The Ultimate Guide to Sustainable Furniture

We’re seeing rapid growth in the sustainable furniture business. Why? Because more people know that making responsible choices about the products they put in their homes matters for the environment. But are all green furniture claims true? Not always, and there’s a term for that: greenwashing. So it’s important to know all the facts.

We’ve put together this eco furniture guide to help you make better-informed choices when shopping for eco-friendly furniture.

eco furniture

Green furniture is not just a color. It’s a lifestyle choice. Image: Shutterstock

What is sustainable furniture?

Manufacturers create sustainable furniture using materials that have a minimal negative impact on the environment. Sustainable furniture uses:

  • Woods or other materials that come from renewable sources
  • Minimal chemicals that can pollute the environment
  • Local material and/or manufacturing to save on transportation
what is sustainable furniture

Natural materials and living plants protect the air quality in your home. Image:

Why is green furniture a better choice?

Eco-friendly furniture causes less damage to the environment and makes your home environment safer. When you choose eco furniture made with minimal amounts of chemicals, you’ll get less harmful pollutants, like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), released into your home’s air.

Paints, fabrics, furniture, carpets and building materials can all release VOCs that cause allergies, migraines and asthma in people. According to a report by the European Respiratory Review, “The possible health effects of indoor VOC exposure are a cause for concern, given that people in general, and children in particular, now spend most of their time indoors.”

eco friendly furniture

Bamboo is an earth-friendly alternative to exotic wood. Image: 

What to look for when shopping for eco furniture.

When shopping for green or sustainable furniture, think about the following:

  • Does the country where the piece was made use green building practices? How far did the piece have to travel?
  • Is the piece durable? Pieces that are cheap in price and materials don’t last as long and end up in landfills soon after purchase.
  • What materials and chemicals are used in the piece? Is the frame of the furniture piece solid wood or particle board, containing formaldehyde? Did the manufacturer spray the fabric with a chemical to resist stains? It’s better to choose a microfiber or leather material than one that needs to be sprayed for stain resistance.
  • What finishes add color or seal the item? Is the paint, stain or finish water-based? If not, it’s probably high in harmful VOCs.
  • Could a different material be a better idea? Although exotic woods are stunning, bamboo, stone or porcelain may be more durable, require less harmful finishes and not affect forests.

You can also check the Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC) website‘s database of furniture manufacturers committed to eco furniture practices.

green furniture ideas

Second-hand furniture and recycled furniture made of shipping pallets are a good way to reduce waste because they minimize the need to produce new materials. Image:

What are the best sustainable furniture choices?

The best sustainable furniture choices are created from recycled items like salvaged wood, recycled textiles and reused materials like wood pallets. Additionally, natural materials like bamboo, rattan and seagrasses are excellent materials for furniture and home decor.

Second-hand furniture and vintage pieces are also great green furniture choices. Pick vintage or antique pieces because they’re often handmade and built to last. Plus, their manufacturers often used fewer chemicals than modern manufacturers.

Look for these green furniture terms and certifications when you’re shopping for eco furniture:

Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) 

This partnership between industry and government increases carpet recycling and reuse to reduce the amount of old carpet going to landfills.

Cradle to Cradle (C2C) 

C2C certified furniture can be dismantled to be repaired and recycled or so that parts can be replaced. This practice extends the life of the piece and makes a piece more sustainable because it keeps it out of a landfill.


This hang tag certifies that the manufacturer was responsible in their sourcing and manufacturing and, additionally, that they can provide safety, health and environmental information for each registered product.

FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Certification

FSC-certified furniture uses woods that are responsibly harvested and meet the requirements of the Forest Stewardship Council.

Green Housekeeping Seal of Approval

This seal is available for many categories like cleaning and beauty products, building materials, paints and coatings and appliances. In order to award approval, scientists and engineers evaluate a product’s packaging, ingredients, logistics and manufacturing.

Green Label Plus

Look for this tag to ensure that the carpet you are purchasing emits the lowest amount of chemicals on the market.


