July 20th, 2015
A home makeover can do much more than make your home more livable. Your home can become both more livable and more sellable when the time comes to sell. Home makeovers range from the simple and easy to the more complex. By following the tips we’ve outlined in this article, you’ll find that there are many effective ways to increase your home’s value.
Tip 1 Appearances. Appearance. Appearances.
Yes, when it comes to real estate location certainly does matter, but so does appearances. One of the cheapest and easiest of all home makeover tips is to simply remove any clutter around the outside of your home. Clutter or trash can instantly make any home look less desirable. First impressions matter, and that goes for homes too! So think about what you can do to improve the outside appearance of your home.
Tip 2 Give Your Garden a New Look
There are many ways to upgrade the exterior of your home. Removing clutter and trash is a very inexpensive way of boosting your home’s appearance and resale value. A yard makeover is another.
It is particularly important to consider upgrading or improving your front yard. A great front yard full of beautiful and colorful plants and flowers serves to make your home attractive to buyers. It isn’t just the color that helps to make your home more attractive, but also what the garden represents. A well-kept and well-planned garden tells prospective buyers that you care about your home. When it comes to making that all-important first impression, a beautiful garden goes a very long way!
Tip 3 Insulation-Save Money Now and Make Money When You Sell!
Not having enough insulation in your home can really cost you a bundle in energy saving. It might also cost you a bundle when it comes time to sell. Adding insulation is a job that you can potentially do yourself if you take the right precautions and do your research.
Today insulation is far different than it just ten years ago. Eco-friendly options, such as blue-jean insulation, wool insulation and other options, have high R-values. One of the best things about insulation is that unlike many other home improvements or upgrades adding insulation, particularly to the roof, can start saving you money almost instantly. If you are looking for a way to invest in your home and see a return quickly, then it is tough to top what insulation has to offer!
Tip 4 Goodbye Carpet Hello Hardwood Floors
Hardwood floors look great. Carpet has its advantageous, especially in certain areas of the home, but hardwood is a true winner. Not only does hardwood look wonderful but also it is also easy to maintain and gives a home a more elegant, cared for and warmer feel. Even if installing hardwood yourself isn’t in the cards, this is an investment that is well worth considering.
Removing old carpet is a relatively easy and cost effective way to boost your home’s value. You might be tempted to opt for a engineered wood product instead of hardwood when you replace your old carpet, but resist the temptation. Increasingly homeowners are getting wise to engineered flooring products. Real wood is the way to go because real wood lasts and looks great. Don’t remove the carpet only to but a fake product on instead. In other words, always stick with the wood.
Tip 5 Painting Can Transform Almost Any Home
Painting both the interior and the exterior of your home is another straightforward and easy way to increase your home’s value. Few home makeover tips work quite as well as this one.
A fresh coat of paint to a home’s exterior really can work wonders. The same can be stated for painting interiors as well. Rooms that seem lifeless can bounce back with the right coat of paint, but there is another benefit as well.
Cracks in walls and peeling paint instantly make a home seem run down. In older homes, the sight of peeling paint may also scare off buyers with children because peeling paint often means dangerous lead paint, especially in homes built before 1978. Keeping your home’s interior walls is an investment in beautiful, safety and resale value.
Tip 6 Try Staging and Real Wood Furniture
Staging is an art form and a bit of a science as well. The reason is that staging works to highlight all that is great in your home. If you want to spotlight all that your home has to offer, then staging is a must. There are many ways to approach staging, but with a little planning you can get a true staging edge. How? High quality, real wood furniture allows you to convey a message.
People see real wood furniture and think, “Hmm…that will clearly last and stand the test of time.” This is exactly the message you want prospective buyers thinking when they enter your home!
Real wood furniture makes people think about value, durability and beauty. And to make things even better, when you invest in real wood furniture. you are getting furniture that will last and last.
First Impressions Always Matter
Impressions matter. When a buyer is considering your home he or she takes in a range of factors in making a determination as to whether your home is “worth the money.” Simple steps ranging from cleaning up clutter both in and around your home to painting, insulation and painting to staging with real wood furniture all combine to give buyers the right impression.
July 1st, 2015
Most of us are surrounded by technology at every turn. In fact, many studies have shown that some people literally don’t know what to do without their smartphones. It is as though our smartphones have become an extension of our brains. The benefits of technology are obvious, but too much of anything can be a problem.
