These cleverly designed rugs are machine washable so I never have to worry about spills – plus they’re incredibly affordable

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

ruggable main

  • Rugs are a great piece of home decor, but they can be difficult to maintain.
  • Ruggable’s polyester chenille rugs ($59.30+) are affordable, attractive, and easy to clean.
  • I used and washed a Ruggable rug in my own apartment, and the process went seamlessly.

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyLinear Aztec Black Rug (small)

Rugs are an essential part of home decor, providing the foundation upon which your furniture and other decor sit. However, they’re a huge pain to clean: you need to bring them outside and use a host of different tools and cleaners or possibly spend a lot of money letting a professional take care of them. You start to wonder whether their aesthetic appeal is worth the inconvenience of care and maintenance.

Related Article Module: The best places to buy area rugs in 2021

Before you decide to put off cleaning your rug for yet another week, you might want to take a look at rugs Ruggable. It makes two-piece rug and non-slip pad systems that are easy to assemble and maintain, and most importantly, machine-washable. After trying a Ruggable rug in my own apartment, I found that enjoying a stylish rug in my home can actually be simple, not to mention affordable.

Design options

After I measured out the size of rug I wanted, I scrolled through a variety of patterns and colors on Ruggable’s site and decided on one that matched my apartment style. There are intricate designs and geometric prints as well as to modern ones, so finding one that matches your aesthetic shouldn’t be too hard. There’s also a good range of styles: 3’x 5′, 2.5’x 7′, 5’x 7′, and 8’x 10′.

A 5’x 7′ rug set averages $130, which is on par with other affordable rugs you might find on Wayfair, but the clear differences are the unique two-piece system and machine-washable quality.

How Ruggable rugs work

The rug covers are made up of three layers – 100% woven polyester chenille top surface, a 100% polyurethane internal waterproof barrier in the middle, and a 100% polyester knit bottom surface.

The 1/8-inch thick rug cover will come with a rug pad. This nonslip pad is also 1/8-inch thick and features Ruggable‘s patented “Cling Effect Technology,” which is what keeps the rug cover and rug pad stuck together.

Once you unroll the cover and pad, which arrive together in a box, line them up on top of each other and attach the pieces. The rug cover’s underside will stick to the rug pad’s top surface, which has a texture and stickiness similar to Velcro. After the two pieces are attached, they won’t fall apart if you shake it out, and you’ll have to manually pull the layers apart.

ruggable rugs 1

Setup process

Carefully lining up the edges might take a little time the first time you do it, but overall it’s not too tricky. The complete process from taking the rug out of the box to fully assembling it took me all of 10 minutes.

The rugs are not extremely thick but provide enough cushion-y comfort without blocking door openings, and they’re easier to move and transport since you can fold up the rug cover.

Cleaning the rug

The real test came when it was time to wash it after a couple of weeks of regular foot traffic from my roommates and our cat. I removed the cover from the pad and threw the cover in the washing machine on the cold water setting, then dried it in the dryer on low heat (medium also works well, but don’t use high heat).

It was as easy and quick as washing a regular load of laundry, and the cover came out looking as good as new. Then, I just reattached it to the rug pad and the rug was ready to use again.

The rug pad is not machine-washable and should be spot treated. However, since the top of it rarely comes in contact with anything other than the rug cover, any time spent spot treating will likely be minimal.

The bottom line

Ruggable’s rugs are designed for people who lead understandably busy and messy lives. Most of us don’t live in the pristine settings captured by design magazines, but the convenience and style of a Ruggable rug got me one step closer to that dream.

Shop all Ruggable rugs

Linear Aztec Black Rug (small)

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best 5 gliders and rocking chairs

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Rocking chairs may seem old-fashioned, but they are extremely comfortable.
  • If you’re looking for a great rocking chair, we like the Baby Relax Mikayla Swivel Gliding Recliner.
  • Thanks to its reclining capabilities and 360-degree swivel action, we think it suits most people.

Often used by new parents, gliders and rocking chairs are useful additions to a nursery. But almost anyone can enjoy a rocking chair, and there are many modern styles to choose from these days.

Rocking chairs are even having a resurgence these days. You don’t have to be a baby to enjoy the gentle and calming rocking sensation. You can enjoy your new rocker in cushioned comfort, whether you’re in the baby’s nursery, on the porch, or in a living room watching TV.

We’ve checked all the reviews and looked over the feature sets of every rocking chair in our guide to find only the best ones. Whether you’re a new parent, a grandparent, or just someone who loves rocking chairs, we have a pick for you here.

Here are the best gliders and rocking chairs in 2021

The best gliding chair overall

best_rocking_chair_ _Baby_Relax_Mikayla_Swivel_Gliding_ _from_Amazon

No matter what style of rocking chair you prefer, the versatile Baby Relax Mikayla Swivel Gliding Recliner fulfills your needs, with a glider, recliner, and swivel chair all wrapped into one.

Pros: Versatile rocking chair offering glider and swivel features inside a recliner, soft and comfortable cushioning, high back is good for tall people, nice looking design, easy to clean microfiber fabric

Cons: May squeak a little

The Baby Relax Mikayla Swivel Gliding Recliner combines many of the best features in modern rocking chairs, all in one comfortable package.

It’s able to serve as a glider, a recliner, and a swivel chair. Because of its high-quality construction, all of the chair’s movements are extremely smooth and controlled, which is especially important for nursing mothers.

A padded leg rest invites you to put your feet up while you’re using the Mikayla as a recliner, and the button tufting on the backrest acts as both a generous cushion and a fun design detail. 

