February 20th, 2019
by Vicki Nemeth
If you want your outdoor furniture this year to be handcrafted, planning early will buffer the time that workshops take to build your things. To help you get ready on time to use your whole spring and summer, here are the most important things to consider about your land and what you want from your furniture.
Who Uses Your Yard?
Who will use your furniture might affect which pieces you choose. For instance, if your family is growing, you might want to use regular size items instead of a bar height dining set. Kids might appreciate the bright colors of poly vinyl. It’s also the easiest surface to clean up after kids of all ages.
Will anyone with limited mobility be using your furniture? Luckily, you can choose from numerous items that are easy to get up and down from. Depending on the person, a glider might be more practical than a rocking chair or swing. A conventional patio chair might be more relaxing than a low, angular Adirondack.
What Do You Want to Do Outside?
Knowing what the people who use your property do out there, and where on the property they do it, will help you decide what furniture will make those experiences better for them. You may also have some activities that people currently do indoors that they would take outside on a nice day if they had the right furniture.
An outdoor kitchen and dining space aren’t the only uses for your backyard. Maybe you would like to create a theater, a place to talk over tea, or a spot to watch horses. There are limitless uses for your outside.
Climate and Ecosystem
America is a big country with a diverse range of ecosystems. Some areas have burning hot summers. Some have tornadoes and hail. Some areas have a drastic temperature difference between summer and winter. Some are damp or may flood. And if you have an outbuilding to store furniture, you’ll get different results depending on whether it’s a shed, garage, tent or boathouse.
Amish outdoor furniture has solutions to help you deal with the weather. In the summer, wood won’t heat up as much as smooth surfaces like metal or plastic. Many outdoor dining tables can receive shade umbrellas. Cushions can protect you from a hot seat.
Poly vinyl won’t bend or crack in sudden episodes of moisture or temperature fluctuations. It can survive being thrown around or hammered on.
If you’re really cautious of your local climate, folding furniture is much easier to keep indoors.
Furniture maintenance is easy to overlook when you’re designing your dream property. But choosing the right maintenance level can help you stay satisfied with your furniture longer. Here are some questions to consider:
- Which furniture will stay under a roof, for instance on a porch?
- Which items will sit on grass, deck, or patio?
- What will be near a fire pit and smoke?
- Do you want to carry items inside when you’re not using them, or leave them out in the elements? What about winter?
- Do you have a shed where you can keep things?
- Do you have a big property, so some things will be sitting far out where they will be impractical to carry inside nightly? Do you have a vehicle to help you carry things?
- How physically fit are you? Do you have help?
- Do you ever have to clean up after uninvited wild animal guests?
Some furniture is easier to carry to storage: it folds or it’s lighter in weight. Poly vinyl will survive a hands-off maintenance approach longest, but even wood outoor furniture should last through an impressive number of winters, and some people like the weathered look of wood that has been outside for a few years. You don’t have to choose wood to maintain a rural look; poly vinyl is available in traditional colors such as browns and greiges. Go easy on yourself, it’s supposed to be fun!
There are valid reasons for choosing any of the materials available in Amish outdoor furniture.
Poly vinyl is so easy to take care of, it’s virtually a no-maintenance material. But did you know that it’s made out of post-consumer recycled plastic? Wondering how plastic furniture can be handcrafted? Easy, Amish workshops get the poly lumber in and build with it like any wood. Combining a nearly invincible material with Amish craftsmanship creates furniture that can almost last forever. The boardstock comes in nearly every color, from natural shades to bold modern colors. If you’re looking for furniture that doesn’t fade, try poly vinyl.
Softwood furniture can still have a long life if you take care of it. Some people prefer the traditional country style of wooden furniture in their outdoor spaces. Here are three types of wood that are well-suited to the outdoors.
- Southern Yellow Pine
Southern yellow pine is the most versatile softwood for Amish furniture and a popular choice for beloved classic styles. This pine is pressure-treated for longevity and hand selected by craftspeople. Many yellow pine furniture pieces come with a large number of options for outdoor finish colors, embellishments, and accessories.
- Aromatic Red Cedar
Aromatic red cedar is a classic way to add color to a rural yard, beach or dock. It’s popular for both furniture and garden ornaments. Outdoor sealer helps it stay smooth outside.
