’t feel any desire to improve your home right now. You need to look out for your mental health, and that’s should be your number one priority. 

But, if you’re starting to feel stir crazy, just look around you. Finding smaller house projects can help you make a major dent in your overall home redesign plans. And investing in your home right now, during this time of global crisis, is a great way to stay connected to gratitude and what’s important. 

  1. Set a timer for a short period of time, maybe 25 minutes.
  2. Start a task that you’ve been procrastinating on.
  3. Stop when the timer rings and take a break.
  4. Congratulate yourself on making progress and breaking the ice!

Finally, if you’re exhausted, it’s totally okay rest. We all need time to recuperate and take care of ourselves right now. But if you find yourself feeling bored, then you may want to tackle one of these projects! 

By doing any one of these spring projects, you (and your children, if you have them) will be even more thankful for your home when the work is finally done.

a father and child playing on a bed in a brightly lit bedroom with white walls and a wooden pallet bedframe

So whether you are focused on making your home more enjoyable for yourself, or whether you’re preparing your space for entertaining guests when all this is over, we hope you find joy in your home.  And remember, if you need help we’re here for you.

Categories
Design Tips Furnishing 101 Office Furnishing

Pinterest Worthy Desk Ideas & DIY Home Office Tips

It’s only April, and already 2020 has totally changed the lives of millions of people. Chances are you are going to be working at home for a while. For some of us, working from home has been a reality for years, but for many others it is a new and scary challenge. Your home office is probably sparse and impersonal, and not a space you enjoy spending time in. Or maybe you don’t even have a home office at all, let alone a Pinterest worthy desk.

The next few weeks offer you a chance to change that. You can commit to some DIY crafts projects to turn your home office into a personal haven. Or if you want it done and dusted in just a few days, use a design-and-furnish company to create a stellar workspace from scratch.

Why not create a space you actually want to be in, rather than a room you just want to escape from?

Here’s some inspiration. Read the following tips for transforming your home office and soon you’ll be full of Pinterest worthy desk ideas. Good luck!


Upcycled vision board

a homemade collage vision board made up of magazine cut outs. Some phrases include "life in the city" and "my world."

Vision boards have known benefits on productivity and motivation. The process of planning out your vision board gives you more clarity on what you want out of your life, particularly in the near future. Even better, you can create a vision board from your own upcycled materials!

Start by finding items you are considering discarding, and see what you can do with them. You may want to check the recycling bin or use an old cereal box to start out. An old calendar can provide you with ample space to design or collage, while also reminding you of a significant time in your life. Scraps of clothing can be used as design elements on the board, using your aesthetic sensibilities to motivate you to sit down and bring your vision to life.

A homemade laptop stand

a man with dreadlocks leans over a laptop

Unless you have incredible craftmanship skills, you should probably not attempt to make your own office chair. After all, an office chair needs to be comfortable and should be designed to give you the support you need. A DIY pallet bench or something similar may look like a Pinterest worthy desk idea, but it might actually cause you more harm than good.

But a nice piece of carpentry you could create for your home office is a homemade laptop stand. Standing while working is both healthy and a good way to keep focused. If you want to work standing up, you will need a platform for your computer. Trust us, a pile of books just doesn’t cut it. Adding your own sweat and labor will make you feel good about yourself every time you stand to work.

Personal art

a double exposure photograph that shows the photographer and an image of the city overlaid

Many working people don’t have time to pursue their own art projects. They love to paint or take photographs and they have quite a bit of skill, but just aren’t able to get around to displaying their work. This is the perfect opportunity to dedicate some time to bringing your art into the world. Create the painting you have always dreamed of. Write up the poem that is tumbling around in your head. Print off some of your favorite black and white photos that are sitting on your hard drive. And then, hang them up wherever you work. Now that’s a Pinterest worthy desk idea!

Your office space should remind you of your own creativity. Seeing your work on the wall is much better motivation than any inspirational poster. Whenever you feel worn out, you can look at your work and get a boost thinking about the hard work and creativity it took to create that art.

Natural light and greenery

a small plant on a table with a laptop, black notebook, and camera lens

Studies show that having some plants and access to natural light can actually boost your productivity. If you can, look for some small potted plants (fake ones are good too). Arrange your furniture around the availability of natural light and make sure to open the blinds when you’re working.

Whether you have a specific home office space or not, a little bit of fresh air and natural décor can make a huge difference to making your workspace feel inviting.

If you’re at a loss for how to style a desk, just pop over to Pinterest or Instagram. There are plenty of examples of desk styling and Pinterest worthy desk ideas on both platforms.

Ergonomics and taking breaks

a black woman talks on the phone and smiles while working on her laptop

The trickiest part of working from home, apart from maintaining focus, is how to keep your body happy. People without a home office set up often find themselves sitting on the couch or slouching over a dining table. It’s easy to damage your spine, neck and shoulders with bad posture. 

One way to solve this is to order an ergonomically designed office chair for your home. There are special sit/stand desks you can buy that you can program to exactly your preferred height. Another way to combat body pain is to take regular breaks from working. Stand up regularly, even if it’s just to walk to the kitchen for a glass of water. 

Overall, working from home can be a blessing in disguise, as those who have been doing so for years will tell you. If you spend some time creating the ideal work space for yourself at home, you will find it easy to reap the rewards.

And if you need help creating a work space at home, our designers are ready to assist with plenty of Pinterest worthy desk ideas! It’s free to start a room request. All you have to do is tell us about your space and your style, and we’ll take care of the rest. 

This guest post was written by Josh Mishin.

Categories
Design Tips Furnishing 101 Other

How to Survive Quarantine As an Extrovert

If you’re reading this, then you’re probably anxious to leave the house and you haven’t seen your friends for too long. If that’s true, may we be the first to say — thank you! Thank you for doing your part to flatten the curve and save lives during this pandemic.

Now, we know you’re here for tips on surviving a quarantine as an extrovert.

Extroverts need other people’s energy to survive! They need adventures! Quarantine means isolation, silence, and sitting still and slowly dissolving into a puddle of boredom …right? WRONG!

a woman in a fedora looks longingly out a window

We’ve got six actionable ways to stop feeling like a dud and start feeling better.

