Here’s What You Should Do Before Calling a Basement Waterproofing Contractor

When faced with a wet basement, most people’s first reaction is to call a water damage repair contractor. This is not always a good idea because while most basement problems are easy to fix, your contractor will probably blow them out of proportion just to get you to install an expensive interior drainage system that’s completely unnecessary. Of course, this means more money in their pocket as the installation costs will be huge.

Sometimes, the best course of action is to seek alternative and cost-efficient solutions that enable you to fix your basement by yourself. Read on to find out how to do just that.

Prevention is Better than Cure

Oftentimes, the best way to improve your water damage restoration measures is to perform regular maintenance on your gutters. This includes cleaning them out, mending holes (if there are any), and positioning them so that they face your downspouts, enabling the water to go straight from the roof to the ground.

Ideally, you want the water coming from your downspouts to fall at least 4 feet from your house. If the water spills closer than that then you’ll have to extend the water spouts, which shouldn’t cost you more than $15. This is much less than what you’d have to pay for gutter repairs.

Check the Soil

The soil around your house should preferably slope away at 1-inch per foot, while the grading should mostly contain fill soil and about 20 -30% of clay content. Sandy soil is not recommended because it won’t shed the water properly. The same goes for soil with organic matter.

We’d also recommend that you remove any leaves, mulch or ground cover that’s there before you pour soil onto your foundation, as they will create a water-retaining layer that defeats the purpose of what you’re trying to achieve, which is to slope the water away from your house.

On the other hand, if some of the soil is actually sloping towards your house, then you’ll have to dig a steep U-shaped ditch to divert it away.  

Waterproof Your Walls

You can also waterproof your walls by digging a trench until you reach the footings of the affected walls.  Then, install a drainage pipe to catch water and divert it to the nearest drainage pit. You’ll also have to add a vapor barrier and reparge the exterior walls, fill the trench with soil and then regrade the surface area for better drainage. While this solution is more expensive than putting in an interior drainage system, you’ll find that it’s more effective and long lasting because it will completely divert water away from the wall before it even reaches your home’s interior.

Finding the Right Contractor

If you feel that you’re not comfortable with attempting these water damage solutions on your own, then it’s advisable to hire an experienced contractor that specializes in drainage work. Make sure to consult different contractors before you make a decision, and choose a contractor whose payment schedule allows you to pay most of the cost after the job is done. You can even arrange to hold out payment until after the first heavy rains, which is the best way to test the system’s performance.

A Passion for Pattern in an Island Home

Interior designer Cortney Bishop first met her future dwelling in her best friend’s engagement party. “It had been love at first sight. I wasn’t living in Charleston at the time — I had been in Tennessee — but I only knew I needed to have the house,” says Cortney. Then very first epiphanic meeting together with the house, Cortney asked her friend about the house periodically until learning of the home’s status on an auspicious day. “I just had this sense that I had to ask about it again, so I phoned my friend, Jenny, whose involvement celebration was held in the house. She made a few calls to the owners and found out it had been for sale and a couple of Brits were considering purchasing — we had to get there immediately and reveal how serious we were around the house,” she says. A few hours later, Cortney and her husband, Baker, were on their way to Charleston.

Baker, a professional fly fisherman, fell for the house and its environs when he saw the home’s proximity to the ocean and heard of the leading elementary school nearby. The couple bid for your house, and two years after, they moved in — using a 1-month-old baby in tow. “We have been in love with the house ever since,” says Cortney.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Cortney and Baker Bishop and their two kids
Location: Sullivan’s Island, Charleston, South Carolina
Size: 4,400 square feet
That is intriguing: The Bishops reside within an earshot of Fort Sumter, where the first shots initiating the start of the Civil War were fired. “Occasionally canons go off as soon as the neighborhood does reenactments, and it always scares the hell out of me,” says Cortney.

Cortney Bishop Design

You can’t help but turn your attention to the Annie Lebovitz portrait of Hank Williams III (the grandson of country singer Hank Williams) dangling over the family room couch. “It reminds me of my husband’s redneck roots — don’t worry, he will not be offended if you mention he’s a redneck. He climbed up on a farm at Knoxville, Tennessee,” says Cortney.

