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The dining room is often the heart of the home, even more so than the living or family room, because it is where the family gathers to eat, where children do their homework at night and is often a catch-all for the odds & ends that accumulate during the day (such as mail or gloves or important things to remember for the next day). The dining room is a pretty big deal is what we’re saying. So, it’s important to create a dining room that fits your & your family’s needs while maintaining the air of “family center” that you’re looking for. Creating that dining room is only a matter of knowing a few simple things about the art of dining furniture. After that, you’ll be on your way!
The most important decision you’ll make for your dining room is the dining room table. You’ll need to make sure the table fits into the space first of all. Then you’ll need to decide if you want to go formal or informal. You’ll also want to offer as many seats as you can, while still leaving enough space for people to move around the room. This is where deciding which shape your table should be comes into play. There are four shapes to choose from – square, rectangle, round, and oval. A rectangular shape is the classic dining room table look, while a square shape provides a more contemporary look. Round tables are great for small spaces (and make for cozy meals!), while oval tables are essentially rectangular tables without all the sharp edges. After you decide which shape is best for your dining room, you should make a decision on whether you want to add leaves to extend your table as needed. There are several different types these days and they definitely come in handy. We have a super guide on the types and their differences on our site.
Now that you have your table, you need to decide where you want to place it. Dining room tables tend to be centered but placing it off-center may strike a balance that makes for an intriguing visual. You could also place it against the wall for more space and simply pull it out when more people are there. Whichever you decide, make sure there’s still plenty of room to move through the dining area.
Next, it’s time to choose chairs. The most important aspect of chairs is that they be comfortable. The second most important aspect is most likely the height of said chairs. Dining room chairs these days are more widely varied than ever and come in standard height, counter height, and bar height. Standard height is obviously the traditional dining room chair height and tends to give you more variety to choose from. Counter height is just a smidge taller than standard height and gives your dining room a unique feel, plus it’s great for smaller spaces. Bar height is the tallest and is perfect for entertaining. You can also go with adjustable heights. Other things to consider when it comes to chairs is whether you want arms, whether you want them to have backs, and whether you want them stationary or swivel. It’s a lot to take in but play around with heights, fabrics & patterns till you hit that perfect melody that’s uniquely you. We have a dining room chair guide on our site that better explains the differences in chair heights that is incredibly helpful!
When you’re setting your chairs up, be sure to leave plenty of elbow room plus room for plates, silverware, etc. Two feet of space between chairs is a good standard to go by. So long as chairs aren’t so far apart that people have to talk loudly to have a conversation, you should be good!
You’re not quite done yet. Think about the floor. Your dining room floor is going to see a lot of foot traffic and will eventually have food, drink, and who knows what else spilled on it. What kind of floor do you have? If you have a floor that’s easy to wipe up spills from you may want to leave it as is, but if you have a floor that’s harder to clean or stains easily you should consider getting a durable rug to place underneath your dining room table. (Yes, the rug will get stained but it’s far better than letting your actual floor go through all that.) Plus, a fabulous rug will add visual weight and frame the dining area. Just make sure the rug is large enough so that when chairs are pulled out as people sit down, the chair legs don’t move off of it.
Focus on lighting next. Do you have an overhead light of some kind or a lamp in the corner of the room? People need to see what they’re eating (and each other!) during meals, plus lighting can make or break a mood when it comes to entertaining. Placing lighting of some kind above the table – whether it be a chandelier or pendant – creates the perfect light balance.
After all that, it’s simply a matter of decorating your space with wall pieces that reflect your family’s personality & style, maybe throwing in a sideboard for storage, and voila! You have created the perfect dining room. Congratulations, you’re going to love it!
Choosing the right table shape/size and choosing the right chair heights might seem a bit overwhelming which is why Suburban is here to help you on every step of your journey to your perfect dining area. Call us anytime at 973-927-7100 or stop by our store with any questions you might have and we’ll be happy to help out. Happy decorating!
Look around whatever room you’re sitting in. Go ahead, just a quick look around. What do you see? Do you see a sofa or a bed or a desk? Or do you see piles of mail in the corner of the dining table and that one cushion on the sofa that sags in the middle? Take another look around, but pretend that you’re a guest in your home and you’re seeing it all for the first time.
Taking a good look at your home through the eyes of another is a great way to inventory your furniture to see what might need to be replaced or updated. Think about it – when you’re expecting guests to your home, you’re never more aware of what your home looks like right? So, think like that. Grab a notebook and pen/pencil, then go around your home. Walk out the front door and walk back in if it helps you get in the mindset. Then look around. Does your sofa look more worn that you remember? Is that lamp older than you thought? Maybe you’ll decide that you need a new accent chair, or a new paint job.