Here’s how to survive a quarantine, extrovert edition. (Psst, pass it on)


Panic #1: I won’t see my friends & family for months!

Well, actually: They aren’t unavailable to hang out, you’re just temporarily stuck in different buildings!

a young man in a turtleneck and glasses sits on the floor and smiles at his laptop like he is video chatting with someone

Here’s how to solve this. Switch to virtual hangouts!

Firstly, if you are under quarantine, please please DO NOT try to meet up in person and attempt to maintain social distancing. Someone will forget, someone is bound to touch a door knob, and then all those people stuck inside with vulnerable immune systems will stare at you through the windows and judge you.

Got a standing date with a friend? Keep it! Just switch it to online. Post-work happy hour at the pub near the office? Get everybody on Google Hangouts and BYOB. Missing your gym buddy? Schedule a home workout on Skype for the same time you’d normally be at the gym. Call your grandma on Fridays like you usually do. Keep it as close to normal as possible.

If you didn’t have anything planned, but you’re craving some socializing, reach out and offer to ‘host’ a virtual dinner party. Look for multiplayer games that have online versions. Find pals with complementary talents and make something together.

Panic #2: I feel so claustrophobic! My home is boring.

Well, actually: You’re right. But let’s not focus on what you can’t change. Focus on what you can.

beside an open window is a maroon pillow and a tray with a candle, mug, and books

We get it. Being stuck inside is not fun for anyone. But it’s ESPECIALLY hard for extroverts to survive quarantine because they thrive on new experiences. So how can we make quarantine more exciting?

First, do not spend the entire day in the SAME spot. Of course your home feels boring and claustrophobic if you stare at the same four walls every day. Don’t stay in bed from morning to night. Don’t sit on your couch for 12 hours. And don’t just sit at your desk or dining room table.

Move between the available spaces! Your body and your mind will thank you. Try choosing a different spot for each part of the day. Mornings on the couch, afternoons at your desk, and evenings in the kitchen. Think about where the best natural light is, too. Make sure you can enjoy that sun on your face at the time when it’s coming through the window. Coffitivity is a free app that generates ambient noise like you’re in a coffee shop. Figure out what helps, and plan for it.

You can also rearrange your space. Swap out some art work! Move your sofa. Start using your coffee table as a Japanese-style dining table. Get out your old acoustic guitar and lean it against the wall. Enjoy the freedom to experiment with your interior design. Now’s the time to make a change and figure out what you like, since you can always switch it back later.

Panic #3: Cooking for myself SUCKS.

Well, actually: If your biggest food worry is lack of cooking skills, then you have a lot to be grateful for.

a man cooks something over a stove in a kitchen with white tile

After nurses and doctors, the people on the front line of this pandemic are grocery store employees and meal delivery workers.

Uber Eats is amazing, we agree. It’s essential for a lot of people, too. Meal delivery helps get food to people who work long hours, live in food deserts, or have accessibility challenges. Meal delivery folks are especially vulnerable during this time, but many keep working because they need the income. Lots of businesses have switched to take-out or delivery only.

To survive quarantine as an extrovert, you have two food options.

Option one, if you’re determined to order delivery, try to switch to a local business that might be hurting. Rather than ordering Dominos, look for a neighborhood pizza chain. And keep in mind that the virus can still be transmitted on plastic containers and delivery bags, and occasionally on food if it’s not heated thoroughly. Here’s a comprehensive guide to food safety and COVID-19. Option two, try to see this as your opportunity to learn more cooking skills. Odds are, your favorite dish isn’t too tricky to cook at home! There are a ton of amazing tutorials online, including some by master chefs. Or call up your mom and ask her to teach you her secret recipe. You have plenty of time to perfect your technique.

By cooking at home for just a couple weeks, you help minimize the exposure for everyone around you. You also help lessen the overall time we need to spend in quarantine. And hopefully, you gain a new appreciation for the act of feeding yourself.

Panic #4: I feel like I’m going to die without fresh air!

Well, actually: Depending on your area and what kind of quarantine you’re under, you don’t need to stay indoors 100% of the time.

a person in a ponytail wears a virtual reality headset in front of a blue sky with clouds

This is a touchy topic. It’s absolutely true that people under 30 who don’t show symptoms are the biggest group currently spreading COVID. We feel fine, so we go out like normal. But unfortunately, non-symptomatic doesn’t mean you aren’t contagious. The virus takes time to make you sick, and you can even have it without showing symptoms, and then pass it on to someone else.

So use your best judgement here. If you have a patio or a backyard, then get your fresh air at home where you’re not putting anyone else in danger. Sit out with a chair and take deep breaths and soak it up. If you can go to a park or walk around the block alone while still keeping 6 feet away from other people, you might still be able to get fresh air and move your body. It’s harder in busier neighborhoods.

If you can’t go outside, then as a last resort you can fake it. To survive quarantine as an extrovert, sometimes we gotta do weird stuff. If you have a VR headset, thrown on a game that simulates a forest adventure or arctic exploration. Or just play an hour long video of waves crashing at a beach or a rushing river on your laptop. Throw open a window or turn on a fan! Sniff some sunscreen and imagine you’re outside.

Research shows that sensory stimulation like this can actually trick your brain into releasing the relaxing chemicals associated with being outside.

Panic #5: My partner / roommate / pet is annoying.

Well, actually: They’re stuck with you, too! Try to find a way to get some alone time inside the house.

a person sits at a dining table and holds their head with one hand in distress

This might seem like odd advice for an extrovert. But when you’re forced to socialize with the same one person for days on end, it can start to grate on your nerves.

Schedules are your friend right now. Let your housemate know that you’re not available between 9 and 5 because even though you’re home now, you’re still working. Tell your partner that you love them, and then tell them to go to the bedroom to take calls with their friends. Practice setting some boundaries of your own, and invite your housemates to do so with you, too.