Speaking of design, it’s also nice that the chair comes in several different colors and fabrics. You can choose between beige linen, gray linen, gray microfiber, and mocha microfiber. Note that the microfiber fabrics will be the easiest to clean.

The best glider for nursing babies

best glider chair for nursing babies Dutailier

If you’re looking for a rocking chair specifically for nursing a baby — and you don’t mind spending a little extra — the Dutailier Nursing Grand Modern Glider Chair offers several desirable features.

Pros: High construction quality, easy to assemble, built-in nursing pillows set this rocking chair apart, very comfortable cushions, position of glider can be locked in place during feeding, also available with an ottoman

Cons: Narrow (18.75″ wide)

The Dutailier Nursing Grand Modern Glider provides high-quality fabric, a sturdy build, and generous cushioning.

It also includes built-in feeding pillows that make this rocking chair even more appealing to nursing parents. The pillows tuck into the back cushion when not in use. You’ll just pull the pillows out of place when you need to position them.

It also includes a fully adjustable backrest with extra seating space that’s perfect for sitting comfortably with your baby. You can lock the glider into place, ensuring you remain in just the right position without movement while feeding your baby. It’s also available with an ottoman

The best traditional rocking chair

best_rocking_chair_ _Coaster_Rocking_Chair_With_Carved_Detail_ _from_Amazon

If stylish and traditional is your taste in furniture, it doesn’t get much more traditional than the all-wood Coaster Milton Indoor Rocking Chair.

Pros: Beautiful looking traditional rocking chair, all wood construction, assembly takes a short amount of time, lightweight chair is easy to move around, easy to clean the chair

Cons: Customers report some problems with customer service, no included cushions

Some items are just better when you stick to the original design. If that’s your feeling regarding rocking chairs, the Coaster Milton Indoor Rocking Chair is the way to go.

The Coaster rocking chair has the two arc rockers, the four spindle legs attaching the chair to the rockers, the curved arms, and the all-wood design that represents the traditional look of a rocking chair. This model has no cushions on it, but you can easily add tie-on cushions to the seat and back for a bit of comfort.

This chair also weighs less than 20 pounds, making it easy to move around. 

The best outdoor rocking chair

best_rocking_chair_ _Outdoor_Interiors_Resin_Wicker_Rocking_Chair_ _from_Amazon

The Outdoor Interiors Resin Wicker and Eucalyptus Rocking Chair stands up to almost any kind of weather, but it will continue to look great with just a little bit of maintenance.

Pros: Very durable outdoor rocking chair, materials look nice, chair is comfortable for sitting for long periods, good build quality, wood only requires occasional maintenance care

Cons: Assembly can be tricky

The Outdoor Interiors Resin Wicker and Eucalyptus Rocking Chair provides the right mix of stylish construction and weatherproof materials, making it a great option for using on an outdoor patio.

It has a wooden frame and a wicker seat for a classic look. The materials are fairly durable and meant to tough out the weather on your patio. You may want to occasionally apply linseed oil to keep the wood in top condition.

You will have to pay a bit more than average for this outdoor rocking chair, but it has plenty of durability to make it worth the extra cost, thanks to its combination of wicker and eucalyptus.

A common complaint in online reviews is the chair’s tricky assembly process, as lining up the parts while tightening them is difficult for one person alone. However, once it’s made, it’s a great chair.

What to consider when buying a rocking chair

Rocking chairs and gliders are available in many shapes, designs, styles, and sizes. All of them allow you to create a gentle rocking motion, but they go about the process in slightly different ways. 

  • Fabric: If you’re often rocking your baby in the chair, the chair is going to become soiled at some point. It’s inevitable. So pick a type of chair and fabric that’s easy to clean.
  • Glider or platform: A glider rocking chair moves forward and backward, leaving the base in a stable position, rather than having the entire chair move in an arc like a traditional rocking chair. The movement of a glider is often smoother than a rocking chair, which is good for moms and babies. Gliders and platform rockers operate in a similar manner.
  • Locking mechanism: Some rocking chairs can be locked in place, which makes it easier for you to stand up while holding a baby.
  • Ottoman: Many rocking chairs come with an ottoman, which allows you to put your feet up when you don’t want to rock. Some ottomans that ship with glider rocking chairs also move in the same manner as the glider, allowing for a smooth motion.
  • Outdoor: Some rocking chairs are made for indoor use, while others are made for outdoor use. If you plan to leave your rocking chair exposed to the weather, be sure to pick a chair rated for outdoor use.
  • Padding: A rocking chair may provide padding to support your back, neck, and arms. You may be spending a few hours in the chair to comfort a sick baby, so padding is important. Even an all-wood rocking chair can be made more comfortable with removable padding that ties onto the chair.
  • Recliner: Some rockers have a reclining feature, which allows you to lock the rocking chair in place and put your feet up on a footrest.
  • Swivel: Some rocking chairs have a circular base, which allows you to spin the chair 360 degrees in addition to rocking in it. This is a great feature for being able to swing around and see other children playing in the room while sitting with a baby.

 

Check out our other guides to baby essentials

Baby crib

The best umbrella strollers


The best organic and eco-friendly disposable diapers


The best changing pads

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 4 best TV stands in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A great TV stand offers enough storage for devices and media and blends in with your home decor.
  • The Progressive Furniture Willow 74-inch TV Stand is our favorite basic option available online.
  • It offers ample storage, hides cables well, and fits in with several decorating styles.