You can also figure out what might be able to be moved to a better place. Maybe you have a piece of furniture in the attic that you can actually use somewhere in the house. Or perhaps you can move your sofa to the opposite wall and change the entire focus of the room. Even swapping chairs or lamps will freshen up the look of a room.
Take a look at your accessories while you’re at it. If you’ve had your family photo in the same frame for years, it’s not even being noticed anymore. Get a new one! Move your favorite art piece to a new place where it can always be seen. Don’t take the small things for granted – they can make a world of difference!
Doing a furniture inventory is a good way to start out a new year. Repainting, replacing, or just moving the furniture in your home can spice things up and give you a sense of renewed pride in your living space. It’s simple to do and if you decide you want or need new furniture just call us at Suburban Furniture or visit one of our stores. We’ll help you find what you need in no time!
Mattresses – large, bulky, and no fun to buy, right? (Well, not exactly. We make it pretty fun!) But sometimes they have to be replaced. How do you know when that time is though? Here’s how to tell whether it’s time to replace your mattress.
How old is your mattress? Consumer Reports magazine recommends mattresses be replaced between every 7-10 years so one of the first things to consider is the age of your mattress. It can be hard to remember when exactly you purchased an item, so when you buy a mattress try writing the date of purchase on the mattress label.
How are your allergies? If you wake up sneezing or sniffling or find that your allergies seem worse at night when you lay down, it might be time for a new mattress. That’s because dust mites are one of the leading causes of allergies and they love to bed down in…well, bedding. These guys love to hibernate and multiply in the cotton felt layer that is found in most spring mattresses. They’re tough to get rid of so getting a new mattress is the easiest way to go. Then, use a dust mite resistant mattress cover and frequently wash your pillows and bedding to help alleviate dust mites and extend the life of your new mattress.
How well-rested are you in the morning? The whole point of sleep is to refresh your body. If you consistently wake up still tired and feel sleepy throughout the day (and you don’t have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, etc), that means you’re not resting well. Most likely it’s due to tossing & turning all night long because your body can’t get comfortable. And that means it’s time for a new mattress.
How does your body feel in the morning? Likewise, take inventory of any aches & pains you feel when you wake up each morning. If you’re waking up each morning sore & achy, chances are you need a new mattress. As mattresses get near the end of their lives, they lose their spring and ability to bounce back. That means no support for you and directly sleeping on springs, yikes!
How does your mattress look? If you are feeling pain, take a good look at your mattress. If you can see visible signs of sagging (think lumps or valleys), then you’re definitely not getting quality support. If you don’t see any visible signs of sagging but you still feel like you’re sagging into the mattress, particularly in the middle of the bed, it’s likely the core of your memory foam is softening.
Are you more comfortable elsewhere? This is pretty obvious but if you find yourself sleeping better on a hotel mattress than at home or purposely going to sleep on the sofa some nights instead of your bed because you like it better, you have an issue and you definitely need a new mattress!
Have you experienced significant weight change? Weight fluctuates as we go through life, sometimes minutely, and sometimes greatly. It happens for a variety of reasons (surgery, pregnancy, etc) and, believe it or not, it can affect how your mattress supports you. A mattress that was comfortable 6 years ago might not offer the same level of comfort if you weigh much less or more, due to pressure points. Sometimes this can be fixed, at least temporarily, with a mattress topper but if the mattress is simply too soft and unsupportive, it’s time to bite the bullet and shop for a new one.
Shopping for a new mattress can seem like an overwhelming experience because it’s a large purchase, but when it’s time, it’s time. At Suburban, we make the experience simple and painless with our wide array of mattresses suited to fit a variety of different needs. Our knowledgeable salespeople are also available to answer any questions you might have and to help you find your next perfect mattress. Now that you know how to tell whether you need a new mattress when you decide it’s time, come by Suburban. We’ll be waiting to lend a helping hand!
Autumn is officially here and while the weather may not have gotten the memo just yet, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared for fall weather. Now is the perfect time to get your home fall-ready with the help of a few easy tips. Have a look below to see what you should be doing to get ready!
Cozy bedding – Cooler weather means it’s time to break out cozy everything! Don’t forget to include your cozy bedding like down comforters, cotton sheets, & knits. Take ’em out of storage and give ’em a good wash, then you’ll be good to go when the nights get truly cold.
Clean off outdoor furniture – It’s time to get your outdoor & patio furniture ready for next year. That means hosing them down to remove dirt & stains, cleaning off any cobwebs, and removing the cushions. After that, simply store them till you need them again.