And as all stay at home parents know, sometimes you just can’t escape the person in front of you. You’re stuck together and you have to make the best of it. Can you make it a game? Could you learn a new skill together? Can your relationship grow? Find some curiosity and have some grace – for them, and for yourself. Remember that it’s a trying time and we’re all just doing our best.

Panic #6: I have too much free time.

Well, actually: Lots of people need help right now. People with accessibility needs, parents struggling with childcare.

a woman with long black hair sits at a table with her laptop and coffee. she is holding her phone and smiling at it.

Free time can feel scary. This can be doubly true you have a mood or personality disorder, and it’s exacerbated during self-isolation. But if you are an extrovert trying to survive quarantine, free time doesn’t have to be scary!

If you function better with a schedule, then make one for yourself. Do you need accountability? Get your housemate onboard or schedule stuff with friends. If you’re new to working from home, start with these tips. Or if you’ve been laid off, schedule a couple hours each day toward looking for a job or skill building.

You can also start on projects that have been on your to do list for months. Tidy the desk, clear out that closet, mend that shirt, read that new book. Redesign your apartment. Or look for volunteer opportunities, whether virtual or close to home. Maybe you have elderly neighbors who need groceries delivered, or maybe someone with depression needs help meal planning with what’s in their cupboard.

Take care of your mental health, and take care of your community. A global pandemic is not the time to force yourself into intense productivity. Just because you’re an extrovert trying to survive quarantine doesn’t mean you should destroy yourself just to keep busy.


The world is going to look different when this is all over, and in some ways, that might be something to look forward to. Remember to be as generous as you can, with yourself and others. Who will you be when all this is over?

Categories
Design Tips Other

Work from Home: Furnishr’s Top 5 Tips

You might be surprised at some of the benefits you can reap if you work from home.

For instance, did you know that, if you work from home, you can deduct square footage and office supplies when you file your taxes?

Well read on, because we’ve got a lot of great tips for you, whether or not you’re new to this whole work-from-home situation. Remember, YMMV depending on if your business is actually based out of your home (like crafting or counseling) versus if you telecommute for a corporate job. If you’re an entrepreneur considering your next move, a shared office space could be the right fit.

Either way, these tips should help!

And if you need help configuring a home office for yourself, we’re the pros. Here is our article about how to budget for a home office. And it’s free to see what a custom home office would look like in your space. Talk to one of our designers today and we’ll take care of you.

1. COMMUNICATE

This one is key. And it solves a major worry for both employer and employee. You, the employee, are probably worried about your own productivity at home. You might also be worried how your employer will know that you’re actually working.

By communicating with your boss or colleagues regularly, you demonstrate that you are in fact putting in the same hours as everyone else. You show you are still engaged and contributing to the company’s projects, and you show that you work a full day. Make sure you check in with your boss and your team about how they prefer to communicate. Do they want mid-morning checkins on Slack? Zoom voice calls once a week? Email reports on Fridays with a breakdown of your work?

In unpredictable economic times, it’s super important to focus on showing value at work. So if you’re working at home, make sure to communicate regularly so your team knows you’re in the trenches with them, too.

2. MAKE YOURSELF A HOME OFFICE

a home office desk with a large desktop screen displaying a clock and a vase with yellow flowers beside a bookcase

If you’re a long-time telecommuter, you know this already. But for people who are new to working from home, it can be tempting to just sit on the couch, or even climb back into bed with your laptop! We’ll admit, it is a major benefit of working from home that you can move around and adjust your body to more physically comfortable positions than you might otherwise do in an office.

However, eventually the temptation (and neck cramps) get in the way of your to do list.

So, choose a spot right now which will serve as your home office. It can be a nook, a small end table cleared off in the living room, or your spare bedroom. Tell your partner or housemates so they can leave you alone while you’re working. Consider using a blocker or signing out of social media accounts during work hours. Set up your space with office accoutrements and things that make it feel focused and professional.

Your home office should feel comfortable but not too comfortable. You should imagine having a Zoom meeting your boss without being totally embarrassed by the decor.

If you need help figuring out how to decorate or organize a home office, Furnishr can help.

3. LEAVE THE HOUSE AT LEAST ONCE DAILY

a person wearing shorts and a tank top walks down stairs to the street. she is holding a phone.

When your work is at home, and your life is at home, and there’s no commute to give you fresh air or a change of scenery – well, you can see how easy it could be to get trapped indoors all day!

Some of our favorite ideas are to take a short afternoon walk to a nearby park. The NY Times recommends this as a way to combat the sluggish afternoon hours when most people get tired and distracted. Or you could take your lunch outside to your yard or patio. Remember, you should only do this if you can still practice social distancing! If it’s too crowded outside, try opening a window and breathing some fresh air.

Not only is it a good idea to try to leave your house once a day, but we also recommend finding someone to chat with outside your work group. It helps you disconnect, so you can come back refreshed. Why not take a virtual lunch break with an old friend?

4. KNOW HOW TO SIGN OFF

Patio furniture on deck of cottage

For people who work at home, it can be difficult to separate work from home. For instance, in the office, you have all the normal cues where people start to pack up around 5p.

But at home, it can be easy to just keep working, just for a few more minutes… until suddenly it’s 6:30p.

Don’t let working from home turn you into a lazy employee, but don’t let it turn you into a workaholic, either.

A lot of telecommuters have some kind of ritual that helps them close out their work day. It can be an alarm and something as simple as sending a final message via Slack to your team and then closing the laptop and getting up.

5. ENJOY YOUR FLEXIBILITY

Man working on the floor

Remember that not everyone has the option to work from home! It comes with challenges, true, especially if your home environment is not super conducive to focusing.

However, you have a lot of flexibility compared to most office workers. There are a lot of benefits to working from home, and you should try to enjoy them.

For instance, you can hydrate as much as you want (and pee as often as you want!) without incurring the suspicion of your coworkers.

You can stretch out and do yoga, or sit in positions that work better for your body than stuffy old office chairs.

You are more in control of the soundscape of your work environment. You could blast Rihanna all day and no one will ever know!

You’re also better able to feed yourself home cooked meals, which saves on money and is usually healthier for you than eating out.


We hope you put these tips to good use!