Building a home theater requires a lot of pieces. Not only will you want a good TV, but you also might have streaming boxes, gaming consoles, audio tuners, soundbars, and so on. You’ll want to store all of those devices in a piece of furniture that looks good, feels organized, and fits well in your home.

Furniture often comes down to personal preference, but there are still certain features that make one TV stand different from another. Some are better suited to soundbars, have more compartments than others, or are easier to build, for example.

You’ll want to think about size first of all. Be sure to measure not only the size of the space where the stand is going to be but also the size of your TV. If your TV is huge, you’ll probably want a TV stand that’s at least as wide, if not a whole lot wider. Plus, it should be very sturdy. You’ll also want to consider how much space you need to store components, especially if you have a lot of streaming boxes and gaming consoles, along with accompanying media.

Budget is also a concern, so we’ve rounded up TV stands in a wide range of prices.

Here are the best TV stands you can buy:

The best TV stand overall

tv stand

The Progressive Furniture Willow 74-Inch Console is big, well-designed, and good-looking. It offers plenty of storage for your devices and media.

Pros: Beautifully designed, lots of storage, room for a soundbar

Cons: Size won’t work for everyone

Looking for a standard-size TV stand with ample storage for your boxes and media? The Progressive Furniture Willow 74-inch TV stand may be the best one for you. It’s big and well-built and looks great.

This piece is built to look a little rustic, but we think it will fit in with a variety of decor styles. It also has a space for a soundbar, though it’s a little narrow. For soundbars wider than 36 inches, you may want to look elsewhere. If you don’t have a soundbar at all, you can just use that space as an extra shelf.

Cupboard doors cover all the shelving, so the TV stand is nice and streamlined. You can hide your messy stack of DVDs and many cables behind closed doors. It’s made from pinewood and medium-density fibreboard (MDF).

Its size isn’t really a downside, but if you have a smaller space for a TV stand, this 74-inch wide piece of furniture may be a little large for your home. It’s also a bit expensive, and you’ll have to assemble it yourself.

The best TV stand with space for a soundbar

south shore

The South Shore Adrian TV Stand looks cool, has lots of storage, and boasts room for a soundbar.

Pros: Big soundbar shelf, lots of storage, good customer service

Cons: Engineered wood is not as high-quality as some others, can’t handle spills

Soundbars are becoming increasingly popular, so you might want a TV stand that has ample room for a wide one. The South Shore Adrian 65-inch TV Stand can support TVs up to 65 inches and 100 pounds, so you know it’s sturdy.

The TV stand has six shelves, four of which are behind glass doors. South Shore also included a super-wide soundbar shelf, which can be used for other things if you don’t have a soundbar.

The piece is available in two colors — black oak and gray maple — which will suit most homes.

You will need to assemble the piece yourself. The instructions are very easy to follow, especially if you’ve assembled furniture before.

South Shore aims to make affordable furniture, and that sometimes comes at the cost of longevity. Engineered wood isn’t the most durable. Don’t rest drinks or place plants that might leak on it, or it will soak the water up like a sponge.

The best budget TV stand

tv stand

The low-profile Vivo VESA TV Stand is simple and minimalistic.

Pros: Simple, minimalistic, inexpensive

Cons: May not be the best for heavier TVs, no storage space

Perhaps you don’t need a ton of storage and want a TV stand that fits into minimalistic decor. If that’s you, then the Vivo VESA Mount Stand is a great buy. This TV stand does away with the furniture part of the equation in favor of two legs that you’ll screw into the holes on the back of your TV, letting it stand on any table.

The legs accommodate TVs from 22-inches to 65-inches, though there are versions of the legs for larger TVs if you have one. The stand supports the universal VESA standard of screw holes on the back of your TV. Chances are your TV conforms to that standard, but you should check to be sure before you buy.

It may not be the best choice for heavier TVs, so check your device’s weight before you purchase the stand.

The best wall-mounted TV stand

tv stand

The South Shore Floating Wall-Mounted Media Console is well-built and offers plenty of storage with a design that helps eliminate clutter.

Pros: Nice floating design, lots of storage, a few color options

Cons: Can’t support as much weight as those with legs, particleboard chips, water will ruin it

Wall-mounted TV stands look great, especially if you wall-mount your TV, too. If you’re looking for a great wall-mounted TV stand, then we recommend the South Shore 56-inch TV Stand. It’s well-designed, and it looks like it’s floating.

There’s a good amount of room for storage, too. The TV stand features six storage spaces, which can be accessed using sliding doors on the front of the piece. There are three sections in total, each with two shelves. On top of that, the TV stand is available in a few different colors. We love the design and think that at least one of these color choices will fit perfectly in any home.

This piece is made with particleboard. It’s going to chip with the remotest bit of abuse. You don’t want to put water anywhere near it, or it will be ruined.

Because the TV stand is wall-mounted, you’ll want to make sure you set it into studs, first and foremost. Even still, be careful with the amount of weight you put on it. South Shore is a budget furniture company, and as such it’s not uncommon to find a few small nicks on your furniture when it arrives.

As many customers note, however, South Shore customer service seems to be pretty good, and the company will likely send out replacements for any defective parts you receive.

Check out our other great furniture guides

ottomans

The best armchairs 


The best ottomans

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best futons for under $500

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Futons are space-saving pieces of furniture that you can use as a couch or bed.
  • If your home has limited space, buying a futon is an easy way to add a seating and sleeping area.
  • The Jerry Sales Excelsior Futon is our top pick; it works well as a pull-out bed and couch.