- Lodge Pole Pine
American-grown lodge pole pine is a popular choice for lightweight, rustic-style pieces and log furniture. Consider getting an exterior finish to help it last outside.
Whatever material you use, your furniture will last longer and keep nicer if you wipe it down after it rains and store lightweight or collapsible items indoors.
Decor Is for Outside Too
Humans aren’t the only people who use outdoor furniture. Birds, critters, and garden plants will enjoy climbing or perching on your decorative items. A trellis, planter or arbor will help your garden grow in three dimensions. Cedar lawn ornaments offer traditional elegance, so you can escape the big box store plastic look. Remember to add finishing touches while you furnish your outdoor space.
When you have your best furniture outside, you’ll want to use it. What kind of things would you put in your perfect outdoor space? Let us know in the comments below.
February 9th, 2019
by Vicki Nemeth
Do you want to go outside more this spring and summer? Do you want to get the kids off of their devices and into fresh air? Maybe you need a place to sit. Here are 12 kinds of outdoor seating to make your yard appealing throughout the warmer months.
A bench is a staple of outdoor seating. It invites people outside and brings them together. A bench is a great way to maximize the number of available seats, since individual chairs need more space from one another.
- Patio Chair
Sometimes you have a nook outside that best fits one person. Many lawn chairs are smaller versions of benches that can keep one person, plus a small pet or your crafting, cosy. Some chairs have optional footrests.
- Rocking Chair
A rocking chair is a staple for relaxing indoors or out. As long as you know your chair, your rocker lets you lean back when you want to or sit up when you want to. Sometimes the constant movement is what makes people happy to sit in rocking chairs.
For many people, a glider meets all the function they need in its ability to move, even while it stays upright. A glider base is a technology that “rocks” back and forth while its feet stay flat on the floor. This keeps you from damaging your deck or lawn over years of rocking. Gliding bases make new kinds of furniture available. Now you can get a glider foot rest for your chair whether it’s a rocker or a glider. Benches are another thing that were not practical to design with rockers but can be built with a glider base.
- Lounge Chair
Now let’s get down to business. A lounge chair is designed specially for loafing around on. The back goes all the way up to your head, while the seat goes all the way down to your feet. The whole thing is contoured to the shape of the human body, and it reclines back. Most lounge chairs come with matching-length cushions. This big lounger for one is great for falling asleep while reading a book.
- Adirondack Chair
To lean back without using as much leg space as a lounger, try an Adirondack chair. Named after the Adirondack Mountains, this chair is easy to recognize by its fanned plank back that is angled back to encourage lounging.
The Adirondack’s design follows the natural bends of the human body. The broad paddle arm rests sit at an ideal angle to the seat and curve out to follow a partly spread human arm. The seat may angle downward toward the back, so the user gets in and relaxes. The corner where an Adirondack back meets the seat makes it feel like a rocking chair that is rocked back. But an Adirondack’s stable base keeps it that way all the time.
An Adirondack’s seat can feel low, so in the higher part under the knees, the seat planks curve and offer a stable base to get up and down from.
If you can’t decide between a lounge chair and an Adirondack chair, try an Adirondack with a specially shaped ottoman so you can switch between them.
- Balcony Chair
A balcony chair is a raised chair in any variety of outdoor relaxing styles, and differs from a bar chair that usually comes in dining chair styles. A balcony chair’s many functions give it an advantage over a bar chair. It’s tall enough that a sitting person can be similar in height and socialize with people who are standing or walking by. It’s tall enough to use with a pub or balcony table, or between meals, to sit back and look out over the railing.
The most distinct advantage a balcony chair has over a bar stool is its stable base with a step that you can use to climb in and rest your feet instead of letting them hang. If you have a small patio that might otherwise make you choose between designing a lounging and a dining area, a balcony chair can do both without taking up double the space.
A patio swing is a well-loved country classic in outdoor furniture. Suspend a bench with a chain and you have seating that rocks in the breeze while you settle down with a book or a cup of tea. If you have a covered porch, you can hang your swing from a strong ceiling beam. To place your swing anywhere you’d like, choose a free-standing swing and hang it from an A-frame or a swing stand.
- Lawn Glider
Speaking of swinging around, a lawn glider is a unique design of backyard swing that mounts two seats facing each other for conversation and teamwork. You and a friend can have fun talking and swinging together on a double lawn glider. Here’s how it works.
