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August 2020

Who Takes Care of Plumbing Maintenance in a Rental?

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Rental agreements and rights for landlords and tenants is a topic that is usually a bit of a grey area, with plenty of stories of landlords and tenants doing the wrong thing. 

Who is responsible for a leaking tap, and what is fair when it comes to damage vs. wear and tear in a tenancy arrangement? We explore this topic in this article and provide valuable information on where the responsibilities fall for each party. 

brown plastic bucket near white framed glass door

What are the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords?

The rights of both parties will be outlined in the legally binding tenancy agreement signed and provided upon the commencement of the tenancy. 

It is important that both parties review and understand all of the outlined information in the tenancy agreement to ensure there are no surprises in the event of repairs, maintenance, and even ongoing maintenance of the property. 

The law and the state rental legislation can be found within the tenancy agreement and the document will outline everything both parties should be aware of, from emergency plumbing contacts, through to who covers the water bill, the condition report, and much more. 

In these cases, an emergency plumber should be called to help solve the plumbing issue and minimize the damage.

Who is at fault if there is a plumbing emergency in a rental property? 

Plumbing emergencies are a pain, no matter what the situation, and it should be very clear of what the tenant covers in this situation and what the landlord needs to pay for in a plumbing emergency. 

Be aware that if the following issues are usually covered by the landlord in the residential tenancy act:

  • Broken or burst pipes
  • Broken or blocked toilets or sinks
  • Burst water services 
  • Flooding of the property
  • Leaks in the roof
  • Leaking tap
  • Storm damage to the property 

In these cases, an emergency plumber should be called to help solve the plumbing issue and minimize the damage. 

When is a plumbing issue emergency and when is it maintenance? 

According to 5 Star Plumbing, “If the issue is considered maintenance and non-urgent, this is also carried out on the landlord’s behalf, however, it is not usually taken care of by an emergency plumber and usually sorted in around 48 hours or so.” 

The landlord has a responsibility to ensure the property is safe for the tenant, and while there may be ongoing repairs and maintenance, if the issue is caused by misuse on the tenant’s behalf, they can be sent the bill for repairs. 

You can check with a plumber to see if the repairs are something that needs to be actioned immediately or if they can wait to be accessed by the landlord and taken care of by a registered plumber within 2 days. Landlords do have a duty of care, and it is important to note, if repairs or maintenance are not attended to in a timely fashion, the landlord can be slapped with fines.

Relocation Tips for 2020: Moving Advice After a New Purchase

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2 Boys and Girl Sitting on Brown Cardboard Box

Let’s admit that moving is possibly one of the most exhausting and overwhelming tasks. Just thinking about packing, organizing, and bribing your friends to help with your stuff is stressful. And not to mention how thinking about transportation and setting up all over again is enough to worry.

Initially, when you or someone in your family decides to relocate, or even if you’re considering selling a house, there are tons of questions popping into your head like: How will you pack everything up? Is there a right way? How much will everything cost? How can you prepare yourself if something goes wrong?  If that’s the case and you’re looking for ways to help make your move less stressful and more comfortable, keep reading. Here are some things to do when moving into a new house;

Get Organized from the Get-Go

As a rule, you need to remember to remain organized. Organization and proper placement/ management will help you avoid any mishaps or last-minute anxiety attacks. Unless you are leaving in a hurry, the chances are that you will have more than a month to plan. So here’s what you should do;

  • Get Boxes: Be thrifty and get your hands on as many moving boxes as you can. Most local stores and warehouses have them for free, and you can also check a couple of websites.
  • Make a To-Do List: Making a To-Do list is one of the most straightforward things to help you keep track of everything. If you despise writing it down on a paper or notepad, make one on your phone. Make elaborate lists and pen down everything you need to get through. Your listing should also consist of companies and numbers that you require to help you move. For instance, transport providers and furniture movers are a necessary consideration for relocation.
  • Map out Your Strategy: It would be best if you worked everything out before you start packing. If you only have to make a shorter move, ask your friends around, see if they would be available to help you move.

Keep Your Movers Updated

According to Easy Move Services, “Small boxes are one thing, but heavy furniture is a whole other story, and for that, you need movers. Please communicate with your movers to let them know what you expect from them during the move. If you have any delicate decorative pieces that require caution, you need to mention beforehand. These details are crucial for a smooth transition and a proper estimation of the total cost. They need to know how many and how heavy some of the things are so they can arrange equipment for it timely.”