Futons were made for small living spaces and are perfect for putting up overnight guests. The trick with picking out a futon is finding one that works as well as a couch as it does a bed. That’s especially the case when you’re trying to find a futon online, without testing it out first.

Despite their reputation as starter furniture, you can find some quality futons without spending more than you would on a couch. When picking a futon, think about how it will be used. Different futons are better suited for different tasks.

  • Sitting: If the futon will primarily be used as a couch and only occasionally as a guest bed, look for a model that has legs, armrests, and a backrest that’s part of the frame for the most comfort. Also look for one with fewer ridges, which sometimes offer more support in the bed position but can be uncomfortable as a seat.
  • Sleeping: Some futons take up a lot of floor space when they’re unfolded. If you plan to regularly use the futon as a bed, you’ll need to have clear space around it. You don’t want to put it in a spot where you constantly have to move other furniture to unfold it. You’ll also want to look for a thick and comfortable mattress, along with a supportive frame.
  • Mixture: If the futon will be used for both sitting and sleeping equally, look for one that’s easy to convert from couch to bed and back again. Loveseat-style futons, which feature leg extensions that fold into the frame, tend to provide the most versatility considering how little floor space they take up, according to Futonland.

We’ve spent a dozen hours reading professional reviews, and below are our picks for futons in the under-$500 range.

Here are the best futons you can buy:

The best futon overall

best futon overall under $500 2021 jerry sales excelsior espresso

You’ll pay a bit extra for the Jerry Sales Excelsior Futon, but it’s an extremely sturdy and comfortable piece of furniture for both sitting and sleeping.

Pros: High-quality frame and comfortable mattress, several mattress colors available, full-size mattress, excellent back and neck support, large couch

Cons: Assembly is a complicated process, may be too large for some dorm rooms, comparatively pricey

If your budget can accommodate it, one of the most comfortable futons for less than $500 is the Jerry Sales Excelsior Futon

This model uses an eight-inch thick innerspring mattress that offers plenty of support for sleeping. It’s a full-size mattress, which your overnight guests will appreciate. The couch is 80 inches long. As such, it may be better suited to an apartment than a dorm.

The wood frame includes armrests and good back support, making the Excelsior excellent for sitting, too. Several mattress colors are available to match the look of your apartment or dorm room. There are a few different wood stains available for each frame as well.

You can expect to spend some time on assembly with this futon, but for a futon with this kind of build quality, the extra effort is well worth it. 

The best small futon

best small stylish futon under $500 2021 Kodiak Futon Lounger

If you need a small futon for a dorm room that’s also stylish, the Kodiak Futon Lounger is a great pick.

Pros: Numerous color choices, should fit in many dorm rooms, can be set up as a lounger in addition to a bed or couch

Cons: Not much back or neck support as a couch, sleeper mattress is only 32 inches wide, thinner than some futon mattresses

If you want a splash of style in your dorm room or small apartment, the Kodiak Futon Lounger is the perfect answer.

This futon works better as a small sofa than as a bed because when the mattress folds out, it only measures 32 inches in width and 79 inches in length. If you mostly need it for seating, or your guests are comfortable with the limited amount of sleeping space, it’s a great pick.

The back cushions remain in place when you turn this futon into a bed, while the sides fold down, so you could choose to leave one side upright to create a lounger. 

The mattress is almost six inches thick, so you may not want to sleep on it night after night. You also might want to place the futon against a wall for support when using it as a couch, as the back cushions don’t provide significant support. 

The futon is small, too, measuring only 66 inches in width, so it’ll fit well in most dorm rooms. It’s not really made for more than two people to use at once, which makes it less than ideal for dorm life.

The best Japanese futon

best Japanese futon under $500 2021 fuli's futons

Fuli’s futons come in sizes from twin to king and roll up to fit in your closet.

Pros: Affordable, storable

Cons: Not a ton of support, not a couch

Despite its association with a slatted, fold-out sofa stateside, a futon, which is a Japanese word, is by definition a quilted mattress that rolls out on the floor and is used as a bed. Japanese futons are portable, storable, and often much more practical than their American counterparts, especially in smaller spaces.

The Fuli Shiki futon is a three-layer piece made of 100% cotton fabric and 100% polyester stuffing. The queen size weighs only 10 pounds and can fold to 27 by 37 by 3.5 inches, which means it should fit in most closets and beneath most beds and couches.

It’s a pretty simple, quilted pad, which you’ll either put directly on the floor or atop a tatami mat. We recommend the tatami mat, both to add a little support and to keep your futon clean.

Keep in mind, though, that this is not a US-style futon and doesn’t double as a couch. It does not have foam, it does not have coils, and it will not offer significant support. It will, however, save you space and put up a friend or two in a pinch.

How to choose a futon

Once you’ve figured out how you plan to use the futon, you can home in on the specific features you want. Do you want to deal with a frame? Do you want a sofa? The options are endless, but here a few key considerations to keep in mind when shopping.

