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January 30 2018

Love Your Empty Nest: How to Make It a Happy Phase in Your Life

When the kids are away, the adults will play — at least that’s the mindset of today’s empty nesters. Regardless of whether they are retired, semi-retired, or still working, modern empty nesters are a different breed than previous generations.

According to The Boston Globe, empty nesters are looking for the trifecta of freedom, community, and adventure — and they are finding it in different ways. The rise in active adult communities, tailored to adults 55 and older, has brought solutions, such as smaller homes in developments that offer activities like book and gardening clubs, golf, tennis, dance lessons, and yoga. Some empty nesters trade in the big house in suburbia for a simpler, urban lifestyle, while some may even hit the road in an RV.

The Washington Post reports that more adults are looking for housing that suits their current situation, not their previous one, now that the kids are no longer living at home. While previous generations saw parents living in the “family home” long after the family flew the coop, today’s parents are moving to smaller homes that fit their needs. Many opt for a single-level home, sparking a building boom in one-story homes with less square footage. Another common theme is an open floor plan that allows them to do more with less space.

Regardless of what path empty nesters take, there is really no one-size-fits-all solution, but in virtually every situation, it requires some serious re-thinking of what they need to fit their new lifestyle.

The Downsizing Decision

Linda Allen and her long-time fiancé, Ron Sturgeon, lived in a 10,000-square-foot mansion in an upscale suburb of Fort Worth, Texas, for several years when they decided to try something entirely new. Sturgeon had three adult sons, and both of Allen’s sons were out of high school, so the six-bedroom house was underused.

“We realized that we were only using the kitchen, the bedroom, and the bathroom,” Allen says. “You should enjoy where you live, and we just weren’t using it.”

No longer concerned about having a fenced yard for the kids to play or the schools available nearby, they began looking at their options and agreed on something that was a 180-degree turn from their stately home with two five-car garages: a two-bedroom condo in the heart of downtown Fort Worth. It hit all three of those common desires for freedom, community, and adventure, Allen says.

“We love the lack of maintenance, and we think of it as smart living instead of having all that empty space,” she says. “We really did look at it as an adventure, so we decided to rent for a couple of years to see if we really liked it. And we just fell in love with this way of living.”

Today, they walk to restaurants or the grocery store instead of driving. Allen says they don’t miss a big backyard because she can walk to the dog park — where her dogs can run free and she meets new friends.

“We meet new people every time we go out,” she says. “We love that.”

The Paring-Down Process

Living in a smaller space means you truly can’t take it with you — and that can be a good thing. Along with the attraction of less space, downsizing is the opportunity to reinvent the look of your home.

Those who are coping with an empty nest find that their current furniture may not fit the look or size of their new space, but they still want the high-end finishes and furniture of their previous home.

The new downsizing boom has caused a spike in the sale of used furniture, appealing to adults who want a new look and seek quality but who don’t necessarily want to pay top dollar to achieve that look.

“This is a time to have fun with it. Try something new that you always wanted to do,” Allen advises.

To find a new look you love, consider buying high-quality used furniture and see how CORT Furniture Clearance Center can help you get the right pieces for less.

The post Love Your Empty Nest: How to Make It a Happy Phase in Your Life appeared first on CORT Furniture Rental Blog.

Disaster Relief Housing Solutions: How to Furnish Your Space After a Natural Disaster

Natural disasters displaced homeowners in record numbers in 2017, leaving many with little more than the clothes on their backs. According to the National Center for Environmental Information, the U.S. experienced 15 natural disasters that cost the country at least $1 billion — and that was before the wildfires that ravaged Southern California at year’s end.

In the wake of such troubling news, it’s nice to know that you have helpful options for setting up temporary housing should you ever lose your home in a flood or a fire. Temporary apartments, mobile homes, trailers, and innovative designs, such as modern microhouses from Kasita, all provide temporary disaster relief housing solutions.

If you’re rebuilding your house after a tornado, flood, fire, or other natural disaster, here are a few ways to make your temporary home feel like home.

Choose a Type of Temporary Home

Temporary housing can be expensive, even if your homeowner’s insurance covers some of the cost. If your policy includes “loss of use” coverage, it typically covers expenses for maintaining a second temporary residence while your home is repaired or rebuilt. Check your policy and talk to your insurance agent to understand your coverage.

If you expect your displacement to last fewer than 30 days, then you may do fine staying in a hotel room with a kitchenette. However, as Mark Edelen of Corporatehousing.com notes, most insurers don’t want you to stay in a hotel for more than 30 days.

If repairs are expected to take several months or more, then you will most likely need to rent an apartment or corporate housing. These types of housing give you more space and privacy as well as a full kitchen for preparing home-cooked meals. Additionally, there’s often an option to select a space that has been fully furnished.

If you need to be on or near your property as you rebuild, a mobile home might be a good choice. Several companies offer temporary disaster relief housing solutions that include mobile homes and travel trailers. Newer companies like Kasita even offer contemporary portable homes.

Replace Essential Clothing

Many people emerge from a natural disaster with virtually nothing. Kids may wear the same clothes to school day after day until parents get back on their feet. Food, water, and housing take priority over clothing, but you will need a few essentials right away.

Pick up the basics (socks, underwear) at discount stores, and scout thrift stores for quality clothing at deep discounts. You can also research local community organizations for clothing donation assistance and register with FEMA. If you qualify, the organization’s disaster assistance funds can help pay for clothing and other non-housing disaster assistance.

As life slowly returns to some semblance of normalcy, you can gradually add to your wardrobe with new pairs of jeans, outfits for work, and back-to-school clothes for the kids. When buying toiletries, household goods, and other items, take your time and focus on the essentials first.

Furnish Wisely

If you lost your furniture in a natural disaster, it’s tempting to replace everything right away to regain a sense of normalcy. Resist the temptation. What works in your temporary home may not work in your permanent abode. It’s also a good idea to stay conservative with spending until you resolve insurance claims and other issues.

CORT Furniture Rental offers a stress-free solution for displaced homeowners. In just a few clicks, you can furnish your entire temporary home — or even your permanent one — to suit your style and budget. CORT offers everything from high-quality furniture to essentials like bedding, appliances, and towels with delivery in as little as 48 hours. If you purchase new furniture when moving back into your permanent home, simply give CORT a call to schedule a pickup. No heavy lifting required.