Clean your chimney – You’ll likely be using your fireplace a lot come winter so schedule a chimney cleaning now to avoid chimney fires!
Stock up on firewood – While you’re at it, this is also a good time to get a start on your firewood pile. Trust us, you’ll be super glad you did when winter comes around.
Organize your garage – We know, we know; organizing your garage is probably the least fun thing you could do. But come fall, when you aren’t tripping over things while looking for the rake and you find it in one try, you’ll be thankful you did. It’s also a great opportunity to see if you need any new tools.
Flip your rugs – Help your rugs live long, healthy lives by flipping them every fall. Chances are if you have rugs in a room, parts of them are covered by furniture. This results in the parts underneath the furniture looking brand new while the other parts get faded by the sun and look worn & traveled. Flipping will alleviate this problem.
Check the furnace/boiler – Whichever of these you have, you need to have it checked to make sure it’s working properly. Also, if you have a furnace remember to change the filters regularly throughout fall and winter. It will keep energy costs down!
Reverse your ceiling fans – This one is as easy as flipping a switch. Reversing your ceiling fan so it turns in a clockwise direction moves warm that is close to the ceiling down to the floor and can help you save on heating bills.
Fall Gardening – Prep your garden for spring! There are plenty of flowers to plant in the fall that will bloom in the spring such as tulips, iris, daffodil, hyacinth, and lily.
Wash the outside of windows – How often do you clean the outside of your windows? Bring in a little extra sunlight on those cold, dreary days by doing just that! Simply attach a window cleaner to your hose and you’re set!
These tips will not only make fall a breeze, but they’ll help you & your family stay safe AND help you save money. It’s pretty win-win all around. Cheers, to fall!
School is starting soon and that means so do back to school routines such as early to bed, early to rise. It can be hard to get back into the swing of the sleep routine after a summer of fun & late nights, but there are ways to make it easier on yourself and your kids. Try these tips and hacks, and you’ll be back on track in no time.
To start, ease everybody back into the swing of routines, especially earlier bedtimes. A couple of weeks before school starts, start having the kids go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night till they hit their schooltime bedtime (ex. If they’ve been going to bed at 9, but need to go to bed at 8 during school, you’d start the first night at 8:45, the next at 8:30, and so on). This way it’s less of a shock and they’re less likely to put up a huge fuss.
Speaking of times for bed, set a regular time between 7pm & 8pm. Every child has different sleep needs, but generally most school-aged children need between 10-12 hours of sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine offers these sleep guidelines for parents:
- 4-12 months: 12-16 hours
- 1-2 years: 11-14 hours
- 3-5 years: 10-13 hours
- 6-12 years: 9-12 hours
- 13-18 years: 8-10 hours
- 18+ years: 7+ hours
Once you have a set time and are working on getting back to that set time before school actually begins, it’s good to create a night time routine. About an hour before lights’ out, get things done like laying out clothes for the next day, taking showers/baths, brushing teeth, and putting on PJs. If you do the same thing each night before bed, the routine will start becoming a cue that it’s almost time for sleep.
A wonderful thing to have as part of your kids’ bedtime routine that children universally love? Bedtime stories! It winds kids down if they’re still energetic, creates a wonderful opportunity for bonding, and helps kids with their reading. It’s win-win all around. Something to avoid, however, is reading e-books – or looking at screens (tv, phone, computer) in general – at any point in the half hour leading up to sleep. Electronics emit blue light which causes a delay in the natural release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. No melatonin means no Mr. Sandman. (The avoiding electronics 30 minutes before bed rule is an excellent one for adults as well!).
Finally, make sure your child’s bedroom is primed for the perfect sleep. Blackout blinds are handy as bedrooms should be as dark as possible (though nightlights are useful too if your child doesn’t prefer complete darkness). Letting your child pick out their own sheet set will go a long way to getting them excited for bed too! And, of course, there’s the matter of making sure the mattress is comfortable – not too hard, not too soft (the kind of mattress Goldilocks would prefer). We have a great selection of mattresses at our stores and online PLUS a slew of more awesome information on sleep health on our website as well if it’s a mattress you need. Just drop by or give us a call!
Change can be hard, especially when it’s time to end summer fun and go back to school. These back to school sleep hacks should make the change a bit easier and give you and your kids one less thing to stress out over as the school season starts anew.
During an April 2017 survey, 40 percent of internet users in the United States stated that they purchased items online at several times per month, and 20 percent said they bought items or services online on a weekly basis. Online shopping is becoming more and more convenient for people (though personally, we still prefer our brick & mortar stores!). There are still a few things, however, that people are wary of purchasing online with furniture being one of them. We’ve got a few tips here that will make shopping online for furniture seem less risky and much easier!
