Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Ottoman, Hassock, Footstool, or Pouf?

When it comes to getting your home looking great, there's nothing like accessories to add flair and style. But finding the right piece to fit your design and budget can be a challenge. Take your living room, for example. Everything is in place; you're happy with the main furniture, the drapes, curtains, or blinds. The paintwork or wallpaper looks stunning. The flooring is perfect, whether rug, carpet, wood, or tile. But it feels like there's something lacking. An open space in the central area that could do with something to fill it. So, what should you buy that will complete the look?

Something that won't detract from the design you've cultivated. Something practical, yet stylish. Perhaps you have a coffee table already, but there's a sense that the space around it doesn't flow as well as it should. It may be that you are looking for more comfort, perhaps a footrest of some kind. And here's where you might need some assistance. Do you go for a footstool, an ottoman, a pouf, or a hassock? Are all these one and the same? Maybe to some people. So let's try to bring some clarity to the issue.

highgrove storage ottoman

Highgrove Storage Ottoman

round deep buttoned fabric pouffe

Round Deep Buttoned Fabric Pouffe

grey buffalo hassock pouffe

Grey Buffalo hassock Pouffe

A rose by any other name...

'What's in a name?' as they say. Wouldn't
it be great if we all called things by the same name? Well, it might be
simpler, but maybe a little dull. But that doesn't help when it comes to making
choices when buying things - like furniture. Consider your couch. Or your sofa.
Or your chaise longe. Maybe you call it a settee, or even a settle?
These are basically the same thing, but sometimes with subtle differences. It
all comes down to things like locality, upbringing, and even culture.

When choosing an accessory on which to
place your feet whilst sitting in your favorite seat, the name can be
important. You might look for a footstool, but is that what you really wanted?
What about an ottoman? How many people would consider a hassock or a pouf? And
do you know the difference?

To some, this might not be an issue. But to
the sensible, discerning buyer who really cares, and wants their home to look
the best it can, this does matter.

If you're one of those people, then this
guide is for you.

ottoman storage boxes

The Liberty Collection Set Of Two Blanket Boxes / Ottomans

The Ottoman

A rather grand-sounding name for what is
essentially a storage box. Taking its name from the mighty empire that ruled
vast areas of Europe, Asia, and North Africa for about 600 years, this was
originally a wooden platform covered with large, soft cushions. They had no
arms or back and formed the main seating area within the home - very different
from the idea of seating in the west. Its exotic appearance appealed to the
'civilized' westerners who came across it, taking the idea back home with them.
As the trend spread westward, the design evolved to suit more European tastes.

This type of seating was often found in
clubs, museums, and other public spaces, often set around poles or pillars.
Some examples had a central arm that divided the seat in half or a recess in
which plants could be set. Over the course of the 19th-century people began to
experiment with the shape, introducing circular or octagonal ottomans. As with
most fashions and trends, they became a 'must-have' for anyone who was anyone.
This is nicely illustrated by the fact that the very first mention of an
ottoman in the English language was written by none other than the 3rd American
president, Thomas Jefferson.

This furniture accessory was often set in
the bedroom, where it served as a handy place to store linen as well as
creating a 'lounge' space. Unhelpfully, because these tended to be larger items
of furniture used for storage, the name then came to describe plain wooden
chests - especially in the British Isles.

These days, however, an ottoman is
generally regarded as a small, rectangular, fully-upholstered stool with a
hinged lid. They are hollow, allowing for storage, but usually strong enough to
be sat on. Most are covered completely and are over-stuffed, and they can come
with or without legs.

large square velvet ottoman

Large Square Velvet Ottoman

Should I buy an ottoman?

If you want something rigid, practical, and
that is completely upholstered, then this could be what you are looking for.
The range is immense, and quality (as with most things) differs greatly. But
there are many hundreds of beautiful examples to choose from. They can be on
the heavy side but are basically portable - but take care when it is full! Some
furniture suites include a matching ottoman. but sometimes a deliberate
difference in fabric adds a touch of sophistication.

While it can be used as a footstool, it is
better used as extra seating. Some people place a tray on top so that it
doubles as a coffee table. While this is handy, you'd need to be certain that
it is secure enough not to cause a hazard.

Obviously, the more it is used, the more
likely it will wear out over time. Re-upholstery can be on the expensive side -
even more so if you need it to match your other fabrics.

If you select one that has feet or legs,
take care when positioning it within your home. If set within a 'high-traffic'
area, there is a good chance that someone will stub a toe on that solid wood.
And if it has already been filled it will be heavier, adding to the pain of the

blue buffalo hassock pouffe

Blue Buffalo Hassock Pouffe

The Hassock

To the more religious-minded, the word hassock
may invoke memories of kneeling to pray in church. Those little rectangular
cushions, often decorated with biblical emblems and scriptures have saved many
a pious knee from pain.

But the term, like so many other words in
the English language, has suffered changes in its meaning over the centuries.
Originally, in the 10th century, it referred to a clump of grass, usually in
marshy ground. How it then evolved to refer to a stool or kneeling-cushion is
anyone's guess, but that is precisely what happened.