As a first responder during 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina and a supporter of Hurricane Harvey and Irma recovery efforts, CORT understands the stress that comes with losing your home in a natural disaster. The company works closely with disaster relief agencies, insurance companies, and individuals to make the process of furnishing your home as smooth as possible.

When you need a furniture solution for your temporary home, contact CORT for all the help you need.

The post Disaster Relief Housing Solutions: How to Furnish Your Space After a Natural Disaster appeared first on CORT Furniture Rental Blog.

Patio Refresh: Transform Your Outdoor Space with DIY Furniture Painting

Patio furniture is often the design anchor of an outdoor space. Because of exposure to the elements, outdoor furniture is also destined to see the most wear. Even if you’re able to store your outdoor pieces for the harsh winter season, exposure to sun, wind, and rain at other times of year leave your favorite patio features looking dull after a while.

Before buying new pieces, consider creating a patio refresh with a DIY furniture painting project. No matter which material adorns your backyard, there are plenty of helpful tips for a fun, easy outdoor furniture DIY makeover.

Wicker Wonderland

Wicker is beloved for its functional charm and adaptability. If your wicker is made from a traditional plant-based material, such as rattan, follow the steps below to repaint it. (If you have all-weather wicker, which is usually made from plastic, follow the steps for repainting plastic furniture instead.)

  • Step 1: Clean using a soft brass or wire brush to remove dirt, debris, and flaking paint.
  • Step 2: Let the wicker dry completely.
  • Step 3: Lightly sand any rough edges.
  • Step 4: Apply two coats of oil-based primer, and allow it to completely dry.
  • Step 5: Apply two to three coats of paint using a brush, spray can, or compressor sprayer.
  • Step 6: Add new cushions or other accents to complete your look.

Use these steps for other types of wood patio furniture as well.

Metal Makeover

Ideal for its durability, metal is a classic outdoor furniture choice. Whether you opt for wrought iron, steel, or more lightweight cast aluminum, metal offers a sharp, clean aesthetic. Although it’s long lasting, metal is also prone to rust. When your rusty metal pieces need a makeover, follow these steps for your DIY furniture painting project:

  • Step 1: Scrape using a wire brush to remove dirt, debris, and large flakes of rust.
  • Step 2: Use a palm sander to remove remaining rust. (You could also sand by hand, but it adds a lot of time.) When the rust is gone, switch to a higher grit paper and sand until smooth.
  • Step 3: Wipe down using a solvent, such as acetone, and allow to dry.
  • Step 4: Apply two to three coats of a rust-preventing primer, and allow it to completely dry.
  • Step 5: Apply two to three coats of oil-based paint using a spray can or compressor sprayer.
  • Step 6: Protect with a clear, oil-based urethane sealant to prevent future rust and fading.

Pretty Plastics

Could your patio plastics use some prettying up? Follow these steps for a fresh new look.

  • Step 1: Clean with hot water and an ammonia-based cleaner in a well-ventilated area.
  • Step 2: Let the plastic dry completely.
  • Step 3: Apply painter’s tape to any non-plastic features.
  • Step 4: Apply two coats of plastic-specific primer, and allow it to completely dry.
  • Step 5: Apply two coats of paint using a spray can or compressor sprayer, and allow it to dry and cure before use.

Reviving your outdoor space with freshly painted patio furniture is a simple and fun DIY project, but it’s not the only way to make over your space. If you need new pieces to create the look you want, consider the value of premium, gently used furniture at CORT Furniture Clearance Centers for both inside and outside your home.

The post Patio Refresh: Transform Your Outdoor Space with DIY Furniture Painting appeared first on CORT Furniture Rental Blog.

Creating Great Office Layouts to Maximize Productivity

Just 32 percent of American workers report feeling engaged on the job, according to a 2015 Gallup Poll. When people “check out” at work, productivity suffers. Happily, changes in design can help, especially in an office environment. Employers can create great office layouts by incorporating functional furniture, improving the furniture arrangement, and adding color and texture. A few changes can breathe new life into the workplace, resulting in happier and more productive employees.

Open vs. Private Layouts

The most successful office layout depends on the type of work involved. For instance, if employees are required to engage in confidential conversations on a frequent basis or absorb large amounts of reading material, then a setting with private offices is the obvious choice. If most of the day involves collaborative work or group meetings, then an open concept makes the most sense. If you’re still not sure, then why not poll staff to see what they prefer?

The Perfect Mix

A report from The Brookings Institution suggests that many businesses benefit from a blend of open and private spaces. A large, open work area encourages a sense of community and saves money on heating, cooling, and cleaning. Meanwhile, a few private offices help prevent distraction, reduce noise, and provide a secure work environment when needed. A private work room or library with a no-talking rule makes a quiet option for focus and concentration, while a centralized conference room with glass walls keeps business meetings moving at a good clip.

Furniture and Design

Great office layouts start with stylish and practical furniture. When it comes to small business office design, two employees can share a table or desk without too much distraction, but if you have lots of workers occupying one spacious room, then invest in half-height desk dividers or booth seating. Huddle spaces with tall tables and no chairs offer an ideal option for short meetings, and plug-and-play work benches placed near common areas provide convenient spaces for sending a quick email.

To promote a healthy workplace, many businesses provide adjustable desks, ergonomic chairs, noise-cancelling headphones, a comfortable break room, and plenty of natural light.

Color and Texture in the Workplace

Different colors promote office productivity in varying ways. The color red is thought to boost energy and motivation, while yellow evokes a happy, creative vibe. Because it has a calming effect, the color blue makes sense for employees working long hours, and green hues encourage good communication and balance in the workplace.

Texture takes an office from cold and sterile to warm and welcoming. Employers can add texture with:

  • Exposed brick walls and wood beams
  • Woven area rugs and throw pillows
  • Fabric window treatments
  • Paintings and sculptures
  • Baskets and pottery

The Importance of Natural Elements

In addition to adding texture to an office environment, natural elements offer a variety of other benefits like greater wellbeing and increased productivity. Plants like philodendrons, devil’s ivy, and fig trees require little maintenance, and they improve air quality by absorbing pollutants and carbon dioxide. Other design elements that bring the outdoors in include wooden walls or room dividers, stone tile flooring, and large windows with natural views.