Use this certification to find indoor goods like building materials and furnishings with low chemical emissions. It serves you and the environment because GREENGUARD certified goods do not affect air quality.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified

LEED promotes and awards certification for a whole-building approach to sustainability. To certify a building, LEED checks five categories: water savings, energy efficiency, sustainable site development, sustainable materials and good indoor air quality.


Check a product’s label. Look for low VOC because it means the product or finish is water-based or does not contain chemicals that can off-gas, or release into the air.

Rediscovered Wood Certification, Rainforest Alliance

This certification confirms that a piece of furniture actually uses reclaimed wood.

SBD (Sustainable by Design)

SBD gears their program towards furniture manufacturers to sustainably source and manufacture home furnishings.

Zero Waste to Landfill

This award goes to companies that send less than 1 percent of their waste to a landfill.

A little research and consideration are all it takes to make a sound choice about the furniture and home decor you bring into your home. Your choice will benefit the environment and your family’s health in the long run.

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These 4 Decluttering Tips Will Help You Through Your Next Spring Cleaning Project

It’s officially time to start spring cleaning. For many of us, that means that decluttering is at the top of the to-do list. With that in mind, we decided to bring you four easy decluttering tips that will help you make the most of your next spring cleaning project. Read them over to get a sense of how you can tackle this task from start to finish.

decluttering tips

Start by breaking down your spring cleaning project into manageable goals. Image: Tiko Aramyan/Shutterstock

Set manageable goals

Believe it or not, the first step to most successful decluttering projects doesn’t have anything to do with sorting through knickknacks. Instead of just diving right in, home organization experts agree that it’s best to write out a set of goals for your project. Create a to-do list of sorts that breaks the decluttering process down into a series of small, manageable steps.

As you write out your to-do list, keep in mind that you can make the steps to this process as general or complex as you need them to be. For example, rather than trying to clean out the whole house in one day, you could decide to tackle the kitchen one day and your living room the next. You can also break down each step into subtasks like “put away laundry” or “pick up stray toys.”


Sort your clutter into three boxes: keep, donate and throw away. Image: Photo Melon/Shutterstock

Use the “three box method”

Once you know what your goals are for this project, it’s time to start decluttering. It’s best to have a method in mind for how you’re going to sort your clutter before you officially get started. In this case, we recommend the “three box method.” It works like this: you simply sort your belongings into one of the three following boxes.

  • Keep: These are all the items that you still use on a regular basis. You don’t need to worry about putting any of these items away just yet. Just put them in the box for now and leave the organization for later.
  • Donate: This box will hold items that you don’t want or use any longer. However, they’re still in good enough shape to be used by someone else. They can be donated or sold.
  • Throw away: Sometimes an item is just at the end of its lifespan. In that case, it goes in this box to get thrown away.

Sort the items you’re keeping before you buy new storage tools. Image: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Reorganize first, then buy

After you have all your items sorted, it’s time to focus on reorganization. We know that, at this point, it can be tempting to run out and buy lots of those fancy, coordinated storage containers that you see on Instagram. However, we’d advise against going out and spending money until you have a clearer idea of what exactly it is that you need.

To do this, start by focusing on the items in your “keep” box. The goal here is to make sure that every item in the box has a defined place to be kept in the room. Start by putting away the items that already have a set place and leave the rest until the end. Once you’re left with only the odds-and-ends that don’t yet have a home, go shopping for storage solutions. This way, you’ll have a much clearer picture of what tools you need to stay organized.


Finish each task completely before moving on to the next one. Image: LightField Studios/Shutterstock

Complete each task, completely

This is often the hardest step. Before you can move on to the next task on your list of goals, you need to make sure that you’ve finished your current task completely. This means finding a place for all those odds-and-ends, bringing any donations to their proper place and lugging any throw-away items to the trash.

We know that it’s easy to just leave those items for later, but that’s how they end up being forgotten. If you can, it’s best to deal with items right away. Get them out of the way and you can bask in the satisfaction of a job well done.