Technology is interfering with many of our lives. It has crept in, and now most of us feel as though we couldn’t live without it. No one should ever feel that way. Let’s take a look at an idea that is really catching on, Amish hour.
What is Amish Hour?
As the name indicates Amish Hour is a tribute and reference to the Amish. The Amish don’t use digital technology in any form, and this has its advantages. While we all fixate on the real and tremendous benefits of digital technology, we often forget that this technology, when overused, can cause physical, mental and even emotional problems. Taking a page out of the Amish playbook in the form of the Amish Hour is increasingly looking like a very good idea.
Amish Hour is about saying goodbye to your technology for one hour a day. And, yes, that does mean all technology. In order to really get the benefits that this habit has to offer, you need to put down the computer, the smartphone, the tablet, your television and every other gadget in your home. If it is more technologically sophisticated than a light bulb or blender, then you should leave it where it is.
The Benefits of Disconnecting
Amish Hour is about disconnecting for the digital world that now engulfs most of us. Do you sleep with your phone next to your bed? This is becoming an increasingly common behavior and it isn’t a healthy one. Being plugged into technology, social media, the 24-hour news cycle, emails, texting, instant messaging and all the rest around the clock isn’t healthy. Instead it ultimately causes your stress levels to rise.
Incorporating Amish hour into your daily routine will help you unwind and may even lead to greater productivity and health. The benefits of Amish Hour are actually quite profound. For example, are you having trouble sleeping at night? A key reason for this may be that you have your brain “on” all day long. Constantly checking digital devices keeps the brain in a perpetual state of alertness and that isn’t good for your mind or your body.
Meditation works in reducing stress hormone levels and increasing brain function because the brain needs to take a break. While you may not meditate during your Amish Hour, your brain will certainly benefit from simply getting a break from the daily digital onslaught. Answering a few “quick emails” or checking social media posts will not help you get ready for a good night of sleep. Even more importantly Amish Hour may help you get more sleep as it may reduce your insomnia levels.
Recent studies point to the fact that the blue light emitted from computer screens, smartphones, tablet computers and other digital devices is interfering with sleep. The blue light is disrupting our natural sleep rhythms. Exacerbating this problem is the fact these devices are checked at night. Yet another issue related to digital devices, sleep and performance is the fact that people are sleeping with their smartphones next to their beds. If your smartphone is nearby, you are much more likely to check it before going to sleep, or at least trying to go to sleep. Amish Hour is a way for you to decouple from the digital world and get the rest that your mind and body needs.
Better sleep translates to better mental performance. Also, better sleep works to reduce stress hormone levels such as cortisol. Stress hormones trigger inflammation and that means more aches and pains and longer injury recovery times. If you’ve ever noticed that a restful night of sleep helps injuries heal, you are not alone.
Reverting to Habits of Previous Generations
While we now take artificial lighting as part of life, this was not the case for the vast majority of our evolution and the history of society. Just a few generations ago, indoor lighting was in the form of a candle. Usually when the sun set, people started gearing down for sleep and rose again when the sun rose.
We were tied to the sun, but today we find that we are tied to our digital devices often far into the night. The combination of digital devices and artificial lighting is decidedly unhealthy and unnatural. Amish Hour can help you reduce the impact of life in the digital age.
Finding New Activities to Help You Unwind
Keep in mind that there are plenty of things you can do during your Amish Hour. Whether it is reading a book, meditating, playing with your children, working on a hobby or even paying bills, almost anything is better than being glued to digital devices right before bed. You can even consider taking a short walk or sitting outside on the porch to get some fresh air.
Better, more restful and more restorative sleep can be yours. But you’ll have to give up your digital devices, well, just for an hour.
June 23rd, 2015
Green furniture can be healthy furniture both for people and the planet. The idea behind green furniture is pretty great. Most mass produced furniture is made using potentially dangerous chemicals and even contains chemicals. For example, the stuffing using in a large percentage of furniture is made from petroleum-derived chemicals.
One of the more concerning aspects of this problem is that a many furniture options contain furniture that has flame retardant materials. Studies have shown that flame retardant chemicals in cushions actually don’t do all that much to retard flames. These flame retardant chemicals do, however, degas. These chemicals make their way into home and office environments, which can be particularly alarming for homes with children and toddlers. Since infants and toddlers put their hands and toys in their mouths with great frequency, these flame retardant chemicals pose a significant risk for children.
Green furniture options offer peace of mind and much more. The idea behind this type of furniture is that it uses low toxicity materials, can be recycled easily, has a long life, is durable, easy to repair and is manufactured as close to the purchase point as possible. For these and many other reasons, consumers who opt for green furniture often choose solid wood furniture.