Comfortable office design plays a big role when it comes to worker satisfaction, and CORT Furniture Rental can help. As a company grows and office design evolves, renting office furniture allows employers to adapt quickly with new and stylish pieces.

The post Creating Great Office Layouts to Maximize Productivity appeared first on CORT Furniture Rental Blog.

Temporarily Yours: Finding a Place to Stay While Remodeling Your Home

Living in your home through a one-room remodel can be challenging enough, so when you’re facing a major home overhaul that requires a lengthy exit from your house, it helps to add some necessary order and comfort to your life by choosing the right temporary housing. That doesn’t automatically mean staying at a high-priced luxury hotel or moving in with family and friends. There are plenty of reliable and comfortable temporary housing solutions to give you and your family a sense of normalcy during the house remodeling process.

Which Type of Temporary Housing Is Right for You?

The right type of temporary housing can keep you sane during the already stressful renovation process. Four good housing options include:

  • A rented onsite RV
  • A rented house or apartment
  • An extended stay hotel
  • Corporate housing

Even if your house is uninhabitable, you can at least stay on your property by “camping out” in a rented mobile trailer or recreational vehicle. First, find out if parking a portable home on your property is allowed. Locate it near your utility outlets unless your utilities will be turned off during renovation. If so, consider a different option, such as renting a house, condo, or apartment. A local real estate agent can help you find both furnished and unfurnished rental properties in your area and steer you toward month-to-month rentals if you’re not sure how long you’ll be out of your home.

Extended stay hotels are designed for stays of about 30 days. Expect your suite to come equipped with a full kitchen, full-size refrigerator, and stovetop augmented with additional housewares while yours are packed away. This option has more of a hotel feel with possible onsite laundry and free breakfast served in a common dining room. Additionally, these hotels are typically located close to shopping areas and usually have amenities to help keep your kids busy.

Corporate housing — also referred to as furnished apartments, executive rentals and suites, and serviced apartments — is a full-service solution that gives you all the comforts of home. Most include luxury amenities, such as top-of-the-line appliances and heady views that make you feel like you’re at a retreat. Corporate housing units are typically located in condominiums but can also take the form of houses of all sizes.

“At 86 nights, the average length of stay in corporate accommodations is significantly longer than hotel stays or extended stay hotels,” says Mary Ann Passi of the Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA). To find a corporate housing provider, Passi suggests heading to the CHPA website where the national membership directory is openly available. Alternatively, contact a local realty office and ask the agents to refer you to trusted corporate housing providers.

Costs of Temporary Housing

You’ll want to compare costs because prices vary for every option, depending on location and length of stay. A typical corporate housing unit has double the square footage of hotel rooms and suite hotels, according to Pessi. Consequently, the average daily rate for corporate housing falls into the $150 per day range, according to CHPA, but it all depends on location and amenities provided. That’s about the same cost as renting an RV for a day, according to CruiseAmerica.com, an RV rental company.

Extended stay hotels should cost less than or about the same as corporate housing options, but a hotel’s space is likely smaller. With extended stay hotels, the more consecutive nights you spend there, the lower your rate. When renting a house or other property, you pay a negotiated fixed rate per month.

What About Pets?

Pets are welcome in many types of temporary housing, but it’s important to search for and choose an animal-friendly venue. Most extended stay hotels, for example, cater to families with pets.

“Extended Stay America hotels welcome pets all year round, so families don’t need to make the difficult decision of leaving their beloved animal companions behind,” says Terry Atkins of Extended Stay America hotels. “We want our guests to enjoy all the comforts of home, and that absolutely should include their four-legged friends.”

At Extended Stay America and other properties, be prepared to pay a small fee for pets and understand that a maximum of two pets are allowed in each suite. And a little advice for hotel residents with pets — put out the “Do Not Disturb” sign when you’re not there so housekeeping won’t startle your animals.

Making Your Temporary Space Comfortable

Full-service housing offers flat-screen TVs, premium cable and Wi-Fi, and room for additional electronics to round out your home-away-from-home experience. Corporate housing, for example, is typically customized to a client’s specific needs, explains Passi, and that can include furniture, a full kitchen and bath, linens, housewares, electronics, and utilities. Corporate housing and extended stay hotels typically work with rental companies to create a full-scale home sweet home.

If you opt for an unfurnished home or onsite portable home accommodations that need some TLC, turn to CORT Furniture Rental to make your time living in temporary housing feel more complete, welcoming, warm, and homey. An unfurnished rental can be move-in ready with rented furniture before you even step foot in the door.

When it comes to a temporary move, the bottom line is to compare costs, locate near school and work, and decide which amenities you prefer during the long haul of house remodeling.

The post Temporarily Yours: Finding a Place to Stay While Remodeling Your Home appeared first on CORT Furniture Rental Blog.

January 26 2018

5 Ways to Reconnect with Your Family When Deployment Ends

The end of a deployment is an exciting time for everyone in the family. Reuniting with your spouse, children, and extended family members is something you’ve looked forward to during your time away, but the reality is that even a wonderful homecoming requires some adjustments, not just for you but for other family members.

Out of necessity, your family developed a routine in your absence — and so did you. Adjusting to the “new normal” comes with a learning curve for everyone. It’s best to prepare for these changes in advance and make a plan for reconnecting with loved ones to make reintegration easier and more enjoyable.

1. Understand That Everyone Has Changed

Relearning how to spend more time with your family might sound like a simple suggestion, but the truth is everyone — including you — has changed during your deployment. Don’t expect to jump back in and pick up where you left off with little effort. Recognize that there is going to be an adjustment period as you reacquaint yourself with family members as they are now.

2. Don’t Overschedule

Pacing yourself is important as you adjust to life with family again. Engaging in too many activities and events too quickly can be overwhelming and counterproductive. Build in plenty of downtime for both you alone and you with your family.

3. Make a Communication Plan

Great communication is crucial to reintegration, but it doesn’t just happen on its own. Make a plan for expressing your thoughts and feelings by thinking about what you want to say to each person and setting a time when you can say it.

4. Give Children Extra Attention

According to military resource site After Deployment, it can take up to a year for families with children to completely readjust to being around each other again. Time spent with children should be about reconnection and bonding. For small children, this can be as simple as learning how to play together. For older children, it might mean listening and supporting their educational and extracurricular activities.

