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

Cozy up your space with a cottage-style interior

During the summer season, people often head to their cottage or cabin to take a break from the ordinary and enjoy a relaxing weekend. With the right interior design, you can enjoy that cottage-like coziness in your home every day. Consider these five decorating tips to get started.

Cozy up your space with a cottage-style interior

1. Bring the outdoors in 

Cottages are typically set up in a quiet, scenic area. Even if you live in a large city, you can use natural elements and decor to enjoy the soothing qualities of the outdoors. Find furniture made from materials such as wicker and decorate your home with fresh flowers to design a space that allows you to feel relaxed.

Cozy up your space with a cottage-style interior

2. Find a few antiques 

The wicker chairs you use in the living room will lend a casual, cozy feel to your interior. You can take the look further with antique furniture or accessories that you’ve received as a family heirloom or found at a local antique store. A few antiques here and there will also add an elegant touch to the cottage look.

Cozy up your space with a cottage-style interior

3. Layer with blankets, rugs and pillows

In order for your home to feel like a cottage, it needs to be cozy. Use a combinations of throw blankets, rugs and accent pillows wherever you can to add warmth in the rooms and to create a comfortable space.

Cozy up your space with a cottage-style interior

4. Throw in a splash of color

The cottage style typically consists of neutral, light colors. You can, of course, add a pop of color to liven up a room or make it appear more cheerful. Incorporate a color that makes you happy, such as yellow or blue, into accessories like your pillows or a lamp.

Cozy up your space with a cottage-style interior

5. Add a fireplace

Nothing adds coziness to a home better than a fireplace, and it doesn’t have to be the middle of winter to enjoy one. Install a fireplace in the living room for the whole family to enjoy on a chilly night.

Wish you could get away for a weekend? What if you could rejuvenate right at home? With a cottage-style interior, you can feel cozy and relaxed any day of the wee

By Wendy Weinert

 

The best color choices for every room

When it comes to selecting colors for decorating your space, it’s important to carefully consider your options. The colors you choose will not only add style to your space and bring out your personality, they actually can impact your mood, too! Use this guide to help you choose the right color for the various rooms in your home.

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Kitchen: The kitchen is a highly functional space where you probably clean, cook and socialize. More than likely, it’s not a room where you go to relax. Try adding small doses of yellow in the room, which can help make you feel happy and energized. Just be careful not to overdo it; too much yellow in one room can often feel overwhelming.

The best color choices for every room

Photo credit: Branca Interiors

Dining room: Along with yellow, red makes a great color choice for dining rooms. Red is a very stimulating color and encourages healthy appetites along with conversations and excitement. This is good if you like to entertain guests frequently or use the dining room for nightly family meals.

The best color choices for every room

Photo credit: House to House

Living room: The color you decorate your living room might depend on how you want to feel in that particular space. Lavender makes a good choice if you want the living room to feel calming and welcoming. If you want a more stimulating environment, however, red is the better choice.

Bedroom: The bedroom is a space where you should be able to relax, sleep and rejuvenate, which means loud colors like red and orange should not be used. Green is the perfect color for the bedroom, and it’s actually so versatile that it can be used in almost any room of the house. It is calming, refreshing and warm all at the same time.

The best color choices for every room

Home office: If you often work from home, it’s important that you are able to be productive. The best color for home offices is blue, which has been said to help people concentrate and boost productivity.

This guide, of course, is flexible and does not have to be followed exactly. It can help you, make wiser choices, however, when it comes time to decorate your space so you can feel happier and more content in your home.

By Wendy Weinert

Regret your new furniture purchase? Here’s how to deal with it.

Regret your new furniture purchase? Here’s how to deal

After spending weeks browsing different options, you’ve finally chosen the perfect chair for your living room. Or so you thought. Now that you’ve actually put it in your living room, the chair doesn’t seem so perfect anymore. Regretting a new furniture purchase is a common occurrence and many people immediately want to return the item. The best solution, however, for dealing with regret is a bit surprising: wait for the feeling to pass.

Regret your new furniture purchase? Here’s how to deal

How many times have you gotten a haircut and at first were unsure about the new style, but eventually you grew to love it? The same situation often occurs after buying new furniture. Change is hard to adapt to, so even if your new furniture works – possibly even better than what you had previously – it may take you some time to realize it and adjust.

Regret your new furniture purchase? Here’s how to deal

Photo credit: Maisonboheme

Any new furniture, whether it’s a light fixture or a rug, can cause you to question your purchase decision. There are certain factors, though, that might make the adjustment even more difficult. If you incorporate a bold new color, pattern or print into a room, for example, you’ll need more time to get used to it than if you had just went with something basic and low-key. You’ll also find that size can influence how you feel about your new purchase. If you’re replacing one furniture item with something much larger, you’re likely at first to feel that the new piece looks out of place due to its larger size.

