Sofas, couches, davenports – What’s the difference?

I’m sure many of you grew up like I did thinking that sofas, couches and davenports were all the same thing. I’ve always thought they were synonyms you could use interchangeably and that certain regions in the U.S. preferred one word over the other, much like soda vs. pop. You can imagine my surprise, though, when I discovered that the words sofa, couch and davenport in fact have three separate meanings.

Couches

Fainting couch

Photo credit: South Shore Decorating Blog

Although invented prior to this time, couches became very popular in the Victorian era when they were referred to as a “fainting couch.” Couches during the Victorian period were usually armless and most often used by women wearing corsets who needed a resting place to catch their breath.

Sofas

Emerald Home Furnishings Grey Carleton Nail Head Sofa Sofa is said to have come from the Arabic term “suffah.” Originally, the word was used to describe a bench with arms and cushions. It was designed just for sitting, while the couch was created for both sitting and lying.

Davenports

Davenport

Photo credit: Spanish Hills

The word davenport actually describes a specific type of sofa, made by the manufacturing company A. H. Davenport and Company. Davenports were similar to futons, as they could be converted into a bed. Today it’s hard to tell the difference between a couch, sofa and davenport. While doing research, I came across numerous definitions and opinions that often contradicted each other. For example, some agree that sofas are more formal than couches and are mostly used for special occasions. Others say size matters and that sofas are typically larger than couches. The word davenport is often used to describe any sleeper-sofa, regardless of the manufacturing company. Additionally, many have decided that their former definitions no longer hold true and the three terms can be used interchangeably. What about you? Do you use the words couch, sofa and davenport to describe different pieces of furniture, or do you use one word over the others due to your upbringing? Tell us your story! By Wendy Weinert

3 ways to love your new studio apartment

Moving into a studio apartment might be a breath of fresh air for those looking to escape the roommate lifestyle. But for many, it’s a shocking change – especially those who like to live large. With the right attitude, some time and a few adjustments, I’ve found that it’s easy to love a small space. Here’s what to do so you can love yours.

Photo credit: homedit

Photo credit: homedit

Simplify

I know it’s hard to part ways with clothes and miscellaneous items that you’ve collected over the years, but getting rid of the things you don’t need is necessary (unless you didn’t have much stuff to begin with). People who don’t like their studio apartments often complain of clutter and little space. Simplifying will prevent you from becoming one of those people.

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Hurry Home, Honey

Downsize

Do you really need a king bed and over-sized sofa, or could you do just fine with smaller alternatives? Downsize your furniture to match the size of your apartment. Not only will it provide more room, but the furniture will then be scaled more appropriately to the space.

Room divider

Photo credit: Apartment Therapy

Define

Much like an open floor plan (only much less spacious), studio apartments generally combine the dining area, entrance, living room and bedroom in one large room. Set up furniture and accessories strategically to create clearly defined areas. If you want some privacy in the bedroom area, I’ve found a decorative screen divider or a large shelving unit will make for a great “wall.”

You’ve always said you wanted to simplify and get organized and here’s your chance! You may need some time to adjust, but I’m sure you’ll soon come to love your new studio apartment.

By Wendy Weinert

Create a cozy reading nook in your home

Curling up with a good book in a cozy spot is a great way to spend a rainy day…or any type of day for that matter. While I can always get comfortable in bed or on the sofa, there’s something about a reading nook that I find luxurious and pleasant. It makes for a great reading experience, whether you prefer Jane Austin classics or are rushing to finish the Game of Thrones series. Try creating a reading nook in your own home with these five essentials. Trust me, you’ll never want to go back to reading in bed again.

1. A comfortable seat for lounging

Comfortable chair in reading nook

Photo credit: Lisa McDennon Design

The size and shape of your chair or bench will depend on your own reading preferences, but comfort is key. Without a comfortable seat, you’ll be forced to move right as you’re getting to the good part in the story!

2. Seclusion

Secluded Reading Nook with curtains

Photo credit: Pinterest

Reading in a secluded spot will help prevent distractions and make it easier for you to get lost in the book. Consider hanging up a stylish curtain to create an environment better suited for reading.

3. Proper lighting

Add light to your reading nook

Photo credit: Pinterest

Inadequate lighting can cause eye strain and headaches. If your nook is located directly by a window, you may not need much task lighting. Otherwise, consider installing a lamp, wall sconce or pendant light fixture.