Rug: classic Khotan, Persian Galleries; coffee table: vintage from New York City; wood chunks: Dwelling; musical tools: household’s collection; side table: Bobo Intriguing Objects

Cortney Bishop Design

A side view of the family room shows a discreet TV in the corner.

Exposed joists, burrow wood chunks, a leather couch and a beanbag made from burlap sacks in the Army give the space a rustic, weathered look. “We have had our fair share of mould and mildew in the house, and we deal with this, but the romantic in me can’t help but believe they’re a part of our previous house,” says Cortney.

Cortney Bishop Design

The formal living room feels much more upscale and glistening. A shag rug, overstuffed chairs along with a sunburst mirror the play of the coastal colonial house.

Cortney says that although she is “updated and glammed up the house a bit,” she has added her personality to the house without straying too far in the attractiveness of the old home’s colonial roots.

“There was no need to change the structure or layout of the house, so the decor is where we’ve added our brushstroke. This house is the best size and fit for the family,” she says.

Rug: Moattar; java table: Bennett Galleries; table lamp: Karen Luisana

Cortney Bishop Design

Autumnal drapes by Lulu DK flank Cortney’s monitor, replicating the symmetry of the John Widdicomb salon chairs. The designer used to work from home after the birth of her daughter but has since moved her workplace elsewhere. For the most part, the workplace “stays pretty” and allows Cortney have a designated workspace on the infrequent occasion she’s to work at house.

Cortney Bishop Design

“I really like our master bedroom. I love sleep in general. It’s a room with calming, muted palettes, and it’s covered with vintage Rose Tarlow wallpaper. I put her background [at the house] where I could,” says Cortney.

Cortney Bishop Design

A nude portrait by Brazilian-German photographer Mona Kuhn sets a silent and tranquil tone in the master bath.

Soak in the View: Art for your Toilet

Cortney Bishop Design

“I always find great inspiration in carpets; they have been a passion of mine for years,” Cortney says. “The colors, the stripes — or lack of. They ground a space and add as much texture.”

A red coverlet and oversize lamps add playfulness and energy into the guest room. “In case you can’t tell, I really like layering patterns in addition to each other,” says Cortney.

Rug: Oushak, Eliko Rugs

Cortney Bishop Design

Baker’s mother gave the couple’s kid the headboard, which adds texture and visual interest to her chamber.

Cortney Bishop Design

Cortney designed her daughter’s room so that it can transition from tot to tween easily. Though she and Baker collect contemporary art, they picked a reproduction of Rebecca Puig’s “Every Day I Love You” to put over the beige glider.

Cortney Bishop Design

The dining room peeks into the kitchen. Dark shelves — or, rather, floor-to-ceiling shelves at what Cortney says is broadly known as Charleston Green — direct the eye upward. “I really like the home’s high ceilings, so when I noticed the shelves were already there, I took it all the way up into the ceiling to heighten the sense of vertical distance and updated the distance together with the Serge p Troyer light fixture,” she says.

Rug: classic Oushak, Persian Galleries

Cortney Bishop Design

Baker spends at least an hour per day in his guy cave, a room devoted to his game and to searching, complete with custom reel screens and lockers. Wormy walnut doors hide his gear, including a gun set. “After we moved, we understood he needed a place for him to save all of his rods and and hunting gear that was separate from where our then-toddler roamed about,” says Cortney.

Cortney Bishop Design

Custom shelves and racks exhibit fly-fishing decorations and memorabilia. An apron sink allows Baker clean the day’s catch in the comfort of their very own space.

Cortney Bishop Design

On the front porch, Cortney paired an upholstered Swedish bench with a blue potted blossom that her mother-in-law gave her when they moved in. The front porch holds particular meaning to Cortney, who says that she recalls “looking out into the lighthouse at the distance and thinking, ‘I’m going to raise my family here.'” It’s proof positive that with this particular designer, dreams do come true.

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Ravishing Reds, Pinks and Purples for Fall 2012

Lush reds, heavy wine shades and berry colors are popular nowadays on fashion runways and for home furnishings and decor. If your house needs a fresh look, think about using one of these gorgeous shades via wall paint, finish materials, furnishings or accessories, to perk things up and get you through the winter.