5. Get Outside Support if Needed

If you’re having trouble connecting as a family, you’re not alone. That’s why there are many resources to help. Talking with others who are going through the same thing can make you feel less alone, and working with a professional counselor can provide you with an emotional outlet as well as tools for helping you with the process of reconnecting.

To make your reintegration simpler, keep in mind that CORT Furniture Rental can help you furnish your home to meet every changing need.

The post 5 Ways to Reconnect with Your Family When Deployment Ends appeared first on CORT Furniture Rental Blog.

Bare Necessities: Decorate Like a Minimalist

For many people, home is the place to showcase their treasures in a shrine to the places they’ve been and the things they’ve done. Others like to keep it simple when it comes to decorating, preferring to take a “less is more” approach with a minimalist design theme throughout their homes.

Fans of minimalist design often claim the appeal of this approach is that it’s easier to keep their homes clean due to less clutter. It’s a great option for people moving into their first home or apartment as well as those who are starting over and looking for a smooth transition. The minimalist approach allows you to create a trendy look without having to buy a lot of furnishings and accessories. You could stick to a plan of slowly acquiring pieces or opt for furniture rental as a temporary solution.

Although it sounds like a simple idea that should be easy to accomplish, decorating with a minimalist design scheme is actually harder than it seems. The trick is to create a balance with the bare-bones look so you still have an interesting, inviting place to entertain guests or just relax at the end of a long day without tripping over “stuff.” With the right approach, you can transform your space with minimalist design.

Know What You Need

Understanding what minimalist design is all about is your first step to achieving it. This style uses very little furniture and accessories, so each item in the room is important and has a specific use. For example, instead of a full bedroom set with a dresser, two nightstands, a built-in bookshelf, and perhaps even a chair and entertainment center, the bedroom would only have what is essential, such as a bed with a small headboard — or none at all — and perhaps a single nightstand and dresser.

In the living room, this means no giant entertainment center with shelves packed with video games and movies. This room’s contents could be as simple as a small stand for the television, a couch, a chair, and possibly a small table.

Throughout the minimalist home, there is very little clutter or décor, although a few simple, stylish items are necessary to keep the space from looking vacant. Instead of a desk or sofa table lined with framed family photos, choose a strategic place to display a single photo. Likewise, you don’t want walls that are completely bare, but you should stick to no more than a single, simple piece of art per wall.

Making It Work for You

If the minimalist design aesthetic appeals to you, the best way to try on this style is to do it gradually. Focus on one room at a time to get used to the new, streamlined look, and have some fun experimenting with what works best for you. It’s a great style to work with when you move into a new place, and renting your furniture rather than buying allows you to create the look you want without the hassle and cost of owning it.

One of the easiest ways to start is to tackle the furniture first. Look closely at your room, and decide which pieces could be removed without harming the functionality of the room. The idea is to make it livable and comfortable — and to eliminate what isn’t truly necessary.

Furniture tends to dominate a space, so these selections are usually the easiest. After you’ve pared down the furniture in a room, turn your attention to more complex areas. Which remaining items are essential? You may find that with part of the furniture gone, other items in the room — such as a lamp or freestanding bookcase — no longer seem to fit the design theme.

One of the hallmarks of minimalist design is a lack of clutter, and that means flat surfaces should be clear. If you leave a coffee table in the living room, don’t toss stacks of magazines on it or add a decorative centerpiece. Keep it bare and simple. You could add a couple of carefully placed decorations around the room to give it some personality, but it shouldn’t be excessive.

Once you master the art of decorating in the minimalist style, you can find ways to streamline every room in your home. If you’re moving to a new space, it’s the perfect opportunity to try out the minimalistic approach for yourself. CORT Furniture Rental is a great resource that allows you to easily try out this design concept while furnishing your space with minimal fuss.


The post Bare Necessities: Decorate Like a Minimalist appeared first on CORT Furniture Rental Blog.

Embracing the Wabi-Sabi Style of Decorating

If you haven’t heard much about Wabi-Sabi style, then chances are good that’ll change in 2018. It’s a trend you will likely fall in love with if your home has that “lived in” look.

The glossy layouts pictured in home magazines typically look pristine and perfect, but Wabi-Sabi revels in imperfections and encourages you to choose authenticity over flawlessness. For anyone embracing the contemporary living theme in their home, Wabi-Sabi is a perfect fit for that on-the-go lifestyle. There’s a lot to love about this style, which is one reason why designers expect to see it emerging as one of the most popular design trends for 2018.

According to Robyn Lawrence, author of the books “The Wabi-Sabi House” and “Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House,” Wabi-Sabi is more of an attitude than a specific style. It does embrace some very clear attributes, however, such as soft, dim lighting, a lack of clutter, and the presence of items with history and meaning.

The Nature of Wabi-Sabi

Understanding the Wabi-Sabi mindset means tracing it back to its origins. Rooted in Japanese culture, “Wabi” describes a simple approach that is humble, in tune with nature, and eschews materialism. It’s a term that is often used in Japanese culture to describe someone who is content with few possessions and who seeks wisdom.

The second half of this decorating equation, “Sabi,” translates to “the bloom of time,” and refers to things (and people) growing older and faded but not diminishing in worth or appreciation.

Paired together in home design, Wabi-Sabi becomes a term for a style that can sometimes be messy and imperfect and that places value on keeping the things you love. It’s similar to the Scandinavian trend of lagom, and even though both of these trends lean toward minimalism, Wabi-Sabi is also about embracing natural materials. That is reflected in the colors favored in Wabi-Sabi decorating: soft whites, earthy greens, browns, rusts, and grays create a muted sort of rainbow that designers draw from to create a serene environment that invites comfort over style.

Letting Go of Perfection

Creating a Wabi-Sabi environment begins with letting go of what you think your home “should” look like and instead exploring what it takes to make you happy and comfortable in your space. That might lead to an eclectic look; for example, your late grandmother’s scarred and timeworn cedar chest might take the place of that artfully designed cocktail table, and that perfect crystal vase is replaced by the less-than-perfect pottery your daughter made at school.

