1. Five Uses for Storage Benches

    Offering more storage than your average couch, while still working as a functional and viable piece of furniture, storage benches are an increasingly common sight in many homes for their versatility and style.

    The advantages are pretty obvious—additional sitting space while adding some extra shelves or storage room? Who doesn’t need that in a room or two at their house? 

    Most people get a new storage bench and assume it belongs somewhere in the entryway, and while that’s always a good call, there’s a few places you can keep a storage bench that you may not have thought of right away. If you’re trying to figure out if a storage bench is the right call for your home, look no further!


    Extra bedroom storage

    A storage bench placed at the foot of your bed can be an excellent way to both allow extra storage for things like shoes or out-of-season clothes and provide an extra seating area to make getting ready in the morning easier. Try to find one that coordinates with your bed (if it matches your dressers, even better) and watch how much faster your morning routine goes. If you’re thinking about going this route, you might be able to find specially-designed bedroom storage benches that meet your needs.


    Replacement coffee tables

    Instead of a standard coffee table, many living rooms are turning to storage benches to serve as their main table and hold things like coffee table books and other types of decor to help liven up the room a little bit. The storage capacity will let you keep things like magazines, TV remotes, and video game controllers safe at hand, and in a pinch you can use it as overflow seating if you have too many guests over one day.


    Dining room table seating

    Dining room furniture is a need that tends to vary depending on the home it’s used in, but one thing is always true: everyone needs a place to sit! A lot of modern homes are streamlining their dining room chairs with storage benches instead, to help cut down on the space taken up by chairs and provide a place to keep tablecloths, place settings, and the like.


    Porch seating

    So long as the fabric is kept safe from the rain, porches are a great place for storage benches. The increased seating will allow more of your guests to hang out on the porch when the weather allows, and you can use the storage options for picnic blankets, candles, and anything else you want to keep outside during the nicer months.


    Space division

    One of the biggest trends in homes and apartments right now is open floor plans, a style of design that removes many walls and doors to provide a more open flow between rooms and spaces. These areas still need occasional division for the sake of navigation and flow, however, and storage benches are an ideal solution for these issues. Lay some storage benches between rooms to create a natural ‘divider’ and help each room feel like its own entity without having to resort to walls and doors like everyone else.


    Have you used storage benches in your home? Leave a comment here!

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  2. Decluttering Your Home for a Garage Sale

    You’ve finally decided to commit! You’re going to gather everything and have that garage sale you’ve always talked about so you can free up some room in your house. You have a date set, the weather looks good, and you’ve got the kids coming over to help. But that’s when the big question hits: what are you going to put out for sale?

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  3. The Art of the Cart: Five Ways to Use a Bar Cart At Home

    Maybe we have Mad Men to thank, maybe it’s the trend towards more people entertaining at home, maybe people are just looking for more ways to decorate, but however you slice it, bar carts are totally in right now.

    The humble bar cart has come back in a big way over the last few years, as both professionals in the restaurant business and regular folks alike discover the various presentation, decoration, and space advantages that bar carts can offer.

    Have you recently acquired an antique bar cart you can’t wait to put to work? Are you eyeing a new one but want to have a plan for using it before you click ‘order’? Wait no longer: here’s five fun ways to use bar carts & serving carts in your own home!


    Serving Drinks

    It’s pretty obvious but it’s still worth mentioning—serving carts are an ideal way to keep cocktail mixers, serving supplies, and favorite drinks close at hand. Depending on the design of your cart you could go about it a few ways, but the ‘conventional’ method is to keep glassware and serving supplies (coasters, stirring sticks, beakers if you’re a really devoted mixologist) up top and the drinks down below unless you’ve got a lot of them or there’s one you find yourself reaching for a little more than usual.


    Coffee Station

    Not too into the whole liquor thing? Serving carts are a perfect way to arrange a station to get your coffee going easier than ever. Keep your coffee maker/Keurig machine on top and spread out your favorite coffee flavors, creamers, and mugs through the rest of the cart to make sure you can get that jolt you need in the morning.


    Movable End Table

    End tables are a common fixture in many living rooms thanks to their versatility, but for a truly useful small table, a repurposed serving cart could be just the thing. Imagine how much easier it would be to eat, drink, or simply organize your magazines and remote controls if your end table could roll around—if you use a bar cart, it can!


    Dinner/Appetizer Serving

    In a similar vein, serving carts can provide a helpful function in the kitchen or dining room by providing a mobile serving station. Wheel everyone’s plates straight out from the kitchen, push around a tray of hors d'oeuvres during a party, or just use it to make appetizers easier to get to before the main course is ready.


    Party Favors

    If you’re the sort that loves having a get-together, you’ve probably encountered all kinds of storage issues with gifts, party favors, and the like. If you need to provide everyone a place to keep their birthday gifts, or if you’re laying out something like a guestbook or photo props, a serving cart is a perfect (and movable) way to get them out to the guests where they belong.