If you’re ready to explore what a home office could look like for you, schedule a free consultation with our designers. Here is the easiest way to get started.

Categories
Design Tips Furnishing 101

Looking to rent furniture in NYC? Think again.

Ahoy! Is your apartment empty? Are you looking to rent furniture in NYC? Then welcome, you’re in just the right place.

At first glance, choosing to rent your furniture may seem like a perfect solution! After all, most digital nomads and millennial workers prefer to own less and experience more. Lots of people imagine that renting furniture is obviously better because it costs you less money up front, and ultimately someone else is responsible for it. Sounds good, right?

However, before you rent furniture in NYC, there are a few things you should know first. Renting is not always the best way to save money or build the lifestyle you really want! It may solve some of your problems at first, but in the long run it may not be the ideal solution it, either for your apartment or your bank account.

small studio layout with a messy bed and a big bright window with two chairs

Our Evaluation Process

So, here is an overview of all the pros and cons of different furnishing companies. Four are rental companies and one is not.

We review offerings from Feather, Cort, Furnishr, Mobley, and Fernish. Unfortunately, Fernish does not cover NYC, but all the other companies do. Each company offers a unique blend of three factors: price, quality, and efficiency. Ultimately, the choice to rent or buy will depend on your budget, how relatively stable your housing is, and how much time you have to oversee the furnishing process. Take into account how long you can commit to renting the furniture for, as shorter leases are costlier. And be sure to take into account your personal squick factor, and read each company’s sanitization guideline thoroughly.

We hope this guide helps you make an informed decision! Whether you buy or rent your furniture in NYC, we’re excited for you to find some awesome furniture for your new place.

 

How long are you thinking of staying in the city?

a chart showing where each brand lands on the chart. best for short term are Cort, Mobley and Fernish. best for long term are Feather and Furnishr.
Cort offers the most flexible furnishing packages, whereas Furnishr makes the most sense if you plan to stay put for more than a year.

How much money are you prepared to pay out?

lowest cost options are Feather and Furnishr. highest cost options are Mobley, Fernish, and Cort.
Our cost index is an overall calculation of how much you end up paying for your furniture. Cort is the costliest, because of added fees and higher rent-to-own retail price. Feather and Furnishr are the most cost-effective choices for renting and buying your furniture.

What kind of quality do you want in your furniture?

lowest quality items are Mobley and Feather. Highest quality items are Fernish, Cort and Furnishr.
Mobley’s selection of furniture lots of veneered MDF and polyester upholstery, which do not hold up well under daily use. Furnishr gets you the highest quality furniture for two reasons: they purchase directly from trusted manufacturers, and your furniture is 100% new and not used like rental furniture.

How easy do you want the furnishing process to be?

chart of ease or difficulty to rent furniture in NYC. hardest are mobley and feather and Fernish. Easiest are Cort and Furnishr.
Mobley’s website was the most difficult to use of the companies we tested. They also offer less value for customers when it comes delivery and set up. Fernish, Feather, and Cort offer similar processes where the customer selects individual pieces of furniture to create a room. Furnishr’s consultation process is a bit sleeker, and their white-glove delivery and 24 hour installation is hard to beat.

Finally, what are your sustainability values?

lowest environment impact are furnishr, Fernish, and feather. highest environmental impact are Cort and Mobley.
Mobley and Cort are the least environmentally friendly companies on our list, due to the materials used as well as sanitization and shipping practices. Furnishr only requires a single delivery, since you’re purchasing the items outright, which reduces packaging and shipping impacts. Feather and Fernish are committed to reducing plastic packaging and reusing furniture at the end of its lifecycle.

Okay, so let’s break this down even further.

Four of these companies offer furniture for rent, with the option to rent-to-own. If you want to rent furniture in NYC, then only three of those companies will cover you (Feather, Cort, and Mobley). The final company, Furnishr, covers most of North America and offers outright purchase of furniture. Most of the rental companies have fair policies around damage. Most will be happy to fix up small scratches and get out stains, and all rental furniture has to undergo a robust sanitization process between rentals.

So now that you know the basics, let’s see if any of the scenarios below apply to you.

If you just moved to the city and started a new job, you might be a Type One: You are fairly location-insecure, and you don’t mind medium quality furniture with a fairly low monthly cost. If that’s you, then you might like Mobley or Feather. The major con is that you’re putting money into someone else’s pocket. Another drawback is that the lower quality furniture might make you feel like you’re living in an IKEA house, except the furniture doesn’t even belong to you. Pros? By renting furniture in NYC, you spend less money up front. Plus, someone else will take away your furniture whenever you decide to move.

Here’s another type of customer. Type Two: You like to keep a low environmental impact, but you’re working with a moderate budget. In this case, you should check out Feather or Furnishr. Feather is a rental company, but they’re committed to reducing plastic packaging and keeping furniture out of landfills. Furnishr is a comprehensive furnishing company, so you work with a designer and then purchase your items upfront. If you’re not sure about living in NYC in the future, then look at Feather. But if you aim to stay in the city, then choose Furnishr. Buying furniture can actually have a lower net environmental impact than renting. That’s due to the repetitive shipping, packaging, and sanitization processes required by rental companies. If you wanted to rent furniture in NYC to reduce your environmental impact, you may want to see how Furnishr compares.

Type Three: You’re busy, you’re ready to invest in quality pieces, and you’d rather spend a little more money upfront than deal with returning your furniture in the future. If this is you, Furnishr is the company for you. Whereas all companies on our list offer some kind of style consultation and set-up, Furnishr is the only one that works off your actual floor plan. They also coordinate a white glove delivery and clean up. Another perk? Furnishr works directly with manufacturers, so you get the absolute lowest price on the items you choose. Companies like Mobley and Feather base their rent-to-own prices on retail price, rather than manufacturer price. So, you’ll probably end up paying more for your items with rent-to-own than if you buy outright with Furnishr.


If you’re still feeling unsure, just think about what your future self wants. Big lights, big city….

Will your future self want to move cities every six months, leaving everything behind? Rent furniture in NYC.
Will your future self want to own high quality furniture, with the option to resell it if you move? Buy furniture in NYC.