5 Key Factors in Green Furniture
- Highly durable
- Long lasting
- Low toxicity materials
- Easy to repair
- Manufactured locally or regionally
Bamboo is Green But It Has Limitations
Solid wood furniture has much to offer in that it meets all of the criteria listed above. Many fans of green furniture like bamboo. Bamboo may function as a wood, but it is, in fact, a fast-growing and extremely durable grass.
Bamboo has many planet friendly benefits in that it requires very little or no pesticides to grow, however, pesticide use are still a possibility. Depending on how bamboo furniture is made, it still may contain harmful chemicals. Quite often, these chemicals are present in the form of glues and finishes. If you detect a strange odor coming off bamboo, this could be why.
Recycled Plastic is Planet Friendly But Comes with Concerns
Furniture made from recycled goods, such as recycled plastic, is becoming increasingly popular. No doubt such goods keep plastic out of landfills and the oceans; that is a big plus. In this regard, furniture made from recycled plastic is a true winner, but there is a downside.
The downside to recycled plastic furniture is that such furniture is that it may be lacking in durability, may still contain harmful chemicals and may still degas harmful chemicals into the air. Recycled plastic furniture has its strong points but determining just how healthy such furniture truly is can be tricky.
Many Green Furniture Options May Still Have Degassing and Chemical Exposure Issues
In terms of degassing, there are concrete steps you can take. At the top of the list is to opt for solid wood furniture. Solid wood furniture that uses natural wood finishes means low levels of VOCs.
VOC or volatile organic compounds are dangerous, as studies have linked such compounds to an increase risk of a range of diseases. Another step you can take to protect your family from VOCs is to opt for organic cotton furniture. Quite often, harmful chemicals are hiding in cushions. A lot of attention has recently been given to the fact that the average household sofa is essentially a giant chemical pellet – one that is constantly degassing dangerous compounds. Many people are stunned to learn that such a common and ubiquitous item is also a dangerous one, but that is the current state of the furniture industry.
Finding Your Best Furniture Option
So what is your overall best green furniture option? Some of the more interesting green furniture options can be very pricey and difficult to find. Solid wood furniture that uses natural finishes is a different story. When consumers opt for solid wood furniture that uses natural finishes, they are receiving a product that is simultaneously durable, green and price effective. Solid wood furniture lasts and does not need to be repaired with any frequency or replaced.
Make Sure You’re Actually Buying Solid Wood Furniture
One of the biggest problems with most “wood furniture” on the market is that it isn’t wood at all. Instead, it is a mixture of chemicals and sawdust. Such products are very cheap to produce, so they make manufacturers a great deal of money, they degas constantly and are not built to last. Cheap furniture in the form of MDF and other big box offerings is dangerously close to being a trick.
Consumers look at a given piece of furniture and believe, quite reasonably, that they are receiving a wood product. The reality is far different in that what consumers are really receiving is a low-grade product that is held together with an abundance of chemicals.
Solid Wood Furniture is the Ultimate Green Furniture Value
Adding insult to injury is the fact that these low-cost furniture options don’t last very long. Such furniture looks good for a couple of years, and then the wear and tear starts to show. By contrast, real wood furniture lasts not for a few years, but for a few decades or even longer.
In short, there is no comparing the value. Real wood is the best furniture value on the market and it is green. The world of furniture is full of illusions, but with solid wood furniture, consumers know what they are getting and what they are getting is an exceptional value.
June 6th, 2015
When you mention interior design to most people, they think about an expensive and complex process. No doubt there are times when the best solution is a seasoned and professional interior design that is brimming over with creative ideas. That stated, there are also plenty of relatively simple and easy interior design challenges that you can tackle yourself and with a small budget.
A great deal of design boils down to creativity and making the most out of your space and your budget. With the right approach, a little creativity and some good old-fashioned ingenuity, you can transform your home in surprisingly little time.
Tip One-Start with the Foundation
When we state, “Start with the foundation,” we are not literally referring to the foundation of your home. Hopefully the foundation of your home is in good shape. (If it isn’t, you have bigger concerns than your interior design!) The real foundation of interior design is getting organized, removing clutter and dealing with obvious “disaster areas.” A wonderful home can look dreadful if there is tons of clutter, garbage and disorganization.
