How to Make the Most of Your Loft: Furniture Tips

Loft Apartment Space

Quick—what essential element makes or breaks a loft?

If you answered “space,” you probably already live in a loft!

The key feature of any great loft is the openness of the place. This may seem obvious, given the structure that makes a loft a loft, but it’s important to keep this idea firmly in mind as you select the pieces that will go into one.

Large Loft Space

To help facilitate a healthy “flow” throughout your space, your loft furniture should tend toward minimal in design, allowing for the appearance of a larger room. This gives you more apparent space to work with in structuring your layout.

Second, since you’re dealing with a space where there aren’t such clearly defined “rooms” as a standard home, you’ll want to consider how that furniture encourages a feeling of separation but also cohesion. Does your kitchen table feel like it’s part of the living area? Does your office chair clash with your bedroom theme?

Modern Loft Apartment

Loft furniture in any room can generally be seen from any other part of the loft, so it’s vital to keep an aesthetic flow while allowing for an overall impression of spaciousness.

Photo Credits (from top): Hall of Homes, iDesignArch, and HappyModern

How to Make Your Couch Firmer

Sagging Couch Cushions

Lots of unsavory things come with age: color paling, frayed ends, sagging…

We’re talking about furniture, of course (even if all that sounds a little too familiar). And this is often particularly true of couches, loveseats, armchairs, and any kind of piece that gets a lot of sitting action for long periods of time – think, anything you lounge in to watch Netflix for hours.

Let’s use a sagging couch as an example. Do you have to toss it? The answer is no – sort of.

The quick way to make your couch firmer is to cut a piece of plywood to go beneath the cushion. Obviously that comes with some drawbacks, like over-firmness, chaffing to fabric, and possibly unsightly plywood visibility.

Couch Foam Fix

The less quick but better solution is to have a piece of extra-thick foam cut to fit your cushions, ideally a density above 2 pounds.

Now for the “sort of” part. This isn’t a temporary fix. If you’re dealing with springs that are shot, you’ve got a faulty foundation that will show through eventually. But for a quick-ish fix that’s inexpensive and comfortable, foam is your best bet for making your couch firmer!

Firm Couch

Photo Credits (from top): Xtraordinary by Design, LivingHomeFurniture, and Poynter.

Minimalist Office Desks: A Growing Trend in Office Furniture

Minimalist Office Desk

The times are changing, and so are our requirements for our furniture. The days of lush, heavy, sprawling spaces are going away as we continue to streamline our lives, our tech, and our spaces.

Where office spaces once needed lots of surface and drawer space for us to stay organized, we’re seeing them look to tighter, slimmer pieces, and minimalist office desks are becoming more and more common. We’ve got our documents digitized, our files on our computers, and all our necessities tucked into the cloud.

Minimal Office Furniture

One of the biggest benefits of minimal office furniture is a freeing of physical space: with ultra-slim legs, thin tops, and clever storage, the room itself instantly appears less crowded. It’s easy to see how this would be a big plus for anyone from Silicon Valley upstarts in tiny garages to work-from-homers operating makeshift offices in their lofts.

Still think you need more storage capabilities? Look to pieces with built-in open-air compartments, or supplement with wall shelving to make use of your vertical space. You’ll be amazed at how swapping out that giant wooden desk for a minimal piece will instantly open your workspace up!

Minimalist Office Space

Photo Credits (from top): decoist, ORANGE22/MODERN, and Modern Miami

The Most Essential Tip for Renovating Wooden Furniture

Finished Wooden Table

If you’re looking to get into furniture restoration as a hobbyist or general DIY-er, the process can probably seem intimidating if you don’t have any carpentry experience. But sometimes the quickest touch-ups can be the most useful – which is the case with this week’s #renewit tip!

Un-finishing and Refinishing Wooden Furniture

Unfinished Wooden Furniture

Oftentimes old, salvaged, or thrifted furniture can be structurally sound but just in need of some cosmetic fixes. If you’ve got some wooden furniture for renovating, a quick trip to the hardware store, a little effort, and some patience could be all it takes.

Start by taking the piece outdoors (preferably somewhere covered) and using a wood stripper (which you can find in any hardware store), being sure to wear rubber gloves and keep from inhaling any of it.

With a putty knife or similar tool (if you’ve got one around already), scratch off the old finish until you get down to the duller, porous natural wood beneath – and then wait for it to dry.

Refinish Wooden Furniture

Once it’s dry, use a fine, high-grain sandpaper to smooth it out and prepare the surface for refinishing. From there, the rest is up to you: whether you want a simple protective finish, a rich stain, shellac, or other finish, the final look is totally up to you. Just like that, you’ve mastered one of the most useful, simple skills for renovating wooden furniture!

Photo Credits (from top): Milch House, DecorAdventures, and Yellowpages

How to Remove Water Rings from Wood Tables

Water Ring Wooden Table

Welcome to #FixItFriday, our weekly series of quick tips for making basic fixes to your household furniture!

This week we’re talking about something everybody gets – those whitish circles cold drinks leave behind on polished wood tables. Don’t worry, it’s probably not permanent! Usually you can remove those water rings and restore the wood finish with just a couple things.

Denatured Alcohol for Removing Water Rings

First you’ll need denatured alcohol, which you can pick up at any hardware store or most places where you would buy household cleaners. Second, you’ll need a rag. That’s it!