In general, the best way to handle your buyer’s regret is to give yourself enough time to adjust. You can also gather second opinions from friends and family who don’t live in your home and therefore can be more objective. More than likely, you’ll find that the new item not only works, but that you actually love having it in your home.

By Wendy Weinert

Designer spotlight: Diego Rincon helps clients’ tell their story with design

If a stranger were to walk into your home, what would that person learn about you based on your interior design? Every home should tell a story, and putting together that story is exactly what interior designer Diego Rincon loves to do best.

Designer spotlight: Diego Rincon helps clients’ tell their story with design

The designer was recently featured in Rue Magazine, where he shares what influenced him to enter the world of interior design. According to the article, Rincon was inspired to study architecture after admiring his grandparents’ house in Colombia, which his grandfather had designed himself. Clearly, a knack for creating beautiful spaces runs in the family, because after following his dreams, Rincon now owns his own company named Diego Alejandro Design, and has offices both in Manhattan and Miami.

Designer spotlight: Diego Rincon helps clients’ tell their story with design

Diego Alejandro: New York City Loft

Now a big-time designer, Rincon helps clients create homes that are comfortable, beautiful and intriguing. One of the most interesting aspects about Rincon’s work is his ability to turn a space into the story of a person’s life. A sofa or a lamp might just be pieces of furniture to you, but to Rincon, every piece of furniture has something to say, and can help turn a space into a reflection of who you are and where you’ve been. In the article, the designer talks about his favorite project, a two-story loft he put together for an advertising executive. While Rincon drew inspirations from his own life and places that he lived, he said that overall, “the space reflects the stories of my client’s life – where he’s been, what he’s done, and what he’s seen.”

Designer spotlight: Diego Rincon helps clients’ tell their story with design

Diego Alejandro: Meridian 5, Miami

Everyone has a story to tell, and using design to create a narrative is one of Rincon’s favorite things to do. In the article, Rincon stated “I love when someone asks me to design a space that’s personal and uniquely them.”

Designer spotlight: Diego Rincon helps clients’ tell their story with design

Diego Alejandro: Santa Marta, Columbia

You might not be able to hire a big-time designer like Diego Rincon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a space that is unique to you. Whenever you look at a new piece of artwork, or are trying to decide on a new sofa, look to see how you can tell your story through design.

By Wendy Weinert

Mad about ‘Mad Men’s’ midcentury modern design: how to bring the look to your own home

Mad about 'Mad Men’s' midcentury modern design: how to bring the look to your own home

Dapper suits, cocktails and advertising – who’s ready for “Mad Men” to start up again?  The seventh and final season of AMC’s award-winning series, which starts on Sunday, April 13, will bring back everyone’s favorite characters, dramas and, of course, that incredible midcentury modern style.

Mad about 'Mad Men’s' midcentury modern design: how to bring the look to your own home

Mad Men set

As its name suggests, midcentury modern was first popular from the early 1950s to about 1970 and, when the look went out of style, only hardcore design enthusiasts remained appreciative fans. But that’s all changed now. Ever since “Mad Men” first started in 2007, viewers have been fawning over the show’s sophisticated set and, thankfully, characteristics of the midcentury modern style have now made their way back into people’s homes.

Interested in bringing a little of that “Mad Men” style into your own home? Here are some general rules to keep in mind.

Mad about 'Mad Men’s' midcentury modern design: how to bring the look to your own home

Photo credit: Modern Constructs

Less is more

This style does not encourage over-accessorizing or ornate detailing. Look for furniture pieces that feature clean lines and simple forms and choose your accent décor carefully. While less is more in midcentury modern, don’t be fooled into thinking that the look is boring. This style is all about making an impact with fewer pieces.

Mad about 'Mad Men’s' midcentury modern design: how to bring the look to your own home

Make a statement with light fixtures

Like I said before, it’s important that you make every piece count and this style especially loves to make a statement with light fixtures. Look for pendants or chandeliers with clean, geometric lines that help dramatize your space and bring it to life.

Mad about 'Mad Men’s' midcentury modern design: how to bring the look to your own home

Contrast neutrals with bright colors

Natural, earthy hues are a staple in midcentury modern design, but it’s essential that the look is completed with a few strong colors in each room. Add pops of color to your space with bold wall art, throw pillows or curtains.

You don’t have to get your midcentury modern fix just by watching “Mad Men.” The best part about midcentury modern furniture is that you can pair pieces with other common styles to create a look that shows influences of the past, but still fits in with this decade.