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HVAC Basics: Choosing a Dealer

Home HVAC Dealer

Your local HVAC dealer can help you find the perfect system for your home. Image: Artazum/Shutterstock

When it’s time to replace or purchase a new HVAC system, how do you choose the right dealer for you? A new HVAC unit is not an everyday or impulse purchase. It’s important to do a little homework before you shop. Doing some research and asking the right questions is crucial to choosing the best HVAC dealer for your home.

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Basics to know before choosing an HVAC dealer

Let’s start with some basic info before you start your dealer search. What we call HVAC is an acronym for “heating, ventilation, air conditioning.” If you choose a heat pump unit, all three elements are combined into one. Heat pumps are idea for homes that are limited to electrical power, but many homeowners choose them because of their convenience. However, they’re not suitable for all climates. HVAC can also represent a furnace and air conditioner in your home.

Choosing the right HVAC dealer can make the buying process easier — but how can you be sure you’re choosing the right one? Doing your research on your current HVAC, and on the dealers in your area will help you in your search.  Here’s are the first things you’ll need to do.

Having the right information about your heating and cooling needs makes shopping for a new HVAC unit easier. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

This research can make you a savvy HVAC buyer

  • Repair or replace your HVAC? Ask prospective dealers if they have the capability to inspect your HVAC unit and determine if repairs might bring it back to top condition. You may still choose to replace the entire system, but it’s good to know if it’s really time for it to go.
  • Read dealer reviews on more than one site. All review sites are not the same when it comes to getting a balanced look at potential HVAC dealers. It’s a good idea to visit at least two sites that provide ratings and reviews, to get a balanced view of the dealer. Word of mouth from friends and neighbors is also helpful. But visiting at least one review site will let you see an overall view of that dealer’s quality of service.
  • Gather your maintenance and purchase records. It will be helpful to have your current HVAC unit’s records when you shop for a new system, so that your dealer can assess the age and condition of your current system. Furnaces can typically last 12-16 years with proper maintenance, and air conditioning units can last 10 to 16 years when maintained. 
  • Get an energy audit of your home. A local HVAC dealer can provide an energy audit of your home, to ensure that the unit you choose is right for your home. Knowing and understanding your home’s heating and cooling energy needs can save you money. If you’d like to have an energy audit done before you shop for a dealer, most local utility companies offer a free energy audit. This will give you the energy calculations you’ll need when you shop for a unit.
  • Contact prospective HVAC dealers. Once you’ve done your research and are ready to choose an HVAC dealer, visiting their showroom or scheduling a home visit is your next step.

Your local HVAC dealer can help you find the perfect system for your home. Image: John Royal/Shutterstock

What questions should you ask an HVAC dealer?

Your local HVAC dealer can be a great source of information to help you choose the right system. Be ready to ask questions of the prospective dealers, so that you have all the information you’ll need to make a decision. Here are 5 questions you’ll want to ask.

1. Is it really time to replace my HVAC?

A new HVAC unit may not be necessary, when a repair can restore it to optimum condition. Once your HVAC reaches the end of its functional life, a repair may not be possible or cost-effective. A poorly maintained or outdated unit can be more expensive to run.

2. Am I looking at the right HVAC unit for my home?

It’s possible that the HVAC unit you’re replacing was not the perfect type for your home. Your climate, weatherproofing, and even your family size, can be a factor in choosing the  right unit. The right HVAC system for a home in the hot and humid South may not be the right choice for a climate zone in the frigid North.

3. What size HVAC unit do I really need?

Your HVAC dealer can use your energy audit, and other information about your home, to recommend the right size system. There are calculations that provide an accurate picture of your heating and cooling needs. Your dealer can explain the range of HVAC unit sizes, and why they can be too big or too small for efficient energy usage in your home.

4. Will my new HVAC system handle my home’s ventilation needs?

The “V” in HVAC is ventilation. Allergies, dampness, humidity, and more, can affect the fresh air ventilation in your home. Be sure to ask about air cleaning and ventilating features of the HVAC systems you’re considering.

5. Can I finance my purchase?

Many HVAC dealers offer financing, or partner with lenders to make this large purchase easier for you. It’s a good idea to ask about sales, promotions, and discounts you may qualify for as part of group memberships or your age group.