4. Blankets

Reading nook with blankets

Photo credit: Pinterest

It doesn’t feel right to curl up without a blanket. In the summer, opt for a light blanket that you can use to feel cozy without becoming hot. Replace the blanket with a thicker alternative as the weather becomes chilly.

5. Shelving

Reading nook with shelving

Photo credit: Pinterest

A book shelf in your reading nook is convenient. It allows you to choose a book or switch authors without actually leaving the area.

There are a lot of different ways to design a reading nook, but these five essentials will ensure your space is comfortable and functional.

By Wendy Weinert

The tiny house movement: what it is and why it’s so popular

Tiny house

Photo credit: Hooked on Houses

Lately I’ve been hearing or reading a lot about “tiny houses” (also called “small houses”). It has made me curious, so I wanted to take the time to learn more about what these tiny houses are and why so many people are talking about them.

It seems that a tiny house is exactly what its name implies. Several sources define a tiny house as being less than 1,000 square feet, but that’s generous considering many who build or buy one choose to go as small as 400 square feet or less. Although the new trend is in no way taking over, the small house movement is growing in popularity; many Americans are now choosing to downsize or start their life in these tiny homes.

Floor plans of a tiny house

251 sq. ft. of living space
Photo credit: Hooked on Houses

The question is, “Why?” Why are people choosing to live their lives in such small spaces? Well, there are many reasons, but the biggest ones are because of financial concerns, environmental impact and the desire for freedom. Tiny homes are a much more affordable and sustainable living solution, and many people use them to travel. They are, after all, a much more comfortable way of moving from place to place than an RV.

Although I’m not ready to pack up my home and move into a tiny house just yet, I think there is a lot of good in the movement. It’s an adjustment for sure, but many creative architects and designers have managed to make their small houses feel open and even spacious. It’s all about choosing your furniture and accessories carefully. A futon, for example, can be a great substitute for a couch or sofa in one of these tiny houses, as they are typically smaller and serve a dual purpose. When decorating, look for accessories that make an impact so you can still enjoy style with less decor.

Kichler small ceiling fan

Perfect ceiling fan for a small space

 

What are your thoughts on the tiny house movement? Do you think you could live in such a limited space? Write a comment and let us know!

By Wendy Weinert

 

How to create a welcoming porch

I don’t know about you, but I want my home to feel welcoming to guests. A welcoming home means that friends and family will feel more comfortable during a visit and may even mean that they will be anticipating their next stay! While every room in the home can be decorated to feel inviting, the best place to start is actually outside, since the front porch is the first “room” guests will see. Here are some of my favorite ideas for welcoming guests into a home:

Porch_Livingroomset_Club-4

Offer a seat

I like to think of the front porch as being an outdoor living room, where you can socialize with close friends and family while enjoying the nice weather. A porch swing is a popular choice for kids and adults alike, but if your space isn’t big enough you can also seat guests on a smaller patio chair.

 

porch blog- rug

Photo credit: Pinterest

Make it cozy with a rug

A rug instantly makes any room I’m in feel more cozy. You probably use a rug to cozy up the living room, so why not do the same for the front porch? A welcome mat can also look inviting, especially if you’re working with limited space.

 

porch blog- lighting 2

Photo credit: Pinterest

Add light for nighttime

It’s hard to create a welcoming vibe when your front porch is completely dark. Plus, evenings are often the best time to enjoy a front porch – when the weather isn’t so hot. Try using a couple of outdoor wall lights to invite guests outdoors.

 

porch blog- painted door

Photo credit: Pinterest

Paint the door

You don’t have to paint the front door to make it welcoming, but I love the idea of a a bright-colored door! If you have a small front porch, this can be an easy way to add color and style without cluttering the area.

 

porch blog- final touches

Photo credit: Pinterest

Complete the look with a few final touches

A couple of potted plants, a few accent pillows on your swinging chair and a hanging sign on the door – these types of finishing touches are perfect for tying the welcoming look together.

Does your front porch invite people into your home? If not, try out a few of these welcoming ideas!

By Wendy Weinert

Bring personality to your dining room by mixing and matching chairs

 

Mismatched dining chairs

Photo credit: Pinterest

 

Who says your dining chairs have to match? While it’s perfectly okay to purchase a dining table and chairs as a set, you could be missing an opportunity to create a unique look for your space. Mixing and matching chairs allows you to add some fun and personality to your dining room, which is especially useful if you don’t have a lot of space to decorate.