The frame supports a gliding mechanism at the top. Instead of chains or rope, solid poles swing from the mechanism and hold the seating structure of two benches and a footrest. From a sitting position, you can make the glider move by pushing and pulling the footrest with your feet. When two people get in opposite each other, it’s a great way to make a connection.
- Picnic Table
Your back yard is a great place to go on a picnic. A picnic table is a convenient multipurpose item that keeps the benches and table in one piece so you won’t have to track down chairs at the end of the day. It’s easy to keep organized around kids or on a big property. That’s why households can benefit from picnic tables as much as parks and resorts can.
- Dining Set
Surprise! A patio set has stools or chairs. Some patio sets have height options so you can get bar chairs and a nice high outdoor dining table. Dining chairs are light, simple, and easy to move around, and outdoor ones survive being lost track of. Next time you have an outdoor activity together, you might only need to move your outdoor dining chairs around to where you need them.
- Dining Chairs
Of course, you can always get spare dining chairs above and beyond the chairs from your patio set. And don’t forget all the options you can get, like a swivel base and barstool height. If you choose poly vinyl, you won’t have to worry about your guests being rough while hauling your spare chairs around.
Outdoor furniture’s rugged, elegant look makes it easy to design with options and conveniences. Keep an eye out for benches that morph into picnic tables, chairs that fold, and different chair heights. Some chairs have gliding and swivel options. Accessories include cup holders, umbrellas, weather-resistant cushions, gliding and non-gliding footrests and ottomans.
If you’re ready to design your best patio yet, these seating options can keep it fun and relaxing.
How are you planning to get yourself outside more this year? You can join the conversation in the comments below.
January 26th, 2019
by Vicki Nemeth
2019 is here, and the color coral is hot. Actually, it’s a warm and expressive response to the middle of winter. Pantone made Living Coral their Color of the Year for 2019, to provide a needed sense of optimism. For the rest of us, coral can be an encouraging reminder to lower our carbon footprints and take care of our reefs.
So how can a homeowner use the color coral in their interior design? The first step is to understand the color theory and history underpinning it.
First, what is “coral”?
The color coral comes from a particular genus of coral in the ocean called Corallium. Corallium is a group of coral species which humans commonly call precious coral or red coral. Various species live in the Mediterranian Sea and off the eastern coast of Asia. Throughout history, humans have harvested precious coral to create art, jewelery, and folk medicine.
Today, local fisheries and conservationists are debating different ways to protect the species and harvest them responsibly. But coral has established its legacy as a sophisticated tertiary color.
It’s not pink, it’s light orange-red
The color coral is not a pink. It’s partly orange. The confusion comes from the fact that orange contains some red, and pink is a tint of red. But coral is a tint of orange-red.
It’s good news for blue lovers
Coral’s red-orange origins affect which complementary colors match. While pink is an adventurous off-match for blue, coral complements blue more directly. On the other hand, pink is a better complement for various greens than coral is. Prefer blue-greens like cyan and teal? Coral and red-orange are perfectly opposite to those, perfect complements.
There are always neutrals
Neutrals may go with everything, but everything has a unique effect on neutrals. Coral is louder than pink but gentler and more sophisticated than orange. It is a color of joy: happiness that is employed wisely. A pop of coral in a neutral environment is not just stylish but also rich and welcoming.
Use your eyes, not your computer screen
When deciding where to put any color, it’s imperative that you get physical samples and view them in various kinds of lighting you plan to use, on the materials you plan to use and the angles you plan to see them from. For example, you may want to view a paint swatch in indoor daylight and evening lighting.
Different materials and textures can affect the way a color looks in real life. For example, a computer screen can’t simulate all the dimensions of a fabric weave. Plus, computer screens differ from one another. Your computer screen can help you make preliminary color choices, but it won’t represent colors accurately enough to ensure your final decision.
Since different colors interact with light differently, you should even use real samples to view complementary colors together, to ensure they match the way you intend at different times of day.
Can’t find coral decor solutions? Try using the light
Since coral is a relative of pink, you can use lighting to temporarily turn a pink or red object coral. For coral in daylight, place a translucent red drape over a sunny window to turn it coral in appearance or to shine coral light into the room. For coral in the evening, select light bulbs that are warm in color to add that golden tint to a pink or red item.