Instead of showroom perfection, Wabi-Sabi celebrates the reality of life and living in the moment. It’s more about the personality of the people who live in the space than the furniture and things that fill it. And, because the purpose is more about paring down and keeping what you love and what you need instead of accumulating more things, it can also lead to living simpler and smaller rather than larger.

Going Against the Grain

If you’re ready to bring Wabi-Sabi design into your own home, then Lawrence recommends that you start by looking at the things you love and deciding what items hold the most meaning for you. Think about whether or not each item resonates with you or if it just fills a space.

If you’re adding furniture to the mix, the Wabi-Sabi way is about reusing, recycling, and redecorating. Slight imperfections, such as cracks and scratches, are welcomed in Wabi-Sabi, so refurbishing used furniture is a great start to embracing this mindset. As you embrace the Wabi-Sabi way, this new-to-you furniture becomes part of your ongoing story.

Renting furniture to see what works and what doesn’t is another way to home in on your new design vision. CORT Furniture Rental offers furnishings for every room in your home so that you can quickly fill your space if you’re just starting out or starting fresh.

The post Embracing the Wabi-Sabi Style of Decorating appeared first on CORT Furniture Rental Blog.

Savvy Home Decor for Tiny Spaces

If you’re attracted to the idea of a tiny house or micro-apartment, you know it means taking advantage of every nook and cranny when it comes to designing your space. The tiny house community often calls anything 400 square feet or less home. When small is the order of the day, vertical space, dual-purpose furniture, and light colors are the tools you need to make your space feel larger and less cramped as soon as you move in.

If you’re thinking of living small — or even if you’re already accustomed to this lifestyle — a few simple tips can help you maximize your limited space. With a home that’s both welcoming and functional, you can still live large — even in a tiny space.

Be Honest About Your Needs

Only people who live in a tiny house truly know how to decorate a tiny house. Jamie Mackay, founder of tiny home manufacturing company Wheelhaus, advises being “brutally honest about what you need and love.” He says before going small, eliminate items from a tiny space that you only feel “so-so” about because it’ll increase your quality of life when you move into an organized space filled with only the items you genuinely care about.

See Double

It may seem counterintuitive, but including one large piece of furniture in a tiny space makes the room appear larger and luxurious, according to Mackay. Small or large, choosing furniture that offers multiple functions is imperative for tiny spaces. Select items like a sleeper sofa, storage cubes that double as seating, or a sideboard with shelves and drawers, and be on the lookout for comfortable folding chairs that tuck away into nooks and crannies when not in use.

Go High

Prepare your home by looking up for maximum use of air and wall space. Use tall, tiered pieces and floor-to-ceiling shelving — set back into the wall, if possible. Think outside the box, such as over-the-door storage cubbies that hold everything from shoes to cleaning supplies. Mount baskets on the wall for bathroom and bedroom storage, and if you have a closet, add hooks to store hats, scarves, and other seasonal items.

Go Low

Maximize storage potential underneath other pieces of furniture, such as under beds, tables, and bureaus with legs, and do it stylishly with matching boxes and baskets to keep things streamlined. Stock up on collapsible baskets and bins that are easy to store when not in use.

Go Light and Bright

Wheelhaus cabins intentionally have high ceilings and many windows to create the illusion of a larger space. If you’re going to live in a micro-space that has low ceilings and minimal windows with little natural light getting in, go lighter when it comes to wall color, floor design, and furniture. Add ample artificial lighting to brighten up the space, and place mirrors opposite bright spots or windows to reflect and double the amount of light in a room. Light, bright spaces tend to provide a cheerful, happy setting, regardless of size.

Maximize your time as you transition into tiny living. Furniture rental provides you with the ability to furnish your compact home or apartment before you move in rather than spending precious time searching for items to fit. CORT Furniture Rental makes the transition easy, with perfectly proportioned furniture, artwork, and other necessities that make you feel at home.



The post Savvy Home Decor for Tiny Spaces appeared first on CORT Furniture Rental Blog.

Fun on the Cheap: Things to Do in Chicago Today for College Students

It’s easy to spend a fortune hanging out and eating out in Chicago, but it’s also easy to enjoy the city on just a few bucks — or none at all. This is especially important if you’re a college student with limited funds to spend on meals and entertainment.

From the arts and sports to free festivals and events, here are a few cheap things to do in Chicago today.

Artsy Free Things to Do

Are you a culture lover looking for free things to do downtown? Chicago is home to an impressive collection of museums and art galleries, many of which are free. Chicago Cultural Center, the country’s first free municipal cultural venue, offers a full calendar of free exhibits, music and dance performances, film screenings, and lectures. You can find it on Michigan Avenue.

The City Gallery in the Chicago Water Tower features works from local photographers and artists. Stop by to see a local exhibit, and stay to check out the historic water tower.

Hyde Park Art Center offers six galleries — all free — that feature contemporary art and events for all ages. Photography, installation art, and colorful murals vie for space in this Hyde Park neighborhood gallery.

Are you a University of Chicago student? Visit the school’s Smart Museum of Art. If you’re into photography, don’t miss the Museum of Contemporary Photography. Both of these jewels are free.

Festive Free Things to Do

Experience Chicago’s flavors, colors, and cultures through free festivals and parades. Major events include the Grant Park Music Festival, the Chicago Blues Festival, the Chicago Jazz Festival, and the World Music Festival.

Groove to live music and DJs at SummerDance in Grant Park, or head to one of the dozens of street festivals that take place in the city’s diverse neighborhoods. On St. Patrick’s Day, enjoy the parade along a dyed-green Chicago River.

Outdoor Things to Do

Celebrate spring with a trip to the free Chicago Botanic Garden. Stroll through miles of scenic flora and fauna, and admire more than 200 bird species. If you’re exploring Lincoln Park, don’t miss the conservatory — always free — with four display houses filled with tropical palms, ancient ferns, and colorful flowers.

Looking for something more athletic? Go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing on Northerly Island, a 91-acre peninsula east of Soldier Field. It’s only $5 to rent equipment for up to two hours.

If you’re a runner, you may love the Lakefront Trail, an 18.5-mile path along the Chicago shoreline. It doesn’t cost a thing to enjoy views of the beaches, harbors, parks, and people while getting in a good workout.

