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Furniture | Manolo for the Home - Part 3
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Don’t Get Bogged Down In How Furniture Ought to Be Used!

It’s so easy to get stuck when it comes to furniture. As in, ‘I don’t need a sideboard because I don’t have a dining room’ or ‘What could we possible use a bench for in our house?’ It’s especially easy when you have a chance to acquire a free piece of quality furniture.

But wait! Maybe you don’t need another dresser, but you’ve been looking for an amazing and different bathroom vanity. Or what you really want is a bookshelf by you keep finding bench after bench. Kitchen tables abound, but no desks… chairs, but no side tables… coffee tables but no desk and hutch combos. That sort of thing. My question is: Why get so focused on what a piece of furniture is? Why not focus instead on what is might be?

I know that repurposing furniture isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but who says you have to do it yourself? Maybe you have a friend who loves that sort of thing and will hook you up with your new shelves, vanity, or whatever for the price of materials plus a little extra. Or maybe there’s a pro in your area looking for some extra work. I mean, come on, check out this sweet repurposed furniture!

Inspired by Holly Golightly's bachelorette pad?

Two different shelving options, two different seats!

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A Mix of Modern and Traditional by Vicente Wolf

I am loving the big chunky farmer’s table smack dab in the middle of this otherwise very modern dining room by designer Vicente Wolf! Sometimes I look at my own house and realize that you couldn’t call it modern or traditional or cute or any other thing, really. My house is a mishmash of new and old things I’ve acquired and made over time, and things I’d love to replace but can’t afford to, and I do my best to make everything look nice together. I like how it’s turned out so far, though I’m always changing this or that. So if you’ve ever wondered why I love contrast so much, part of it is that I have to or I’d go crazy!

Contrast = Cool

What do you think about mixing old and new and modern and traditional and maybe something bright and shiny and expensive paired with something awesome you found on the side of the road? Because I love it. To me, a space full of awesome mixed treasures – arranged and chosen with some care, of course – is so much more fun and inviting than a perfectly coordinated and homogeneous space.

Kitchen Benches vs. Kitchen Chairs

A different kitchen seating option

When you have a small kitchen or even a wee dining room – maybe even a tiny little breakfast nook – huge dining chairs with arms and upholstery can really take away from the space you do have. If you can’t shove your dining chairs all the way under your table… if you want to use a tablecloth… if it’s difficult to move your dining chairs from under the table without shifting the table, you have a problem. (And don’t even get me started on high chairs!)

The solution? Kitchen benches instead of kitchen chairs. Benefits of kitchen benches over kitchen chairs include the ability to easily stash your seating under the table when not in use, the ability to use a longer tablecloth without it bunching everywhere because chairs are in the way, and more versatility when it comes to how many people will fit at your table. The main downside of using benches in the kitchen is the lack of the back, which may not work for people with physical issues like back problems.

Anyone out there using kitchen benches instead of kitchen chairs? I’m thinking about making the switch, but I work at my kitchen table so I need to be sure that I’ll be comfortable working on a bench instead of a chair.

Tree Stump Side Tables

There’s not much to say about tree stump tables, other than the fact that they exist, they can look pretty awesome, and if you’re so inclined, creating a DIY tree stump side table isn’t that difficult (as demonstrated beautifully over at Nesting Place last month). The look pretty good painted:

Spotted on http://www.raenovate.com

But many people chose to leave them au natural, and rightly so:

Better Homes and Gardens is down with the stump

In a pinch, you can even use a tree stump side table as a seat:

Great for... unrolling your blood-spattered parchment paper?

For the DIY tree stump side table, you could do like the author of Nesting Place and just grab something left behind by the tree services guys, but I’d worry about the possibility of creepy crawlies riding in along with the stump. Plus, you want something a little drier than a fresh cut log, so I’d recommend opting for something found at the firewood depot, like Karen at the Art of Doing Stuff did.

Sure, it’s a little rustic, but I really like this kind of thing when paired with other furniture that’s decidedly non-rustic. Whatdya think… too outdoorsy? Or just right?

When You’re Thinking Seating, Don’t Forget the Kids

I love this low-slung, big-enough-for-projects coffee table with its great print and all the super short seating for the kids in the household! You can just tell that this is an area of the house that sees plenty of use.

What are the high-use areas of your household? And what areas of your home could you make more welcoming and useful?

Image: MayDae

No Mattress? No Problem.

Here’s how it works:

Step: Acquire a pile of thick comforters

Step 2: Pile up prettily

Step 3: Cuddle up and sleep

It’s a design by Linda Topic and certainly an interesting bed concept, but the impression I get is that it would only be comfortable until all that bedding compressed into a dense pancake of feathers and fill.

Inspiration: Twin Beds

Every now and then, when The Beard is snoring or stirring or it’s hot or I’m just feeling kind of pro personal space, I wish we had two small beds instead of one big one. Heck, I’ve heard it said that the secret to a happy marriage is separate beds – no surprise considering that sharing a bed can lead to less restful sleep (particularly in women). There’s nothing like cuddling up with my man at the end of the day in our own little private shared space, but I can fantasize, no? And here’s what I’m fantasizing about:

Love the scaled fabric/wallpaper pattern

Another set of fabric headboards, yum

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Everything Old (Can Be) New Again!

When it comes to amazing couch reupholstery, you can’t beat Susan’s primo DIY job! The hip chick from Freshly Picked managed to turn this:

Into this:

And apparently she learned to do it as part of a class she took with her husband. Lucky? I would SO like to take my boring little family room loveseat and turn it into something amazing. Want a little peek into how it was done, then look no further. Here’s a sweet time-lapse video of the couch during nine two-hour classes:

Have you ever tackled a DIY project on such a massive scale? Because I’m pretty sure I haven’t.

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