An alternative word - tuffet - was
also used, and very occasionally still is, mostly in the United Kingdom. This
is the word that appears in the nursery rhyme 'Little Miss Muffet', describing
the seating arrangements of the unfortunate arachnophobe. The fact that she was
seated gives a clue to the original meaning of both terms. Illustrations for
the nursery rhyme depict her either sat on a low, grassy hump, or on a small

So, is a hassock (or tuffet) the same as an
ottoman? And in today's world are they seats or footstools?

In general, a hassock (as a piece of
furniture) tends to be smaller than an ottoman. Though both tend to be
upholstered, the main difference between the two is that a hassock does not
have storage. They are always upholstered and can come with or without legs.

light brown hassock pouffe

Light Brown Hassock Pouffe

Do I want a hassock?

If you don't need the extra storage, then
perhaps a hassock is the way to go. It will be easier to move around, as it
will be smaller and not stuffed with magazines, books, and suchlike. Depending
on how firm the surface of the cushion is (not too firm, as it won't be very
comfortable!) you may even use it as a handy side-table for remotes, glasses,
and all the paraphernalia that makes your life easier.

Aside from the lack of storage, another
potential downside may be the smaller size, as well as the fact that hassocks
rarely come as part of a suite. You will need to select your hassock very
carefully to find one that will complement your furniture and not clash with
the existing patterns.

Also, some models tend to be less sturdy
and not quite as comfortable as an ottoman.

round diamonte silver pouffe

Round Diamonte Silver Pouffe

The Pouf

To add to the fun, this can also be
spelled, pouffe. Both words come from the French bouffer, which
means 'to puff'. This described anything from hairstyles to clothes, to a
large, cushion-like footstool. You can easily see how it came by its name, as
these cushions tend to be

Once again, the word pouf is sometimes used
to describe an ottoman. But the two are completely different, in spite of the
best efforts of furniture to confuse the issue by mixing the names. There are
even listings for ottoman poufs. But this is surely a ruse to capture
more online custom rather than a helpful description.

A pouf (or pouffe, occasionally pronounced pooh-fay
to add flair) is not for storage. Although it can have a solid base or
feet, it is generally a square or cylindrical cushion, used as a footstool or a
seat. In more recent years these were replaced by bean-bags, which tend to be
on the larger and softer side, whereas the pouf mostly served as a footrest.

round pink fabric pouffe

Round Pink Fabric Pouffe

round navy fabric pouffe

Round Navy Fabric Pouffe

Is a pouf right for my home?

These are probably the most portable of the
three, as well as the cheaper option. They can be as simple or as stylish as
you wish but bear in mind that they have a more casual look than either an
ottoman or a hassock. Also, you are unlikely to find one that will match your
furniture exactly. Being lightweight, they can be moved around without any
trouble, but they are not really suitable as a side table.

A good, solid ottoman or hassock can
conceivably provide extra seating when you are entertaining. A pouf, however,
will probably not be firm or comfortable enough for sitting on for any length
of time.


We have seen that an ottoman, a hassock,
and a pouf can all be described as footstools. However, each of them is
distinctly different from the other.

While the ottoman offers a classy look
that's practical and comfortable, it will probably be the more expensive of the
three. Its heaviness (especially when full) may go against it in terms of
portability, but it does offer a sturdy alternative if an extra seat is
required. There is a chance you could get one to match your existing suite of
furniture, or you can use your clever interior design skills to find one that
compliments it.

The hassock doesn't have the storage
capabilities but is generally lighter and therefore easier to move. You would
be lucky to find one upholstered in the same pattern as your suite, but this
doesn't mean that you won't be able to source one that will blend in. In fact,
some talented interior designers use a mix of patterns as a theme in itself. It
can be used for sitting on, although, being generally smaller than an ottoman,
it might be better suited for kids.

Finally, the pouf - the cheapest and most
portable of the three. You'd be more likely to find these in a home that offers
a more casual atmosphere, though this doesn't mean they can't look good. They
make a comfortable footstool but they may tend to sag over time. This makes
them unsuitable for extra seating as they don't offer the support that an
ottoman or hassock does, even though they don't have a back or arms.

We have the world of the Internet to thank
for much of the confusion regarding the names, not helped by the fact that
names and meanings often change over the years. Search online for an ottoman,
and you'll most likely find results that read 'ottoman pouf floor cushion
bean bag',
and so on.

This is designed purely to ensure that you
find that page, using a range of terms that might offer a match.

But now you know the difference between an
ottoman, hassock, and pouf. And armed with this knowledge you can make an
informed decision, to add the finishing touches to the look and feel of your
home. So, whether it's just for casual comfort, a handy place to store things,
or classic style with a practical side, you can choose with confidence.

If you would like to check out our full range of Pouffes, Footstools, Stools & Ottomans etc then check out the links below...

French Stools

French Footstools & Pouffes

Mirrored Stools

Modern Stools

Teak & Driftwood Stools

Industrial Chairs & Stools

Modern Blanket Boxes & Ottomans

The following post Ottoman, Hassock, Footstool, or Pouf? Read more on: Homes Direct 365 Shabby Chic

How & Where to Get Rid of Old or Broken Furniture

Is it time to give your room a makeover

Do you plan to buy the furniture you always dreamed of

But you have a pile of unwanted, broken, or outdated fittings and don’t know how to dispose of them? 