More Ways for Students to Save Money

In addition to shopping at thrift stores, eating in, and sticking to free weekend fun, you can save money and still have a comfortable apartment. With CORT Furniture Rental’s student packages, you don’t have to buy furniture, hire movers, or rent storage space. Simply choose a student package you love, and split the cost with roommates. When the semester or year is over, CORT takes care of pickup.

Are you a budget-conscious college student in Chicago? Let CORT Furniture Rental help you ease the transition to independent living.

The post Fun on the Cheap: Things to Do in Chicago Today for College Students appeared first on CORT Furniture Rental Blog.

January 25 2018

CORT Donates Home To Go Package To Young Mother This Holiday Season

This holiday season, CORT had the opportunity to act as Santa for one lucky family in Columbus, Ohio.

“We delivered about 30 pieces of furniture. Everything from the kitchen table, sofa and chair, even a TV, some artwork and items to hang up,” said William Hoertz, showroom sales manager, CORT Columbus. “That’s what the whole season is about right? If you have the opportunity to help someone, you need to help someone.”

Corneka Williams, a young mother who was homeless as a result of domestic violence, along with her daughter Charli, were surprised three days before Christmas with furnishings for their new apartment from CORT.

Through Huckleberry House, a local nonprofit that provides shelter and services to run away, homeless and at-risk youth in Franklin County, Ohio, Williams was able to find support in the transitional living program that requires young adults to work, be enrolled in school, and set aside money for their futures.

“There aren’t enough words to say how grateful I am. Now, we have a comfortable place to live, a warm bed, things like that,” Williams says. “It’s like the lottery. Like whatever the mega-million is, it’s mine. And I don’t even have to pay taxes on it. That’s what it means to me. Me and Charli’s home. It’s our home. And it’s been made a home as of today.”

View the full story here: https://www.10tv.com/article/pre-christmas-furniture-donation-helps-young-mother-escaping-violence-homelessness

Thank you to the CORT Columbus team for supporting this worthy cause!


The post CORT Donates Home To Go Package To Young Mother This Holiday Season appeared first on CORT Furniture Rental Blog.

January 22 2018

January 17 2018

Insider Insights – let us tell you about Minneapolis!

Over the past 12 months, CORT has been posting a series of Expat Interviews. In 2018, our focus is changing a little and we’re going to be interviewing our Destination Consultants and posting their very special ‘Insider Insights’ into their home cities. We hope you enjoy learning about some of the key cities around the US for relocating clients.

To begin, we’re talking to Kay Miska and Amy Halvorson who work together in Minneapolis to help new arrivals. Here’s what these two good friends and colleagues want you all to know about the city that both have called home for more than 20 years:

  • What do you like the most?
  • Amy – For me, the thing I like the best about Minneapolis is the people. The people here definitely live up to the “Minnesota Nice” label that we are known for here! Most people are open minded and willing to help new people into our communities and will go out of their way to make things easier for others.
  • Kay – I agree! Also, there is so much to do here!
  • What’s the one thing you can tell us about your city that people would be surprised by/ the best kept secret perhaps:
  • Kay – Minneapolis is second to New York City for stage theater performances and home to the world’s first indoor shopping mall in Edina (south suburb)
  • What do your assignees like most about the city?
  • Kay – It’s cleaner than most “larger” cities.
  • What’s usually their biggest worry before they come?
  • Amy – The biggest worry for incoming assignees is the weather here. It gets very cold in the winter and we get a lot of snow!
  • Kay – Yes, definitely the winter weather and how to prepare for it.
  • Amy – But, there is also a misconception about this as well. We have several months where the temperatures are moderate and even hot, in the summer! It’s fun to have 4 seasons, especially because you can have a wardrobe for every season! (Remember the indoor shopping Mall!!)
  • Let’s do a quick snapshot of some prices for comparison: (as of early Jan 2018)
      • Gallon of gas as of Jan. 3rd, 2018–$2.39/gal
      • Pint of beer Between $5.00-8.00
      • Meal out for two with drinks – mid level restaurant’ $65.00
      • Monthly rent for a 2 bed/2 bath apartment in a popular area of the city $2500.00/month –downtown or Uptown Minneapolis
      • Cost to buy a 4 bed 2.5 bath house in one of the popular suburbs: $450,000 and up
  • What do you love most about your job?
  • Kay– The transferees I meet and helping them feel at ease.
  • Do you have any funny stories you could share about a time you helped someone?
  • Amy – I have lots of them but one that sticks out is when one of my international customers bought a $100,000 Porsche with cash!
  • Choose three words that best describe your city.
  • Amy – Friendly, lots of lakes, home
  • Kay – Friendly, diverse, “nice”
  • What’s the best time of year to visit and why?
  • Amy – I would say Fall. It’s beautiful here during the Fall season with all of the lakes and tree colors that surround our water.
  • Kay – July—summers are just perfect for temperature and to see the beauty of the area.
  • Is there a local/regional food item that is both awesome and unique to your home town?
  • Amy – Try some walleye, it’s our local fish and it is delicious!
  • Kay – We are Home to the “Juicy, Lucy” burgers / hot-dish is a popular dinner item (casserole) / Honeycrisp apples were invented in Minnesota!

Thanks so much Kay and Amy! hang in there – it will be Spring before you know it!

If you have any questions you’d like to ask our local experts about their home city, please contact us: info@cort.com. We’re happy to provide ‘insider insights’. More to come next month!

The post Insider Insights – let us tell you about Minneapolis! appeared first on CORT Furniture Rental Blog.

January 16 2018

5 Ways to Maximize Space in Your Studio Apartment

For the discerning minimalist, studio apartment living is the ultimate experience. Without a lot of space, there’s no room for anything extra, but it’s a challenge to reduce clutter and create the perfect balance between minimal and chic. When you’re short on space, each square foot is critical, and clutter needs to hit the curb — literally. It may seem extreme, but placing even one piece of furniture in the “wrong” place can quickly overwhelm an entire design and make your home feel like an overcrowded storage locker.

Inspired by the right ideas, it’s not difficult to design a tasteful studio apartment. Getting a few hundred square feet of space to work for you — and not against you — is all about careful planning. Think about the type of space you want to create, and then work from a logical set of ideas. For example, many studio dwellers find it helpful to draw their vision of the ideal floor plan, complete with doors and windows, before placing even a single piece of furniture inside. Operating from a roadmap of sorts makes it easier to think practically about the design tricks and hacks you can use to create a sense of space where there is none.

