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#048: furniture layout & space planning strategies, plus Tops Tips for Renting Furniture with Kate Sands of Honestly Kate

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In this episode, Cara sits down with Amazon Live Host + Influencer Katie Sands to chat about how fashion influencers her space's style as well as how and why she rents all her furniture. Cara also breaks down furniture planning basics and some pro strategies for space planning that you can use to create a home you're obsessed with.

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Tips for Renting Furniture featured by top home blogger, Never Skip Brunch

in this episode:

✨  The basics of space planning + furniture layout: how to get started intentionally planning your space
✨ Design concepts to work with: Balance lines, Bubble Maps, Activity Zones, Axis lines, Focal Points, Fishbowl Concept, Prospect Retreat concept, etc.
✨ How to plan for traffic flow in your space and why it's important
✨ How to achieve balance in your space and leverage furniture layout and visual weight to achieve a balanced space
✨ Identifying and creating focal points in your spaces and how to plan furniture around them
✨ How to personalize space planning to tailor your room to fit your preferences

Renting Furniture + Personal Style with Katie Sands:

✨  Why Katie chooses to rent her furniture instead of buying using Feather
✨  Katie's strategy for going neutral with furniture pieces then accenting with pops of color to keep your space feeling fresh
✨  Katie's tips for picking our furniture online for your space
✨  How Katie's love for fashion influences her personal style when it comes to her home

 

chatting with...

 

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A post shared by K A T I E S A N D S (@honestlykate)

Katie Sands is a woman of many hats: she’s a successfully-smart entrepreneur, go-to influencer, content creator and Amazon Live’s Style Host.

With over 282K Instagram followers, she is a knowledgeable authority providing daily advice and engaging content on all things fashion, beauty, and wellness. Named the “​Do Good Influencer of Our Time” ​by ​Guest of a Guest, ​she has made it her goal to partner with brands that give back to honorable causes. So far, her collaborations with David Yurman for BCRF, Coors for Change the Coarse, Kenneth Cole for the Mental Health Coalition, and Phat Buddha for JED have helped to fuel cancer research, clean-up America’s rivers, and combat the stigma surrounding Mental Health while supplying young adults with the skills and support they need.

Katie’s gregarious personality and devoted following has landed her as Amazon Live Style Host where she interviews top celebrities and designers, along with lending the hottest fashion tips and wearables. Not to mention, she was selected to be the ​first face of the Glamsquad Hair and Makeup Campaign​ and is the ​first influencer to build a fashion collection ‘for the people, by the people’ – based entirely on her followers’ feedback and suggestions​.

Despite her 24/7 hectic hustle lifestyle, Katie believes ‘to feel good, you must do good’, so in her spare time, she gives back to those in need and uses her platform to inspire others to do the same. She is the ​youngest Make-A-Wish Board Member in the NY Chapter, has donated $40K to Northwell Health COVID-19 Emergency Fund ​and​ live-streamed her personal therapy sessions to raise Mental Health Awareness. Katie’s thoughtful use of her influence has earned her widespread admiration across the globe, and ultimately, her goal is to inspire everyone to curate the lives of their dreams​.

connect with Katie

Instagram: @honestlykate 

 

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EP 48 TRANSCRIPT

...just in case you wanna read

*This transcript was auto-generated

Katie Sands: [00:00:00] I remember when I moved into my apartment that I lived in alone, I ended up buying my furniture and I bought this couch. And it was so expensive. And I just remember thinking this is so ridiculous. I'm spending so much money on this couch I'm probably only going to be here about a year. Why am I spending this crazy amount on this couch? I was thinking in my head, like, I wish I could rent. My furniture, the way like I rent clothes, or I rent some of my designer bags  

INTRO 

Hey, it's Cara  and I'm on a mission to help you find your style. Learn to tackle home design without intimidation and unlock the confidence to transform your home. On the show today, we are talking all about space planning and furniture layout. So the first half of the show is going to be all about interior design basics and some amazing strategies for how to do that better in your space.

And then I'm going to sit down with Katie sands and we are going to talk about an amazing thing she's doing with furniture in her space and something that you might be able to do too. She's discovered a really cool way to try out furniture in her space without committing. And it's really cool. So I'm so excited to share that, but let's first dive under these amazing space planning strategies.  

design strategies

as you know, before we dive into the interview, I give you some quick and practical design strategies that you can use to create spaces, your obsessed with 

Space planning is so important. The way you lay out and plan out your furniture literally changes an entire space based on how you use it, how you walk around it and how it looks. So both function and beauty of your space is totally impacted by how you're planning it out. And this is something I notice a lot of people just getting into design or trying to DIY it in their space struggle with, and that's okay.