Don’t let your furniture decay in the landfill. Help low-income families receive much-needed household items. Check the guide from Homes Direct 365 and learn the popular ways to get rid of old or broken furniture. 

  • Be a responsible community member. 
  • Protect the environment and reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Aid people in need. 
  • Reuse, don’t dump.

Go to a Recycling Centre

Visit the local recycling centre to discard your rubbish. Also known as the tip, this centre focuses on sustainable waste management.  

Drop off household rubbish and bulky items like futons, cupboards, carpets and mattresses. Bring electronic devices: cookers, fridges, televisions, computers, etc.    

According to rubbish & dumpster expert Luke Hancock, you should beware and use the designated bins for household waste and electrical items. Place your rubbish in the proper bin, he adds. 

  • Check the recycling capacity of your local centre and adhere to the limits. Don’t dump more of your house than you’re allowed.  
  • Bring proof of address when you visit the council recycling centre. 
  • Check for vehicle and trailer restrictions. 
  • Read the access regulations. 
  • Carry a permit for commercial vehicles, as local authorities might demand it.

Book A Waste Collection Service

Do you stockpile waste but can’t transport it to the tip? Here is some nifty advice. 

There is a service called waste collection that helps with bulk rubbish. The council dispatches vehicles and staff to collect waste from your home. Book in advance as the typical waiting period is about 8 weeks. Check the service fees, they range between £20 - £25.

The collection service is very convenient if you have large furniture. Check the specifics and prepare your items. Remove all glass panels from the furniture. Secure with heavy-duty tape if you can’t take it off. 

Recycling centres don’t take mirrors, detach them from wardrobes and dressing tables. Disassemble furniture with loose parts, flatten the surface and remove all nails. 

The council accepts household furniture and electronic gadgets, but there are restrictions. Don’t bring your boilers, greenhouses, bathroom and kitchen modules. Throw your daily waste in the backyard bin.

Find Recycling Projects

Research about independent recycling projects. These campaigns serve for the community wellbeing or support charitable causes. Consider this as a convenient, social-responsible way to dispose of your old furniture. 

Donate your reusable furniture and electronic devices to the British Heart Foundation. The nationwide organization sells your items and distributes profit for charities. They offer a free and flexible collection service. The funds from the sales support medical research. Give away your old goods and help save a life. 

According to Gwinnett real estate experts Watkins Homes, you can browse through house listings in your area to not only admire beauty and looks, but learn more of how timber recycling helps saving the environment.

Trade, Advertise, Donate or Give Away

  • Call your friends, relatives, colleagues, and people next door. Check what they need and offer your items. 
  • Ask the local schools, hospitals, orphanages or social centres. They often need desks, chairs, tables and other furnishings.   
  • Post the unwanted furniture on social media. Spread awareness and ask your friends to share the post. Join online groups and chat forums dedicated to furniture recycling.
  • Contact the local newspaper and enquire about a printed advertisement. The ad gets good exposure, and it’s usually free if the content is short.
  • Visit the nearest charity shop. Ask if they accept bulk furniture and offer collection service. Due to safety regulations, some charity shops don’t accept electronic devices. Get familiar with the rules before you donate. 
  • Join a recycling community. Advertise your items in the community post board. If members like something, they come and collect it from your home. Likewise, if you find an interesting item, fetch it from the owner. 

Check Your Donation Options

We’ve prepared a list of social enterprises to make an informed choice. Donations go to underprivileged families and homeless people throughout the UK. 

  • Visit the Reuse Network website first. This association supports charities throughout the UK which accept furniture donations. They organise recycling events and collaborate with partners to spread their philosophy. Volunteers are welcome. Reuse and help people in need. 
  • Emmaus helps homeless people. Their mission is to transform household junk into a poor man’s fortune. Furniture gets a total makeover in their workshops. Afterwards, they sell second-hand items in community stores. Funds go for housing programs. 
  • Go to Recycle Your Furniture workshop in Byker to donate furniture. Explore their store, too. They offer vintage furniture, antiques and funky art pieces which can upgrade your home interior. 
  • If you own wooden items, donate them to East Belfast Mission. They repair and refurbish the wood and sell it in their shops.
  • Stroud District Furniture Bank offers a free collection service within certain areas. Their collection team works in pairs and does a heavy-duty lifting. They restore, repair and sell furniture at affordable rates to support low-income families. 

Repair Before You Dump

Try to repair your furniture. If you have heirloom items, visit The British Antique Furniture Restorers' Association. Choose a reliable handyman specialised in antique restoration.

Repair by yourself or engage friends and family. It’s fun, practical and a great way to bond with loved ones. Watch online DIY videos or check craft blogs for inspiration and helpful ideas. Learn innovative methods to turn shabby furniture into a modern, useful item. Be brave and take your chances. 

Final Words on Getting Rid of Old Furniture

Furniture recycling is a responsible and sustainable method to give a second life to your  unwanted household items. It aids the community welfare and supports the local economy. 

Reduce waste and recycle. Together, we make a difference!