Picking the Right Transportation

Among many things to do when moving into a new house, picking the right transportation for a smooth transition is vital. You need to choose the right truck size so all your things can get transported in one go.

  • Recommended Guidelines: In general, a 16′ cube truck is perfect for a one-bedroom apartment. 24-26′ vehicles will help transport 2-3 fully furnished bedrooms in one go.

Get Rid of What You Don’t need

Moving allows you to get rid of things hidden in your attic for ages. It is a great time to go through old clothes, books, furniture, and utensils to see what you need and don’t need. You can arrange them in different categories and have your very own garage sale. You can also sell some stuff household things and clothes online, or you can choose to donate to Goodwill. Many old magazines, pamphlets, old books, and notebooks can get recycled into new paper.

You Need a Packing Kit

Crop man taping carrying box with scotch

If multiple people are helping you pack, establish a system. Mark or label boxes with delicate items and keep tape and newspapers with more packing material to secure everything. It will help you divide the job and assign different roles to people. You will get done sooner than you initially planned.

Go Green

Granite Buddha bust in cardboard package

Moving day will be messy in terms of the amount of rubbish you will be leaving behind. Invest in some reusable plastic bins. It is hard to arrange things the minute you unload them, so reusable plastic containers can be their new home till you can find the time to arrange them in their proper place. Instead of bubble wrap, you can use linen cloths or hay for wrapping your breakables.

Taking Inventory

Taking inventory is very important among things to do when moving into a new house, especially if you’re hiring a moving company. A record of your household things and your boxes is useful in case anything goes missing.

You can either add it on paper or print out a spreadsheet and assign it to every box. With each number assigned, mention which contents are in the box. Not only will this making loading and tracking easy, but you’ll be able to easily find necessary items once you are in your new home. 

Label Your Boxes

Boxes, Moving, Moving Boxes, Cardboard, House, Home

It’s time for all nerds to shine and get their label makers out. Labeling boxes is essential because it helps you keep track of and manage inventory. You can use even a standard Sharpie marker, but remember to label all sides of the box.

A Moving Day Kit is Important

The day of your move will be hectic. Make sure to prepare your very own kit to help you along this tiresome journey. Your package should contain water bottles, some snack bars, soap, torches, sanitizer, toilet paper, trash bags, and a fresh change of clothes.

Move Back Your Delivery Date

If you’ve booked a few orders for furniture sets or anything you need at the new house, make sure you call them and update your status. Ask it to be delivered a day or two after your moving date to focus on the task.

Don’t Use Trash bags for Packing

Do not use trash bags for packing your clothes. You might confuse it with actual trash and accidentally throw it out

Find a Pet Sitter

Pets are susceptible and can be easily disturbed or traumatized by the move. Leave your pet over at a friend’s house, a friend that your pet is familiar with, or find a professional pet sitter. Make sure you arrange the time and get all details before the day of the move.  

Treat the people working hard for you

If your friends come over to help or have hired professionals, make sure that you take care of them. Set aside an area where they can rest and have refreshments available at all times. Order some food to show your appreciation.

Inform Your Neighbors

Moving may be hard for you, but it is also a very noisy task. The day before the move, visit your neighbors to say goodbye, and during the conversation, mention that you’ll be moving out tomorrow, and there might be a lot of vehicles.

Make sure your truck isn’t blocking anyone’s way. If you’re moving out during winters, it’s smart to clean the driveway and get rid of hard ice or snow. You could potentially slow down your move if you don’t plan.


Moving does not have to be tiring and boring. You can make it fun and enjoy the process. While relocating is hard, following proper steps and doing things the right way can help you make your move a lot less messy than it needs to be. And when you’re in need of basic moving tips and ideas and looking for a house, it can’t hurt to consider the points in the graphic below!

Graphic created by New City Moving.

Red Flags to Look for When Buying a House

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Shopping for a new home is one of the most exciting and stressful life events. While it’s certainly fun to check out the different houses and imagine yourself living in them, at the same time, finding that “perfect” house can be daunting, time-consuming, at times disappointing, and downright stressful. Of course, the best way to ensure the process goes smoothly is to be specific in what you’re looking for, the budget you are working with, and what you will and will not accept. 

Brown and White House Beside Trees

With that said, here’s a look at red flags you will want to be aware of before making an offer on a home.

A Lot of Homes for Sale in the Neighborhood

While it may seem like a jackpot that there are so many homes to choose from in a particular neighborhood, this can also be a red flag. Why the mass exodus, what is prompting everyone to sell at the same time? Sure it could be totally harmless and nothing to the story at all, but at the same time, it’s worth a little investigating and asking questions. This is when it can be helpful to work with a realtor, as they can offer some insight.