With your research done and your must-ask questions ready, it’s time to contact your local HVAC dealer who can help you choose the right HVAC system for your home.

Why Isn’t My Air Conditioner Working?
Keeping Cool: How to Choose the Right A/C Unit
HVAC Basics: What’s a Good SEER Rating? 
Building Your Energy-Efficient Dream Home
Clever Ways to Hide an Ugly HVAC Unit

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Inexpensive Ways to Transform Your Countertops

If you hate your countertops — kitchen, bath, bar, or garage — but you’re not ready to pony up the money required to get granite, take heart. There are other alternatives, probably cheaper than the tax you would pay for granite, to transform countertops.

And the news gets even better. You don’t have to be a professional to transform your countertops yourself. We found several products that can make your countertops look a whole lot better with just a minimum amount of effort.

Daich Countertop Finishing Kit


The Daich Countertop Finishing Kit can makeover your kitchen counters. Image courtesy of Daich Coatings.

You’ll need a paint brush or paint roller to use Daich’s products, but don’t let that fool you. “The SpreadStone Mineral Select Countertop Finishing Kit is actually not paint at all. But it is applied with a roller or brush for an easy, paint-like experience,” explains Peter Daich, President of Daich Coatings in Hamilton, ON. “It is actually a real blended stone resurfacing material that can be easily rolled onto existing kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, bar tops, tables, etc.,” he says. Daich explains that this allows consumers to add the decorative elegance of a real estate upgrade while only paying a fraction of the cost.

He says the Daich Countertop Finishing Kit contains everything you’ll need, including the tools, coatings and accessories. Each kit covers 30 to 40 square feet.

You can use the refinishing kit on laminate, wood, concrete, stone and other solid surfaces. Daich says that it is a water-based, natural stone material that is odorless, dries fast, resists staining and resists damage from hot pans and daily use.

The kit comes in 10 popular countertop colors: Oyster, Natural White, Onyx Fog, Canyon Gold, Volcanic Black, Mantle Stone, Lodestar, Sundance, Ironstone and Yosemite.


Another example of the Daich Countertop Finishing Kit. Image courtesy of Daich Coatings.

Applying the Daich Countertop Finishing Kit

So, what level of expertise do you need? “Anyone can use this product,” Daich says. “It is a stone mixture that is simply rolled on like paint,” he explains. “No special tools or artistic skills are required to achieve an attractive result.”

In fact, he says you don’t really need to worry about messing up. “If a spot gets missed, just brush or roll some into the surface to fix it or just dab some on with your finger.”

The three phases of refinishing your countertops are as follows:

  1. 1) Roll on a bonding primer
  2. 2) Roll on two coats of stone
  3. 3) Apply clear coat the following day

So, how long does the process take? Daich says it’s a good weekend project (two days). “The coatings in the kit roll on quickly and dry in as little as 30 minutes,” he explains. “Primer and Stone coating steps are usually completed on day one, followed by application of the clear coat the following day.”

Giani Countertop Paint Kit

Giani marble countertop paint. Image courtesy of Giani

Giani Marble Countertop Paint provides an elegant look. Image courtesy of Giani Granite

Giani Countertop Paint Kits are another solution to your lackluster countertops. “You can paint right over your existing countertops and transform them into the look of natural stone,” says Ami Gruenenfelder at Giani Granite. She explains that it’s a simple three-step process. First, roll on the black primer. Then sponge on the three corresponding mineral colors. Finally, roll on the topcoat.

Giani Bombay Black Countertop Paint instantly updates this kitchen. Image: Giani Granite

The kit includes all of the paint and applications, and one kit covers 35 square feet. Since Giani Granite is water-based, it’s low odor and safe to use. Because you paint over your existing countertops, Giani’s kit hides any of your previous stains, burns or scratches. And  the high-gloss, durable, automotive-grade acrylic topcoat protects your new countertops.

The countertop kit is available in several colors, including Marble, Chocolate Brown, Sicilian Sand, Bombay Black, White Diamond, and Slate.


These countertops got a makeover with Giani Sicilian Sand Countertop Paint. Image courtesy of Giani Granite.