Jennifer Ott Design

The Colors

Examples of those stunning red and berry colors showing up on the runways, from left to right: Plum Preserves 121-6 (Mythic Paint), Velvet Red 3-17 (Pratt & Lambert), Bold Sangria GLR28 (Glidden), Cut Ruby 1009-4 (Valspar) and Fabulous Grape SW6293 (Sherwin-Williams).

Brett Webber Architects, PC

Red Interiors

Don’t be afraid to rev up a powder room with a bold shade on the walls. Rooms that we spend small amounts of time in can be decorated in a more adventuresome way. This intense red hue makes the room glow from inside so that it catches the eye even from outside the space.

House + House Architects

This room shows off one stunning, lush red hue. But reddish can be tricky to get right, so in the event that you want it to get a wall color, select a few shades you want and paint samples on two – or 4-foot-square parts of drywall. That way you can move the samples across the different areas of the area at various times of the day to pick the winning colour.

Florense USA

It takes at least two coats — if not more — to find full coverage with paint. If you are painting a deep red color, have your paint retailer add reddish pigment into the primer, even if you are using one. The primer will end up a pink color, but it is sufficient to give you better protection and perhaps keep you down to only a couple of coats of your chosen red.

Dyna Contracting

As an appetite-stimulating colour, red is a great hue for kitchen cabinets. The rest of the furnishings and materials here are a wonderful mixture of light and dark neutral colors, making pleasing equilibrium with this intense red.

K West Images, Interior and Garden Photography

Use red to the same effect on your dining area. This deep wine-colored color feels rich and warm, making the space comfy and inviting. Your dinner guests will want to linger for hours.

Deep River Partners

Berry-Colored Interiors

Berry colors, such as this fun raspberry color, are fantastic upgrades to a classic red. This raspberry works well with the dark wood tones, the light ceiling and adjoining wall shade, and another touches of raspberry in the room.

More raspberry, this time paired with black and white. The combination makes for a stunningly elegant and contemporary bedroom.

Purple Interiors

Raspberry moves right into purple land here. I adore this hue paired with gray. Both of these colors work well in bedrooms, as both are reported to be stress-reducing colors that could lower blood pressure. This would also be a terrific palette for a bedroom in a hot, sunny climate. Using these colors will give you a cool, relaxing retreat.

More gray and purple here, however this wall shade veers toward navy blue or black. We tend to combine dark wall colors such as this with quiet, protective spaces. It’s another gorgeous palette to get a relaxed area.

Christine Kelly / Crafted Architecture

Purple Exteriors

Don’t overlook the outside your house as a place to inject a little colour. I believe purple and berry work best as outside accent colors, to simply call attention to enchanting and interesting architectural information.

Wisteria

Updated Louis Chair, Red – $329

Red Accessories

This contemporary spin on a classic chair style are the perfect part to bridge the difference in a room that has a mixture of traditional and contemporary furnishings.

ikea.com

Godmorgon/Odensvik Sink Cabinet – $249

Due to its compact size and reasonable price , this lavatory and cabinet are ideal for a powder room or a child’s or teen’s bathroom. The bold red hue of the cabinet ups the fabulous factor.

Crate&Barrel

Marimekko Unikko Red Full/Queen Duvet Cover – $119

On the lookout for a quick and effortless means to present vibrant red and berry colors to your own bedroom? Add it through bedding, in this way duvet cover from Crate & Barrel.

Tropical Decorative Accents – $24.95

In case you’ve got a bold red accent wall in your living room, consider picking up that hue in a different part of the room via accessories such as this faux coral from Z Gallerie.

Room & Board

Encore Convertible Sofa – $899

I am a huge fan of multitasking furniture, and this convertible couch in hot red works perfectly in a living room or guest area.

Goal

Threshold 16-Piece Cambridge Dinnerware – $53.99

We are inclined to cook more in the autumn and winter; consider adding some pizzazz to your dining table via red dinnerware.

ikea.com

Brasa Pendant Lamp – $39.99

This contemporary pendant fixture in deep red would look fantastic over a kitchen table or in a pair of three over a peninsula or an island.

Pottery Barn

Wilson Industrial Pendant – $239

If you want a more industrial vintage look, these bracelets out of Pottery Barn are a charming option.

Cost Plus World Market

Fleur de Lys Dual Old-Fashioned Glasses – $11.96

Berry-Colored Accessories

Speaking of charm, this double classic glass from World Market with its signature of purple-pink are the perfect vessel for autumn and winter celebratory libations.