A living room with big windows, yellow couch, gold coffee tableland assorted seating

Overall, rental companies can be a great stop-gap option for furnishing a place on quick notice. But “furniture flexibility” can also be overrated, especially if you don’t feel like putting money into someone else’s pocket just to have nice things. It can definitely start to feel a bit soulless to be surrounded by what is technically someone else’s furniture.

If you’re feeling the financial stress, we get it! You want to invest your hard earned cash in stuff you can actually afford, which will actually serve you in the long-term. So if you can’t afford all new furniture and you have the time to look around, then there’s no shame in thrifting. But if you don’t mind spending several hundred dollars a month to temporarily own nice-looking furniture, then have at it and don’t look back.

Either way, best of luck with your move!

Categories
Design Tips Furnishing 101

Small Living Room Layouts: 7 Interior Design Tips to Maximize Small Spaces

Small-space living is pretty much the new norm for most people in 2020. It seems like units keep getting smaller in order to accommodate more people moving to urban areas. But how do you design a small space or decorate a tiny house? Good news! Living in a small space doesn’t mean you need to feel cramped or cluttered. By applying interior design principles and choosing the right furniture, we can help your small space feel big. Furniture should spark joy, right? This article focuses primarily on a small living room layout, since that’s where people spend most of their time at home. But these layouts and space-saving tricks can be applied to small studio apartments, or even small master bedrooms.

From storage units to coffee tables, from task-based lighting to clever furniture arrangements, take heart! We’ve got interior design tips that can help you make any small space feel bigger. Use this list to help you make the most of what you’ve got. How do you make the most of a small master bedroom? What furniture should you get for your studio apartment?

We’ve got you covered, whether you’re moving into a new place or just feeling smothered by your current layout. Scroll to the bottom for specific layout ideas, or read on for general tips on maximizing any small space.

If you’re furnishing a space completely from scratch, then give us a call for your complimentary consultation. Our team of designers can combine your floor plan with your style preferences. We order, ship, and set it all up for you, all in a single day. Seriously, it’s as amazing and easy as it sounds.

1. Work vertically

Minimalist bedroom with tree and stool

Less is more! Please don’t cram a bunch of wide, bulky furniture inside your small space. You can use one or two larger pieces to anchor your space, like a low comfy sofa or your bed. But too many chunky pieces and you’ll start to feel like the floor is disappearing. So keeping that idea in mind, look around your space. What pieces of furniture could you replace with a more lightweight version? Is there anything taking up horizontal space that could be reconfigured or replaced with a vertical version? Consider downsizes your bookshelves, choosing drop-leaf tables, selecting smaller coffee tables, or swapping out for smaller lamps.

Many small-space dwellers have folding or stacking chairs on hand, which can come out when needed but stow away minimally otherwise. Nesting tables achieve the same effect; they appear when you need them, but hide when you don’t. Another good trick is to hang your curtains from the ceiling, and not from the window frame top. This helps the room feel larger. To maximize space, make sure your small space layout includes furniture with storage. More on that later.

2. Use light materials for a small living room layout

Transitional living room in ParcGrove Connecticut
A glass-topped coffee table, white walls, and light fabric on the couch and curtains help the small space to feel larger.

Glass or open shelving are classic interior design tips which can make small spaces feel bigger! If all your furniture is made of dark wood or black metal, you may start to feel closed in. In a small living room layout, consider using lighter materials to lighten the sensation of furniture on your eye. Glass, light colored wood, open shelving, and light colored metal like copper or silver are all great ways to keep the air flow moving.

Reflective surfaces help bring more light into the room, too. They can also help with clutter because all your stuff will be more visible! If you’re a messy person (no shame!), consider using some stylish banker boxes to categorize and contain your items. Additionally, look for furniture with exposed legs rather than pieces that are flush to the ground. Floating shelves have the same effect. This can help your room feel more spacious and balanced.

3. Use appropriate patterns and textures

Large bedroom with patterned rug
Check out the neutral pattern on that rug! The lines create a sense of order and roundedness, but the slightly organic wobble and the color palette keep the room feeling warm and welcoming. It’s important to use pattern sparsely in small living room layouts.

Vertical stripes can be a good choice in small spaces because they create an illusion of height. Dark colors can make spaces feel smaller, because they swallow light. Wanna hear a clever interior design tip? Paint your ceiling a slightly lighter color than your walls. This creates a feeling of lightness overhead. Keep darker colors closer to the ground, or at least below eye level. An oversized, bold print can do wonders for a small space. Something like a large poster, magnified typography, or even a big cut of fabric or wallpaper framed. Remember that when you work too small, and bring in too many small knickknacks, it just creates clutter. Try to balance big with little in your small living room layout.

4. Storage units, or furniture with compartments

Glass desk with white office chair and white bookshelf
Furniture with built-in storage is an efficient and stylish help for small living rooms, especially if they provide additional seating.

Look for ottomans with storage, and you can easily sock away blankets, books, and living room clutter. We love shelving units that have open shelving on top but enclosed storage on the bottom. There are even some couches that have storage beneath the seat! End tables are a great way to create more storage. For example, rather than choosing a table with a heavy top and a drawer, choose a side table with a slim top and a second low rack underneath. This open structure allows you enough room for a lamp and a cup of coffee on top, and plenty of room below to keep your reading materials or even your laptop.

Coffee tables are a really challenging (but exciting) opportunity to nail your small space living room layout. Look for a tiered coffee table (one that has a second level of storage), preferably open and not closed. The exception to this is if your side table is against a wall. Otherwise, a glass top or light colored wood can help expand the feeling of space, while still offering more spots to keep things. As a last result, you can just stack things underneath your existing side table or coffee table, whether you have a second shelf or not. Store books, a basket for electronics or blankets — corner shelves are also a great way to utilize otherwise empty space. Say it with us: no more wasted space!

5. Task-based lighting can make a small living room feel large

Luxury cottage living room
How many light sources can you spot? There is a lamp for task lighting by the two arm chairs and another by the keyboard. Plus, see the two mood lights by the sofa and the general light source in the chandelier.