If you like the look of old vintage furniture then check out our industrial range below....

Industrial Furniture

Industrial Cabinets

Industrial Coffee Tables

Industrial Bedside Tables

Industrial Dining Tables

Industrial Shelving

Industrial Chairs & Stools

Industrial Console Tables

Industrial Chest Of Drawers

Industrial Side Tables

Miscellaneous Industrial Furniture

How & Where to Get Rid of Old or Broken Furniture is republished from

Thursday, 23 July 2020

A Guide To Wood Types

The human race has always had a close
relationship with trees. They have been vital for our very survival, allowing
us to make tools and shelter, as well as fuel for fires and even providing us
with food in some cases. And that's before we even mention their role in
providing clean air for us to breathe. Without trees, we would not be here.

These days most of us are more aware of the importance of trees. Their role in our continued well being is accepted and appreciated, though we still rely on them for the wood that they supply. Wood is an ideal material, with many uses and applications in our lives especially wooden furniture. Through sustainable management, we can continue to use wood without risking the environment further. We can help by learning more about different wood types and their qualities. The following guide gives some details about a selection of wood types, their characteristics, and uses.

Various wood types
Various Wood Types

Hard Wood Types vs Soft Wood Types

This sounds simple enough; hardwood is hard, softwood is soft, right? Well, no, actually! The terms 'hard' and soft' are more of a botanical description rather than being an accurate idea of their density and feel of the wood. While it is generally true that most hardwoods are in fact hard, and softwoods tend to be softer, there are several exceptions that we will see further along in the guide.

The basic differences between the two are as follows:

Hardwood -

  • Slow-growing
  • broad-leaved flowering species
  • Deciduous varieties
  • Seeds are produced inside a shell (like a fruit or nut)
  • Dense grain
  • Generally more expensive
  • Mostly darker in colour
  • Low in sap content
  • Close grain
  • Heavy in weight and density
  • Good resistance to fire

Softwood -

  • Fast-growing
  • Evergreen - usually from the conifer, fir, and spruce family
  • Needles instead of leaves
  • Seeds are either uncovered or in a cone
  • Less expensive
  • Usually lighter in colour
  • High in sap content
  • Loose grain
  • Light in weight and density
  • Very poor resistance to fire

These distinctions are general, however,
and to find out more we have to take a closer look at each of the wood types in

oak wood

Oak (hardwood)

Oak has been a favourite for many hundreds
of years, with around 200 species to be found. It is relatively abundant and
has an attractive, open grain that looks great when used for furniture. Because
of its grain, which can resemble the contours found in fingerprints, it is used
extensively for veneers (thin slices that are glued to the surface of the furniture
to provide a beautiful finish). It is available in two types; red oak and white
oak. The white variety is, in fact, more of a greyish-brown shade, while red
oak is similar but with a reddish tinge. Although both are relatively
expensive, red oak is usually the cheaper of the two. Both are dense, heavy,
and hard-wearing, making them ideal for furniture, especially noted for its
resistance to stains and scratches.

Search our Oak Furniture

walnut wood

Walnut (hardwood)

Due to its scarcity these days, walnut can
be very expensive. The rich, chocolate-coloured grain makes it perfect for
veneers and it is highly-prized in the high-end furniture industry. It is
renowned for its strength and for the variety of colours that can appear in its
straight grain. Although mostly dark brown, lighter shades can be found and the
grain can contain purplish streaks. It is easy to work and is often carved or
turned by hand.

One oddity of walnut is that exposure to
iron can cause staining.

Search our Walnut Furniture

pine wood

Pine (softwood)

One of the most abundant species, pine is
always cheaper than most others. It is very versatile but not as hard-wearing
as hardwoods. Varying in colour from a yellowish-brown to a creamy tone, it is
a close-grained variety and the growth rings can be seen clearly. The grain and
colour make it ideal for staining. Pine often contains 'knots', which can look
beautiful in a finished piece but can present problems when working with the

It is widely used in the construction
industry (and has been for centuries), for structural integrity as it is
strong, lightweight, and flexible.

Search our Pine Furniture

ash wood

Ash (hardwood)

This moderately expensive wood is ideal for
bending, which makes it good for curved furniture. The colours range from a
greyish light brown through to an almost reddish hue. The grain is straight and
the wood is known for its strength and is valued for its suitability in the
making of tool handles, baseball bats, and furniture (especially in the
restaurant industry where it sees a lot of heavy use). Though similar in
appearance to oak, the grain is less prone to splitting.


Redwood (softwood)

Similar to pine, but not as durable or
sustainable. Pine regenerates quicker and is about 60% stronger. Redwood is
ideally suited for outdoor furniture or decking due to its resistance to decay
and natural insect-repelling qualities. It is easy to work by hand and though
it is readily available the actual cost of the wood can vary from region to

beech wood

Beech (hardwood)

Like ash, beech bends well but is
considered the less attractive of the two. Nevertheless, it is still popular
today as it is extremely strong and very resistant to shock. Its tight grain
and light colour give a warm feeling to a room, and it stains well to mimic
more expensive woods, such as mahogany and cherry. One drawback is that it is
notoriously difficult to work by hand. Another potential problem is that it
absorbs moisture fairly easily, so it is not ideal for humid conditions. This
makes it unsuitable for use in coastal regions, especially for door and window
frames, as they will begin to stick. In its favour, however, beech is an odourless
wood, so a finished piece will not overpower a room with its scent.