- Read the furniture description. People sometimes have a habit of simply scanning descriptions because they’ve looked at the photo of the piece and think, “okay, I’ve got it!”. But this is where you’ll find info on durability, construction, and instructions for cleaning the furniture, as well as measurements.
- Measure, measure, measure! We cannot stress this one enough – measuring is the most important component of buying furniture, period. It’s even more crucial when buying online. You won’t be seeing the furniture in a store and figuring out how it will look in your space that way, so your measuring skills need to be SOLID. Use measured-out painter’s tape or string to build a layout of how the piece will look in your home (remember to add extra space for items such as recliners that expand). And if your furniture comes pre-assembled, don’t forget to measure doorways!
- Read reviews. The furniture store will make this piece of furniture look its absolute best because that’s their job, but the ones who will know how the furniture actually looks and feels and works will be people who have already purchased. Read A LOT of reviews when considering a piece. A negative review here and there is no big, but several bad reviews in a row should make one wary.
- Wait before you buy. Why? Because the store might have a sale coming up that will make the piece cheaper or you might be able to drop by their physical store to grab a coupon of some kind. You might even be able to shop around and find the same piece for less somewhere else. We’re just saying impulse control is a good thing for your wallet!
- Check the return policy. Big one here because if that furniture piece DOESN’T work out for some reason, you’re gonna want to return it. So check out the store’s return policy top to bottom and email them if you have ANY questions about it. Some things to look for: a) Is there a time limit to their return policy? b) Do return items need to be in their original packaging? c) Is there a restocking fee? d) What will you need to do to return the item? and e) When can you expect to receive your refund after return?
Buying furniture online doesn’t have to feel like a big gamble; it can be as simple and risk-free as ordering that book from Amazon. And with Suburban Furniture it’s always simple and risk-free because we focus on customer service and are here to help you out from start to finish. Drop by our website to get a taste of what we have, then get to decorating!
If you’re the proud parent of a furbaby, you have some extra things to keep in mind when shopping for furniture like “will my cat approve of this or will he/she turn up their nose?”, lol. We adore animals as much as the next person but we do recognize they bring unique challenges with them – scratching, licking, fur everywhere. We’ve gathered some tips to help you purchase the best furniture for both you AND your pet, so that everyone is happy!
Know thy pet. Different pets have different habits and quirks. Your cat may scratch everything in sight while your dog may shed like a fiend. These things are good to know when buying furniture. Knowing this and more will help you correctly identify which kind of fabric to pick for sofas and chairs.
Speaking of fabric…Choosing the right fabric to go on your furniture will be the most important decision you make – choose wisely! Leather, distressed leathers, and synthetic fabrics are, in most cases, the best choices for pets. Microfiber, Ultrasuede and Crypton are also good choices as they’re stain-resistant and easy to clean. Avoid tweed, chenille, velvet, and silks as they’ll be utterly destroyed by nails or licks.
Also helpful? Choose a fabric that matches your pet so pet hair is more easily hidden. Patterns are particularly good for this. Of course, weigh this against how the color will actually look as a design choice (ie will it go with the rest of the room?) and use your best judgement overall.
Keep things out of reach. Sometimes our furry friends want what’s not theirs or are just accident-prone and knock things over. Keep things out of reach when possible (it’s easier than it sounds!). In the kitchen, try large stools to deter small dogs (and often large breeds) from getting on chairs or tables. If your cat is jumping from another area to where you don’t want him, block the area with a sturdy plant or decoration the cat can’t knock over.
Keep sharp edges to a minimum. Like small children, animals (especially younger ones) often have boundless energy and love to play. Chances are they’re going to run into things every now and then – I nearly got a helmet for my kitten when she was months old, no joke, because she kept hitting things with her head; it was terrible. If you have a rounded coffee table vs a rectangular, there’s less chance your pupper is going to be bruised when he goes skidding into while chasing the cat.
Break up space! Ottomans and other small furniture pieces can be used to block off areas you’d rather your pet not stray into (like near a breakable vase). If your pup can’t get through easily, your breakables are less likely to get knocked over by a stray tail-wag.
Make your pet their own little home within a home. Make your pet their own little corner and they’re less likely to come hang out in your area. It can be as simple as a cat tree for the kittehs or an awesome dog bed for the puppy (or you can go super-elaborate if you really want!). Giving pets their own space to scratch away at or lick or fuzz up = less incentive to do it elsewhere.
Believe us, it’s absolutely possible to have beautiful furniture AND pets. Head over to our website to ask us any questions you have about buying pet-friendly furniture or drop by one of our stores today to talk to any of our knowledgeable sales people!