Category Archives: Furniture

Opium Bed Style

Normally I would tell you to not get involved with anything related to opium. Except when it involves a table. A table styled like an opium bed.

The opium bed style is from Asia, and you would find these style of beds in opium dens in China and Southeast Asia. Beds were available for reclining in a way that a writer might try to romanticize with words like “lanquid.” I am  not sure I’d romanticize smoking opium! But nowadays tourists like to collect the opium pipes and other paraphernalia when they travel to the Golden Triangle of opium dealers around Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. Travelers have exported the look of entire dens, like this brocaded French opium den of the early 1900s, set up by people who returned from the Indochine colonies and brought their addictions back with them.

French Opium Den of the early 1900s

The reality is obviously far less beautiful. Like this opium den in Manila which is really sad.

I am only addicted to the style. I love those curvy table legs. And in fact I did bring an opium bed table back with me from Thailand! Way back in 2001. Please don’t think it was an extravagant thing to do. It cost us only $100! That is, folks, only $7.69 per year so far, for a large teak coffee table.

We ordered it custom made, about 3 feet by 5 feet, by a lady near Chiang Mai. We got to see it being made, under a tent on the family’s front lawn! It cost only a small fraction of what American retailers charge for a large teak table (including shipping) and we felt good about our money going directly to a family. Here it is in our living room:

Opium Coffee Table

Chinese Style Opium Coffee Table

Those are from a post from a year ago that gave you a peek into our living room. After almost 13 years, the table is a bit scratched and needs sanding and restaining, but I still love it and use it almost daily.

Can I entice you with more opium tables?

Opium Table

Opium Bed and Thai Style

Here’s an antique Chinese opium coffee table from Mecox with nice old details, as it should as it’s from the late 1700s:

Antique Opium Coffee Table from Mecox

Here’s an opium table from Golden Triangle in Chicago:

Opium Table at Golden Triangle

While it has a distinctive shape, this table can fit in many decor styles. It can be elegant and sophisticated, like in the photo above. But with woven cane in the middle, it is more casual. Paint it white and it can fit in a beach house. Could you see one in your house?



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Church Pews in Homes

Maybe I should have held this for Christmas or Easter instead of a regular ol’ day in early October post. But why hold back on a good thing. Years ago I thought one way to increase seating at our dining table from 4 to 6+ was to find an old church pew to put on one side. Recently church pews in homes again crossed my laptop screen, so I … actually I didn’t “Google.” I searched Pinterest. So that big prominent search bar on Pinterest is doing its job!

Here are examples of church pews in homes where the pews really look like they are at home, like they belong …

From ELLE Decoration in the UK:

Church Pews in Homes via ELLE Decoration

From Better Homes & Gardens, this antique pew has unusual features, and they paired those design details well with this mirror:

BH&G Church Pew in Entry

This shows that church pews are perfect for long narrow entry halls, via Atlanta Home & Lifestyles:

Church Pew in Entry Hall Atlanta Home & Lifestyles

Painted white, this pew blends well in this cottage-y country space, from Houzz. Painting all the same color is a great way to unify the mismatched furniture:

Cottage Country Dining Room with Church Pew via Houzz

In this showhouse shared at Houzz, the entryway has a bench that is perfectly balanced with the varied visual elements in this area. This also shows that the church pew look can work in more upscale spaces. I say “church pew look” because this bench is described as a built-in. So if you can’t find a pew in the right style and size you need, you could probably build a bench that looks like a pew, such as this one:

Church Pew in Entry Foyer via Houzz

Most of the time, when you see church pews in homes, they are in dining rooms, entryways or mudrooms. Sometimes you see them on covered porches. They’re best for areas where you sit for only a short time, such as to put on or remove shoes. They’re good for places where you’re not looking to curl up in super soft furniture, such as when you’re eating at the dining table. I grew up Catholic so I spent plenty of Sundays in church and, yes, you can sit in a pew for an hour at church. But why spend significant time sitting in one at home? I can’t imagine they’d be comfortable for sitting and watching TV! So this explains why there’s limited use for church pews in homes. But where they are used, they do serve a clear function.