  • Bifold mattress: Most futon mattresses are bifold cushions, meaning they fold once when used in the couch setup. However, a few cushions are trifold, which can be a little trickier to set up and use.
  • Easy to clean: Pick a futon mattress that has an easy-to-clean surface material. Using a removable futon cover is a good solution because it’s easy to throw in a washing machine.
  • Frame construction: For a futon that’s easier to move around, it’s helpful if the frame can be taken apart for transport and reassembled later. This can be especially handy if you’re moving a lot.
  • Frame materials: Futons are available with wood or metal frames. Overstock says metal frames offer more durability than wood frames and are typically less expensive, making them perfect for dorm rooms. Wood futons often fit better into the décor of a room and can be more comfortable. If you do spring for wood, you may want to spend more than $500; the cheap particle board that’s often used doesn’t hold up well over time.
  • Innerspring coils: For the most comfortable sleep, a futon mattress with innerspring coils inside — similar to a traditional bed mattress — is the right choice. Some futon mattresses are filled with foam or cotton batting, which isn’t as supportive. 
  • Size: You can buy futons in a variety of mattress sizes, based on your sleeping needs. Futon Life offers a great list of futon mattress measurements to help you decide what works best for you.
  • Weight: If you want to move the futon and mattress regularly from room to room, you don’t want a heavy frame. Innerspring coil mattresses are heavier than their foam counterparts. 

What else we considered

best futons for under $500 2021 target room essentials futon sofa

Room Essentials Futon Sofa: While this futon sofa looks like it could tie any room together, it just doesn’t seem to be built well enough for our recommendation. It’s made with inexpensive wood and assembled rather simply. It also may not be as sturdy as some futon mattresses since it lacks springs.

If you do go for this option, just make sure you assemble it well and tighten the fittings regularly. The particle-board frame will otherwise be prone to giving way. We recommend this if it’s something you’re planning on tossing in a year or two, but you can find better, especially if you’re willing to shop for used furniture.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I tried Spoak, a platform for interior-design enthusiasts – here’s why I think it’s a must try if you’re moving into a new apartment

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

A living room rendering created using Spoak.
  • Spoak is an online interior-design community that offers user-friendly interior design tools.
  • Members can use Spoak to create mock-ups, color palettes, and mood boards.
  • I tried Spoak for a few months, and it’s a great tool for those looking to decorate their space.

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyMonthly Subscription (small)

If you’ve struggled to find helpful tools for mapping out your new apartment, you’re not alone. Spoak, an online interior-design platform, provides its members with powerful design tools; informative design classes; and a way to interact with other design enthusiasts in a safe, private space.

Founder and CEO Hilah Stahl created Spoak after being unable to find the proper tools to help her decorate and furnish her first New York City apartment with her now husband. At the time, Stahl was working in product management and used her background in tech and product development to build Spoak. “I wanted to basically combine both of these problems, the fact that there was no great tooling and also that there was basically no area to explore design as a creative pursuit or passion without taking an enormous financial and time leap,” said Stahl.

Spoak currently offers three membership tiers that range in price from $14.99 to $24.99. Each tier caters to people at varying levels of design interest, from beginners to those ready to start a career in the industry.

In addition to testing Spoak for several weeks, we also spoke with Stahl to learn more about Spoak’s creation and its best features.

Pricing and tiers

Image of the details of each Spoak membership tier

Spoak has three membership tiers, DIY, Growth, and Designer. Each is suited for members with different levels of design experience, with included features to match. All membership tiers offer unlimited project designs, mockups, floor plans, and mood boards, as well as access to a private Slack community, design club events, and the Thingology social-media-style feed.

The DIY tier is $14.99 a month and “is really for someone who is primarily interested in designing their own space,” said Stahl. It’s very functional and will work best for those who aren’t looking to explore interior design outside of decorating their own home. While this tier includes design tools and access to Spoak’s private Slack community, it doesn’t give you access to Spoak’s library of classes or many of the tools needed to earn money from designs.

The Growth tier is $19.99 a month and is an excellent fit for those passionate about design and who may have already helped friends or family design their spaces. “I think they would aspirationally want to make money off of interior design but not yet as their full-time job,” said Stahl. This tier includes full access to all BeSpoak School classes, which cover various interior design topics. While this tier was created to help facilitate building a career in interior design, it does not include access to Spoak’s earn features, which allow members to profit off of their designs. I tested the Growth tier for this review, as it is the most recommended membership option.

The Designer tier is $24.99 a month. “The Designer tier is for someone who’s really taking the leap,” said Stahl. “They’re either really trying to make this a side hustle that makes them a decent amount of money, or they are starting a design firm or a design practice or trying to become full-time.” The Designer tier offers members full access to all features, including a job board, inbound messaging, custom project branding, and more. The tools and resources available at this tier are built to help members get clients, build a portfolio, and launch or grow their design businesses.

Getting started

Image of sign-in page for Spoak account
My view when signing into my Spoak account.

After selecting your membership tier and creating your account, you’ll learn the platform’s basics. Spoak offers helpful instructions on how to use more advanced features such as Viz, the floor-plan tool. If you’ve opted for the Growth or Designer tiers, you’ll also get access to the entire BeSpoak class library. While maneuvering through the site for the first time, you’ll receive several onboarding tasks, such as starting your first design project and creating a color palette. Another fun onboarding task is the site’s Spoak Sign quiz, to determine your design style based on your personality and decor preferences.

You’ll also be able to join Spoak’s growing Slack community, where members communicate about all things design and can get in touch with the support team with any issues or questions.

Stand out features

Image of BeSpoak school course page on Spoak
A peek into Spoak’s BeSpoak school course offering.

One of Spoak’s main goals is to demystify the complicated and often gate-kept interior-design industry. “It’s not intended for people who have spent 20 years in the industry; it’s a consumer product,” said Stahl, who designed Spoak to combine the joy of the design process with easy-to-use tools and resources.

While testing Spoak, four main features immediately stood out to me: The BeSpoak School, Thingology feed, Viz mockup tool, and the community.

