Fourth of July Furniture: Celebrating American Manufacturing

July 4th celebrates the birth of the American nation, and with it, our ingenuity, resilience, and love of freedom. This Independence Day, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate the American craftsman. In this day and age of global trade, with so many manufacturing and engineering operations outsourced, there still remain a dedicated few furniture makers who have stayed the course in the good ol’ US of A. We’ve highlighted some of our favorite States-side manufacturers, along with their summertime must-have pieces.

Eagle One

With nearly 25 years in business on the East and West Coasts, Eagle One manufactures high quality outdoor furniture and products. Eagle One products are designed to weather the elements, made with extra heavy-duty institutional grade recycled high density polyethylene lumber (HDPE), while retaining comfort. Their proprietary lumber is top rated for its resistance to wind, water, rusting, and splintering, while requiring extremely low-to-no maintenance to keep your product looking new. Eagle One products are made and manufactured in the US, and available in a variety of all-American styles.

We love this kids’ table set, designed durably to withstand whatever punishment your children inflict on it this summer. Markers, food stains, dirt, and dust disappear with soap and water – keeping the table chemical free. Plus, it’s available in our favorite summer colors – red, white, and blue!

Outdoor kids' dining and craft set, with erasable table top, can take anything your kids dish out.

Outdoor kids’ dining and craft set, with erasable table top, can take anything your kids dish out.

Montana Woodworks

Montana Woodworks, a family owned business, prides itself on being largest manufacturer of handcrafted rustic furnishings in the United States. Using sustainable logging practices, Montana Woodworks harvests its stunning wood in the Kootenai National Forest in northwestern Montana without bringing harm to animals or live trees. Each piece is hand peeled and stripped for a truly unique finish you won’t find in mass-produced imitations. Furnishings range from classic wooden bedroom furniture and bathroom fixtures to living room accents, dining tables, and outdoor pieces. One of the most chic summer trends, rustic furniture is also a beautiful investment for all year round.

While each piece is filled with substance and style, an outdoor swing is the essence of the American heartland in the summer. This rustic swing makes a terrific addition to your porch, patio, or backyard.

Bring the homestead to your house with a quaint outdoor swing from Montana Woodworks.

Bring the homestead to your house with a quaint outdoor swing from Montana Woodworks.

Art Effects

A leading manufacturer of wall decor in the US, Art Effects designs and produces a variety of impressive artwork to adorn your interiors in style. With their design team creating on-trend, classic, and inspirational works, Art Effects also solidly manufactures the stylish frames in which the pieces are displayed. You’ll find a variety of painted scenes including nature, abstracts, tribal motifs, and typographic art ranging from canvases and panels to framed pieces, as well as cork boards and message centers.

Of course, you should choose your wall art in accordance with your space’s theme, but we’re partial to Old Glory finding her way to your home this summer.

Vintage Stars and Stripes painting in exquisite, American-made framing.

Vintage Stars and Stripes painting in exquisite, American-made framing.

Home Bar Basics

There are few things more enjoyable in life than a cold cocktail at the end of a long day. But why should you have to get dressed and hit up a swanky bar, where you’ll have to shell out lots of cash to enjoy a watered down beverage in a loud and obnoxious setting? Bring the bar to you! Whatever your budget, we’ve got the basics for an at-home bar that will have your friends and neighbors wondering how to get on your guest list.

Bar Infrastructure

A stylish, space saving bar-style alternative to a full-size bar.

A stylish, space saving bar-style alternative to a full-size bar.

The best part of setting up a bar in your home is the ability to create any kind of ambience to enjoy a drink. Have a finished basement? Easily set up a full bar complete with stylish bistro or pub style sets for sitting and casual eating. Live in a warm environment? Make your patio party-central with an outdoor bar and casual lounge seating. If you don’t have the space for a dedicated bar, you can easily and affordably add a modern bar-style table top or mini bar to a living or dining space. To seamlessly add a beverage station to an already furnished space, shop for bar units that match your existing decor and stick to the wall (you won’t get the effect of looking like a bartender prepping drinks from behind it, but it’ll save you space!). For a more low-key option, consider an expandable bar counter unit that looks like a storage cabinet, allowing you to keep bar wares out of sight.