    Have you been using a bar cart in your home? Leave a comment below and tell us how!

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  4. Finding Your Book Organization Style

    Alright book lovers, it’s time to face the harsh truth: sometimes, it is possible to own ‘too many’ books.

    We’re speaking strictly from a practical standpoint, of course. Nobody is here to judge your multiple autographed copies of A Song of Ice and Fire, or your unfinished paperback of Casino Royale you bought forever ago when the movie came out because you had no idea the James Bond movies were based on books.

    What we are here to do, though, is help you find a way to organize them that suits your needs! Everyone has different styles of book collections, and as a result everyone has different ways to organize and store them. Instead of trying to suggest a one-size-fits all approach, let’s take a look at a few different book-hoarding scenarios and find an organizational style that works best for you!


    Do you like a neat, orderly shelf?

    Show of hands: who here was the kid with the neatest desk in the room? You’re probably the sort that needs a good, well-organized book collection, either alphabetically or by series (or both if you’ve got a lot of Dune novels to handle). Alphabetizing is a good way to start but it comes with some pros and cons—you have to decide exactly how everything is sorted (Title? Author, like at the library? Publisher? Don’t laugh, we’ve seen people do that) and you have to decide where to keep it. So long as you have enough spare bookshelves to keep everything on and know how the alphabet works, this could be a good way to go, but we don’t recommend it for smaller collections.


    Do you want to show off?

    Books, commemorative plates, Japanese Star Wars toys...whatever it is people collect, and whatever reason they give for collecting it, at least part of the reason is so they can show it off. If your aim is to inspire book envy in your fellow bibliophiles, a more ‘open’ and showy shelving option might be best. Take a few of your favorites—that autographed hardcover of Deathly Hollows, ancient Sherlock Holmes collection you got from your grandpa, or Tom Clancy novel you bought at the airport out of desperation that you wound up kind of liking—and put them up on some wall shelves to show off to everyone when they visit. This is a great way to help separate the “collector’s items” from the stuff you have yet to read, and will give them a nice space out in the open to be proudly admired.


    Do you need to separate the stuff you’ve read from the stuff you haven’t?

    When trying to organize a book collection, a lot of people tend to focus on looks or accessibility ahead of practicality, but your book organization can actually come in handy in many cases. When trying to reorganize any stack of books, take some time to sort out the next ones in the rotation from the well-worn favorites you’ve tackled a million times. This will give you a good visual indicator of what you want to read next, and help you sort and prioritize everything. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll stop you from buying more books before you’re done with the stuff you’re reading already.


    Ah, who are we kidding? We understand.

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  5. End-ing the Debate: The Difference Between End Tables & Accent Tables

    There sure are a lot of tables out there, aren’t there?

    And it seems like they all have a different use. Some are supposed to go in the bedroom, some are supposed to go in the living room, but you’re never too sure where each one of them should be used—and they’re all going to wind up covered in coasters and magazines eventually anyway, right?

    However, for those among us that like to think they have a bit more flair for interior design, you might be surprised (or happy) to learn there’s actually intended uses and places for most of these tables! Today, we’ll look at two of the most common ones: end tables and accent tables!


    End Tables

    Let’s start with end tables. Most end tables are pretty standard and, well...table-ish in design; square top, two-to-four legs holding the whole thing up, nothing too shocking so far.

    What separates them from other tables is, more often than not, their intended function. As fitting their name, end tables are often designed to fit compactly into the spaces near the end of other items, or at least out of the way. For example, a common place for end tables is to bookend a sofa by fitting into the smaller spaces between the sofa and other furniture and/or the walls. They’re also good at filling in unused corners of a living room with functional table space and making areas of the room feel less ‘empty.’

    Of course, what end tables really excel at is just that: adding functional table space. End tables are designed primarily for usefulness, despite the number of shapes, sizes, and finishes they can come in, and are perfect for adding a useful flat surface to your living room in areas that might not be too reachable otherwise. Perfect for holding drinks, giving you a place to set your book when you’re done reading for the night, and helping stop the remote from immediately getting lost.


    Accent Tables

    This brings us to accent tables! You’ve probably heard the “table” part of the name and jumped to a few conclusions—four legs, solid top, and so on.

    The biggest difference here is that accent tables are typically intended as more decorative. Not that they aren’t perfect table-like settings to keep items such as coffee table books, but accent tables are made for the purpose of complementing the design of your living room, adding color or texture, or simply helping with the ‘flow’ of things in the room. Accent tables are great to park near coffee tables and chairs to improve or change the overall look of your living room or den, and are an awesome way to freshen things up without a lot of costly renovations or the hassle of furniture moves.


    Do you decorate your living room with end tables or accent tables? Got any other fun ideas for living room furniture? Drop a comment below!

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