Brands always have a different idea of what a color name means
Another reason why your computer screen can’t finalize your color decisions is, your paint and textile brands have their own meanings for color names. Coral pictures and swatches you find online may not look the same as the color any given brand calls “coral,” and brands will differ from each other, too. That’s why they have their own palette and sample booklets. Sometimes they even require you to view swatches under certain light and light color levels to make sure you’re seeing the sample color they meant for you to see.
The difference between coral and Living Coral
Pantone creates its colors by mixing pigments, so they can never quite show up properly on a computer screen. When designers do their best to simulate Living Coral on screens, the result is a pinkish red-orange, while most coral colors are orange-red.
Wait. Red-orange? Orange-red? Yes, those are different colors. Red-orange has a more red hue. Orange-red has a more orange hue. All coral colors are lighter tints of these hues that you can see between red and orange.
Another trait that distinguishes Living Coral from many coral colors is daring brightness and saturation. Living Coral catches the eye almost as though Pantone managed to create a new color. Its perpetual youth is challenging enough to please eyes hungry for stimuli, as the web and gaming generation begin to gain traction and become a buying audience.
Other similar colors
Coral pink is, not surprisingly, a pinker version of coral. It’s a perfect complement to teal.
Bittersweet is another orange with a little bit of pink in it. It came into its own at the turn of the twentieth century and is a luxurious member of the Art Nouveau palette.
Salmon the color is more pink and delicate than coral with hardly any orange. Use it to send a gentler message or to balance a greener blue-green.
Light salmon, with its lighter tint, may be easier than salmon to use in room designs. Nearly a neutral, it can set a calm mood while providing more color than traditional neutrals.
Tea rose orange is inspired by the pink and gold spectrum of hybrid tea roses which Europeans started breeding in the 1800s. These hybrids combine Chinese tea roses with English hybrid perpetuals to create petals with strong shapes, often with dual coloration fading from a yellow at the heart to pink at the tips. Tea rose orange is in the orange category, unlike regular tea rose, which is in the rose category.
Terra cotta is a subdued red shade with brown undertones. Rather than hot, it’s a warm color reminiscent of ancient clay.
With its tertiary personality, coral may seem like a challenging color to use in a home design. But it’s actually a human, emotive answer to quiet interiors stricken with the blues.
Do you plan to use the color coral this year? Reply in the comments below.
December 17th, 2018
by Vicki Nemeth
Mark and Terri bought a TV stand and a dining set on time for the holidays. Here’s their new Honeybee Mission 60″ TV Cabinet with seedy glass. The poinsettias add a holiday touch.
They sent us a letter detailing 5 reasons why they are happy with both the furniture and their shopping experience, so we’ve turned it into a list. Here is what Mark and Terri have to say, with our added explanations.
“We had a wonderful experience with our furniture purchase from Amish Furniture Factory.
- “The quality of the materials and workmanship in our new TV console and dining room set are amazing.”
All of our furniture is handcrafted in the USA with solid wood and no particle board. Table tops are at least 1” thick. Mortise and tenon joints hold our pieces together strongly, and dovetails keep our drawers in beautiful condition.
- “They matched perfectly with the online photos. They are truly beautiful and have become the focal points of our home.”
We know that online shopping can be a nightmare with thousands of made-in-wherever brands popping up every year. But we’re personally involved in the business of finding you the best furniture for your household. That’s why we’re a Better Business Bureau accredited business operating out of Fairfield, Iowa, and our manufacturers’ workshops around America are so close to home, some customers have even managed to visit.
- “The sales representative was very helpful and answered our questions. It was nice to have someone with whom we could discuss the purchase options.”
Running a small business means we interact with our product. It means the same people gain more understanding of our furniture, year after year. Further, by fostering an understanding and working with craftspeople, we can imagine what options and even what customizations are possible. All you have to do is give Laura a call.
- “The volume purchase discount was a significant incentive in our purchasing decision. It made it worth purchasing the TV console and dining room set together rather than in separate orders.”
We only require a 30% deposit on orders over $1000, plus we have scaling percent discounts based on the size of your order. Check out the savings in the table below:
- “The delivery person was accommodating and adjusted the delivery to meet our schedule. He was skilled in the assembly and setup of our new furniture. I highly recommend the extra fee for the white-glove service, it was worth every penny.”