The Home Is in Need of Major Repairs

While there are certainly those that don’t shy away from a DIY challenge, other buyers want to be able to move in and have things relatively ready to go. If there are massive repairs needed, then you’re going to need a budget to get it done. Some of the most costly projects can include new windows, a new roof, foundation issues, and a new furnace.

Is There Lead Paint in the House?

If you’ve been looking at older homes and they tend to fit your personal style a little better, then you’ll need to be hyper-aware of the potential of lead paint in the home. Basically, any of the houses built before 1978 here in the United States would have contained at least traces of lead in the paint that was used. Lead-based paints were the norm back then, but now people know much better.

Today, people realize just how hazardous this substance is to have in the house and as points out, that it needs to be removed properly, safely, and professionally. While it can certainly be remedied and the house will be made safe to live in, it’s something you at least need to be aware of since it will be a priority to get done.

Signs There Is an Infestation of Pests

Another red flag is a sign the house has an infestation problem. That could be an issue with bugs, rodents, or any other type of pest. It will then become your problem and your expense and trouble to get rid of them and repair any damage that may have been caused. 

Go Into the Deal Well-Informed

Keep in mind what is a red flag for some may not be for you. It’s all about being aware of the situation you are entering so that there are no surprises after the fact.

interior design tips

8 Interior Design Tips to Increase Your Home’s Resale Value

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Good interior design can not only attract buyers but also boost the value of your property.

Buyers today are very savvy when it comes to their investments, so you need to be smart and knowledgeable when it comes to renovations and improvements. If you want to sell your home fast and reach a price that’s satisfying for everyone, here are a few interior design tips to keep in mind. 

Increase space

black wooden coffee table near white couch

While the size of your property definitely affects the value, the way your home feels also counts. The key to maximizing your visual space lies in natural lighting, mirrors, tidiness and furniture. Start by reimagining your window treatment, adding a few larger mirrors to the space, minimizing clutter and floating your furniture (especially storage pieces). This will make your rooms look bright and airy and open up a lot of floor space. 

Also, a modern buyer can never have too much storage, so it’s important to improve your storage space and adapt it to different uses. If you can, impress your buyers with practical under-the-stairs storage and built-in shelving. 


Pain is one of the most cost-effective home improvements, so don’t hesitate to repaint your entire interior.

A new coat of paint will make the rooms look fresh, attractive and modern and that will bring a lot of value to your property. Just remember to keep the color scheme neutral and modern, so that it attracts a large number of people. 

Give the kitchen and bathroom a makeover

Brown and White Wooden Kitchen Island

Every single upgrade to your kitchen will bring a hefty ROI. No matter if your target audience is into cooking or not, you need to make this space lux, practical and well-lit. The kitchen is used for food prep, eating, drinking and storage, so people spend a lot of time in it—it needs to be as attractive as possible. 

Besides the kitchen updates, bathroom makeovers also bring a great return on investment. And, since they are often very small, relatively cheap improvements go a long way.

If you don’t want to tackle tiles and larger fixtures, you can repaint the space, refinish surfaces, modernize lighting and update hardware and still achieve a big effect that will boost the value of your home. 

Replace soft flooring

Nothing will turn off buyers faster than shabby soft floors. If you have work out or stained carpets, area rugs and runners, make sure to replace them as soon as possible. A new, clean and modern rug will be inviting for people and encourage them to feel warm and at home in your property. So, make sure to opt for something high-quality and exclusive, especially if you go for wool or some other natural fibre.

New Zealand has amazing flooring solutions and if you search for quality rugs in NZ online you’ll find a variety of quality products that will make your home look attractive for all types of buyers. Adding just one quality rug will compensate in case you don’t have a choice but to leave the rest of your floors bare, as it can provide a whole new perspective for a potential buyer.  

Improve the master bedroom

Buyers want to see a large, comfortable and functional bedroom. So what you can do is build a spacious walk-in closet—this addition will boost the value of any home. It’s a luxury you can afford, especially if you find an affordable solution, and no buyer will be able to ignore it.

Additionally, add interest to the room with an attractive bed. If you want to add drama to the space, check out luxurious upholstered beds which will leave a big impression with their aesthetic appeal and boost the value of your property. A good focal point like a lux bed will bring a great ROI. 

Be energy-efficient

two black suede armchairs during daytime

If you want to attract well-paying Millennial buyers, you need to pay attention to eco-friendliness. While you can improve insulation and add water-saving landscaping, an easier path is to work on your energy-efficiency.