Applying Giani Countertop Paint

So, what’s the level of expertise required? “We’ve designed our kits to be a simple ‘paint-by-numbers’ DIY project that anyone of any painting skill set can complete,” Gruenenfelder explains. In addition to written instructions, there are also specific how-to videos. And since the paint is layered, you can change the finish until you reach the look that you want. That means you can actually change the color as you go along, or even add veins. Gruenenfelder says the customer service department can respond via phone, live chat or email if you have any questions or want someone to walk you through the process.

How long does this process take? You should be able to complete it in a weekend. “Your actual painting time will be approximately four hours and drying time is around 16 hours,” Gruenenfelder says. “Typically, you would prep and prime on Friday, sponge on the mineral paints and apply the first layer of topcoat on Saturday, then apply the final layer of topcoat and clean up on Sunday.”


Giani Countertop Paint can deliver remarkable transformations. Image courtesy of Giani Granite.

In June, Gianni will also release a DIY Butcher Block that’s made with wood tone burnt umber pigments and acrylic resin. It is impervious to moisture, and scratch and stain resistant.

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Should You Repair or Replace Your Home’s HVAC Unit?

Your HVAC system is one of those unsung heroes in your home. When it’s working well, you hardly notice. When it starts to falter, it becomes a big problem. Your HVAC system is responsible for keeping your home comfortable, no matter the temperature. If you find that your home is too cold in the winter and too warm in the summer, it’s probably time for some HVAC maintenance. Knowing whether to repair or replace your HVAC when it’s malfunctioning is important. This can involve a professional evaluation and some checks you can do, too. Always check with a trusted pro before you decide to repair or replace your HVAC unit to save time and money. But here are some general tips for how to know whether you can give your HVAC unit a tune-up, or it’s time to get a new unit altogether.

Row of HVAC units outside of homes

Well-maintained A/C units will work better, longer. Image: Shutterstock/Christian Delbert

Repair your HVAC if:

  • It’s less than 10 years old. Consider the age of your HVAC when deciding to repair or replace. The National Association of Home Builders estimates that the average lifespan of an HVAC system should be between 10-15 years. Of course, that’s not to say that an HVAC system can’t fail before then, but if yours is less than 10 years old, it’s probably cheaper to have it repaired than to buy a new one. Whatever’s wrong with your HVAC should be a minor fix unless it’s over 10 years old.
  • You’ve checked the ductwork. A lot of HVAC issues don’t have to do with the unit, but the duct work. In fact, 10 to 30 percent of the air leaks out before it even gets to your home, so a check of the ductwork can save you big bucks. Having a professional check your ducts and seal any gaps for around $50 can make your HVAC will run more efficiently with a relatively cheap fix.
  • You’ve performed regular maintenance. If you’ve had your HVAC system checked and maintained over the years, you shouldn’t have any major problems. Simply clearing your unit of debris, dust, and dirt, and having regular tune-ups should save you from major problems like failure or inefficiency. Make HVAC maintenance part of your spring and fall checklists and you’ll save time and money.

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Large master bedroom with ceiling fan

Can’t keep cool? It might be time to replace. Image: Shutterstock/JR-Stock

Replace your HVAC if:

  • It’s more than 15 years old. Once your HVAC system is nearing its 15th birthday, it’s also nearing the end of its lifespan. Sure, you could fix whatever’s causing it to malfunction, but chances are that you’ll just have another issue crop up next season. The components in your HVAC start to age and malfunction, which means it might be cheaper to just replace the unit than to pay for repairs year after year. A new unit usually costs anywhere from $5,ooo to $7,00o. It’s a big investment, sure, but it also means a new, more efficient unit.
  • You notice higher energy bills. Feel like you’re suddenly paying more for heating and air? If you get sticker shock every time you open your heating and cooling bills, it might be your HVAC’s fault. As systems age, they simply become less efficient. That means your HVAC is working overtime to heat and cool your home, which means it costs more to run. Calculate out how much extra you’re paying in energy bills and you’ll probably find it’s less expensive to get a new unit.
  • Your unit isn’t doing its job. If you notice that some of the rooms in your house are never as comfortable as they should be, it could be an inefficient HVAC unit. If it’s malfunctioning or aging, it means it can’t keep up with the demands of your home. In the summer, some rooms feel hot or you notice that the unit is running day and night to keep you cool. In the winter, you might notice that you’re always cold or constantly cranking up your thermostat. Keep comfortable by installing a newer, more efficient unit and your home will be more comfortable.