Start with the easy-to-use tips and tricks in this graphic to make your small studio space feel roomy and organized.


5 Ways to Maximize Space in Your Studio Apartment _ V2

The post 5 Ways to Maximize Space in Your Studio Apartment appeared first on CORT Furniture Rental Blog.

Tidy Up in 2018

A new year is the perfect time for a fresh start. As you and your roommates head into the spring semester, get together to rid your apartment of things that you don’t need. Whether it’s cleaning up or cleaning out, dedicating a couple hours to really cleaning your apartment will make your living situation more manageable for the rest of the semester.

Clean Up

Start with your own bedrooms and work your way into shared spaces. Take out the trash and break out the vacuum. Put away any clothes that have found their way into a pile on your floor and take the coffee cups left on desks and nightstands into the kitchen to be cleaned. This process can be relatively quick or may take all day, depending on how well you and your roommates maintained your apartment throughout the course of the fall semester. Once everything is cleaned up, you are ready to start cleaning out.

Clean Out

Cleaning out is a little more involved than cleaning up, but can really help you get your space back to basics so you can make a fresh start. A great place to start is your closet and drawers. If you haven’t worn an item in over a year, it’s probably a good time to donate it. Go through your room and get rid of old notebooks and study materials that you no longer need, as well as any other odds and ends you may have accumulated. Donate anything that could be useful to someone else and throw away anything that has served its purpose. By getting rid of the things you no longer need, you can clear space for the things that are useful to you day to day.

Refresh Your Furniture

To make your space feel fresh and be more functional in the new year, think about how you can make your furniture work in a way that provides a more open environment and allows your apartment to flow from room to room. Change up the furniture to maximize light and make your rooms seem bigger. If a key piece is missing to complete your room, consider renting furniture for this next semester without weighing you down in your next move.

Setting aside time to deep clean your apartment is the perfect way to get into a productive routine for the new year. By cleaning out what you don’t need and rearranging your living spaces to fit your lifestyle, you can prepare for a fun and fresh 2018.

The post Tidy Up in 2018 appeared first on CORT Furniture Rental Blog.

June 13 2017

Creating Luxury with Reupholstered Furniture

By Cindy Baldhoff

Today’s trends for luxury lean toward soft, tactile fabrics in rich colors that add a sumptuous feel to their surroundings. Whether in the living room or the bedroom, having one statement piece that takes center stage and then surrounding it with complementary furniture can completely remake the space.

In the living room, that statement piece is often the sofa. If you have a used sofa that you love for its great lines, but it’s starting to shows its age, then you can reupholster it to transform it into a new showpiece, setting the stage for a room designed for luxury.

“Any type of sofa works,” says John Knowlton, owner of J. Knowlton Antiques in Athens, Georgia. “The main factor is the length and basic style; is it informal and comfy, or is it formal with camel back and nice legs?”

That style will help you decide what colors and fabrics will work best to make it more luxurious, but he reminds you not to forget about the other pieces in the room. Since too much color on a sofa can overtake the existing furniture, he suggests making choices that complement rather than compete with what is already there.

Choosing the Right Fabric and Color

purple fabric 

“Velvet or any beautiful fabric can add luxury to a sofa or other upholstered piece,” Knowlton says. “The transformation is incredible.”

And, according to Tiffany Sterling Clum, owner of Upholstery Girl in Van Alstyne, Texas, it’s a great way to hold on to a piece of furniture you really love but that may no longer fit with the overall look of the room.

“If your furniture is older, of sentimental value, or was purchased as a quality piece many years ago, then there is a value to reupholstering it,” she says. “My favorite thing about reupholstering is the ability to keep my home the style I want while keeping my same comfy chairs, which I love.”

“The use of velvet is particularly popular, in part because it adds warmth and a feeling of luxury to the room,” says Clum. Choosing the right color of velvet is key in maintaining that feeling of luxury, however.

“Reds, purples, and emeralds — the jewel tones — have typically evoked a sense of luxury and richness through the ages,” she says, adding that it used to be only the wealthy who could afford to pay for fabrics that had been so saturated with color. Today, of course, textile practices have made it possible to attain these rich colors at lower prices, but they continue to be associated with luxury.

The softness of the fabric also helps create a sense of luxury, and Clum says if velvet is out of your price range, then there are alternatives for creating a rich, inviting look to your reupholstered sofa.

“Chenille can offer the same warmth, feel, and depth of color that you get from velvet, only it comes at a much lower price point.”

Complete the Look


Once you have created your centerpiece with a reupholstered sofa, you can begin adding items that complement the room’s new feel.

“A nice rug makes a huge difference for a fairly small amount of money,” Knowlton says. “We just added a beautiful patterned rug in our family room, and it made the entire room more elegant and plush.”

Other things to think about include adding accent pillows in fabrics like velvet and silk to continue the theme of luxury. And, if you’re looking for additional furniture pieces to fill out the room, CORT Clearance Centers allow you to find high-quality, used furniture for up to 70 percent off original retail prices.

The post Creating Luxury with Reupholstered Furniture appeared first on Cort Corner.

June 10 2017

Out with the Old: When It’s Time to Update to Safer Furniture

by Dahna M. Chandler

Maybe you’ve been thinking about replacing your old hand-me-down furniture for a while, but you’re not sure where to start. Like 88 percent of the people polled by the Sustainable Furniture Council (SFC) in 2009, you’re worried about indoor air quality, and your furniture is a factor. Many regulations have changed in recent years to support safer homes, and furniture manufactured years ago may not be in compliance. Medical professionals have also recommended new guidelines for furniture manufacturing and purchasing.

Old Furniture May Not Be Safe

The fabrication processes once used by manufacturers changed rapidly in the late 1990s when new U.S. government regulations mandated what could and could not be used in furniture manufacturing. “It’s important to look at how your furniture is constructed and with what,” states Juliet Abeille, owner of Loverly Cottage in Lake Bluff, Illinois. She also owns L’Abeille Vintage, a boutique where she repurposes old furniture using eco-friendly, non-toxic materials. She warns that lead paint is common on a lot of old furniture, and those pieces should be replaced immediately.