Replacing regular bulbs with LEDs, investing in a few Energy Star appliances and installing solar panels can be a very cost-effective move that will boost the value of your property and attract energy-savvy buyers. 

Improve natural lighting

Plenty of natural light will make your interior look larger, reduce energy usage and improve the mood of potential buyers, so make sure to maximize sunlight.

Custom glass windows and doors will open up space in a very effective yet non-invasive way. Investing in larger windows (especially if they offer a beautiful nature view) and better doors can be the right move for all sellers looking to raise the value of their property. However, this is not a cheap improvement, so keep that in mind. 

While not all home improvements can be recouped when it comes the time to sell, these aforementioned ones give you the best chance to achieve a good ROI and end up with a satisfying value of your property. Smart interior design will catch the eye of well-paying buyers and give you an opportunity to raise the price of your home.

Key Tips to Rally Back from COVID-19 Bankruptcy in 2020

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Previously successful people have had to declare bankruptcy, and gotten bankruptcy loans, recently because of COVID-19.

Restaurants and bars are prime examples, but many other companies like Gold’s Gym, Hertz,  GNC and Chuck E. Cheese to name a few have had to invoke bankruptcy protection with bankruptcy loans. 

Many of these filings were under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Chapter 11 allows companies to restructure their debts, formulate a survival plan, and continue to operate. If there is no hope of continued operation, one alternative is to file under Chapter 7. A Chapter 7 filing invokes a liquidation process that disposes of the company’s assets while dividing the proceeds among creditors.

If you have a business and you did not sign for anything personally, you could possibly avoid any personal credit issues since the business entity would have been responsible for all debts.

As most small business owners understand, however, it’s very difficult for a new business to operate without signing for something personally whether it’s a lease, a bank loan, or even a guaranty to a food supplier. Therefore, even if your business files for bankruptcy, anything you have personally signed for will quickly become your personal responsibility. Worse, any taxes owed by the business may be assessed to the officers and directors, and these taxes are usually not dischargeable in bankruptcy

The Struggle Continues with Bankruptcy Loans

bankruptcy loans during covid-19 and stress

In other situations, a consumer may have lost their job and this can result in bills due that just cannot be paid. Even with COVID-19 relief provisions that have staved off some rent and mortgage payments, some unfortunate individuals are being crushed under the weight of debt because their cash flow has been seriously restricted.

This is another reason that some of those affected by COVID-19 have had to declare bankruptcy.

Not Financial Death

person holding paper near pen and calculator

In previous times, personal bankruptcy used to be considered. financial death, but this is no longer the case. There is life after bankruptcy, as The Moran Law Group explains: “Damaged credit improves over time, just like wounds heal. A credit report is not like a wine glass that once it’s broken, it’s gone forever.” 

Important note: For example, if you are going to declare bankruptcy in Kentucky, or Illinois, or any other state for that matter, make sure you do it right. Consult with a bankruptcy attorney before you file to make sure that everything that can be discharged is actually discharged.

No Scarlet Letter for Bankruptcy Loans

bankruptcy letter scrabble

No one is going to know you filed bankruptcy by just looking at you, and if you do things correctly, you may be able to still live in your home.

State vs. Federal Exemptions

Different states have different bankruptcy exemptions, i.e. the list of items that can’t be attached or taken by creditors. Check out this chart to view the top five exemptions under Texas law, for example, compared to federal law.  This chart is courtesy of the  National Bankruptcy Forum:

Type of exemption Texas law Federal law
Homestead Unlimited, except by acreage based on location of the property $23,675 of equity in principal place of residence
Personal property Up to $100,000; $50,000 if a single adult without a family. Includes clothing and food, up to two firearms, several animals, limited jewelry, and more $12,625 aggregate value on household goods, plus federal wildcard exemption applicable ($1,250 plus $11,850 of any unused portion of your homestead exemption)
Vehicle Entire value of one motor vehicle per licensed household member $3,775
Wages Exempt for personal services, except for the enforcement of court-ordered child support payments Income you’ve earned but not yet received becomes part of your bankruptcy estate
Pension/retirement Exempt, including benefits for teachers, police officers, municipal employees, etc. Exempt, with a cap of about $1.28 million on IRAs and Roth IRAs

What Now?

If you have declared bankruptcy, these are the important things you need to do now to begin your recovery.

