Making Space In Your Home With Clever Furniture

Clever items of furniture can help you to save space in your home. It can help you use areas for multiple purposes and free up floor space, too. This is especially helpful with today’s trend toward smaller houses and efficiency apartments. With the right furnishing, you can increase your floor space by several square feet, and get more use out of each piece you purchase. Here are some ideas for making space in your home with clever furniture.

Drop Leaf Tables

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Drop leaf tables are some of the most versatile items you can have in your home. I’ve had one in my entry for years, serving as a place to catch my car keys. I use it with both leaves down, and pretty flowers decorating it. When we have family or friends over, it is easy to move into the living room for games or extra dining space. Drop leafs usually are gate-legs, meaning that you swing the leg structure out from where it has been folded under the center of the table. You can raise one side, or both. Some drop leaf tables have leafs on all 4 sides, for added flexibility. There will be either a piano hinge for each leaf, or more commonly, something similar to a door hinge.

Draw Leaf Tables

Draw leaf tables are similar to the drop leaf, with the difference that the leaf is on a spring-loaded frame. When released, the spring pushes the leaf forward and up into position. Once you are done with the leaf, you can release the spring once again, lower the leaf, and slide it back under the top of the table.

Nesting Tables

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Nests of tables are a great solution for apartments and houses that don’t have room for entertaining. Each table is progressively smaller, tucking nicely under the largest table of the set. You can have the set between easy chairs or serving as a side table. Then, when you have company, bring the smaller tables out for use as coffee tables. Some of them are even suitable for extra seating.

Ottomans

The ottoman is one of the most clever pieces of furniture you can add to a room. They provide great storage. We used to have one with a twin sofa-bed in it for the kids’ overnight guests. We have another, smaller one that serves as a catchall for my crochet items. It does double duty as an end table for the sofa.

The ottoman not only can provide storage, it supplies extra seating when you have a lot of guests. An upholstered ottoman is comfortable to sit on, and, with an attractive tray, can be used for a coffee table.

Chest of Drawers

The chest of drawers is another one of those great multi-use pieces of furniture. Besides clothing, you can use them to store paint bottles in the craft room, tools in the garage, or potting materials on the patio.

With clever use of furniture, you can increase the usefulness of the item and save a lot of space in your home.


Artificial Office Plants: Whats The Point?

Dust catchers. That’s what my mom always called artificial plants. And, it seemed that she was right, a lot of the time. So often, the desired effect of having plants in an office – whether real or plastic – was lost because all you could notice was dust. If, however, you can arrange to have someone run a duster over the plants periodically, you will find more benefits than you ever dreamt of from having artificial plants in the office.

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No Mess

While I am a big advocate of live plants in the home and office, they pose an undeniable disadvantage – they can be messy. Spilling water and soil can be a big problem, as can dead leaves. If a real plant gets knocked over, it can make an awful mess.

Artificial office plants don’t have any of this extra baggage. You put them in place, and they just do their little plant thing. The only maintenance they need is occasional dusting.

Rest For the Weary

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Now that we have the problem of upkeep out of the way, let’s talk about why you should have plants in the workplace at all. The number one reason is to make the spaces more pleasant. If, however, you are still puzzled as to how this is possible with fake greenery, here is some of the science behind it.

Even man-made plants don’t look man-made. They have curved lines and random branching patterns, providing a helpful contrast to the often harsh office environment.

Offices are made of straight lines and 90 degree corners. Carefully engineered overhead lighting produces both perceived light and actual light. In some cases, individuals may add a desk lamp for task lighting. But all of this is industrial and generic.

Artificial plants in the office will break up those straight lines. The benefit of this is that it helps to reduce visual fatigue. Workers in an office setting probably spend a great deal of time looking at a computer screen. Headaches, shoulder tension, and eyestrain are the result of hours focusing on one distance.

Since the eye travels to color (it’s an interior decorating thing) artificial plants from Urban Planters in the cubicle will encourage the employee to look up occasionally. This change of focus, however brief, does wonders for eye health and stress reduction.

Noise Reduction

 

Some people are not affected by the noises in an office. The reality, however, is that repetitive noises and racket from other cubicles can be very distracting. Coworker’s tastes in music, their tendencies to drum their fingers or click a pen, or their loud phone voice can get on their neighbor’s last nerve.

Artificial plants will break up sound waves. The leaves deflect sound and buffer noise. Sound engineers will tell you that the parallel walls of rooms amplify sound. This is what happens in an office. Plants break up those parallel surfaces, reducing ambient noise.

If you don’t have any artificial plants in the office, reconsider your decision. They can provide a more comfortable and productive work environment.


Staying Comfortable With Office Furniture

Comfortable office furniture can make your work day more productive and tolerable. You may not realize, though, that there is more to selecting comfortable office furniture than simply selecting a chair – although that, too, is important. Here are some things to consider when you are looking for office furniture.

Your Desk Chair

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The most obvious piece of furniture that you will consider is your desk chair. While a well-padded chair may sound like a great way to spend the day, the actual mechanics of the chair matter. How long is the seat of the chair? If the seat is too short, it can create a strain on your lower back and excessive tiredness in your legs. If it is too long, it will cut off the circulation in your legs. Many office chairs have adjustable seats that will slide forward or back to suit your taste.

Look, also, for a chair that has lumbar support. This will help you to maintain proper posture at your desk and reduce strain in your neck and shoulders.

Your Desk

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Choose a desk that will serve your purposes. If you need a desk and chair that impresses people, but are not very functional, that is fine. But, if you actually work at your desk, it needs to be functional, and a good fit for your body.