CB2

Ombré Cougar Rug – $299

Feeling leery about bold colors on your walls? Consider putting them onto your flooring rather via an enjoyable rug, such as this one from CB2.

Chiasso

Purple Bobina Stool – $148

Purple Accessories

This blossom is just another versatile article of furniture, this time in a stunning eggplant purple. You could use this as a base to display a favourite object, as an occasional table or perhaps for extra chairs at a pinch.

Everyday Glasses – $8

This pretty purple stemware would look great displayed on open shelves in a kitchen or bar.

West Elm

Bolu Rug

If you host a great deal of parties where red wine gets spilled (or you are just clumsy, such as me) this deep purple rug from West Elm could be the perfect floor covering.

Tell usWhat’s your favourite shade of red, pink or purple? How have you used it in your house?

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Playful Decor to Put a House in Humor

Design can seem so serious sometimes. So many rules, a lot of Danish names to memorize. But really, there’s only 1 principle: Your home should reflect your character. Beauty, comfort, character. That.

Which is the reason I love design that incorporates humor. Playfulness should becoming a part of our homes. Pretty goes so far, after all.

Listed below are 11 pretty great methods to get some chuckles (and perhaps even enjoy your house longer).

Decor

Jonathan Adler is the daddy of antidepressive layout, and his funny Vices jars are very winking icons.

Holly Marder

A playful art-inspired nursery provides a nod to Magritte’s bowler paintings.

Isolina Mallon Interiors

Your life cans turn into a cartoon panel.

Wallpaper Collective

Hidden humor: wallpaper that is head-in-the-sand. Design-y subtle.

Envision living

Artwork

OK, so personally this isn’t a painting I’d go for, but I love its pop art humor.

Robert Granoff

It looks like a painting with an old Dutch Master. It’s really a picture of a lady using a bag on her head. Love it.

Jennifer Gustafson Interior Design

Potty Humor

“Wash behind your ears.” The admonition of mom, enshrined in tile. Bathrooms are an easy place to be amusing in — they’re little, they’re personal and they’re secret.

GPPhotographers

Bathroom humor is as old as the dinosaurs.

Nic Darling

Funny Bones

A plywood peephole wall is a playful take on the wooden banister. It’s possible to tell this household is fun.

CapeRace Cultural Adventures

Require an architectural component, possibly one which annoys you (like the step everyone is constantly tripping over) and attract attention to it in a funny way.

Kendall Ansell Interiors

If your pet is really a part of your loved ones, they should get his own entry, no?

Find more ways to liven up your home layout here and here.

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Urban Cottage Style in a Woodsy Wonderland

Through a decade of remodels and difficult work, Yvette and Don Hatch have changed their Orange County, California, cottage into a house better suited to his or her own style. Previously paneled in dark wood, it’s currently a modern cottage-style house with fresh outdoor amenities, refreshing white walls, lush native garden terraces and a guest home. The few put their artistic and construction skills to operate redesiging the home, which can be in a woodsy area filled with equestrian paths. “Donny’s really great for the bones of everything,” says Yvette. “He could visually just see something. I’m good in decorating, so the two of us worked well together”

in a Glance
Who lives here: Yvette and Don Hatch and their 4 daughters
Location: Lemon Heights, Orange County, California
Size: 3,600 square feet plus 1,620-square-foot detached garage and guest suite; 5 bedrooms, 3 baths

Dana Nichols

A mixture of old and new furniture creates a warm, lived-in ambiance. Yvette and Don have had the couch and leather chair since they were wed, the coffee table is from a flea market and also the classic pieces across the far wall are from Don’s old office.

Dana Nichols

Yvette replaced a conventional kitchen island using anantique draper’s dining table from Lyman Drake, adding a granite counter tops. “In 1 aspect I overlook the island, because it had more storage, but this bit is great. I wanted the kitchen to feel like it had a little character,” she states. The cabinetry is first to the house, but the few refreshed the faces to match the wainscoting.

Light fixtures: Restoration Hardware

Dana Nichols

The house lacks a formal dining room, but the family does not miss it, as a result of the warm Southern California weather. “We tend to perform all our eating out, especially when we have guests. If it rains it’s just a free-for-all where inside the home,” says Yvette. “We’ve been married a very long time, and I’ve never actually missed with a formal dining room.”