Financial tip: when to repair or replace

Still undecided? Knowing whether to repair or replace your HVAC unit comes down to cost. An easy calculation to make if you’re not sure is to get an estimate for HVAC repair. Then, multiply that number by the age of your system in years. If you get an estimate for $385 and your unit is 12 years old, you get a number of $4,680. Check that against the price of a completely new unit. If it’s more than the cost of a new unit, replace it. If it’s less, you can probably get by with just repairing the system.

Still have questions? Talk to an expert

Your best option is to consult a local HVAC professional for their opinion. Your HVAC system might not be the most exciting part of your home, but it might be what makes the biggest difference in your comfort levels. Take good care of your HVAC with regular maintenance and it’ll be easier to tell when to repair or replace the workhorse of your home.

Why Isn’t My Air Conditioner Working?
Keeping Cool: How to Choose the Right A/C Unit
HVAC Basics: What’s a Good SEER Rating? 
Building Your Energy-Efficient Dream Home
Clever Ways to Hide an Ugly HVAC Unit

The post Should You Repair or Replace Your Home’s HVAC Unit? appeared first on

HVAC Basics: Annual HVAC Maintenance Schedule

When properly taken care of, an HVAC system can last nearly fifteen years. While much of that work should be done by a qualified professional, there are things that you, as the homeowner, can do to make sure that your system stays in good shape. We’ve laid them out for you below. Keep this annual HVAC maintenance schedule close at hand so that you can refer to it throughout the year. With a little TLC, you’ll be able to keep your system running smoothly for years to come.

Clean off your HVAC system every time you see that it’s collected dirt and debris. Image: Shutterstock/ Christian Delbert

As often as possible

  • Visually inspect your HVAC system: The best thing you can do to keep your HVAC healthy is to pay close attention to it. Any time you are in your yard, just take a quick glance over at your system and make sure that nothing is amiss. If you see any dirt or debris on the system, clean it off. Additionally, pay attention to how your system sounds. If you notice any changes in the way the system sounds, you’ll want to call a professional.
  • Keep your landscaping in shape: You should also make an effort to keep any landscaping that surrounds the HVAC unit in good shape. The last thing that you want is to have roots or vines grow too close to the unit and have it cause problems with your system’s functionality. Ideally, you should aim to keep a clear 2-foot barrier around the unit at all times.

Remember to change the air filter every few months. Image: Shutterstock/ Steve Heap

Every three months

  • Change the air filter: Believe it or not, using a clean air filter is one of the keys to keeping a healthy HVAC system. It keeps dust and debris from building up in your ducts or being blown into the other rooms of your home. You should replace the air filter at least once every three months. Though, you may even want to check it monthly to make sure that it’s not full of dirt.
  • Adjust the thermostat: Constantly lowering and turning up your thermostat can have a big impact on your bills and not in a good way. Instead, if you can, consider setting your thermostat once a season and then letting it go.

Have a professional come evaluate the functionality of your system twice per year. Image: Shutterstock/ I AM NIKOM

In the fall

  • Professional seasonal maintenance: The reality is that the vast majority of your HVAC maintenance should be done by a professional. They will check the electrical connections and voltage, condensate drain, exhaust outlets, fuel lines, burners, heat exchangers and other components. Additionally, this is the time when they can address any problems other problems you’ve noticed.
  • Clean ice and snow off the unit: Depending on where you live, ice and snow may be inevitable. However, letting too much of it accumulate on the outdoor components of your HVAC system can do serious damage. Do your best to clean off any ice and snow.
  • Replace the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector: Though this is not truly a component of your HVAC system, it’s just as important. If they’re not working properly, heating systems can give off dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Make sure you stay prepared by testing the detector at least once a year and putting in fresh batteries.