Your office desk needs to have enough leg clearance for you to adjust your chair comfortably. Some people actually need a desk that has no lap drawer, so there is more room for their knees. It is perfectly all right to look for a desk that has a cross-brace, where you can elevate your feet slightly as you work.

Also, the depth of your desk can affect your comfort level. As you sit in your chair, will you be able to reach everything you need for your daily tasks? In some cases, you can place items such as your name plate, clock, and photos on the outer section of your desk. You don’t have to handle these items on a regular basis, so they can take up the otherwise unused space. This will leave the work area free. Keep items such as keyboards, calculators, and other much-used items within reach of your arms.

Lighting in Your Office

Most offices have overhead lighting. However, this can create glares and shadows that actually exhaust you. Bright light in a room keeps some people awake, and stimulates them. Others are exhausted by the severity of bright light.

Halogen lights can get uncomfortably hot, while fluorescent lights cast a weird glow, and are bad for the environment. A great solution is LED lighting that is bright and eco-friendly.

One great solution for office lighting is to create ambient lighting. Several lamps placed around the office, and indirect lighting, can create enough actual light to do work you need without glare and shadows.

When selecting office furniture, comfort and function are interlocked. Find the right fit, and you can work all day in comfort.


Why Plants Make The Office Better

Face it – even fake office plants can make your office space better. That’s right, even plastic or silk plants will add to the atmosphere of your office space, making it more welcoming. Here are some of the ways that both real and fake plants, can make your work environment more enjoyable.

Fake Office Plants Add Color

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Both real and fake office plants can add color to your workspace. Most offices install carpeting, wall coverings, and furnishings that are chosen by a professional designer. These surfaces are usually chosen to be as generic as possible so that anyone can use the office space. While this may be the best use of company resources, it can make for a very mundane workplace.

However, with a pop of color here and there through careful placement of office plants, you can add visual interest and give the eye relief from the overpowering predominance of the institutional colors in the area.

In addition, the mere presence of green in the workspace is restful to the eye, and has a calming effect on your nerves. Even fake office plants can have this effect. Many people prefer plastic or silk plants because they do not have to worry about watering them. They just need occasional dusting.

Texture

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Plants also add texture to the mix. The size of leaves, the variegation of coloring, and the leaf shape can all add visual interest to otherwise very industrial surroundings. The ruffled edge of a philodendron, for example, is very organic and natural feeling. Even if you do not sit there and meditate on the shape of the leaf, having those irregular, natural edges in the room takes the – edge – off of the office space. You will find that it lends itself to more comfortable surroundings with a more personable feel.

Staging

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Even fake office plants can refine staging areas in your office area. They can also give a sense of privacy. Properly placed, 6-foot plants, for example, can delineate the chairs reserved for the reception area. Plants evenly spaced along a long hallway will give a personal touch to the area, rather than an intimidating look. 6 inch tall ivies arranged along the top of cubical dividers can give a little more privacy to your cubicle. Properly placed grouping of plants can keep foot traffic from entering certain areas, or direct it to the desired destination.

Sound Dampening

Just as plants in the office can help to direct traffic, give privacy, and delineate spaces, they can also serve as valuable noise dampening. Sometimes, all you need to mute the neighbor’s annoying music is some leafy plants between the two cubicles. Most offices with a judicious arrangement of plants will have less environmental noise and echo. This is why many restaurants have a lot of plants around. The dining tables are usually hard surfaced, as is the floor, and sound bounces off of these hard surfaces. Plants deaden the noise without compromising surfaces.

Whether you choose real or fake office plants, you will improve your workplace.


Counteracting That Office Job

In today’s global economy, having a job is often a blessing all on its own. But, any time you find yourself in any kind of job that keeps you in a stationary position for a period of time, you need to make sure you mix things up a little bit, for your own health. Here are some suggestions to counteract the forced inactivity you may encounter at your office job.

Increased Cases of Colon Cancer

There has been an increase in the rate of colon cancer in suburban and urban populations, and much of the cause of it has been traced to sedentary lifestyles. Much of this stems from the workload that places us in front of the computer for 8 to 10 hours a day. When you combine that with video and computer games that we play at home to “unwind” you have a sedentary lifestyle that creates problems with our bodies.

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Not only is colon cancer on the rise, circulation problems are cropping up more often. Hours of sitting can contribute to blood clots that are not only painful in the form of phlebitis, they can be deadly.

Exercise on the Job

While many companies pay for gym memberships for their employees, those employees still don’t have the opportunity to work out during the day. But, there are some things you can do that can keep your body in shape while you are sitting at your desk.

First of all, you should simply stand up every 20 minutes or so. Just the simple act of standing up at your desk can change your position enough to get the blood flowing again and stimulate the veins in your legs to circulate de-oxygenated blood back to the heart. A couple of knee bends will also aid the process. This simple act can reduce the likelihood of developing blood clots by 30%.

Ergonomic seating may also be an option for you. Some people alternate between their office chair and “The Ball”, which is, literally, a ball. It is big enough to be chair height, and makes you work your core muscles as you balance at your desk and work.

Workouts

Besides frequent breaks at the office, you need a good workout routine. Some people simply walk around the block or park to try to keep in shape. However, some people want more than that to challenge their bodies.

Gym memberships will give you access to workout equipment that you couldn’t afford or have room for at home. You can lift weights, join workout classes, and participate in spinning classes. Other people prefer a boot camp type setting.

Boot camps are popular for daily workouts as well as for weekend activities. Some boot camps last for an entire weekend, and some offer a workout of a few hours over a period of a few days. This gives many people a chance to get back in shape for the upcoming week. However you choose to work out, it will be for your own good.