Dana Nichols

The Hatch daughters share their mum’s artistic abilities. Here, an ocean-inspired work in advance by daughter Drew sits in front of the tree-lined backyard.

Dana Nichols

Steps from the rear door result in a swimming pool, surrounded by natural stone. The Hatches outfitted the space with all-new slate and decking.

Dana Nichols

A fresh slate fireplace next to the pool area gets lots of use, since the household loves to entertain in their yard.

Dana Nichols

The first proprietor, a carpenter, built what Yvette calls “a Hansel and Gretel house.” Dark paneled walls, carved wood accents and lots of plaid had left the house feel like it had popped out of a storybook.

“If you drove in, you felt like you were in the woods somewhere. It was really magical but wasn’t my style,” she states.

Dana Nichols

Yvette picked the mirrors at the master bedroom at an antiques shop in New Hampshire. The bench, bed frame and side tables are custom constructed.

Linens: Restoration Hardware; blanket: Ralph Lauren Home

Dana Nichols

Contractor Justin Hille helped with the vast majority of the renovations, including adding marble into this master bath. “We’ve worked together with Justin for the previous five decades, and he is part of their family now,” Yvette says.

Dana Nichols

The corner bar area in the downstairs den has a beverage dispenser, a present by a friend in England. A large replica of a British subway sign adorns the rear wall. “We’re inspired by the British and American flags, and lots of our friends and family are from Great Britain,” says Yvette. “It makes us feel a bit more connected.”

The damask throw pillows are custom made. Always on the hunt for new goods, Yvette often has less costly versions of items seen in boutiques created.

Bar top: Caesarstone; small metal accordion table: Mollywood Garden Design; leather couch: Restoration Hardware

Dana Nichols

The couple didn’t incorporate any square footage into the main home, but they did transform the old garage into a media space. A large-screen TV and a lavish sectional make for comfortable movie nights.

Dana Nichols

A new stand-alone garage with a guest suite upstairs now sits on previously undeveloped land in the backyard.

Dana Nichols

Frequently used by guests visiting from overseas, the guest suite follows the urban-cottage kind of the primary home. The floors were a struggle, as Yvette enjoyed the appearance of reclaimed timber, but it was out of their budget. “We chose to create ourselves,” she states. “We used different textures of wood and painted and distressed it”

Dana Nichols

Bricks give the guesthouse kitchenette an informal feeling. Although building codes banned installing a stovetop, the kitchenette has all of the essentials.

Dana Nichols

Among the daughters painted this whale on the guest bed as a present for Yvette.

Though the whole renovation took about 10 decades, Yvette appreciates the procedure and urges other homeowners to appreciate theirs. “I think the procedure is one of the very exciting items,” she states. “It’s part of this journey.”

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Shutter Cutouts: A Window to a Person's Soul?

Last winter my shutters began to peel and rust at an alarming rate. By early summer, my house’s exterior was looking a lot like Grey Gardens. Although I allowed money for new folks back in the spring, I am pleased with commitmentphobia.

You see, I’ve always desired shutters with adorable little cutouts. In Maine you see pine tree cutouts, on Cape Cod you see starfish and scallop shells, and within my Atlanta area you have a tendency to see a lot of card matches, mostly diamonds together with the occasional heart or club thrown in. I’ve decided I don’t want a shape that shows off a lot of the siding supporting it, because who knows what condition that’s in or if the color will match after being covered up by a good shutter for such a long time. (There certainly is NOT money allowed for repainting the house.)

The decision was harder than I imagined. Pine trees: so adorable, but we do not really have them in my own neighborhood. We’ve got oak, maple and beech trees. Unfortunately, the neighbors throughout the road already have adorable oak cutouts on their own porch railings, and that I do not wish to become a copycat. Acorns are darling, but their fat bodies show off too much siding, as do maple leaves.

One company has adorable squirrel cutouts, but I am afraid they’d give me the”Crazy Squirrel Lady” nickname. Hearts are the dating equivalent of having a bed covered in stuffed animals and 17 cats (I am single).

Crescent moons: I like them, however they aren’t quite what I am choosing. Starfish: Love’em, however I live in Atlanta; it’s kind of silly once you’re landlocked. Fleur-de-lis: I am not from New Orleans, and I wasn’t a Kappa Kappa Gamma. Four-leaf clover: I am only 1/16th Irish.