Search our Beech Wood Furniture

mahogany wood

Mahogany (hardwood)

More so than most of the wood types here, the use of this one has become a subject of controversy in recent times. While there are a number of sub-species within the mahogany family, the name usually refers to the Honduran Mahogany. Illegal logging of this tree has led to it being listed on CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). It is still much sought after due to its excellent qualities and is very expensive, which has increased its use as a veneer wood. The rich, reddish-brown darkens over time to give an alluring sheen in the distinctive grain. It is frequently used in the manufacture of musical instruments because of the warm tone it provides.

Search our Mahogany Furniture

maple wood

Maple (hardwood)

The dense heaviness of this wood, along
with its moisture-resistant qualities, makes this a wood ideal for items such
as butcher's blocks and furniture that endures a high level of use. The grain
varies between being straight or bearing swirling 'bird's-eye' patterns. The
light-brown or reddish colour accepts wood stain easily to resemble a more
expensive wood. It is often used to make dining tables and dressers due to its
hard-wearing qualities.

As with most others in this list of wood
types, there are a number of varieties, but the most commonly used is hard
maple, also known as sugar maple or rock maple.

mango wood

Mango (hardwood)

At the opposite end of the scale to
mahogany, mango presents a sustainable hardwood that is extremely durable,
versatile, and affordable. Mango heartwood is usually golden-brown in
appearance but darkens over time. It possesses excellent water-resistant
qualities, especially when polished or waxed. The grain is densely packed, and
though it is strong and durable (as strong as cherry or ash) it can be easily
worked by hand. Of all the wood types listed here, mango offers a way forward
for a more sustainable source of timber, allowing stocks of rarer species time
to recover. A mango tree can reach 100ft in 15 years, making it too hazardous
to harvest the fruit. In the past, the trees would be felled and burned. Now,
the timber is sold to be made into furniture, ornaments, musical instruments
and so on. This means that the farmers increase their income as well as
reducing air pollution.

Mango is prone to attack by fungus and insects while growing, which adds to the appearance of the finished product. But once it is treated the wood is safe from either of these problems.

Search our Mango Wood Furniture

yew wood

Yew (softwood)

A classic example of how the classification
'softwood' can be misleading, yew is actually harder and more durable than many
hardwoods! Due to the way it twists and turns as it grows, the uses of yew can
be limited. This has led to it often being used for smaller projects, such as
jewellery boxes, or being cut to make veneers for high-end furniture. It does
bend well, though, and is still used today in the manufacture of Windsor

Yew is notorious for its poisonous
properties, which have proved useful in recent times to make potent drugs that
are effective in the treatment of certain types of cancers.

acacia wood

Acacia (hardwood)

Also known around the world as mimosa,
wattle, whistling thorn, and a host of other names! It is extremely hard and
durable, with the reputation of having helped the English Royal Navy to
establish their place as a world power in the 1800s. The water-resistant
qualities of acacia made it suitable for shipbuilding, so the Royal Navy
invested in this type of wood to manufacture its legendary 'ships-of-the-line'
which ensured naval superiority at the time.

These same qualities make it ideal for use
today in conditions where it may come into contact with liquids. Untreated, it
is said to last between 20 to 40 years. It is one of the few wood types that
looks great whether polished, left natural, or varnished. Acacia does not
scratch easily and adds warmth to any home with its rich, deep brown colours.
The high resin content that makes it water-resistant also helps it to fight
against rot, odours, and stains. It also has antibacterial properties and is
easy to clean.

Search our Acacia Wood Furniture

mindi wood

Mindi (hardwood)

Sometimes called chinaberry or white cedar,
mindi wood is similar in density to red oak. It has natural anti-fungal
properties and is resistant to decay.

Although similar in texture to oak, the
grain is packed closer. It is loved by woodworkers as it is easy to work with,
mostly for smaller projects although it is sometimes used to make furniture
such as chests and cabinets. The sapwood of the mindi tree has a yellowish hue
similar to poplar, whereas the heartwood is darker. As the wood is exposed to
natural light it darkens, resembling teak or cherry.

Search our Mindi Wood Furniture

teak wood

Teak (hardwood)

Teak is regarded by many people as the
'king of wood' due to its versatility and durability. The naturally high oil
content makes it extremely water-resistant and immune to decay and fungus. It
can even withstand high levels of heat and does not easily catch on fire. The
finished timber looks stunning, with golden brown heartwood and yellow/grey
sapwood. These properties make it suitable for a wide range of applications,
including; ship decking, indoor and outdoor furniture, veneers, turning,
carving, high-end joinery.