Dampen the rag very, very lightly with the denatured alcohol and wipe the rings gently. It only takes a little to completely remove water rings, which, so don’t over-do it or you could damage the wood finish (restoring that is a little tougher).

That should be it – no more water rings, and the wood finish restored to its former beauty!

Finished Wooden Table

Photo Credits (from top): Good Housekeeping, Rifleshooter, and Elmwood Reclaimed Timber

A Designer’s Start-to-Finish Restoration Techniques

When designing a space, we always have to start from the very beginning: its concept. This is just as important in restoration, so we take into account aspects like color, design concept, overall trend, and the final look we want to give the item.

Once we take all this into consideration and have a vision in mind, we start the restoration by sanding the piece using increasingly soft sandpaper to remove the layer of lacquer, exposing the porous base so it can better absorb a new layer of paint. However, we must be careful not to remove or damage the original color if we’re not planning to change it.

Once we have the surface painted, we let it dry completely, which may take about 3 or 4 hours depending on the materials we’re using. We like to blend the paint for a more fluid transition with the old paint, and have to consider how over time – especially if this is an outdoor piece – the brightness of the lacquer will dull.

In terms of color, vintage style tends to take bright, striking colors and contrast them with black and white fixtures with bright finishes.

Writing Credits: Juan Martinez (Interior Designer)
Photo Credits (from top): The Bella Cottage, Hudson Goods, and Deccoración

What Is the Restoration Trend?

Materials like wrought iron, steel, wood, and raw fabrics – natural materials that are aged but refined – are the most common elements of the restoration trend right now, creating an environment reminiscent of a beach or a coastal theme. The soft colors give also off a soft, romantic, relaxing look to a space.

Notice the lack of bright colors and pastels and the focus on more subdued colors like violet, yellow, blue, grey, and green.

This trend also tends to keep a more even level of ornamentation, with copper, gold, and silver items being used to accent and brighten the spaces as matte and shiny finishes broaden the sensual experience of a room without sacrificing its natural feel. This allows us to use the most modern finish possible and maximize the brightness while staying within the aesthetic.

Writing Credits: Juan Martinez (Interior Designer)
Photo Credits (from top): Hom Furniture, LexingtonLaw, and The Modern Home Design

A Designer’s Start-to-Finish Restoration Techniques

When designing a space, we always have to start from the very beginning: its concept. This is just as important in restoration, so we take into account aspects like color, design concept, overall trend, and the final look we want to give the item.

Once we take all this into consideration and have a vision in mind, we start the restoration by sanding the piece using increasingly soft sandpaper to remove the layer of lacquer, exposing the porous base so it can better absorb a new layer of paint. However, we must be careful not to remove or damage the original color if we’re not planning to change it.

Once we have the surface painted, we let it dry completely, which may take about 3 or 4 hours depending on the materials we’re using. We like to blend the paint for a more fluid transition with the old paint, and have to consider how over time – especially if this is an outdoor piece – the brightness of the lacquer will dull.

In terms of color, vintage style tends to take bright, striking colors and contrast them with black and white fixtures with bright finishes.

Writing Credits: Juan Martinez (Interior Designer)
Photo Credits (from top): The Bella Cottage, Hudson Goods, and Explore Poverty

How Does Decoration Affect Us?

Have you ever wondered why it really is that we decorate spaces?

The answer is parts physical, sociological, and psychological. The spaces where we live and spend our leisure time, the spaces where we rest and relax are affected by our environment the way that our workplace is affected by someone coming over to move something from our desks – decoration directly influences our thinking. We identify with a place’s colors, textures, atmosphere, smell… everything that makes you feel at home or in a place that’s your own.

In order to make a space feel like our own, we have to combine many different ingredients – the most obvious one being color choice. Consider how we don’t just throw our favorite colors into a space and call it done. We have to research and think about the way that color makes us feel just to be exist in its presence.

For example, in a dining room it’s important to use orange, red, or yellow with a picture, wall, or even fruit basket. Traditionally these colors naturally make people anxious to eat. No matter what room you’re decorating, it’s imperative that you pick colors to suit the place that also psychologically ground you the way you should feel in that particular room.

But don’t let all this talk of psychology confuse you. Decoration is actually very simple – just create a space that’s decorated to reflect not just a nice look, but the way you want to feel while you’re there.

Writing Credits: Juan Martinez (Interior Designer)
Photo Credits (from top): Deccoración, Deccoración, and Deccoración

The Right Way to Use a Transitional Trend in Design

While this trend is a little nebulous to pin down, there are certain parameters we’ll be looking at to isolate one specific design within it.

The definitive features here are the lines, colors, and shapes, and the framing style is a happy medium between traditional and contemporary, sporting some nice modern touches while still staying well grounded.

A transitional design should include furniture that has straight lines and simple curves; meanwhile the textures can be accented with well-chosen pillows, rugs, accent chairs, and vases. Some other possibilities are stands with draping and buttons, never forgetting wood as the central element. Remember to consider the ways different wood shades can complement or contrast the rest of a space.

This effect could also be achieved with metallic accents like chromium or nickel. This will help a viewer go from the traditional lines (classic textures) through the contemporary (wood and simple lines) before they see the modern metal and plastic finishes.

Writing Credits: Juan Martinez (Interior Designer)
Photo Credits (from top): madebymod.com, Tanner Interiors, and Gepetto