See how hard this is? What’s a woman to do? I suppose browse and look for inspiration…

Blue Sky Building Company

I’m looking not only at shutters, but also at doorways, railings, cabinets and everywhere else a cutout grabs my eye. This very small fish family is one of the very charming details I’ve seen in a while. Have a look at the extra-clever wavy top of this timber.

M.A. Corson & Assoc., Inc..

A school of bass makes its way throughout the lavender shutters with this Key West home. The cutouts are the icing with this cake that is amazing.

Quatrefoil shapes have different meanings in various cultures, including great fortune, harmony, the four ends of the Earth, the Christian cross and much more. These board and batten shutters were hand-crafted in Tennessee by Advantage Shutters.

Tim Andersen Architect

The arrow-shaped cutouts with this balcony railing give the traditional Arts and Crafts style a spin, and harshly draw the eye up. They also go together with the structure, mimicking the form of this dormer’s roof. A exceptional detail like this stamps a home with personality.

Between Naps on the Porch

What I love about this porch’s fantastic railing is that in the distance it’s quite subjective…

Between Naps on the Porch

… while shut up one sees simple silhouettes of cats.

Troy Rhone Garden Design

I certainly didn’t mean to emphasise hearts in my debut; they’re so beautiful and inviting with this garden gate. Browse more garden gates

I think that it was a trip to Branford, Connecticut, that sparked my love of shutters like these. The houses had so many hanging plants and window boxes, funky colours and special cutouts. I am pretty sure that these are trees, however I like to think that they’re broccoli, just because that would be odd.

On the other coastal Connecticut home, sailboats add a beachfront touch. Most shutter companies have this cutout inside their choice. There are so many to pick from; Exterior Shutter even offers a flamingo, which is quite tempting. By the way, most shutter business create any custom cutout you like, which frankly makes my decision even tougher!

Stephen Fuller Designs

These are mix cutout and louvered shutters. This designer has chosen a portrait color that’s very close to the color of the shingles, giving the cutouts a subtle, sophisticated appearance.

Well, I feel so much better after producing an ideabook that I’ve ordered catalogs from a few firms and am leaning toward a tulip cutout. (It is here; inform me what you think. Yes, I understand, I do not Reside in Holland or Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts.)

Tell meIf you were looking for the perfect shutter cutout, which model would you select? Allow me to know in the Comments section below.

More:
11 Ways to Repurpose Shutters
Add To Your Home’s Curb Appeal With Whimsical Balusters

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8 Resourceful Nightstand Alternatives

Thinking beyond the box when it comes to home decor isn’t only good for design; it is good on the pocketbook. When providing the bedroom, many homeowners buy two nightstands. If that route isn’t your style or not at the budget, then you’ll love these eight nightstand choices. From suitcases to classic stools, see how taking the road less traveled on your nightstand choices can give your room a gathered, unique vibe.

Scheer & Co..

VIntage suitcases would be the perfect nightstand alternative — they are easily obtainable and full of charm.

Inside my bedroom, my husband’s nightstand is four stacked suitcases we’ve gathered through time. You could easily place one suitcase on top of a stool, such as in the image shown here, and have an equally lovely vignette.

Jennifer Young

If space is an issue on your bedroom, then a classic wooden crate hung on the wall is a easy alternative.

Dreamy Whites

The majority of us have additional chairs lying about, and if you do not, they are a simple find on Craigslist or in thrift stores and make ideal, casual nightstands.

Michelle Hinckley

A shelf could become a nightstand at a snap when hung in an appropriate elevation.

Siemasko + Verbridge

Old trunks make good nightstands due to the instant character they bring to a room, and they are a nice, big storage choice for those people with smaller spaces.

Life in the Fun Lane

Painted to match the decor of a room, a drop-leaf dining table that is lovely becomes a huge nightstand.

Richard Bubnowski Design LLC

In case you have any carpentry skills, developing a easy shelf unit to act as a nightstand can present your room form and function.

XOJY

An adjustable-height classic stool similar to this one is a nice alternative to the traditional nightstand. It is possible to raise or reduce the stool to function perfectly in its role and also have a small space to put away books underneath.

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