BeSpoak School: Stahl developed the BeSpoak School courses with the help of interior designer Lisa Galano, who has since joined Spoak as a formal advisor and mentor. Classes are assigned by goal, which you choose when you first set up your account. I found the courses approachable and easy to digest. I could revisit the courses after completing them and go through them at my preferred pace. Each course has an accompanying practice exercise that will help you apply the new skills you’ve just learned. Some classes that are currently available for members include Intro to Design Styles, Furniture Planning, Art Styling, Lighting, and more. The course library offers a great value, especially when compared to the costs of taking professional courses elsewhere.

Thingology feed: The Thingology feed serves as an in-house social media feed that allows you to see what other members are creating. I especially enjoyed scrolling through the feed when looking for inspiration and new design ideas.

Viz: Arguably the most essential Spoak feature, the Viz tool lets members create Vizi’s, or realistic floor-plan renderings. As someone who doesn’t have much experience using Photoshop, CAD, or other professional rendering tools, I found Viz very intuitive to use. While it does have a slight learning curve, I appreciated having immediate access to an easy-to-navigate tutorial library where I could find quick explainers.

Some of my favorite Viz features include being able to remove the background of any image; the ability to lock furniture in place while moving other elements of the rendering around; and the option to add furniture directly from store sites, Google, and Pinterest.

Community: Community is another central element of the Spoak membership. In the private Slack community, members connect about their current interior design interests, share new furniture finds, and plan in-person meet-ups. Outside of Slack, Spoak also hosts monthly Q&As, Wine and Designs, and member spotlights on its Instagram account.

“There’s an unbelievable joy in bonding with people over a shared passion,” said Stahl.

Final thoughts

Rendering of a bedroom using Spoak’s Viz tool
A simple rendering I made of my bedroom using Spoak’s Viz tool.

Overall, I had a very positive experience using Spoak and highly recommend it to anyone moving into a new space or looking to revamp their current home. With a combination of rendering tools, educational resources, and access to a community of design lovers, Spoak’s membership is well worth the monthly cost. You can also cancel your membership any time, which is great for those who just want to design a few home projects.

Pros: Great value, Membership offers multiple benefits

Cons: Learning curve, monthly membership cost can add up over time

Monthly Subscription (button)

Read the original article on Business Insider

12 pieces of furniture and decor that are perfect for a small balcony or porch

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Screen Shot 2019 04 19 at 11.22.39 AM

  • Having a balcony is amazing, but it’s also not unheard of for it to be small and cramped.
  • Here are 12 furniture and decor ideas designed to help maximize your balcony or small outdoor space.

Having your own private balcony is a huge plus. You begin to dream of all the coffee and little croissants (in your robe, of course) or the intimate dinners you can enjoy, but having a small outdoor space means being super intentional with every square inch. It’s likely you won’t have room for both an outdoor sectional and an outdoor dining table.

Many balconies have exceptionally little wiggle room, but that doesn’t mean you can’t jazz it up tiny-house style with furniture designed for small areas and even decor that can hang from the walls or railings so it’s not taking up precious floor space.

Keep day dreaming because your little coffee and croissant date is about to come true.

Here are 12 pieces of furniture and decor for your small balcony:

A personal table that can attach to a railing

Rattan+Balcony+Table
This foldable railing-table can be used as an outdoor coffee table or desk.

Cropsey Wicker/Rattan Balcony Table, currently available on Wayfair for $102.99

This foldable wicker table attaches directly the railing of a balcony, porch, or deck to be used as a personal desk or coffee table. It can be folded down when it’s not in use, and is weather-resistant and waterproof so you won’t have to worry leaving it outside either.

A set of tiny wall planters

three Wayfair potted plants hanging on a fence on a small balcony

Gigee 3-Piece Ceramic Wall Planter Set, currently available on Wayfair for $43.99

This adorable wall planter set can fit three plants however you want both horizontally and vertically. These small planters are perfect for potting herbs or flowers.

A compact table and chair set

A small white bistro set with two chairs and an end table from Wayfair

Long Bistro Set with Cushions, currently available on Wayfair for $185.99

This compact bistro set can easily fit on the smallest of balconies. All three pieces are weather- and rust-resistant.

An electric grill

George Foreman portable grill
This grill can be used with or without its stand, and be placed on a table or counter.

George Foreman 15-Serving Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill, currently available on Amazon for $149.95

This indoor/outdoor grill is perfect for small spaces since it’s electric powered, meaning no need to worry about charcoal, propane, or fire. Its stand is removable so you can grill on the balcony floor, small table, or even countertop. 

Install a privacy screen

6.5 ft. H x 3.5 ft. W Privacy Screen
Create the privacy you want and need with a privacy screen.

6.5 foot high by 3.5 foot wide Privacy Screen, currently available on Wayfair for $299.99

Chances are, if you have a balcony, there is another one directly next to you. A privacy wall or screen can help you get the most out of your tiny balcony. Each panel is scratch proof and weather resistant, so your space will stay beautiful overtime. 

A patch of grass for your dog

fresh patch
Create a place for your dog to use the bathroom.

Fresh Patch Disposable Dog Potty with Real Grass, currently available on Amazon for $29

If your balcony is several stories up, chances are you’re far away from grass for your dog to easily relieve himself or herself. The Fresh Patch can fit in the corner of your balcony so your dog can use the bathroom whenever he or she needs. The entire product is disposable, so it can be thrown out after a few weeks and a new patch laid down after.