Search our Teak Wood Furniture

balsa wood

Balsa (hardwood)

To end this list of wood types, balsa is
another example of how the 'hardwood/softwood' description is not as simple as
it looks. Balsa is classified as a hardwood, and yet anyone who has worked with
it knows just how soft and flimsy it actually is. The wood has an extremely low
density and is usually a white or off-white 'oatmeal' colour. It is unusually
buoyant, which accounts for its name (Spanish for 'raft') and is often used in
the manufacture of surfboards, aircraft, floats for fishing nets and so on.
Although easy to work with, the tools must be very sharp to avoid crumbling or

There are so many other wood types, but these represent just a few of the wonderful species available. Each has its uses, some with better properties than others. By learning more about them we can perhaps manage our consumption better, to ensure they stay around to be enjoyed for many thousands of years to come.

A Guide To Wood Types See more on: Homes Direct 365 French Furniture

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

What Goes With Mirrored Furniture?

There are some interior designers who
suggest that mirrored furniture has fallen out of style, having been popular
since the early 2000s. There are two possible responses to this, the first
being; who cares? Interior design comes down to personal choice, and if
something makes you happy then what's to stop you putting it in your home? The
second response is that when you look around, mirrored furniture seems to be as
popular as ever. It goes to show - industry 'experts' don't always get it
right. You create the look and feel of your home, so go for it.

One thing you may struggle with when
considering mirrored furniture is knowing what goes with it. So here's a short
guide to steer you in the right direction in adding drama, glamor, and a touch
of elegance to your home.

Mirrored Console Table

Art Deco Mirrored Console Table

Contemporary Interiors

If you favor a more modern style of home,
then the sleeker items of furniture will fit in better. The designs vary
greatly, so be sure to choose furniture with a modern feel that compliments
what is already there. This style of furniture has its roots in the Art Deco
era, with a huge range of different styles added over the years. Examples that
have a 'retro' feel may clash with your clean lines and contemporary look, so
try to select one with a modern look. For example, a multi-faceted sideboard,
or large mirror with geometric designs - anything that is asymmetrical will

Alghero Grey Mirrored Geo Wall Art

A match made in heaven

A single piece of mirrored furniture
standing alone can look great. But it also can look out of place or a bit
lonely. Consider pairing different items to get the maximum effect.

  • Place a large, mirrored coffee table against the back of your sofa. The contrast between the materials and the angles enhances both.
  • Set a small, mirrored cabinet between two beds, or between a bed and the wall on each side. This works well whatever the color scheme but is especially effective when natural and neutral tones are used.
  • Use a mirrored side table or coffee table to show off a beautiful antique lamp, or a prized artwork. The light from the lamp will be doubled, showing off both items, and the artwork will be reflected to show it from different angles. Either option will make the best use of the furniture.
  • Don't be tempted to overdo it! Too many mirrored surfaces can be overwhelming and seem over the top. However, matching something like a mirrored dining table with a mirrored screen can add a real touch of elegance to your dining room.

Biarritz Mirrored Coffee Table

Grey Marble Mirrored Coffee Table

Helios Mirror & Black Coffee Table

On reflection...

Some people find the clean, bright mirror
surfaces a little too much - sterile, even. If that's you, then there are other
options that may interest you, such as 'antiqued' or tinted mirror surfaces.
These fit in excellently with homes that have a more classic feel, or even with
shabby chic. Furniture with patterned mirrors also softens the reflection,
which can bring a warmer, more sophisticated feel. For best effect, these
should be used in rooms with neutral color schemes as they may look out of
place when set against black and white backgrounds.

Milano Smoked Mirrored Diamond Lamp

Decorative Patterned Grey Wall Mirror

And finally

Whatever you choose, the secret to making
your mirrored furniture a success is to use contrast in your design. Try
to bring in a range of textures and textiles to offset the reflective surfaces,
like wood, leather, fabric, and so on. A mirrored coffee table can become a
centerpiece of your living room, so set some furniture and other treasured
items around it that you want to show off. Place a mirrored buffet table beside
a favorite rug to get double the effect. Use a mirror screen to split a room
without making it feel smaller - the reflection tricks the eye into believing
it is actually twice the size. Where you have sharp angles in your new
furniture, tie it into the room using reflective, organically-shaped metallic
ornaments placed strategically.

Mirrored furniture, when used correctly, is
a part of classic interior design and will never be truly unfashionable. As to
whether it's for you, or which furniture to buy, well, that's something for you
to reflect on.

Crystal Mirrored TV Unit

Argente Mirrored Furniture Collection

Mirrored Furniture

Mirrored Furniture Collections

Mirrored Beds

Mirrored Wardrobes

Mirrored Bedside Tables

Mirrored Chest of Drawers

Mirrored Dressing Tables

Mirrored Stools

Mirrored Jewellery Boxes

Mirrored Table Lamps

Mirrored Console Tables

Mirrored Side Tables

Mirrored Sideboards

Mirrored Coffee Tables

Mirrored TV Units

Mirrored Pedestals

Mirrored Fireplaces

What Goes With Mirrored Furniture? Read more on:

Monday, 17 February 2020

Enhance your home with these display cabinet ideas

Since 1823, when Henry Bishop's opera Clari
(or The Maid of Milan) first proclaimed the famous words
"There's no place like home", this phrase has been taken to heart. In
general, we love our homes, spending an average of £83 billion each year on
home improvements in the UK alone.