Credit Cards

blue and white card on green surface

Before debit cards became so popular, newly bankrupt individuals worried that they would not be able to get a plane ticket without a credit card. This is not true now, as a debit card can be used to purchase plane tickets. Unfortunately, credit cards are necessary for some transactions, like car rental—even though Hertz is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy itself—and you’ll need to get a card.

Luckily, newly bankrupt persons can apply for a secured credit card that works like a regular credit card except that you have to guaranty your card with a cash deposit. This is valuable it because you will have started to rebuild your credit as new on time payments will be reported to credit bureaus.

Another good strategy is to ask a relative to add you as a user on one of their credit card accounts. That way, you’ll have a fresh line of credit and again, on-time payments will help raise your score.


black bmw m 3 coupe

If you owed money on your vehicle, it could be repossessed during the bankruptcy. Either let that happen or talk to your lender about other possibilities. You may be able to refinance the old loan with a cosigner, and there are other ways that a lender may help allow you to stay in your vehicle. If nothing else, make sure you find some reliable transportation—even a used beater that runs may be better than taking the bus.


white and blue Sato chart

Your local electric company will automatically discharge your old bill, but you may have to come up with a small deposit to continue service. Consider using a cosigner for the account if utility companies are giving you trouble.

Applying for a New Job

white printer paper beside silver laptop computer

Smaller employers may not care about your credit score, but larger ones regularly access credit reports, and a fresh bankruptcy could cause some employers to think twice about your application. Therefore, make sure you engage the services of a quality recruiter along with a professional resume writer to help ensure that you won’t be automatically rejected because of bad credit.

Invoke Sympathy

a man holds his head while sitting on a sofa

You just declared bankruptcy. You’re emotionally devasted. Use this as leverage to keep lingering creditors from bothering you. If you owe money to the IRS, contact them and ask for some time to get your finances in order. A 120-day hold on your account can be welcome, and you can use that time to regroup.

If you have unfortunately lost your home and have to rent an apartment, consider renting from a landlord you can talk to personally, rather than a property management company that might automatically reject you. If you can explain your situation directly to a landlord, you might be given a chance you wouldn’t otherwise be afforded. 

Personal bankruptcy is not to be taken lightly, but it’s not the end of the world. Many people that declared bankruptcy during the Great Recession that began in 2008 are now homeowners. Yes, bankruptcy is a financial setback, but with diligence and hard work, you can overcome any short-term issues that it creates.

Must-Have Living Room Essentials: Sofas, Chairs and Ottomans

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Starting from scratch on furnishing a new living room can be daunting, to say the least. You’ve likely just gone through a long moving process only to realize that you’re now starting over with a new to-do list, and may be feeling a bit overwhelmed at the thought of playing interior designer in your empty living space. 

Well, first things first: you’re not alone. While looking at a sparsely furnished room can induce that feeling of looking at a blank page, there are a few tried-and-true steps you can follow to piece together a living room design, from the sofa to the accent pieces, that feels one hundred percent uniquely yours – one that brings you joy for every moment spent in it.


Before you get excited and start thinking about the finishing touches: things like the artwork, coffee table books, window treatments, and more, it’s typically easiest to get the biggest pieces of the puzzle in place first. A good rule of thumb is to work from largest to smallest: starting with the sofa, moving to the chairs, and finishing with the ottomans. These foundational elements will all influencer one another, as well as the more decorative touches in the room, and because they will be the standout (not to mention, the most necessary for daily use) features, that’s the place most people start. 


Different Sofa Styles

If you look at a furniture stores in Florida, or California or anywhere for that matter, you’ll find sectionals, modern sofas, slipcovered sofas, sleeper sofas, and more. The options seem endless. However, figuring out which sofa best fits your lifestyle is easier than it sounds if you just start by process of elimination. When it comes to the style of your sofa, can probably make some pretty quick cuts upfront based on your unique priorities. 

First, start with the non-negotiable factors. For example, are you working with a vast living space, or a smaller studio apartment? Space constraints will dictate whether a two-seater tuxedo sofa or a much larger sectional is the best option. Next, consider what type of usage will your sofa get. Do you have a big family that likes to gather for movie nights, or are you often hosting guests and in need of a sofa-turned-bed for them to crash? And lastly, what is your personal style? Are you going for a more traditional or coastal vibe (slipcover sofa), or a modern, sleek aesthetic (modern sofa)? These questions will help narrow your list fairly quickly, so you can move onto the fun stuff: fabric.