Before diving in and thinking about easy interior design ideas that will make a huge difference, take the biggest, boldest and best interior design step possible and remove the clutter. Clutter hides whatever good elements your home possesses and amplifies whatever problem areas that already exist. In order for your interior design ideas to take flight, they have to be given the room to soar. So say goodbye to the clutter, junk and garbage. Consider donating a variety of unused and unwanted items to charity. Your discarded objects are someone else’s treasures! And while you’re at it also remove all non-conversational items that are just plain odd.
There is no need to dwell on our second tip, “Painting.” The old saying, “It is truly amazing what a coat of paint can do,” has endured the test of time for good reason. A coat of paint, combined with a little strategic chalking, can truly breathe new life into almost any room. When it comes to painting don’t be afraid to consider bolder color choices. Does going bold scare you? It’s okay there is a solution.
Consider opting for a bolder color for your bathroom. A dramatic color in the bathroom can be a real winner. Bold colors in the bathroom are usually unexpected. If you really end up hating your choice at least you don’t have to look at it constantly. Just remember you do have to live with whatever color you select!
Tip Three-Invest in Long Lasting Solid Wood Furniture
Furniture made from real wood has a special trick; it lasts. Most inexpensive modern furniture falls apart, often with surprising speed. One of the easy interior design tricks in the world is to simply buy one or two well made all wood pieces of furniture to add to your home. The warm of real wood never gets old!
Tip Four-Your Own Scrap Wood Masterpiece
Do you have a big white wall that you would love to do something interesting and innovative with but lack the budget? Don’t fret, as we have a great idea. Scrap wood can be put to excellent use. Embrace your artistic side and create your own work of art by assembling scrap wood inside a large frame or on its own and mount it to the wall. This tip can take some trial and error but when you get it right you’ll love the results.
Tip Five-Please Don’t Forget Your Windows
What type of window coverings do you currently have? Much as you need to remove clutter from your home to give it any chance to shine the same holds true for removing old, dusty and dirty window treatments.
Window treatments can be shockingly, if not even perplexingly, expensive. You can easily break the bank especially with items like custom window shutters. Yes, window coverings can be pricey, but even inexpensive blinds can be better that old, dated and dirty blinds or drapes. Remember that finding window treatments that match your room can do wonders. A room that has been freshly painted that also has new window treatments will look much different.
Tip Six-Throw the Old Throw Rugs Out
Old drapes and blinds can drag down a room and so can old rugs. Make them disappear.
Tip Seven-Small Framed Mirrors
A couple of small framed mirrors positioned through your home will make a difference. One of the best spots in your home for such a touch is your hallway. Hallways are often overlooked when it comes to interior design. Any step you take to brighten up and liven your hallway will usually be a welcomed one!
Tip Eight-Invest in Shower Curtains
Few interior design fixes are as necessary and easy as a new shower curtain. Of course, if you have a shower door, you won’t have to worry. But everyone else has to tackle the shower curtain equation if they want to make the most of every room of their home.
A dirty shower curtain is a horrible thing and will destroy the potential of any bathroom. The money you spend to upgrade your shower curtain to a highly durable and mold resistant hemp shower curtain is money well spent! They have an earthy but warm look and are extremely easy to maintain.
These are eight easy tips but together they truly can transform your home. Before you dig in and begin looking at expensive and time consuming options, first consider what you can do with these eight very easy tips. Removing clutter, painting and added some durable, real wood furniture can go a very long way towards adding a new level of warmth and beauty to your home.
May 27th, 2015
Pets always have great taste in furniture, even garden swings. Just look how much our Florida customer Rick Whitall’s dog is enjoying their new four-foot Cutout Heart Pinewood Swing on its Wood A-Frame.
I think Rick likes it too. But take his word for it:
The outdoor garden swing and frame perfectly compliments our back yard. It was exactly what I wanted. The quality and craftsmanship is excellent. It was easy to assemble but did require two people due to its weight. It made the perfect Christmas present – the only problem is that now that the bar is set so high, what will I do for next Christmas!
Well, we’ll be hanging around in case you come back.
May 27th, 2015
Jill Sempek of Columbus, Nebraska ordered a Vintage Closed Deck Hutch in oak with Medium Walnut stain. The mirrored back makes Jill’s treasures within shine. What does Jill think of her new hutch? I think she loves it:
Love, Love, Love our new china cabinet! Laura was so easy to work with when placing the order. She kindly answered all of my questions and made the whole ordering process a breeze. The cabinet came two weeks ahead of schedule and I was able to have it in my dining room for Thanksgiving. The quality of workmanship exceeded my expectations. I will definitely recommend Amish Furniture Factory to friends.