The styles of each home are as different as
the people who live in them. We shape our homes around us, making them
comfortable in styles that suit us, adding to them over the years as tastes and
fashions change.

One way in which we make our homes unique
is through acquiring antiques and collectibles; items that appeal to us because
of their nostalgic or sentimental value. They don't have to be expensive -
though they can be - and they aren't always to other people's tastes. But they
are ours, and we love them. Even so, it is often the way of things that these
prized pieces and collections are kept in boxes under the bed, or in attics and
sheds. Sometimes, space is limited, and our beloved heirlooms and treasures are
stashed safely wherever we can find the room.

However, there are ways of enhancing our
homes, by selecting a stylish piece of furniture that will allow us to display
our collections with pride. This way, we get to enjoy them each day, as well as
adding flair to our homes with a beautiful new cabinet.

Here's a selection of display cabinet ideas as an example:

Antique French Style Display Cabinet

With its 'Queen Anne' style cabriole
legs and elegant scrollwork, this cabinet is an excellent way of displaying
prized objects. The clear glass doors will ensure that the contents are displayed
to their best effect and kept safely, reducing the need for frequent dusting.
Antique-effect brass fittings add to the overall feeling of class, while the
lower drawer offers extra storage.

Telephone Box Display Cabinet

If a more classical style is not for you,
then perhaps something a little quirky might pique your interest? This
display cabinet is modelled on the traditional red British telephone box,
making it a conservation piece in itself. Any collection displayed within it is
sure to be protected while being shown off to its best. A truly unique way to
enhance any home whilst saving space, this expertly-crafted cabinet also brings
an element of fun and nostalgia.

Antique French Style Kitchen Cabinet

The keywords when it comes to this style of furniture are "Simple Elegance". If you prefer a look that speaks of good quality that is more reserved or understated, then you could not choose a better cabinet. Even though it is extremely practical, with four double-height, glass-fronted compartments, complemented with the four lower compartments with solid wood doors, the style is not compromised. The 'antique white' finish, as well as the professional craftsmanship, will add to the ambience of your home, making this cabinet an heirloom in its own right.

Antique French Style Large Liberty

Once again, simplicity is the key to this
cabinet's appeal, but don't be fooled; when you look closely you become aware
of the attention to detail that has been invested in this stunning piece of
furniture. Classical elegance is combined with practicality, with fifteen
shelves and three extra storage drawers beneath, each with an ornate
gold-effect handle. Also with an 'antique white' finish, this time with the top
panel left unpainted to provide a contrast, this cabinet is sure to impress.

Fleur Shabby Chic Display Cabinet

This cabinet is ideal for those homes where
space is more limited. As well as the two glazed cupboards, this
well-proportioned piece of furniture also has two enclosed cupboards and two
centrally-placed drawers. The eye-catching handles are of faceted glass,
complementing the grey 'shabby chic' finish to great effect.

Black Antique Style French Cabinet

The black finish with silver detail sets
this cabinet apart. It has four shelves in a tiered design that boasts elegance
and style. The open-back design will ensure that any collections displayed will
be seen clearly. It will add character to your home, while at the same time not
detracting from your decor.

This selection of display cabinet ideas is
a fraction of what is on offer, but the only limit is your imagination. When
displaying antiques in your home, it seems a shame to place them in or on
something that doesn't do them justice; they deserve better. You deserve
better. Displaying your collection in a beautiful cabinet will help, but there
are other ways of enhancing this by giving some thought to how you
display them with these display case decorating ideas:

  • if you collect glass or items that are in distinct colours, consider separating them by their colour. This gives a pleasing effect that adds to their appeal.
  • as much as you love your collection, a cabinet filled with white ceramic may not be the most exciting. By adding good-quality dried (or fake) flower arrangements you will instantly add a dash of colour and brightness that won't take anything away from your collection.
  • perhaps your collection is a little 'eclectic'? No problem! Buy a cabinet with multiple compartments and fill each one with an interesting and quirky item.
  • where possible, place items to give a symmetrical look. This will greatly increase the aesthetic appeal and bring harmony and connection between the items.
  • a display cabinet works so much better when a connection is established to other furniture in the room. By purchasing another item of furniture in the same type, you will instantly bring balance, establishing the sense of style you desire.
  • when tastefully (and safely) done, a rustic lamp or even some types of 'fairy lights' can add an extra dimension to any display cabinet and its contents.

Whatever your tastes and whatever your
collection of treasures, there is a cabinet out there to suit your needs. By
selecting the right one you will be able to display your treasures as they
deserve, and enhance the place where you live. After all, there's no place
like home

Here is our full range of display cabinets

Classic French Style Display Cabinets

Modern & Contemporary Display Cabinets

The following post Enhance your home with these display cabinet ideas is republished from homesdirect365

Monday, 4 November 2019

11 Types of Storage Trunks

Keeping organised

As well as adding style, and keeping things stored away in your home, Homes Direct 365 storage trunks are also the perfect solution for keeping organised, and travel. You can put away certain items that aren't needed for a period of time whilst keeping them organised and in order. Today Homes Direct 365 will run through and explain the history, appearance and use of a handful of storage trunks.