Figuring Out Fabric

Upholstery choice is where you have the option to truly design the custom sofa of your dreams. If you aren’t sure where to start – from pattern to leather, linen to velvet – not a problem. Again, start with the basics: what kind of usage will the sofa get? If you have kids and pets, consider that as a factor in color and material. Complex patterns are excellent stain and pet hair concealers, vs. a solid-colored sofa. Do have allergies or live in a particularly warm climate? Leather resists allergens and remains cool in warmer months. Do you love feeling soft and sumptuous to-the-touch when sitting on a sofa? Then performance velvet may be your coziest bet.

And, like all upholstery choices, you can order swatches to get a true IRL look-and-feel for the fabric before you commit.


Once you’ve nailed the sofa, you’re onto the accent chairs. By themselves or in a pair, accent chairs not only offer the practicality of extra seating, but also a complimentary design element to any living room. 

Types of Chairs

There are endless styles of chairs that could work in a living room, but three of the most iconic styles are the tuxedo chair, the cocktail chair, and the slipper chair. 

  • The tuxedo chair is sleek, tailored, and timeless. These modern, geometric club chairs are the furniture equivalent to the classic suit. With a deep seat and robust arms, they make the perfect reading chair for cozying up next to a window or a fireplace. They also work particularly well as a home office duo.
  • The cocktail chair is an elegant armchair that’s reminiscent of mid-century cocktail furnishings when entertaining was every day. With a smaller footprint than the tuxedo chair, a cocktail chair is more of a space-saving accent with a fun and versatile flair.
  • Unlike the tuxedo chair and cocktail chair, the slipper chair sits lower to the ground and lacks arms. The slipper chair made its debut in the early 1700s (whose name derives from the spot that women would put on their slippers) and has since become a favorite amongst decorators for its versatility, shape, and size.

Picking the Perfect Accents

The possible sofa / chair combinations are endless, and we personally believe there are no rules or must-follow design trends: only what makes you happy. However, if you’re grasping for a place to start, here are a few interior design guidelines to consider. 

First, scale. Consider size & proportions, so that one piece of furniture isn’t completely visually overtaking the others. In this same vein, consider seat height and try to keep them relatively consistent. You don’t want guests looking up or down at one another during conversation.

And finally, fabric. If you’re aiming for the tried-and-true pairing method, choose complementary fabrics. If you opted for a solid sofa, consider a pair of chairs in a pattern, such as a ticking stripe. Or, if you love a pattern-on-pattern look, choose patterns in different scales from the same color family. And hey – if you want to go for the matchy-matchy looks with the same pattern on each, remember what we said… the only rule is doing what brings you joy!


The ottoman is one of our favorite living room design elements, solely for its versatility. There is hardly a piece of furniture that punches above its weight quite like the ottoman does. Used for sneaky storage, last-minute seating and visual intrigue, the ottoman can also moonlight as an end table, a coffee table and a footrest. Need we say more?

Types of Ottomans

It’s no exaggeration to say that ottomans come in ALL shapes and sizes. In picking the right ottoman (or, pair of ottomans) for your living room, consider first your most functional needs. Is hidden storage important to you, perhaps for those kids’ toys or extra throw blankets? Then a storage ottoman is a no-brainer. If you’re looking for a classic shape that can be easily stowed away under a console for added visual effect when not in use, then a pair of x-benches is your best bet. 

Regardless of the style you land on, one thing is definite: ottomans are better as pairs. If you didn’t have the space for a chair duo, this could be your opportunity to double up. And finally, when it comes to picking a fabric, use the same rules of thumb as you did for chairs above. If you’re choosing fabrics or patterns that make you happy, that will be reflected in your space.

A Debate: Cocktail Ottoman vs. Coffee Table

That brings us to our final discussion point – one where there is no right answer, but that you’ll likely have to consider as part of the finishing touches on your living space. The question becomes: do you opt for a traditional coffee table, or instead use a cocktail ottoman in its place?

As with everything in interior design, there is no right or wrong answer, and each point is subjective. However, there are a few obvious differences between the two that are worth noting. For one, a cocktail ottoman gives you the opportunity to choose custom upholstery for your piece, thus allowing more flexibility to personalize as part of your overall living room design scheme. On the other hand, a coffee table is often wood-based, offering an aesthetic that can’t as easily be customized. 

Finally, the major point of differentiation – and the reason people often opt for the less-traditional cocktail ottoman – is when there are little kids in the mix. As any parent knows, sharp corners are the enemy. Because a cocktail ottoman is upholstered, kids who are just learning to walk (or, when they’re a bit older, using every space in your house as a jungle gym), they’re generally a safer option.