By Wendy Weinert

Jimmy Fallon’s art deco studio on ‘The Tonight Show’ and how to get the look in your home

Jimmy Fallon’s art deco studio on ‘The Tonight Show’ and how to get the look in your home

Art deco may have been a popular interior design style during the mid-1920s to 1940s, but the strong style is making a comeback. Just tune into “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and you’ll see just how captivating the art deco style can be. Fallon’s new art deco influenced studio set makes a stunning statement that you simply can’t help admiring – and envying.

While Fallon’s new studio is certainly impressive, there’s no need to be jealous. You may not be from the 1920s or host “The Tonight Show,” but you can still create a striking art deco look just by incorporating these characteristics in your home:

Jimmy Fallon’s art deco studio on ‘The Tonight Show’ and how to get the look in your home

Photo credit: Man Made Home

Eye-catching colors and contrasts

If you watched the premiere of “The Tonight Show,” you might have been laughing along with Fallon’s goofy jokes during the opening monologue. More than likely, you were also noticing the vibrant blue, floor-length curtain behind him. The Art Deco style is all about making a statement, so decorate your home with deep, bright colors and contrast them with metallic colors like gold, silver, or chrome.

Jimmy Fallon’s art deco studio on ‘The Tonight Show’ and how to get the look in your home

Bold geometric shapes

Soft floral prints have no place in an art deco space. Remember the city skyline backdrop behind Fallon’s desk? While you don’t have to decorate your home with skyscrapers, you can give your space an art deco feel with accessories that feature geometric designs like a throw pillow or a piece of artwork.

Jimmy Fallon’s art deco studio on ‘The Tonight Show’ and how to get the look in your home

Photo credit: gettype

Streamlined furniture

When choosing furniture, look for modern pieces that are streamlined and feature a no-nonsense design. Keep in mind that the art deco look is strong, so you want your furniture to be without frills. Furniture that features sleek, strong curved lines is perfect in an art deco setting.

Jimmy Fallon’s new studio is stunning to look at, so why not make a statement in your home as well? By incorporating some of the more common art deco characteristics in your home’s interior design, you can also create a space that is both captivating and elegant

By Wendy Weinert

Small space? Make sure your furniture is the right scale.

Living in a small space can feel frustrating at times, but it doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy great furniture. Any home, whether it is a tiny apartment or a large mansion can be furnished for style, convenience and organization without becoming overcrowded. You just have to select the right size furniture for each room.

living room with sofas, coffee table, and television

When it comes to selecting furniture for small spaces, scale is everything. Rather than decorating your tiny living room with a large, overstuffed sofa, choose from furniture that is smaller in scale to match your room’s size. When your furniture is the right size, everything else in your interior design will fall into place more easily.

white living room

Photo credit: Coastal Home

Not only should furniture match the size of your room, but every piece of furniture you have should also be in proportion to the others. If your bedroom has a gigantic, king-sized bed paired with a really small desk, the overall design will not look very put-together.

New rustics furniture company end table

Determining whether a table or cabinet will be the right size for your space can sometimes be tricky. Sure you can just start buying and hope for the best. You might, however, regret this decision once you realize the furniture isn’t the right size and the room just doesn’t feel right. Everything that is too big will have to be returned and you will be back to square one.

 dark colored rug with two chairs

A great way to prevent buying the wrong size furniture is to measure your space first. Using a tape measure, determine how much square footage you have to work with and keep in mind general “rule of thumbs” for setting up furniture. For example, if you plan to get a dining room rug, it should extend 24″ beyond the table. If you want a rug underneath your bed, make sure you have enough space to purchase a rug that is 18-24″ wider and longer on all sides. So even if you have enough space to purchase a bigger bed, you might need to opt for a smaller design if you also want to include a rug.

Take the time to measure your space and furniture before you make any big purchases. With the right size furniture, you can turn your small living space into a stylish sanctuary.

By Wendy Weinert

5 easy ways to get your living room ready for entertaining

When guests are coming over, it’s essential that your living room is prepared for entertaining. It doesn’t matter whether you’re hosting a large party or just having your closest friends over for drinks. The wrong living room set up can turn a promising evening into a disappointing dud. Here’s how to make sure your living room is ready for company so that the evening runs smoothly and everyone has a good time.

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interior design livingroom real estate home

interior design livingroom real estate home1. Create mood lighting – The right mood lighting should be dark enough so that everyone can feel relaxed and comfortable. It should also, however, be bright enough that your guests can still see! Use multiple light sources throughout the room and dim your overhead light so that it doesn’t feel too harsh.

