A Guide to Modular Furniture Shopping

When people hear the term “modular” a few things come to mind. Standardized, easy to assemble, minimalist, and modern. When you hear the words “modular furniture” there’s probably only one thing that comes to mind: Ikea.

There are, however, a wide selection of stores (online and brick & mortar) that offer furniture to fit your minimalist lifestyle.

Reasons to go modular

Form follows function. This statement should be as true in the world of decorating as it is throughout the sciences. However, many times we buy items that are large and bulky; mistaking quantity for quality. In the world of modular furniture, form is everything. Here are some reasons you may want to start buying minimal furniture:

  • If you move often. Do you relocate for work every few years? Are you a student or young professional who does a lot of jumping around apartments? In a workforce that is increasingly freelance and online in nature, there are fewer bindings holding us back from moving.
  • If you like low-maintenance. Modular furniture is perfect the the person who likes to set something up easily out of the box. You won’t have to worry about complicated maintenance or difficulty finding parts because modular furniture tends to be highly standardized.
  • If you’re a space-saver. Are you the type to try to take advantage of every inch of free space in your home? Alternatively, do you like to give your home a spacious atmosphere through smart decorating? Modular furniture is intelligently designed to take advantage of space. Modular furniture pieces like sofas are often able to be reconfigured or rearranged in different pieces so you can place them in corners or sparsely around the room to open up space. Similarly, they often contain interior storage space for things like blankets and pillows.
  • If you have a refined taste for space. Modular furniture is at the cutting edge of home technology. Therefore it often boasts visually-appealing, minimalist form and modern color schemes. Like any industry, style varies between makers. But generally modular furniture companies tend to stay current with trends.

The biggest names, the best prices

Since modular furniture is an up-and-coming industry, there are a number of stores to choose from, some even with brick & mortal locations. Here are some of our favorites.

ikea

Not much needs to be said about IKEA. They started with one man in Sweden and now have locations in over 40 countries. IKEA is the standard by which all other modern furniture stores are weighed against.

vitsoe

Vitsoe keeps it simple with three basic modular “systems.” Chairs, tables, and shelves. One of each system could easily fill a room. Their designs are minimalist and space-saving, which is evident by the “nesting” tables which fit into one another.

way basics

If you’re looking for simple, lightweight and affordable storage and shelving, Way Basics is where you should start your search. They specialize in storage cubes and they take the humanitarian and environmentalist approach to doing business.

urban outfitters

They may seem like a strange addition to this list, but Urban Outfitters–the paragon of urban hipsterdom–has a surprisingly great selection of modular furniture items in their online shop. They do an excellent job of fusing vintage style with modern function.

 

5 Plants to Decorate a Room With

Have you ever wondered how rooms in magazines always seem to be pulled together in a way you just can’t seem to replicate? Spoiler alert: the secret sauce is the addition of greenery and fresh cut flowers. But don’t worry you don’t have to run out and buy bouquets of flowers each week to gain the same effect for your home. You can turn your new home into a green paradise all year long with these five easy to care for plants. 

Aloe – A plant that’s easy to care for no matter how green your thumb, the aloe is a hearty plant that can survive a little neglect here and there. Note, though, that the aloe does do best in dry areas and while it can go without frequent watering you want to ensure it is in a pot that drains well to avoid root rot. A large aloe plant can add balance to a minimalist room while a row of smaller plants adds whimsical charm to a child’s room.

English ivy – Here’s a plant for the homeowner who wants a plant to add some decorative interest. As a sprawling plant, the English ivy will look beautiful draped along shelves or windows. The ivy is another easy to grow plant that doesn’t require frequent watering and will thrive with lots of light.

Rubber tree – Looking for something to fill a bare corner? Pick up a rubber tree to add life to the room. Its height allows it to make a statement on its own without a corner table to put it at eye level. This tree prefers indirect light and only requires watering about once or twice a month.

Peace lily – Add some beautiful blooms to a room all year with the peace lily. Not only does it boast beautiful white petals, it is also known to greatly improve air quality. This lily is easy to care for and can be coaxed it to bloom all year in a room with low light conditions.

Spider plant – Draw the eye upward in small rooms by hanging the spider plant from the ceiling. With proper care, this plant will eventually offshoot with “babies” that add more visual interest to its foliage with delicate white flowers. Another plant known for its ability for improving air quality the spider plant is easy to care for.

When choosing plants to add to a room don’t be afraid to get creative as you would with decor and take into consideration how well the color and shape of the plant matches the style of your home. Whether you reach for something to sprawl out over a sparsely filled bookshelf with the English ivy or fill an awkward corner with the rubber tree keep the flow of the room in mind. Happy decorating!