I collected more images of pews in homes on a Pinterest board for you:

Follow Nomadic Decorator’s board Decor – Church Pews on Pinterest.

Urban Farmgirl recently posted a pew on Facebook and it brought the idea home because I’m also in Illinois. So I thought hmmmmm, maybe there’s one out there for our dining room, somewhere not too far away. Because something of this size, I’m not shipping it.

What do you think? Would you put a pew in your house?



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Decorating with DIY Pedestal Tables

In the last post, I shared that you can take a pile of wood discs and a tall candlestick, and turn them into cute little pedestal side tables.

DIY Pedestal Table

But where might you use such a little pedestal table? Once I did that project, I started to see similar tiny pedestal tables all over online. Funny how that happens. Somehow, seeing something opens your eyes and you see it all over the place! I’ve learned there may be no more truly original ideas left on this planet. Here’s a few similar side tables …

These were featured in Traditional Home. Not DIY, but they show how they can be used as a design element. Because I’m not sure how else you would use these other than for a cup of tea:

Little Side Tables by Banquette via Traditional Home

Here’s a hot red little number at The Lily Pad Cottage. She painted it an OPI color, yes, like the color of OPI nail polish:

Red Side Table at The Lily Pad Cottage

In addition to candlesticks, you can also make these little tables with tall lamp bases. Here are some tables made with vintage brass lamp bases, from a company called Ladies & Gentlemen.  It looks like wood discs were used to make the top, as I did with my table:

Side Tables made from vintage brass lamp bases via Ladies and Gentlemen

Here’s another lamp base turned into a pedestal table, but with a picture frame on top. This was made by the Richmond Thrifter for $5.50!

Lamp base and picture frame DIY'd into a pedestal table by the Richmond Thrifter blog

I’m not sure what she put in the tabletop – it looks like either fabric or scrapbook paper and you could do either to get a touch of pattern and color. Cute idea.

Top of DIY Pedestal Table made by Richmond Thrifter blog

The Richmond Thrifter also shared the Anthropologie table below which looks similar to her DIY’d table, but for $298 retail! Now I think you can easily make this table for under $29.80, including a tall candlestick or lamp frame (thrift it or get it on sale), pieces of wood and a picture frame.

Buy or DIY

Here’s a pedestal table from Safavieh for about $225. Seriously. DIY it or BUY it? If you DIY it, you can afford to buy a lamp to put on the table.

Savafieh Pedestal Table

I should start a new series here called “DIY it or BUY it!” It’s true that some DIY projects are so much time and trouble or they require pricey specialty tools, that you might as well BUY it. But I can tell you a pedestal table like this is so easy to make. All you need to build it is wood glue or E6000 glue, really. If you’re not standing on the table, you don’t even need screws. But you certainly can add screws or nails for extra strength and security. Then, paint the table. It’s an afternoon project, if even that long! I stenciled and gold foiled my table so it took more time. But if you’re giving it a single color of paint – so super easy. This is the kind of project where the final result looks like more than the sum of its parts.

You can even add a larger top on to a DIY table to make it more practical to use. Like you can actually fit more than a coffee mug on it. Infarrantly Creative shared this cute DIY candlestick table with a larger top:

From Candlestick to Pedestal Table via Infarrantly Creative

This next example from Pearle’s Rosebuds shows the “before” and how you should keep your eyes open while thrifting for shapes. Look beyond the color and the pattern. Look for the potential of what things could be, not what they are at the moment. Because with some paint, they could become totally different looking, like this DIY pedestal table she made:

DIY Pedestal Table Made by Pearl's Rosebuds blog

So? Have I convinced you to try this? Making my table was so fun, I might have to make another one!

 



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