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.

 

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.