A chic backyard bar is easier to add to your patio than you think. All-inclusive outdoor bar set by Eagle One.

A chic backyard bar is easier to add to your patio than you think. All-inclusive outdoor bar set by Eagle One.

Glassware

Your cocktails are only as classy as the glassware in which they’re served. Stock up on basic glassware including the essentials for a home bar. Cover your bases with a basic cocktail glass for your martinis and margaritas, an Old Fashioned or rocks glass for drinks on the rocks and neat whiskeys, a highball or Collins glass (depending on your style preference as they’re both essentially higher-volume glasses with subtle stylistic differences) for a variety of mixed drinks like Mojitos or Long Island Iced Teas, a versatile coupe glass for champagne, bubbly wines, and frozen cocktails, and a snifter for brandy and cognac. Of course you should substitute glasses you’ll use more frequently if you’re not much of a brandy aficionado, but these are great starters that will lend your bar an elegant air even they’re just on display.

Portable, inconspicuous, antique-style bar cart, with room for all the essentials.

Portable, inconspicuous, antique-style bar cart, with room for all the essentials.

Bar Accessories

Complete the look of your bar with trendy barware accessories from the fun to the functional. Cocktail shakers, muddlers, jiggers, ice scoopers/tongs, drink pourers, corkscrews, and bar spoons are the basic accessories in a bartender’s arsenal. Some items, like bottle openers, ice buckets and wine stoppers are available in elaborate or fun designs that double as design elements, adding to the aesthetics of your bar.

An easy reference for essential home bar glasses from The Savory.

An easy reference for essential home bar glasses from The Savory.

Alcohol

Flex your bartending muscle with a fun cocktail shaker like this one from Authentic Models.

Flex your bartending muscle with a fun cocktail shaker like this one from Authentic Models.

Probably the most essential item in your bar: alcohol. Stock up on basic bar foods and snacks, along with limes, lemons, bitters, and garnishes to make your drinks look as delicious as they taste. When it comes to stocking your bar, start with spirits you personally enjoy and will actually drink; save the fancy stuff for impressing your guests when you throw a party. Which brings us to the final essential for a home bar, arguably the most important: knowing how to make a drink. Your beautiful bar is useless if you can’t mix a proper cocktail! Brush up on these 25 must-know recipes for popular cocktails like Cosmos, Manhattans, and Old Fashioned’s.

High Design on a Low Budget

No matter what your budget for decorating your home or living space, there never seems to be enough for design after splurging special furniture pieces. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can elevate your home’s design even on a limited budget.

Dimension & Depth

A simple way to create an upscale design in any room is by adding dimension and depth to make a more dynamic space – something you can do with existing pieces or on the cheap with paint or simple hardware supplies. For smaller living rooms with furniture in the same color family, paint strategic vertical lines to give the illusion of higher walls; using contrasting and unexpected colors makes your plain black or white furniture appear far more elegant. You can achieve the same effect by arranging existing chairs, tables, or frameless mirrors in a vertically linear fashion. For the reverse effect, creating an intimate and cozy feeling in a large, open space, do the same with horizontal lines instead.

Make use of all available spaces, including the ceiling, to create an upscale design. Play with texture by adding painted wooden slats to the ceiling, a slab of reclaimed wood, or simply painting a design around overhead lighting for budget-friendly, but beautiful decor.

If you have bolder and more artistic sensibilities, invest your design budget into minimalist, monochromatic furniture and splurge on a wall-size mural to make any room a dynamic piece of living art. Similarly, though less bold, you can use uniquely painted walls to act as the design focus of your space, and it’ll only cost you a gallon of paint, some painter’s tape, and a little creativity.