Keep in mind as you mix chairs that there still needs to be a unifying element tying them together. Here are four unifying characteristics to consider:

Color

Even if every chair around your table consists of a different design, the overall look will still appear put together and intentional if they all feature the same color. It may be difficult to find chairs that all have the exact same shade, but you can always paint them if the chairs aren’t upholstered.

Mismatched blue dining chairs

Photo credit: Pinterest

Material 

Just like with color, you can place different chairs in the dining room that are made up of the same material, such as wood, to create a unique, cohesive look. You don’t even have to use just chairs. Consider placing a bench on one or more sides of the table and let guests be impressed by your creativity.

Mismatched wood dining chairs

Photo credit: Pinterest

Patterns

If you prefer upholstered chairs, look for different chairs that feature the same pattern. For example, if you like stripes, you can surround your table with chairs that all have the same striped pattern. Or you can mix striped chairs with chairs that have no pattern at all to keep the look from appearing too busy overall.

Mismatched upholstered chairs featuring the same pattern

Photo credit: Pinterest

Style

Every decorating style consists of unique elements, so use those elements to mix and match your dining chairs. For a traditional dining room, you can use the style’s characteristics – such as detailed carvings and dark wood tones – to find unity among your chairs. If you have a modern dining room, seek out chairs that are simple and sleek.

Modern mismatched chairs

Photo credit: Pinterest

If your dining room is lacking the excitement you would like, have some fun mixing and matching dining chairs to create visual interest. With a quirky setup, you’ll never have to worry about your style being bland or predictable!

By Wendy Weinert

 

The trend that’s here to stay: ombre and interior design

The trend that's here to stay: ombre and interior design

Photo credit: Etsy

Ombre became a popular trend on the runway last year and now the look can be seen everywhere, from hair styles to cake designs and even interior design. The word ombre describes when colors gradually fade into each other, usually from light to dark. For example, in fashion you might see an ombre skirt that starts white but gradually shifts shades into bright pink. This popular trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and it’s easy to see why. The look can be casual, sophisticated or simply fun depending on the colors you choose and the shading technique used. Here are some ideas for incorporating ombre into your own home’s interior design.

1. Paint the walls 

If you want to go bold, an ombre wall is the way to go. You may have to hire a professional to get the look just right, or you could also consider hanging up ombre wallpaper. If you like the dip-dye look but would rather make a subtle statement, start with a dark color of your choice on the bottom. Have it gradually change to a lighter shade within that same color family, rather than white.

The trend that's here to stay: ombre and interior design

2. Incorporate ombre with bedding or curtains

You might like ombre now, but if you think you’d only enjoy it for a year or two, try to incorporate the look into accessories that can be switched out easily, such as your curtains or bedspread. Decorating with trendy accessories allows you to keep your home up to date on all of the latest styles.

The trend that's here to stay: ombre and interior design

3. Update your furniture

Even furniture can feature the ombre style. Add a new chair in the living room that features the dip-dye style or give an old dresser new life by following this fun DIY ombre project.

Ombre may be the latest craze, but it doesn’t look like it’s going out of style anytime soon. Use any of these ideas to freshen up your home with ombre and give your space a new look!

By Wendy Weinert

9 things you don’t want for a “Home Sweet Home”

9 things you don't want for a "Home Sweet Home"

Turning a house into a home takes time, but the end result is worth the effort. When you feel at home in your space, it becomes a place of refuge. A place where you can go to feel relaxed, happy and refreshed. Allow yourself to enjoy a “Home Sweet Home” by focusing on your interior’s setup and avoiding these nine design problems.

1. Bad lighting: Lighting should always be one of the first elements of the room’s design that you consider. Use multiple light sources in each room to create a space that is well lit without being too harsh.

2. Uncomfortable furniture: With so many designs available today, you should never have to sacrifice comfort for style.

3. Tacky wall art: The wall art you bought in college may have been fine for dorm life, but it just looks cheap and tacky hanging in your nice home. Replace it with a more sophisticated alternative, or use wallpaper to add visual interest.

4. A cluttered interior: A cluttered home will make you feel stressed. Make sure every personal belonging has its place and get rid of unnecessary junk.

5. Cheap furnishings: You might save some money on the initial purchase, but cheap furniture will wear down more quickly, forcing you to replace it more often. Instead, invest in quality pieces you can enjoy for a long time.

9 things you don't want for a "Home Sweet Home"

6. An undecided style: Your home looks traditional, but there are some contemporary elements that stick out. Choose a particular style that you want your home to represent and stick to it when purchasing new furniture or decor.