It’s luxury furniture, and we want to treat it well. We also want to keep your deliveries secure from theft.
Whether you choose white-glove or regular curbside delivery, they’ll call you to set up a delivery appointment so you can be there. White-glove has the added service of our delivery team doing all the lifting and set-up inside your home.
From the web search to the delivery, we made sure to provide Mark and Terri with the best customer experience we could. And it’s worth it when they say things like this:
“This was a five star purchasing experience.”
December 10th, 2018
I’m at my mother’s for Christmas and finally getting to see the Classic Corner TV Stand we ordered. It’s beautiful. Mother wanted me to email this photo and let you know how pleased she is with it. Thanks again for all your help. Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday season.
December 7th, 2018
by Vicki Nemeth
Lynne from Michigan bought some oak Econo Dining Chairs with Wheat stain. Because wood comes from trees that were living and growing in unique environments, even the simplest crafts from solid wood are individualized. North American growing conditions show in the distinguished oak woodgrain of the chair Lynne sent us a picture of.
Lynne’s purchase was small enough to fit in her car, so she wondered how to save on shipping. That’s when we realized that one of the workshops that make the Econo Chair was close enough for Lynne to drive. So she decided to tour Amish country and pick up the chairs herself at a builder’s workshop. Here’s where Lynne tells her story:
I am very satisfied with the quality of the chairs I ordered through you. They are beautifully constructed and finished, and comfortable to sit in.
I found the shopping experience very pleasant. I always got prompt replies to my questions and the chairs were finished ahead of schedule.
It was great that I could pick them up myself in Shipshewana and save on shipping costs. I would highly recommend your company to anyone looking for quality furniture.
Because Lynne chose chairs handcrafted in America, they tell a very human story.
We’re an online shop working with builders all over the USA, and it might just be a local drive from where your furniture is made to where you want to bring it home. We can save you carbon and chemicals compared to conventionally mass-produced furniture with their huge shipping and supply chains. We even helped Lynne get a taste of where and under what work conditions the craftspeople made her chairs.
In today’s era of internet shopping, the assumption is that you don’t have to leave your house to buy what you need. But with all the choices you can access at web-based stores, the web opens up a bigger and more interesting world. You could find you have more opportunities to leave your desk and adventure in the real world than before.
Here’s a shot of the Econo Chair from an angle so you can see more of its features. The Econo is a Windsor chair with plain spindles that keep it together in Shaker or modern decor schemes. But it still has contouring in the back and a small scoop in the seat, adding twenty-first century comfort to this design classic. For a handmade chair, it may be inexpensive, but that doesn’t mean cheap.
Have you ever gone on a trip to buy something special and unique? Let us know in the comments below.
December 5th, 2018
Robyn got a Prarie Mission Curio Cabinet for her New Jersey dining room. For her finish she chose wheat stain on oak. Windows all around and top to bottom gave Robyn the freedom to fill her cabinet with character. Check out Robyn’s story.
We could not find a cabinet in the style we liked, in the wood stain we liked, with the dimensions we were looking for, until we came to Amish Furniture Factory.
Then we were able to customize the cabinet for our space and purpose. Laura, you were so patient and helpful. You always responded promptly to any questions or concerns.
Robyn from New Jersey
December 3rd, 2018
Up in Michigan, our customer, Ewanah, mixed and matched this Double Pedestal Dining Room Set, starting with a Double Pedestal Table.
Then she rounded it out with six Bent Paddle Dining Chairs. The four side chairs and two arm chairs are a perfect fit for the 42” by 60” oval table.
Finally, she topped it all off with a LaGrange 3 Door Hutch. Natural finish lets the oak woodgrain shine through.
Ewanah is fulfilled: “I always dreamed of having a nice dining room set. I wanted something made in America that would last. We have several Amish pieces so when we finally felt the kids were old enough for us to get a dining room set we decided to buy more Amish furniture. The sturdiness of the pieces is amazing and now I have a really nice place to display my china.”
November 24th, 2018
by Vicki Nemeth
With the winter months closing in, the shorter days can be a bit depressing. A lack of sunlight affects the human body in adverse ways, and it also makes each room in your home darker and plainer.