A railing planter

Hanging balcony planter
Hang your flowers directly off the railing with this planter.

C-Hopetree Hanging Balcony Planter, currently available on Amazon for $59.99

If you don’t have any wall space to hang a vertical garden, try attaching this planter to your railing to liven up your small balcony. The metal frame and wicker basket is weather-resistant and is the perfect size to house small perennial flowers.

A balcony bar

Screen Shot 2019 04 16 at 12.41.29 PM
Enjoy drinks or dinner on this balcony railing bar.

Winston Porter Acacia Wood Balcony Bar Table, currently available on Wayfair for $134.99

Attach this mini balcony bar to your railing and maximize the small and narrow space you have. Enjoy drinks on the table top and store your supplies on the small bottom shelf until you’re ready for more.

Decorate with outdoor lights

Led Fairy Lights Battery Operated with Remote Control Timer
Add some delicate lighting around the railings of your balcony.

LED Fairy Lights Battery Operated with Remote Control Timer, currently available on Amazon for $19.99

These outdoor LED lights can be controlled via remote and are also waterproof. You can wrap them around the railing of your balcony to create a more cozy feeling without worrying about large glaring lights in your face.

An outdoor bean bag chair

Bean bag chair
Morph a bean bag chair to fit your small space.

Outdoor Striped Bean Bag Lounger, currently available from Wayfair for $164.99

Not only are bean bag chairs comfortable, but they can be smushed and morphed to fit the space you have more easily than a metal chair. Each chair is filled with EPS beads and the cover is fade-, mold-, UV-, and weather-resistant. 

A railing cup holder

71LuJaBrj4L._SL1100_
Now you’ll have a place to put your drinks with these cup holders.

YOY Drink Cup Holder Clip, currently available on Amazon for $10.97

These cup holders can attach to any table or railing to maximize space without compromising function. Each can hold up to 30 ounces and cups or cans that are 3-inches in diameter, or any other object as a matter of fact.

Add wooden flooring

91bJib5VRrL._SL1500_
Create a solid floor on top of a metal-grated balcony with these Teak wood tiles.

Bare Decor EZ-Floor Interlocking Flooring Tiles, currently available on Amazon for $77.99

These Teak wood interlocking tiles are perfect to give your small space some character. Because they connect to each other, you can control how large or small you want your flooring to be. Whether you want to create a solid floor for your metal grate balcony or create a separate section, these are a great solution.

Read the original article on Business Insider

West Elm just released its outdoor furniture collaboration with REI and it may inspire me to actually get outside this summer

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

two people eating outside at a blue table that is part of West Elm and REI’s outdoor 2021collaboration

  • West Elm and REI have collaborated on an outdoor gear collection for stylish beach and camp essentials.
  • The collection, which launched June 3, features modern takes on outdoor essentials like camp chairs and shade shelters.
  • You can shop the collection at both West Elm and REI. Here are five favorites from the launch.

Summer means more time spent camping or at the beach. To help with all your 2021 outdoor adventures, REI has collaborated with West Elm to launch an outdoor gear collection that blends style and function. The collection includes camp chairs, shade shelters, and outdoor dinnerware, all designed with the durability REI products are known for, combined with West Elm’s signature modern minimalist aesthetic.

It’s not REI and West Elm’s first collaboration: the retailers launched a similar collection last summer. For 2021, they’ve expanded the offerings with 10 new products, including an outdoor dining table, rope chairs in two different colors, and a patterned canopy shelter.

Below you’ll find our favorite products from the collection, which you can shop at REI or West Elm (though product selection may vary by store).

Outward Rope Chair (small)Insulated Picnic Tote (small)Outward Stool (small)Outward Dining Table (small)Outward Day Shelter (small)

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best Memorial Day furniture sales still going on now, including Wayfair, Houzz, and Lowe’s

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

overstock memorial day furniture pieces
  • Memorial Day furniture sales are here and it’s time to shop deals on patio sets, sofas, and beds.
  • Several sales are here ahead of the holiday weekend – and some last into the first week of June.
  • For even more deals, take a look at the best Memorial Day sales.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Purchasing furniture can often be expensive and cumbersome, which makes it all too easy to put off. But if you’re planning to host a few summertime parties or simply want to refresh your living space, Memorial Day sales are an excellent opportunity to find discounts on furniture.

Head below for a list of the best Memorial Day furniture sales available now, as well as an FAQ explaining everything you can expect from Memorial Day furniture sales this year. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, try checking out the best appliance, mattress, outdoor gear, TV, and grilling deals going on now.

Best Memorial Day deals available now

Wicker Hanging Egg Chair (medium)Faunce Reclining Chaise Lounge with Cushion (medium)4 Piece Rattan Sofa Seating Group with Cushions (medium)4-Piece Outdoor Conversation Set (medium)Tambora Acacia Porch Swing (medium)