Interior designs are really good at layering lighting. But you can learn how to do it, too! There are several categories of lighting: general, ambient, task, mood, and accent lighting. And don’t forget to incorporate natural light! Think about how you currently use your small space, and let your own living habits to guide your lighting design. Are there areas where you need focused light, perhaps for reading? Are there any special architectural features in your space that could be highlighted with some accent lighting?

Using wall sconces is a great way to free up floor space, but check with the building first about drilling. There are plenty of good temporary options for mounting light fixtures, like stick-on hooks or command strips that could easily hold a minimal light and cord. For general and ambient lighting, look for lamps that direct light upwards and spread the light around the room. But to make the most of small spaces, look for ways to layer your lighting. Layered lighting offers a complexity of texture while also creating specific, private-feeling areas in which to do your tasks.

6. A small living room layout is better with zones

Contemporary dining room with walnut dining table and tufted velvet green dining chairs
This small living room layout features a built in counter, but in a studio space it would be easy to use a low cabinet to create a separate kitchen and living room. By orienting the sofa away from the kitchen, you create a different zone for lounging.

You really can create smaller nooks within a even a small space. Clever furniture arrangements and rug placements help designate specific, separate areas for activities. You could even utilize furniture on wheels if you’re the sort of person who will happily do a bit of rearranging before a party. For example, a bar cart on wheels could move from the living room to the kitchen to make room for guests. A side table with wheels could be moved from beside the couch to in front of it, providing you with a mobile desk when you work from home.

What furniture should you get if you’re in a studio apartment? Look for tall open bookcases like IKEA’s KALLAX line. You can use these to create a separate bedroom zone! The main benefit of open bookcases is that they still let in natural light. They also offer storage from both sides, so you could designate some shelves for living room displays and others for your personal items. Lighting can help you create specific task zones, too (see above). If you’re in a studio apartment or bachelor, use a couch or open shelving to separate the kitchen area from the sleep zone. Low cabinets around the outside of your sofa could even double as a dining table or desk.

7. Invest wisely in essential furniture

Couple watching a movie
Back view of couple watching wildlife movie on television in living room

Our main tip for furnishing any space is to invest in the essential furniture. What do we mean? It’s a good idea to spend more money on pieces you will have for 10+ years, like your sofa and a bed frame. Spend a bit more for higher quality materials and a timeless style.

That means you can afford to spend a bit less on accent pieces, like side tables and lamps. These don’t need to be as durable, and you can feel free to swap them out every few years as your taste changes. If you have kids or pets, you’ll definitely want to invest in durable pieces with storage since smaller pieces may get knocked over or knicked. If you want to know cost specifics, check out our comprehensive post about how to furnish an apartment with price breakdowns.


Specific ideas for your small living room layout

If you want floor plans, check out The Spruce for some cute illustrations of different ways to layout a small living room. Forbes also has some ideas about how to layout furniture in a small living room.

Otherwise, peek through the gallery of ideas for small living room layouts for inspiration!

And if you are relocating and need some help, our company can create a layout for any size space. Our interior designers get you the best deals on high-quality furniture, and they know how to maximize small spaces.

Drop us a line at Furnishr, and we promise to make it worth it!

If you are preparing for a move, you may also like these posts:

How to Move to the United States from Overseas
A Moving Out Checklist: The Painful Furniture Decision

Categories
Airbnb Furnishing Design Tips Featured Furnishing 101

The best home design shows on Netflix: a complete ranking

No matter your home design kink — renovations, home improvement, interior design, or simply snooping on other people’s houses — we’ve got you covered with our complete (and highly unofficial) ranking of the best home design shows on Netflix.

What’s our criteria, you ask?

Our main criteria is whether or not the show is actually enjoyable to watch. As a result, this list includes both binge-watching pleasure and popcorn-throwing criticism in this criteria (but not whether it offers actually useful home design advice). We personally watched at least two episodes from each show listed below. However, not all shows will be available in every region (some are only available in the USA and not in Canada, for instance).

So, cozy up, queue these up, and start scheming about your dream home!

Our team will be waiting on the other side to help with all your furnishing needs. Velvet sofa? Check. Hammock chair? Check. The best home design shows are only the beginning of your journey.

—-> Oh, want a FREE interior design video consultation? Then head here to schedule a 15 minute slot with our designers. All you have to do is show us your house with your smartphone, and we’ll give you actionable design tips for improving your space.

#1. The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes

The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes

In first place, this is the perfect show if you’re interested in architecture and travel. It is the perfect way to start off your home design binge with some inspiration. Each episode features a top-to-bottom exploration of four extraordinary homes around in the world. The unique angle of this show is that the architect is interviewed, along with the owner. Therefore, you’ll get a glimpse into the jungle homes of famous cinematographers, and oceanside dwellings of reclusive designers. Piers Taylor (architect) and Caroline Quentin (a comedian) host the show, and it’s actually delightful to see them explore and revel in each new space. This is definitely one of the best home design shows on Netflix.

#2. Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Netflix - Tidying up with Marie Kondo
Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Now that you’re all fired up and filled up with beautiful imagery, it’s time to ease your transition back into reality. What better way than dear, gentle Marie Kondo? Each episode features Kondo helping someone tidy up their home, and in the process their life. As a result, it’s surprisingly poignant, and it’s a great way to begin growing curiosity and empathy for your stuff. From the grieving widower in a huge messy house to the family cramped in a small apartment, you’ll find tearjerkers and tidying tips in each episode.

#3. Grand Designs

Grand Designs

This show, amazingly, began production in 1994 and is still going strong. It’s hosted by Kevin McCloud and each episode follows people in the process of building their dream home. In addition, this show features a great diversity of locations and designs, and it’s a great peek into the challenges and triumphs of managing a renovation process. However, McCloud can get a bit annoying to watch, especially in the earlier seasons. But it’s worth it to see the family pull through, solve problems, and discover that their house building process is actually a home building process. As far as Netflix’s offerings go, this is one of the best home design shows.