A Guide to Buying Candles

The variety of candles on the market has never been greater. When it comes to shopping for candles, however, a bigger selection isn’t always a good thing. Many of us have, at one time or another, come down with a case of option paralysis looking at a wall full of Yankee Candles.

Aside from choosing a fragrance, there are several other options to consider. Which candles burn the longest? Which type of wax works best? And, unfortunately, now we must even find out which candles are safe for us to inhale.

Types of Candle Wax

There are three main types of wax widely available in stores today: paraffin, soy, and beeswax. Each type has its ups and downs, but we’ll break them down so you can choose one that’s right for you.

  • Beeswax – This type of wax comes straight from the hive, making it a safe and natural wax to burn in your home. It also burns for the longest duration of the three types of wax, which is good because it can be pricey. It’s great for lighting a room and burns as a bright white color. But, if you spill it walking to the fusebox during a power outage good luck getting that sticky beeswax out of your carpet. Also, beeswax candles do not mix well with added fragrances, so the selection will be narrow.
  • Paraffin – If beeswax is the natural, healthy choice for candles then paraffin is the processed, junkfood option.  Paraffin candles can be very affordable, but the cheap price tag comes at the cost of additives and artificial fragrances that you might not want to breathe in. Paraffin also tends to burn quickly, so if your candles aren’t just for show you might find yourself spending a lot on them anyway. One benefit of paraffin is that it combines easily with fragrances so there is a great variety of scents available.
  • Soy – Perhaps a good in-between choice for candle lovers is the soy candle. Since they’re made from soybeans, soy candles are a sustainable, biodegradable option. Spilled wax cleans up fairly easily, and soy combines well with other fragrances, so there are a great variety of scented candles available on the market. Soy wax is soft, however, which means you won’t find many candles that aren’t in jars that you could pop into your favorite candle holder.

Types of Wicks

Wire, cotton, and wood, oh wow… Who knew there were so many types of wicks out there?  You can find all of these options in stores, but which one is right for you?

  • Wire wicks – These wicks have a metal zinc core that sits straight in a candle and burns evenly. The idea of burning a metal wick doesn’t seem safe, but they are harmless and do not emit dangerous gases into the air.
  • Cotton wicks – The most common wicks on the market are made from cotton. They’re cheap to produce and are often braided, which looks nice. They can sometimes burn unevenly, though, and require trimming.
  • Wooden wicks – The new wick on the block. These fit in with the rustic look that many homeowners are now going for. To further that point, there are also crackling wood wicks that emit either a pleasing or distracting crackling noise while they burn. You probably won’t need to trim these wicks, but they are often used in higher-end candles, so expect to pay more.

The Man Cave Essentials

Every king has his castle and in every castle there must be a throne. And in every castle a man needs a place of solace as well. That’s where the man cave comes in. A man needs A place where he can truly kickback and relax. But what really makes up the perfect man cave? There are a few pieces that every home needs for a man cave to truly be complete. Here’s some items to help you create the best man cave on the block:

1. Complete home theater system
Boys love their toys. What man cave is complete without a giant TV and a great speaker system? You’ll need an entertainment stand large enough to hold the largest TV that you can afford. Next, you’ll need shelving to accommodate items like routers, speakers, DVDs and all the other entertainment essentials.

The right furniture
A super comfortable chair is a must in the man cave. Home furniture stores even sell chairs with a built in speakers. For guys’ night, you might even need a sofa for additional seating. All of the furniture in the man cave should be manly in design of course. Leather furniture works perfectly for the purpose of the man cave. Leather is comfortable yet sleek and not feminine in nature.

The right setting
If you’re lucky enough to have an in-home bar, That’s the perfect place to put your man cave. You want to be sure that the lighting in the man cave isn’t too bright, yet you need to see what’s going on. The man cave should be placed around an atmosphere that’s perfect for hanging out. If you’re shopping for house, and your guy loves hanging with his buddies, you may want to add a “man cave space” to your home search wish list.

Remember the fun stuff
No man cave will be complete without a pool table or a ping-pong table. If there’s one thing to know about guys it’s that they love to be competitive. Make sure the room that you select for your man cave is large enough to hold one or more of these items.

Cool decor
For the sports lover a man cave is a great place to put sports memorabilia on display. The walls of the room can be filled with things from your favorite team. Don’t forget you can also add liquor and beer brand items into the mix of your man cave decor.

Essential appliances
Don’t forget that you will need replace to keep your beers cold in the man cave. Some appliances will be essential. You will probably need a fridge and a sink to start off. Frosty beer glasses would be a nice touch as well. It would also be a plus to have all of the bartending essentials present somewhere in the man cave.

These are just a few ideas to help you design and implement the perfect man cave in your home. No matter what kind of man cave you dream of, it’s possible to create it!