Memorial Day furniture sales available now

  • Ashley Homestore: Up to 60% off select indoor and patio furniture plus an extra 10% off with promo code MEMORIAL10.
  • Best Buy: Save on select living room and home theater products during Best Buy’s Memorial Day sale.
  • CB2: Get up to 15% off select outdoor furniture.
  • Etsy: Up to 20% off outdoor furniture and accessories.
  • Frontgate: Up to 40% off sitewide with extra savings on sale items.
  • Home Depot: Up to 25% off outdoor lounge furniture.
  • Houzz: Up to 75% off living room bestsellers and up to 60% off barstools through June 6.
  • Kirklands: 20% off one regularly priced item with promo code SUNSHINE.
  • Lowe’s: Save on appliances including refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers during the Memorial Day Values sale.
  • Kohl’s: Up to 70% off thousands of indoor and outdoor furniture.
  • Macy’s: 20% to 60% off select furniture, mattresses, and other home goods.
  • Overstock: Up to 70% off select items and free shipping.
  • Pier 1: Up to 50% off indoor furniture, patio sets, and decor.
  • Pottery Barn: Save on furniture, bedding, and decor; use promo code FREESHIP to get free shipping on orders over $99.
  • Sur La Table: Save up to 50% on select grilling products and other kitchen gear during Memorial Day weekend. Plus, you’ll get free shipping on orders over $75.
  • Raymour & Flanigan: 10% to 15% off select purchases up to $2,500.
  • Target: Up to 15% off select outdoor furniture.
  • Walmart: Rollbacks on hundreds of patio essentials, from dining sets to lighting.
  • Wayfair: Up to 70% off both indoor and outdoor furniture.
  • World Market: Up to 25% off select outdoor furniture and accessories.

FAQs

When do Memorial Day furniture sales start?

Memorial Day sales are already in full swing, many of which are ending soon.

How long do Memorial Day furniture sales last?

Memorial Day furniture sales tend to last the duration of the three-day weekend. However, it’s become routine for merchants to extend sale events up to a week beyond the original end date. Memorial Day is no exception, so expect to see several discounts run into early June.

When is the best time to buy furniture?

Memorial Day and other major holidays are great opportunities to save on big-ticket purchases, including furniture. While you’ll see solid deals on patio furniture now, the strongest sales for these items take place during winter and late summer. If it’s indoor furniture you’re after, keep an eye on Fourth of July sales as mid-summer yields the best deals there.

Read the original article on Business Insider

All the best Memorial Day weekend furniture sales to shop now from Overstock, Target, and Etsy

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

kappa furniture
  • Memorial Day weekend furniture sales are here and it’s time to shop deals on patio sets, sofas, and beds.
  • Several sales will last through the holiday weekend, with a few lasting through the first week of June.
  • For even more deals, take a look at the best Memorial Day sales.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Memorial Day weekend sales are an excellent opportunity to find great discounts on furniture.

During the three-day weekend, shoppers can save a ton on patio lounge chairs, dining room sets, computer desks, and much more. Appliances, mattresses, outdoor gear, TVs, and grilling accessories are also seeing massive markdowns.

Below, you’ll find a list of the best Memorial Day furniture sales available now, as well as answers to FAQ regarding Memorial Day furniture sales this year.

In the market for a new grill? You can check out our best Memorial Day grill sales, which includes some Insider-exclusive bargains. For even more deals, take a look at the best Memorial Day sales we found.

Best Memorial Day deals available now

4-Piece Outdoor Conversation Set (medium)Tambora Acacia Porch Swing (medium)Indoor/Outdoor Authentic Moroccan Mosaic Zellige & Iron Coffee Table (medium)4 Piece Rattan Sofa Seating Group with Cushions (medium)Wicker Hanging Egg Chair (medium)

Memorial Day furniture sales available now

  • Ashley Homestore: Up to 60% off select indoor and patio furniture plus an extra 10% off with promo code MEMORIAL10.
  • Best Buy: Save on select living room and home theater products during Best Buy’s Memorial Day sale.
  • CB2: Get up to 15% off select outdoor furniture.
  • Etsy: Up to 20% off outdoor furniture and accessories.
  • Frontgate: Up to 40% off sitewide with extra savings on sale items.
  • Home Depot: Up to 25% off outdoor lounge furniture.
  • Houzz: Up to 75% off living room bestsellers and up to 60% off barstools through June 6.
  • Kirklands: 20% off one regularly priced item with promo code SUNSHINE.
  • Lowe’s: Save on appliances including refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers during the Memorial Day Values sale.
  • Kohl’s: Up to 70% off thousands of indoor and outdoor furniture.
  • Macy’s: 20% to 60% off select furniture, mattresses, and other home goods.
  • Overstock: Up to 70% off select items and free shipping.
  • Pier 1: Up to 50% off indoor furniture, patio sets, and decor.
  • Pottery Barn: Save on furniture, bedding, and decor; use promo code FREESHIP to get free shipping on orders over $99.
  • Sur La Table: Save up to 50% on select grilling products and other kitchen gear during Memorial Day weekend. Plus, you’ll get free shipping on orders over $75.
  • Raymour & Flanigan: 10% to 15% off select purchases up to $2,500.
  • Target: Up to 15% off select outdoor furniture.
  • Walmart: Rollbacks on hundreds of patio essentials, from dining sets to lighting.
  • Wayfair: Up to 70% off both indoor and outdoor furniture.
  • World Market: Up to 25% off select outdoor furniture and accessories.

FAQs

How long do Memorial Day furniture sales last?

Most have already begun, but we expect most of the sales to kick off on the Friday of the holiday weekend.

Sales tend to last the duration of the three-day weekend. However, it’s become routine for merchants to extend sale events up to a week beyond the original end date. Memorial Day is no exception, so expect to see several discounts run into early June.

When is the best time to buy furniture?

Memorial Day and other major holidays are great opportunities to save on big-ticket purchases, including furniture. While you’ll see solid deals on patio furniture now, the strongest sales for these items take place during winter and late summer. If it’s indoor furniture you’re after, keep an eye on Fourth of July sales as mid-summer yields the best deals there.

Read the original article on Business Insider