#4. Amazing Interiors

This is an American reality TV show. Keeping that in mind, this show is actually a really sweet reminder that it’s okay to let loose and be yourself in all your weird wackiness. Firstly, each episode features three different spaces that may look ordinary on the outside, but have a uniquely quirky interior hidden within. Secondly, there’s something for everyone, including baseball aficionados, medieval LARPers, and cat-lovers. The home owners are full of passion, and most have no design training whatsoever. In addition, there’s no host or narrator so it’s easy to binge and scrub ahead to the bits you actually want to watch.

#5. Interior Design Masters

Interior Design Masters

This is a British reality TV show, so expect something a bit more refined than the American counterparts. It is honestly so fun and stressful to watch! Amateur interior designers compete against one another for a chance to win a commercial design contract. There is such a huge variety in personality and skillset, and it is nail-biting to watch them try to collaborate and finish their rooms by the deadline. It’s an elimination series, so at the end of each episode they send a designer (or two) home. The briefs are always interesting, and the hosts are encouraging but critical. It’s a great show for sparking your own inner designer. Make sure the fridge is stocked before you start this series, as you’ll want to watch them all in a row.

#6. The Apartment

The Apartment

This is the longest running reality competition show in Asia! It’s a little like Big Brother meets Interior Design Masters. Most the contestants are influencers, not designers. If you like a little drama with your design, then you’ll like this show. It’s worth watching just to immerse yourself in a totally different world where the coveted prize is a luxury apartment in Kuala Lumpur. The details are less important than the drama in this series. Because of that, The Apartment is fun to watch with friends or just to have on in the background while you do other stuff. It wouldn’t normally fall under a best home design show ranking, but it’s too fun to leave out.

#7. The Great Interior Design Challenge

The Great Interior Design Challenge

Similar to Interior Design Masters, this show pits budding interior designers against each other to win a major design contract. But there’s a fun addition to their challenge. In each episode, each designer is surprised last-minute with an object that they must upcycle and then incorporate into their schemes. Like The Great British Bake Off, it is delightful to watch contestants help and encourage one other while under major stress. Judges Sophie Robinson and Daniel Hopwood hit the perfect tone which balances mentorship with tough love. Another one that’s easy to binge watch and shout at, we highly recommend this series as one of the best home design shows on Netflix.

#8. Fix It and Finish It

Fix It and Finish It

This is a home reno show with a heart. Plus, it features the sweet (and easy on the eyes) actor and host Antonio Sabato Jr. As a result, this series is a fun and low-key way to enjoy some rapid-fire transformations and feel-good finishes. It follows the classic TV reno process, even though some spaces are not houses but RVs or cabins. First, homeowners talk about their needs and then a team of builders and contractors swoops in to quickly transform the space. The reveals are nice, but don’t expect to feel highly motivated to take on your own projects after watching this show.

#9. Cabins In the Wild

Cabins In the Wild

This four-episode series has a bit of an odd premise: designers compete to create designs for themed, portable pop-up hotels in the wilderness. For instance, the first episode is all about dragons, where a “cabin built to resemble a dragon’s eye faces off against a dragon’s claw.” If you’re interested in more quirky spaces, or wide open spaces, then you’ll probably like this show. You never know what to expect and the final designs are guaranteed to surprise and delight.

#10. Reno My Reno

Reno My Reno

Pure catharsis. This series features Dave Depencier (and his team) who swoop in to rescue amateur carpenters from their building mistakes. It’s not as mean as it sounds, though. Most of the guests are happy to have help and gracious about learning the correct way to drywall or insulate their cottage. This one is a good mix of practical reno tips, non-toxic masculinity, and a good ole dose of DIY spirit. The best part of Reno My Reno is that the original ideas come from the owners themselves, and the hosts are just there to help them bring their dreams to life.

#11. Instant Hotel

Instant Hotel

An Australian reality TV show, Instant Hotel is a competition where homeowners have to turn their homes into instant hotels. Having someone else live in our homes is an idea which most of us have considered at some point, whether for income purposes or the pure satisfaction of offering good hospitality and design. However, this show takes it to a whole new level. TV Guide described Instant Hotel as one of the “pettiest” reality shows — so if you’re in the mood for that, then buckle up and get ready to cackle and groan. Everyone’s a little bit annoying, and the points and the judging structure are illogical. But if you like your design shows to have a bit of personality, then check out Instant Hotel.

#12. Stay Here

Stay Here

Okay, we know this is a controversial last-place ranking, as a lot of people actually love this show. Stay Here is about makeovers, or how to turn a space into a profit-generator. It features well-known designer Genevieve Gorder from Trading Spaces, and it’s one part design show and one part business consultation. That being said, the home design element of Stay Here is actually quite weak. Most of the makeovers are quite quick and simplistic, and geared towards curb appeal and making money quick from the mass market. Frankly, it made my stomach turn to see someone get so little joy from design and focus so much on making a profit. If you want to transform a space of your own, you’ll find actionable tips on this show. But if you want to be delighted by innovative design and ingenious creativity, you may want to look elsewhere.

Honorary Mentions

In addition, we couldn’t fail to mention these delightful shows, which don’t fit squarely into the ‘home design’ niche.

Check out these FIVE shows if you’re a sucker for transformation, both personal and literal.

Every series is highly enjoyable and easy to watch. You’ll be left with a natural high and a gentle determination to transform the world, starting with yourself.

Love Your Garden

“Alan Titchmarsh surprises deserving people across Britain with transformations to their outdoor living spaces. Alan and his team of experts nurture neglected grounds and turn them into stunning gardens while shoveling out handy hints and advice.”

Big Dreams, Small Spaces

“Monty Don works with amateur gardeners to help them create the garden of their dreams.”

Queer Eye

“More than a decade after the original series went off the air, Netflix reboots the “Queer Eye” franchise with a new Fab Five and a new setting, trading in the concrete jungle of New York City for communities in and around Atlanta. The style experts forge relationships with men and women who often have different beliefs from them, leading to moments of social commentary interspersed with style advice. Advising people in need of lifestyle makeovers are food and wine specialist Antoni Porowski, interior designer Bobby Berk, grooming consultant Jonathan Van Ness, fashion designer Tan France and culture expert Karamo Brown, who reality TV fans may recognize as one of the housemates on “The Real World: Philadelphia.”