In many cases, older furniture might not suit your various physical needs, such as providing appropriate comfort and support for sound sleep or ergonomic support for long hours at a desk. Some pieces may have deteriorated and no longer be sturdy. These issues can lead to problems with safety or cause physical discomfort, particularly when it comes to items that are used daily.

Consider these tips for upgrading to safe, quality furniture made for today’s lifestyles without breaking the bank.

Determine Your Lifestyle Needs

Before you start shopping, consider how your lifestyle impacts the way you use furniture. If you’re like most people, you don’t redecorate your entire home very often. That means deciding on your most important needs up front is important. Make sure you answer the following questions:

  • How often are you home, and how often do you entertain?
  • Do you work from home or outside of your home?
  • Do you travel frequently for work or have an otherwise mobile lifestyle?
  • Do you have or plan to have children soon?
  • Do you or a family member have physical issues that require certain furniture?
  • Do you need furniture long term or short term?
  • How much furniture do you need?
  • How much can you spend on furniture?

Be sure to think about other questions that could be relevant based on your unique needs.

Avoid Low-Quality Furnishings

Furniture available at many discount retailers is manufactured with the lowest price point in mind. Although manufacturers have to meet certain minimum standards, eco-friendliness, sustainability, and low toxicity are not the focus for inexpensive furniture. In many cases, items are massed produced overseas using low-quality materials. These pieces are often less durable and may contain more chemicals.

Abeille regularly buys furniture for her boutique that features non-chemical milk paints. She says, “Low-budget furniture usually gets made with inexpensive wood composites and factory painted with cheaper chemical-based paints and lacquers.” Composites are wood chips glued together and not solid wood.

Low-quality furniture has a higher likelihood of off-gassing toxins from its cheaper manufacturing materials. High-quality furniture, on the other hand, is made with top notch materials and processes that come with minimal risk. Low-quality furniture also doesn’t last long, meaning you’ll spend money more frequently on replacement.

Investing in newer, high-quality furniture for your home is a better choice for a safer home. Even with limited resources, it’s possible to find quality pre-owned clearance furniture at affordable prices.

Consider Furniture Rental

If you need to minimize your upfront cost or your needs are temporary, CORT Furniture Rental gives you access to excellent quality furnishings. This option is flexible for your wallet, space requirements, design choices, physical needs, and other lifestyle characteristics.

If you work from home and spend a lot of time at your desk, replace your old home office furniture with newer, sturdier ergonomic pieces. For a better night’s sleep, consider trying out a memory foam mattress as part of your furniture rental package. You can decide exactly what works for you and make changes as your needs change.

As an example, Abeille throws seasonal garden parties and rents furniture for those events. “That way, I get what I want delivered, it’s picked up when I’m done, and I have no storage costs,” she enthuses.

Talk to your local CORT representative to learn how you can upgrade your furniture and meet all your furniture needs.

The post Out with the Old: When It’s Time to Update to Safer Furniture appeared first on Cort Corner.

June 09 2017

New Life for Old Furniture: Trendy or Neutral

By Dahna M. Chandler

You recently acquired that old furniture piece you’ve wanted for a while, the one that fits perfectly with your home’s design theme. To freshen it up, you want to paint the piece so it’s more “you,” but should you choose a trendy color or a classic one? Will a bright color work, or is it better to go with something neutral? A paint company will steer you toward its color of the year, which might work fine — if you like it.

“Whatever you decide, you should go with what you love,” says Juliette Abeille, owner of Loverly Cottage and L’Abeille Vintage Boutique in Lake Bluff, IL. Don’t turn your weekend project into a weeks-long quest for the perfect color. Instead, weigh these pros and cons of trendy vs. neutral hues.

Trendy Looks Most Current

Using a trendy color — the Pantone Color of the Year or one the decorators say is hot — instantly gives the furniture a vibe that’s in vogue. Fashionable colors go a long way toward updating a space you haven’t changed much in years.

Go with the bright color du jour if you’re adding the furniture to a room where neutrals reign or if you want to reflect more of your personality in a shared place. “If you have a vibrant personality and love bright colors, use a bright color,” says Abeille. She repaints furniture regularly as an eco-friendly, sustainable reuse and restorations expert.


Trends Come and Go

In all likelihood, a trendy color will go out of style quicker than a classic color. After a while, the piece may seem outdated, or it could stick out in a space. You’ll find yourself repainting the item at some point, so make sure you’re okay with that before choosing the color of the moment.

“You also can add trendy colors in accessories around your home rather than painting a more permanent piece,” Abeille explains. That way, you can easily swap out the surrounding décor to fit next year’s trend, investing less money and time.


Neutral Shades Stay in Style

Pick a neutral shade if you don’t want to repaint the piece. Classic tones don’t usually go out of style, and they work with a rotating palette of accent pieces if you’re prone to changing pillows, curtains, and picture frames when the mood strikes you.

Neutrals can be interesting, too, especially if you pick muted versions of the colors you love. In a sense, it’s the best of both worlds. Your piece stays fashionable longer and can still make a statement in the room.

“I love the soft, muted serene blues and greens,” says Abeille, who specializes in French Country design. “So, my house is filled with those colors, except my bedroom which is pale blush pink with gray, brown and ivory accents,” she continues.


Neutrals Can Be Boring

Although playing it safe can be smart, going too neutral makes for a dull home. A space filled with primarily beige, off-white, gray, or even wood furnishings can seem lifeless.

If neutral tones fit your personality or meet your living needs for the moment, then go with them. But, if you’re leaning toward a bland hue out of fear of making the wrong choice, then you’re probably not going to be happy with the result. Instead, take Abeille’s advice and go with what you love, be it edgy or evergreen.


Make Your Choice

You’re the one who has to live with your choice, so make one that fits your style, needs, and personality. “Your home is your sanctuary,” Abeille says. “Whether it’s timeless or trendy, choose a color only if it works in your home.”

Whatever color you settle on, make sure that the furniture piece you’re planning to paint is well made and sturdy. No amount of paint can refurbish a rickety table or crumbling chest of drawers. If you’re having trouble finding the right item, then check out CORT Clearance Center, where you can get high-end, quality used furniture at great prices.

The post New Life for Old Furniture: Trendy or Neutral appeared first on Cort Corner.

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