Coming in many styles with varied practical properties, storage trunks have a vast variation of looks, such as:

  • Jenny Lind Trunks
  • Saratoga Trunks
  • Monitor  Trunks
  • Steamer / Cabin  Trunks
  • Barrel Staves Trunks
  • Octagon / Bevel Top Trunks
  • Wardrobe Trunks
  • Dome-top Trunks
  • Barrel-top Trunks
  • Wall Trunks
  • Full dresser Trunks

Saratoga Trunks

Travel Trunk Cabinet

Among the many types of antique trunks, there is the saratoga trunk. Named after the popular holiday destination on NY, this place was often visited by the wealthy in the 1800's. This trunk was made strong, sturdy, and secure. Specifically for travelling. Some of the locking systems were high-end technology at the time, and Saratoga Trunks were the best storage trunks of their day, making it a favourite of a growing breed of wealthy upper-class generation of Americans.

Saratogas had round top which are often referred to dome-top trunks in catalogues. Made from leather, metal or canvas, these pieces were commonly styled with decorative hardware and were definitely classed as one of the fancier varieties. With saratogas being the premium of trunk design; they can often emulate other styles, and retain the signature strength and durability that only a Saratoga Trunk has. 

The myriad is also the most recognisable feature on the trunk, featuring compartments and trays, which can be very complex. 

Cabin Trunks & Steamer Trunks

Bogart Storage Trunks

Known as travelling trunks, steamer trunks or cabin trunks, this style was often used as luggage for extended trips on steamships, trains, stagecoach or boarding school as student trunks.  They were founded in the late 1870's although they really became popular in the 1880-1920 period and would be seen quite often.

Although many people thought cabin, steamer and travelling trunks to be the exact same thing, a majority of people claimed cabin trunks to be the 'true' steamer trunks, being the equivalent of modern day hand luggage and used for more valuable items that were too expensive to go with the main luggage. 

This particular style of trunk was identified by being covered in canvas, leather or patterned paper with a flat or slightly curved top. All these pieces were around 14 inches, in order to comply with the steamship luggage regulations which was why they were named 'Steamer Trunks', which since became a hallmark or this style. 

Faux Leather Trunks

Jenny Lind Trunks

Identified through its distinctive keyhole or hourglass shape, the Jenny Lind trunk was named after the singer who shares the same while also being known as 'The Swedish Nightingale'. This happened when she toured through America in 1850-1852 under the arrangement of PT Barnum. Jenny Lind trunks were also known as stagecoach trunks as they were used for stagecoach travel and also continued to be popular until 1870, being made in a large variety of shapes and sizes. 

These traditional trunks were usually covered in leather or sole leather, with multiple iron bands around the curved body that were fastened with brass studs. They were often compared to the shape of a loaf of bread or figure of eight and were most likely decorated with fancy tooled leather, brass locks and extravagant interiors with paper lining and timings. 

Take a look at the images above of this popular style of trunk and see if you like it for yourself!

Wardrobe Trunks

Zebra Print 6 Drawer Luggage Wardrobe Trunk

Wardrobe trunks are basically a mobile wardrobe and would contain almost anything imagine. They would usually stand on their end to be opened, having hangers for clothes on one side and drawers on the other. Although many high-end wardrobe trunks would feature make-up boxes, mirrors, privacy curtains, removable suitcases/briefcases and even buckles and tie-downs for shoes. Take a look at the pictures bellow of the inside and outside of these complex pieces. 

Being very large pieces, wardrobe trunks were often really heavy and were almost always used for extended travel by ship or train. You can still find storage trunks online due to a few companies still manufacturing these products and offering wardrobe trunk restoration.

Dome-top Trunks

Natural Shesham Set Of 3 Storage Chests

One of the most popular styles of trunks is the vintage dome top trunk, also known as a Victorian travel trunk. This style has a high, curved top that can reach up to 30 inches and can be constructed in a variety of methods such as barrel construction, moulded ply and cuffing.

Dome-top trunks can come in two styles, one being a camel-back style which is distinguished by having a vertically running top slat in the centre that is a lot higher than the other trunks. The other is known as either a hump-back or hunch-back which is similar but has no slat in the centre of the top. 

Dating from the 1870's-1900's, there is a lot of dome top trunk history, and are seen as the most talked about of antiques, this had lead to them still being manufactured today. 

Wall Trunk

Large Storage Trunk

Wall trunks are a specific type of trunk that can be opened to a 180 degree angle, making both hinges flat up against a wall. These pieces were and are a sought after piece if they are in good condition due to their speciality, even though they are a middle ranged price. Perfect for maximising storage. 

Dating from the 1870's to the 1900's, the two main manufacturers of these products were Clinton and Miller and they're brand names will most likely be engraved onto the hinges. 

Wicker Merchant Set Of 3 Trunks


Overall there are a lot of styles of these products that were used years ago and still used today, even designer storage trunks! Whether you want to use these pieces to travel, style, organise, to keep as an antique or even if you want some modern storage trunks, we can assure you they're impressive and very interesting. 

You can view our full range of storage trunks on the links below

Industrial Style Storage & Furniture

Storage Trunks

Similar Article

The blog post 11 Types of Storage Trunks Read more on: Homes Direct 365 Limited