Jill is so pleased with her solid oak hutch, she posed with it to show it off:
May 27th, 2015
Mark and Joey Schnackenberg of Santa Rosa, California, ordered a Colebrook Dining Table in Rustic Hickory wood with the unique Golden Harvest stain. Look at the color it adds to their exciting dining room:
Those dark stripes on the ends are walnut inlays. Mark had a lot to say about how pleased he was with the whole selection process for his table:
The table is fantastic. Quality superb. We’re very happy we got the actual samples for the wood and stain- it really provided the proper representation of the wood that we would not have had with the original samples that were sent. We are very pleased with the wood and the stain we selected. Please give our thanks and gratitude back to the fine craftsman.
Also, I want to thank you for your help and support through the whole process. It was a great experience dealing with the same person through the entire process. I’m glad we chose to do the 24″ leafs, it was very nice to be able custom order exactly what we wanted, and it was built exactly to specification without a flaw. Thank you.
I would not be surprised to see you get some follow up orders from our family and friends after they see the beautiful table.
As for the delivery, Mark assures us:
They did a great job. Please ensure their supervisors get the positive feedback.
Mark mentions that we sent him color samples. You can view pictures of samples on our Stains and Finishes page, where you can also click to a request form.
Here is a close-up of the durable trestle with the Colebrook’s exposed mortise joints and more walnut inlays:
May 27th, 2015
This is what cherry looks like when you let its natural woodgrain shine through, oh yes.
John Salerno of Staten Island ordered these cherry Sharklin Bar Stools with stationary seats at the perfect height for his kitchen counter. Best of all is the Natural Clear Coat finish. He likes the chairs. He also likes how we have enough selection that he could find the right wood type and style…
We recently remodeled our kitchen and were looking for chairs that would go with the cherry cabinets that we selected.
We looked in most of the conventional furniture stores and couldn’t find chairs that we liked until we found the Amish furniture factory online. Their selection includes many styles and types of wood. We were able to get the style of chair we wanted in solid cherry wood to match our new kitchen.
In addition the cost was less than what we were seeing in other stores. We ordered the Sharklin style, one desk chair and four counter height chairs in natural clear coat. The entire purchase process was both easy and pleasant as any questions that I had were answered quickly and everyone I talked to were very helpful.
We were really impressed with this purchase and have received many compliments about the chairs from our contractor. As seen in the pictures they match our decor very well and the build and quality exceeded our expectations.
We’re glad we had what you were looking for, John. Thank you for the email.
May 27th, 2015
Ken Rivest of Alaska would like to tell you about his new furniture:
We Absolutely LOVE IT (our new furniture). We couldn’t be happier. The packing job was impeccable. I would highly recommend you and your company to our friends and family. Excellent craftsmanship. Excellent customer service. Exceeded our expectations. Fantastic. Thank you, thank you, Thank you.
We got things set up throughout the house and they all look amazing. I am going to start saving $ for additional pieces.
It looks like we were successful with the Rivest family already, but there was more to do. Alaska shipping rates can reach far and wide, but then we noticed we had overcharged Ken. When we notified the Rivests by email and mailed a refund, Ken had this to say:
Thank you for being upfront and honest with the shipping charges. I understand how that goes sometimes and we are all thankful it went smooth.
It truly is a testament of the quality of your company, customer service to stand behind your word like that…
The products speak for themselves once you see them, feel them.. We love every piece… And we will definitely be calling again soon with another order.
Also we are having a dinner party tomorrow and our friends have all been asking and they too will see for themselves and I would expect calls from them as well.
It sounds like a lot more heirloom furniture will be going to Alaska soon.
May 27th, 2015
Steve Petullo of Bristow, Virginia ordered a Markley Mission Dining Table in hickory and many leather-upholstered Brady Dining Chairs in maple. The set is elegant with subdued angles for Steve’s classic modern home. Steve is happy with the set:
My table and chairs arrived today! They are beautiful.
They do look beautiful in Steve’s bright dining room. He must like the table’s modern-angled Mission slats, because here are two more shots:
He does have one piece of advice for those of you thinking of getting an Amish table:
My only complaint would be that I wish I had gotten the table with ball bearing glide. Being single it’s hard to open the table alone.
Thanks for the tip, Mr. Petullo. Readers, learn more about the Ball Bearing Glide by clicking here.