7. A cramped space: Clutter isn’t the only culprit of feeling cramped in your space. Paint small rooms light colors and use mirrors to make them appear larger.

9 things you don't want for a "Home Sweet Home"

8. An unwelcoming entryway: You want to feel happy every time you walk through your front door. Make sure it is well lit, and add a few decorative pieces to create a cheerful appearance.

9. A catalog design: Instead of setting up your room to match the store’s catalog, use your unique style to guide your purchase decisions. Setting up a home to reflect your personality is the easiest way to turn your house into home sweet home.

By Wendy Weinert

5 traditional decor pieces made unique

You’ve set up a coffee table in front of the sofa, a pendant light is hung up over your kitchen island and a large area rug is covering your hardwood floors. In interior design, there are many patterns that homeowners follow when setting up their space. While these unwritten guidelines can help you design a functional space, they can also make your home appear too predictable if you’re not careful. Spice up your bland interior with these five traditional decor items. Although the products themselves are not unique, the designs are; in fact, they just might give your home the personality it needs to stand out.

5 traditional decor pieces made unique
1. Arteriors Home Vern Rusted Iron and Jute Rope Wrapped Lamp

With jute rope featured on the base, this design puts a nautical twist on the traditional table lamp. Now you can get the task lighting you need in the bedroom or living room and still give your space an interesting look.

5 traditional decor pieces made unique

2. Troy Sausalito Five-Light Drum Pendant    

Almost every kitchen that has an island also has a pendant light above it. This light fixture gives the traditional linen-shade pendant a boost by adding an elegant iron cage finished in silver and gold tones.

5 traditional decor pieces made unique

3. Modway Furniture Transparent Coffee Table in Clear  

Forget about the traditional wooden coffee table. If you have a modern or contemporary interior, use this glass table to enhance the style and add a unique element to the room.

5 traditional decor pieces made unique

4.  2-Day Designs Wine Barrel Side Table  

Furniture with history always makes a great conversation piece. Combining old-world charm and modern lines, this former wine barrel has been re-purposed into a beautiful accent table to give your home personality.

5 traditional decor pieces made unique

5. Surya Rugs Fallon Gray Rectangular  

Large traditional area rugs often feature elaborate details and a variety of rich colors. This elegant rug instead has a simple design and a two-tone color scheme to fit in with contemporary homes.old world charm

Does your interior look the same as every one else’s? A few great unique pieces here and there can be just what your space needs to gain a fresh new look and impress your friends.

 

By Wendy Weinert

 

10 simple ways to reduce waste in your home

10 simple ways to reduce waste in your home

Lowering your impact on the environment by reducing waste in the home is easier than you think. Start by incorporating just a few of these 10 strategies into your home life and continue by adding more when you’re ready. Before you know it, these waste-reducing tips will become second nature.

1. Buy in bulk whenever possible and you won’t need to throw away as much non-recyclable packaging.

10 simple ways to reduce waste in your home

2. Illuminate your home with LED lights. They last much longer than alternative solutions.

10 simple ways to reduce waste in your home

3. Get creative and repurpose old furniture and household items. Using items in unique ways will give your home character.

10 simple ways to reduce waste in your home

4. Have less furniture and invest in quality pieces. The less surface space you have, the less space you have to accumulate junk. And by investing in quality furniture, you won’t have to keep replacing worn-out or damaged pieces over and over again in the future.

10 simple ways to reduce waste in your home

5. Supply your home with bedding and rugs made from natural fibers, such as bamboo or wool.

6. Take your thermos to the coffee shop. Most cafes will happily fill your thermos with coffee, and you might even save a few cents in the process.

7. Bring your own reusable bag to the store. You’ll be grateful later when you don’t have an overflow of plastic bags anymore.

10 simple ways to reduce waste in your home

8. Make your own cleaning supplies. Many brand-name cleaning supplies use a small number of ingredients such as white vinegar and baking soda.

9. Eat more whole foods instead of packaged products. Eating a frozen dinner everyday results in a lot of waste. Make it a goal to cook more often, and when buying packaged food, buy in bulk.

10. Reuse gift bags and tissue paper. You can even reuse wrapping paper if you open presents carefully!

You don’t have to change your whole life to be more green. These waste-reducing strategies are easy to incorporate into your lifestyle, and they will help make you more environmentally conscious in other aspects of your daily life.

By Wendy Weinert