How to Live Mortgage Free with Sarah Beeny

“Sarah Beeny meets inspiring people who’ve escaped mortgages quickly by using some clever and simple tricks.”

Money for Nothing

“Winner of `The Great Interior Design Challenge’, Sarah Moore gets brought into more renovation projects on the show ‘Money for Nothing’. In this series, Moore meets different people up and down the UK who are throwing out what they consider to be worthless goods. In each episode, the designer takes three of these worn-out, overused goods and gives them a new life. The items are transformed beyond recognition and given a bespoke edge, which in turn gives them a higher value. Any profit made on the products sold is returned to the original owners.”


Feeling inspired?

Once you’re done binge-watching, get a custom room design from our interior designers with all your fave prints and textures.

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9 Surprisingly Insightful Quotes About Furniture

We spend so much time around our furniture, but we don’t really consider how deeply it impacts our lives. Whether it’s hand-me-down or fancy that you scrimped and saved for, we think it’s worth celebrating the role furniture has in improving our quality of life. After all, every piece of furniture has a story and a supporting role in your life. So here are 9 quotes about furniture to inspire you.

Do you have any meaningful pieces of furniture? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Share a picture, if you like!

Furniture and food are ways that people define their attitude toward life. – Terence Conran

It’s simple – by choosing which foods and furniture to have in your life, you’re really articulating a life philosophy. For example, if you only have slouchy gray chairs, you might need a little jolt of energy in your life. If you eat delicious, nourishing, and varied meals for breakfast, then you’re saying you have a zest for life! This quote about furniture is really a quote about making a choice about how to live your life. Choosing the right furniture can help you live the life of your dreams!

Couple assembling furniture together
Couple Putting Together Self Assembly Furniture In New Home

Your home should be a story of who you are, and be a collection of what you love.
Nate Berkus

Too many people shy away from bold, wacky statements in their home. And that’s, well, because they’re afraid of being seen as bold and wacky! But what if that’s who you really are? Your home is the one space in the world that you’re allowed to curate totally for yourself. You’re the #1 decider, and you’re the #1 priority. It’s okay for your space to be a reflection of what you love.

Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future. – Robert Peters

Have you ever noticed that certain rooms just feel really oppressive and unwelcoming? Or places that feel really exciting at first, but then feel overwhelming? That’s not entirely by accident. For instance, in the fast food industry, primary colors are used in the interiors of restaurants to encourage people to eat faster and move out quicker, increasing their bottom line. Waiting rooms in places like the DMV are designed to be calming and neutral, but they usually just come off as outdated and ignored. When we can consciously use design as a tool to shape culture, we can achieve powerful things.

The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life. – Marie Kondo

If you don’t know who Marie Kondo is, head on over to Netflix and watch her show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Her philosophy is all about sparking joy and getting yourself organized in a way that frees up space and energy to live your best life. Too often, the things around us are just holdovers from other times in our lives. We’ve all been there, holding onto that worn out IKEA couch from college, or staring at that concert poster from 2010 on the wall. Of course, it’s totally reasonable to want to save money and enjoy things from the past if they truly spark joy. But with this quote about furniture, Marie Kondo is asking us to think deeper. How do you want to live your life? Based on your answer, you’ll start to figure out what you want to own.

Living room with gallery in NYC

Furniture is meant to be used and enjoyed. – Natalie Morales

We’ve all seen those showroom posts on Instagram, where it looks like the furniture has never been used. Who are these people?! In real life, furniture should be a daily part of your life. If you’re not using in, then why is it there? No need to rush off and tell your Grandma to get rid of the fancy couches that no one is allowed to sit on. But it is important to think about if your furniture is serving you. If it looks good but you can’t enjoy it because it’s too high or too big, then it’s not really serving you. An interior designer can help you think about through this in advance.

a group of young people sit together in a living room

Have nothing in your house which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.
– William Morris

This quote about furniture also applies to decor. It should either serve you, or inspire you, otherwise you should pass it on. If that sorting system scares you, just think of it this way. The more you get rid of, the more space you’re creating for truly beautiful and useful objects!

minimalist spacious living space

Underneath all I design lies the solid belief that beauty is a positive force. – Barbara Barry

The discipline of design is a blend of practicality and aspiration. Designers are always trying to make something more useful, and also more beautiful, than it was before. Beauty is a key ingredient in life, and too many people forget that. Practicality without beauty is just boring! Which makes you more excited to eat dinner, a white dining table and a plain white wall, or a gorgeous purple table and a large-scale colorful map of the world? You don’t have to make dramatic changes to your space to introduce small moments of beauty.

a full size world map adorns the wall behind a purple dining table

We need objects to remind us of the commitments we’ve made. All designed objects are propaganda for a way of life. – Alain de Botton

Consider the wedding ring. In older times, rings were exchanged to mark wives as property. But nowadays? They are seen as symbols of love and commitment. People choose to wear them to physicalize their commitment to their partner and remember the love they have chosen. Everything around us is, as this quote about furniture says, “propaganda for a way of life.” What is your furniture currently asking of you?

a green tile fireplace is in the middle of a room with armchair and bookshelves on either side

Design is coming to grips with one’s real lifestyle, one’s real place in the world. Rooms should not be put together for show but to nourish one’s well-being. – Albert Hadley

Ah, well-being. It’s a value that designers often forget about. How you ever been to a fancy restaurant where everything looks gorgeous but the lights are way too bright and the chairs are actually really uncomfortable? It’s possible to design a space that is beautiful as well as nourishing to your well-being. In fact, when your room design centers you, your health, and your personal goals, your space will actually be more beautiful because it’s tailored just for you.

a white couple lounges together on a bed with a guitar nearby

We hope you enjoyed these quotes about furniture!

If you’re inspired and want to see more furniture inspo, visit us @Furnishr on Instagram. Or if you want to see what your custom room would look like, give us a call! Our design team can help you enjoy your dream home, set up for you in just a day.