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In the spring

  • Professional seasonal maintenance: Bring your local HVAC professional back out for spring maintenance on your AC unit. They will inspect the connections, voltage, lines, fins, pans, coils, refrigerant levels and blower system components. This is also the time to bring up any problems or damaged areas that you’ve noticed over the winter as you get ready for warmer temperatures.

Are you getting ready for the upcoming season? Get in touch with a local HVAC professional today to make sure that your HVAC maintenance is taken care of.

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How to Design a Small Space Open Floor Plan

Usually, when you see a photo of an open floor plan, it’s this spacious, modern design. The kitchen sits way off in the distance, large windows let in plenty of natural sunlight and there may even be space for multiple sitting areas. But just because you might have a smaller space, that doesn’t mean that an open floor plan is out of your reach. With some smart adjustments, you can create a small space open floor plan.

This might be one of the most involved home projects you could undertake. If you don’t live where you already have a small space open floor plan, you may have to work with a remodeler, move or even design your own dream home. However, if you already live with a small open floor plan, some of the design ideas below can help you make the most of the space you already have. As such, the cost of this project could range in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for a new build or it could be a free endeavor of just moving around furniture.

Small Space Open Floor Plan Small Sofa

A single sofa or loveseat can work wonders in small space open apartments. Image: Jodie Johnson/Shutterstock

Go Minimalist with the Furniture

Whether you already have a small space open floor plan or you’re in the process of designing/finding one, a major feature in the space will be the furniture. If you are working with a smaller space, you’re not going to have as much room for multiple sitting areas. And you’re going to want to keep the space looking as open as possible.

The easiest way to work with furniture in a small space open floor plan is actually to go big. This is counterintuitive, but a single larger furniture piece along the wall keeps the space more open. Otherwise, you’re cluttering up the space with many smaller items like individual chairs. Depending on the layout of the room, you could use a long sofa, a sectional or even add a loveseat.

Small Space Open Floor Plan Wall Art

Boldly colored wall art can make a stunning focal point in an open space. Image:

Create a Focal Point in your Small Space Open Floor Plan

If you’re working with a small space open floor plan, you might want to create a focal point to add visual interest to the room. One focal point item will add plenty of style to your space without cluttering up the smaller area the way designs with more working parts might. Examples of small space focal points can include a:

  • Small accent wall
  • Fireplace, either real or electric (smaller electric fireplaces fit well into small spaces)
  • Single piece of larger, bold furniture, like a brightly colored sofa
  • Television over a mantel or a display cabinet
  • Piece of large wall art

These ideas also create their own sense of organization, as you’ll often organize other items like furniture around the focal point.

Small Space Open Floor Plan Loft Design

Open railings can visually expand small floor plans. Image: Waclaw_EPI/Shutterstock

Think Open Balconies

If you’re in the process of finding a new place to live or designing that dream home, a key feature to keep in mind is an open loft design. That way, even if the space is on the smaller side, you have a whole second story that is visually open.

An open loft design leads to the illusion that the space is far bigger than it is. And it helps add to the small space open floor plan feeling by actually opening up the space. This is a design that is both illusion and literally more open.

Small Space Open Floor Plan Light Colors

Neutral and bright shades can stop a small space open floor plan from feeling closed in. Image: Dariusz Jarzabek/Shutterstock

Keep it Bright

You’ll also want to keep a close eye on the color scheme of the room. A common feature of open floor plans is that they tend to stay on the bright and neutral side of the design spectrum. A small space open floor plan is no exception. In fact, in smaller spaces, it’s even more important to keep the space light and neutral. Lighter colors help keep spaces feeling free and open.

Also, keeping the area well-lit will help it feel more open since darker spaces usually automatically feel closed off. You might consider elements like large windows or skylights. These will keep the natural light flowing into the space. If these are not an option, other lighting features like recessed lighting, pendant lighting and even casual chandelier designs can keep the space well-lit.

And remember, everything in this style is about keeping the space looking as open as possible. Your small space open floor plan goal is to make the space feel more expansive.

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