This tiny living room looks much larger in scale with a graphic mural, despite otherwise limited decor.  As seen on IdeasToDecor.

This tiny living room looks much larger in scale with a graphic mural, despite otherwise limited decor. As seen on IdeasToDecor.

DIY Design

Speaking of creativity, the best, easiest, and most enjoyable way to up the design of any space is doing it yourself. We know what you’re thinking, how can craft-tastic DIY projects possibly look elegant? You wouldn’t believe that some of these incredibly trendy home decor pieces were made with cheap, readily available materials. The key to being able to have DIY pieces stand out is placing them in rooms with otherwise timeless furniture. If you’re a particular fan of DIY home decor, invest in classic, minimalist, high quality living room and bedroom furniture that will look great in a range of styles, with any type of decor.

DIY painted stripes and bold wallpaper add dimension to a minimalist space. Designed by the Novogratz family.

DIY painted stripes and bold wallpaper add dimension to a minimalist space. Designed by the Novogratz family.

Use What You Have

Don’t have any room at all in your budget for design? You can still make your place pop! Rethink intriguing designs for elements you already have or household items you didn’t think could be aesthetically interesting. Plates and picture frames (just the frames, no photo needed) are some of our favorite out-of-the-box wall decor ideas; it will cost you nothing and makes for a unique display. In the kitchen, put your wares on display by hanging pans and utensils out in the open and storing spices and other colorful dry goods in glass canisters or mason jars.

Who would have thought regular white and minimally printed plates would look so interesting? As seen in Apartment Therapy.

Who would have thought regular white and minimally printed plates would look so interesting? As seen in Apartment Therapy.

Designing a Man-tastic Man Cave

For all their nods of approval during shoe shopping and tacit agreements to remodel the bathroom, the men in our lives deserve a little space in the home to make their own. With Father’s Day coming up, what better time to show the dads and dads-to-be in your life your appreciation than by surprising him with a man cave? No matter what your guy is passionate about, we’ve got you covered on making your finished basement, garage, or spare room a grown man haven without the bean bag chairs and futons from his college days.

Man Cave Design 101

Won't let your man get a motorcycle? This framed print in an epic man cave you designed will probably make up for it.

Won’t let your man get a motorcycle? This framed print in an epic man cave you designed will probably make up for it.

Before you set out to fill your man cave with toys, plan the space’s layout and design. Like any other room, stick with the 60-30-10 rule for primary colors and accents. The only cave-like aspect of the space should be the dark colored walls; some of the most popular colors are dark grays, mahogany, and navy (you can also consult the Man Cave Color Palette for more inspiration). If your available space is a basement, garage, or another windowless room, brighten it with white ceilings and light, frosty colored walls, contrasted with darker bottom-half walls.

Game Room

No room for a full-size billiard table? No problem. This bumper pool table doubles as a card game table too.

No room for a full-size billiard table? No problem. This bumper pool table doubles as a card game table too.

Does your husband like hosting poker games or inviting friends over for a round of pool? Design your space around a game theme with a handsome poker table, ping pong table, or billiard table as the room’s centerpiece. Add to the theme with game tables that can be used for chess, checkers, backgammon, or as an accent table. Splurge on comfortable arm chairs for table-centered games or on a leather sofa and tall bar tables and stools for pool hall style seating. In place of a full refrigerator and bar, opt for a mini fridge or beer cooler to easily store drinks without the bulk.

Laid-back Bar & Lounge

For a space your man would love for lounging and knocking back beverages with his buddies, go all out and create a full bar, surprising him by stocking it with his favorite liquor. Fill the walls with bar-themed decor like dartboards, lighted signs, and smart wall art. Add a set of recliners or even a massage chair for the ultimate in relaxation. Include smaller scale table-top foosball, air hockey, or table tennis games for space-saving entertainment. If your man enjoys his solitude, forget the games and TV set and create a soothing ambiance by installing an electric fireplace or reading nook by lamplight.