In the winter, every room’s design benefits less from the depth and color that bright, direct window light offers. But rooms that have limited windows in the first place are hit especially hard. Here are 6 rooms that are notorious for getting too dark, with some tips on brightening them up.
- The Basement Apartment
You’re lucky if it’s a walk-out basement with one wall that can have full-sized windows, but even then, at least one wall will be underground. Most basements are buried all around and can only have foot-high windows right up against the ceiling. Brightening up a basement is vital to creating a living space that supports healthy moods.
Light colors help avoid making a basement feel even darker. Reflective touches make the most of light. Remember to arrange furniture so it only creates shadows where you need them. Since it’s a whole apartment we’re talking about, nearly all bright design tricks are useful somewhere in a basement apartment.
- The Apartment Kitchen
Many apartments and condos are against one or two outside walls in the building, which means two or even three walls are going to be inside. At least some of the rooms have to be windowless.
The most common windowless room in an apartment is the kitchen. The kitchen is a functional room, where occupants may be too busy for a lack of outdoor light to bother them. An apartment kitchen occupies substantial footage against an inner wall, and leaves the windowed walls free for the rooms where people go to relax, such as the family room, dining room and bedrooms.
Luckily, kitchens are a great place for tiles, white or metal appliances, and marble countertops. Glass cupboard doors are another contemporary alternative.
- The Old Bathroom
Clearly, people have not always known about mold. In modern times, most municipalities require that bathrooms have ventilation either in the form of an outdoor window or a ventilation fan. But for privacy’s sake, that window is going to be small, frosted or covered, and not open very wide.
The bathroom also serves as a functional room: when you have limited outdoor walls, why not use them for the rooms where people relax or socialize? In climate-controlled homes, many people would rather use a fan for ventilation than a window.
You can update your old bathroom, but chances are, it stays in the dark spot where it was originally built. Whatever your reason for having a bathroom with no outside window, brightness improves its functionality. So try adding chromed taps and glass shower doors or a clear curtain. Use shiny tile or high gloss paint, and make that mirror as big as possible. And don’t shy away from bright bathroom lighting if you plan on shaving or doing your makeup there.
- Garages, Vaults, and Storage Basements
Most households keep these rooms neither bright nor well-organized, but they certainly don’t have a lot of windows, if any. Maybe you don’t spend a lot of time in your unfinished basement, and you’re not enthused about making it brighter or more pleasant. But there is one thing you can do to make these concrete holes more functional:
Seal your floors! Sealing your floors and walls will help protect your concrete, your belongings, and even the rest of the house from cold and moisture. The finish will be more shiny than concrete, even if you choose a basic grey. Depending on the function of the room you can also choose storage units and hooks with metallic touches.
- The Attic Bedroom
Only so much of a roof can be a skylight, and that’s if your climate makes them practical at all. Many attics have a small window whose size is limited by the triangle of the roof above. It’s a cozy little nook reminiscent of the hole in a tree that cartoon owls live in, except that humans don’t see in the dark as well.
If your attic bedroom is shaped like the roof and its ceiling tilts down on one or two sides, then you have to think carefully about where to put tall and short items. Use vertical space at the tallest part of the ceiling to mount lighting, and save floor space for furniture. Avoid creating shadows with a canopy bed, if one even fits. The ceiling may be too low on the sides of the room fit a dresser mirror, so you may need a dresser and a separate full-length wall mirror or floor mirror. Plush touches like a handmade mat can help make your bedroom more cozy while being easy to throw in the wash and keep light-colored.
- The Tiny House
Everything has to go somewhere in a tiny space, so where do the windows go? Tiny homes need to use all their vertical space, and tiny home designers put a lot of their focus into making a space as bright as possible despite very little wall space.
Light colors do more than brighten a tiny space. They can also make it feel bigger. Stain or paint wood in a light color. As for what furniture to use, try to keep moving parts to a minimum so you won’t have to get out of the way every time you want to open something. Use details like hardware and trim to add shine.
A dark room can be a hassle to get things done in, and can kill your mood. Luckily, there are design tricks you can use in addition to lighting to make a room feel brighter and more functional. For more bright design ideas, head on over to “34 Brilliant Furniture and Design Ideas to Make Dark Rooms Feel Brighter“.