Mambo

2. Set up furniture to create an intimate setting – While your furniture setup might be ideal for everyday living, it may not be the best arrangement for a party environment. Rearrange your furniture close together so that people can converse without straining themselves.

3. Allow room for movement – You want your guests to circulate! So as you’re rearranging your furniture, keep in mind that while you want to create an intimate setting, the room should also have clear paths so guests can easily move about. If the room isn’t setup for movement, your guests might feel stuck in one place all night.

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Photo credit: Everydayelsie

4. Have a drink station – Even though you’re the host, you shouldn’t have to be in the kitchen all night making drinks. With a drink station set up in your living room, you can either let your guests help themselves, or serve them drinks without having to leave all of the fun.

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5. Make sure your space is clutter-free – You’ve already deep-cleaned the living room, but it’s easy for miscellaneous items to somehow make their way back. The day of the party, be sure to do one final check to make sure everything is neatly organized and put away in the right spot.

Throwing a good party takes some planning and strategic decorating. On the night of the event, however, all your hard work will pay off and your party will be a smashing success.

By Wendy Weinert

How to Choose the Right Paint Color

PaintColor samplesIf you’ve ever spent any time at your local paint store or even in a hardware store that offers paint to customers you know how many different options and shades of each color are available. Considering that, it’s no surprise that many people don’t know where to begin when it comes to choosing the right paint color.

While there’s no definitive answer for every person and every home, there are some basic guidelines that can help you make appropriate choices. Typically, these guidelines can be applied to your home room by room, making sure your whole home ties together and maintains the right atmosphere throughout. Don’t forget about the lighting in the room as this will change how your color appears. Natural vs. electric light sources and the type they are – task, general, or ambient lighting will effect the color outcome.

Kitchen

Your kitchen is a room you likely spend a lot of time in, and it’s one where you probably spend time relaxing and feeling the pressure to get things done when entertaining or cooking for family. That’s why light and color is so important in this space.

You can’t go wrong with brighter colors in most kitchens, including colors like yellow, crisp white and even certain more saturated shades of colors like orange and cream, like the one below from Access Lighting. After all, the most important part of choosing a color for your kitchen is making sure it helps open up the space and give it energy, not enclose it.

Photo Credit: Access Lighting

Photo Credit: Access Lighting

Living Room

How you pick a color for your living room really depends on the type of living room you’re working with. A formal space need something different than a casual area where you spend time with family.

For a formal living room, choosing neutral colors that are soothing and refined like chocolate, cream, navy and beige are often ideal. For a room where you spend time with family those same colors can work, but you might want to soften the palate a bit and go for something a bit more playful – a royal blue instead of navy, perhaps.

Photo Credit: Artcraft Lighting

Photo Credit: Artcraft Lighting

Dining Room

Your dining room is a space that you want to feel elegant yet comfortable, so paint color plays an important role in pulling off that effect. In most cases you’ll want to work with more neutral colors in the dining room, and colors like crème, beige and even shades of green or navy can work well.

However, for a more playful space, choosing lighter, less saturated colors like pastels can also work, especially if you live in a coastal region or nature is close at hand.

Photo Credit: Capital Lighting

Photo Credit: Capital Lighting

Master Bedroom

The master bedroom is a space where you should be spending time relaxing and unwinding from stressful days. While many people use their bed as a second office, that isn’t the atmosphere you want to cultivate.

When picking out colors for your master bedroom, relaxation should be what you have in mind. Deep, saturated colors that are dark can help provide that – colors like deep greens or a plum/eggplant color. However, you can also choose softer colors like buttercream and even eggshell whites if you prefer a lighter space and still get the relaxing feeling you’re looking for.

Photo Credit: Craftmade Lighting

Photo Credit: Craftmade Lighting

Bathrooms

Bathrooms are all about getting ready for your day, but more and more, people are using them as a space to relax. If that’s you, choose natural earth tones for your bathroom and really focus on finding a color that feels natural and actually appears in nature.

If you spend most of the time in your bathroom rushing and getting ready, choose bright white, yellow or even a fun shade of green. What’s important for you is good lighting and not making the space feel claustrophobic.

Photo Credit: Capital Lighting

Photo Credit: Capital Lighting

Choosing the right paint color for your space can feel ridiculously complicated, but the good news is that there really isn’t a right answer. While these suggestions can be helpful, anything that feels good to you is likely a wonderful decision for your home.

When picking paint, you’ll also want to consider the style of your home. A dining room in a home with Caribbean accents usually won’t want the same paint color as a home with Spanish revival details, so make sure you take that into consideration as well.

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