Mini bar + bar stools + interchangeable table top casino games = perfect combo for space and budget conscious man caves.

Mini bar + bar stools + interchangeable table top casino games = perfect combo for space and budget conscious man caves.

Entertainment Central

Turning your basement into an entertainment center has the bonus benefit of being used by the rest of the family too, with dad’s permission. Set up an entertainment center with all the gadgets and virtual games your man loves, along with theater seating for full VIP effect. Add antique versions of his favorite old-school games, along with family friendly board games that everyone can enjoy. With a big screen and theater seating set-up, your man will no doubt be an in demand host for watching sports. Accommodate guests with a pub-style tables and seating and a portable bar cart.

Handsome, man cave-ready theater-style recliners, complete with cup holders and ample style.

Handsome, man cave-ready theater-style recliners, complete with cup holders and ample style.

Decorating a Small Living Room

If you were lucky enough to be able to design your home, each space is probably perfectly sized. For the rest of us though, a too-small kitchen, an awkwardly placed beam, or absence of an entryway are common quirks for which we have to settle in an otherwise perfect house. A small living room area is a non-negotiable for many, but it doesn’t have to be! Using interior design tricks of the trade, you can easily make the most of your minimal space with a smart layout and deceptive decorating.

Opening Space by Eliminating Clutter

The key to making any room look and feel more open is to eliminate clutter and bulk. Decreasing the scale of living room furniture by replacing a large couch with a smaller settee, backless sofa or chaise lounge is one of the easier ways to reduce bulk. Stay away from heavy-looking pieces and stick with bare-legged tables, chairs, and sofas to eliminate the appearance of clutter. Make sure each piece is essential and try to find double-duty furniture which can be used for secret storage, keeping commonly used items out of sight. Another popular option for small living rooms is to choose function over traditional interior design. Instead of separate bookshelves, a TV stand, and floating end tables, combine all those functions into one wall-covering entertainment center, leaving more space in the middle of the room for a focal point piece.

Sleek, space-saving armless sofa that opens to a sleeper in the perfect color for opening any room.

Sleek, space-saving armless sofa that opens to a sleeper in the perfect color for opening any room.

Ditching Traditional Design

Having a sectional sofa, coffee table, and end tables are staples of traditional living room design, but if you don’t have the space for them, forget about it! Deciding what the space will be mostly used for is the first step to figuring out which element you absolutely must have. Once you decide, work around that piece that will act as the focal point of your space. For example, if the living room is your place for relaxing and watching television, you may want to splurge (space-wise) on sofas, hang a flat-panel TV against the wall, and have an ottoman or store-able tray tables in place of a traditionally larger, space-consuming coffee table. Upholstered arm chairs, centered around a coffee table, are a great option for a living room used for chats and chai tea. If you entertain often and must have ample seating, stuffing a sectional and ottomans into one corner of the room will make the space appear larger than it is since the two-sided sectional looks like just one piece of furniture.

Scaled-back sectional, white color scheme, and limited accents make this small living area appear much larger.

Scaled-back sectional, white color scheme, and limited accents make this small living area appear much larger.

Interior Design Illusions

Choosing the right space-saving furniture is only half of the equation when it comes making your room appear bigger. Use designer favorite illusions like large mirrors, light colored walls, smart contrasts, and accent walls to give the appearance of space. White ceilings and top-halves of walls with neutral or frosted color contrasts open up any room; designers also recommend sticking with a monochromatic color scheme, reserving bursts of color for a limited number of accents. Another favorite trick is to tile an entire wall with mirrors; if that’s not possible, a large wall mirror will have a similar effect. To give the appearance of open space with tables, stick with glass or lucite pieces that are clear and appear invisible.

Clear glass, swiveling, dual-tiered coffee table appears invisible while adjusting to fit any sized room.

Clear glass, swiveling, dual-tiered coffee table appears invisible while adjusting to fit any sized room.