Because really you were never taught strategies unless. You went to design school or unless you've taken the time to learn. So my goal with this episode is to really break down some of the concepts that I learned in design school and kind of translate those into how you can do that every day in your home.

Now, first, there are no rules in design. If someone says there are they're incorrect. There are only concepts to play with. And the concepts are just tools to try things and kind of guidelines for things that people generally like that does not mean they're going to be perfect for you, but they're a good starting point and good to kind of understand why they're there.

Cause then you know what you need to do specifically for your space, if that makes sense. So with space planning. You're going to have to measure. I know this is like the least fun part for many of us, but measuring out your space helps you so immensely because you know how much room you actually have when you go to put a furniture piece in, you know, that it's going to fit.

So I would recommend doing this for. Each room and it's just good to have like the general measurement so that you have a framework to go off of. So when you're switching things out in your space, you know what you're working with.  I would make a floor plan for each room in your house, just kind of casually as you are reworking the room or as you get to it.

But basically you want to measure and draw out a floor plan. I recommend doing this super simply just using some graph paper. And I like to follow the scale where one of the boxes. Equals one foot. This is pretty easy to do so just grab that tape measure, measure it out and then draw just kind of that sketch of your room.

 Once you have that drawn, you want to make sure to Mark your openings for doors and windows. So be sure to Mark the places where you're going to be. Coming in and out of the room. And then if you have a door that swings, I don't know if you guys have ever seen a floor plan, but they actually have a little way to draw doors, which I can include a picture in the show notes, but basically it's like a little triangle with a curved area to show how the door swings. That's something you can add to don't feel like you have to that's just helpful when you know, you're placing furniture. So you don't have. Furniture going where a door needs to swing open and be, if that makes sense. 

Once you have your floor plan sketched out to scale, I recommend making a bunch of copies and then saving your original. If you need to change something this way you can draw on all of them. You can draw, you know, a bubble map on one or your furniture on another one, or just different layouts and kind of seeing what the differences would be.

But that way you don't have to re sketch your floor plan. Which I've had to do many times and it's not worth it. So draw at once, make a bunch of copies or even scan it into your computer and use something like Canva. That's really helpful too..

 Now that we have our basic floor plan,  we want to think about traffic flow. So this is the very first thing I recommend because the actual framework, like the actual setup of the space, where the doors are where different elements in the room are, is going to determine how you walk through that room.

 I like to block off. A three-foot box in front of each door slash doorway. So for example, if the door is three feet wide, then I would, my box would be three feet by three feet in front of that door. And that way I know like that is a place you need to walk so we can not put any furniture there. So I like to use a highlighter for this because it's not too dark, you just block it off and then I know, okay, you can't put anything there.

And then if your door is like six feet wide, it would be like, The full width of your door and then three feet out, if that makes sense. So a lot of times you're going to be having more space than this in front of your door, but this is especially important. If you live in a small space, you want to make sure you have that blocked off.

So you're not struggling to get in and out of the room.  Once you have your doors blocked you want to think about how people are going to move around the space. So kind of the go-to concept for design is like a circular traffic flow. So that's why you see, you know, like a couch and there's a coffee table in the middle and you can kind of walk around the coffee table or in a kitchen.

There's an Island. You kind of walk around circular traffic flow means that people aren't really running into each other. There's it kind of flows. When you're walking through it, you can get through the space pretty easily. if it's a room that you're not going to be using very often, so you have open concept, you have a dining room that connects your kitchen and your living room.

You're probably going to be walking just directly through that most of the time. So you want to kind of think about like, what's the most direct path what's going to make it easiest for me to get around in my space. And you can kind of sketch this in a light pencil, or you can just kind of think about it.

But that's something where we're going to want to set up the furniture to support that. So the easiest way to get around in your room, you don't want to block off like the main walkway. And you want to kind of promote that traffic flow. So along this, I want to dive into a mistake, a major mistake people make when laying out their furniture and that is wall hugging.

Cara Newhart: [00:07:24] They set all the furniture placed against the outside walls. All of it.  Basically it's just hugging every single wall. Every single piece of furniture is touching a wall. So this does not create that flow in the space. It makes basically an Island of EMP empty flooring in the middle. There's no traffic low.

There's no like. Clear way to get around in the space and it just kind of feels chaotic. And then you're, you're not using a lot of space, like there's the whole center of the room that's not being used.  When you're laying out your furniture think in terms of furniture, groupings,  a grouping is furniture that you put together altogether  that has a specific purpose. they serve a function and they help support a part of your daily life or a part of your daily routine

So a good example. Is like a couch, a coffee table and a couple chairs, or, you know, maybe an accent chair, a side table and a lamp in a corner. 

 Think in terms of groupings for each room, so larger rooms actually often have activities zones. So that basically means there's different groupings within the space. There's not just one center area where all the furniture is, it's kind of partitioned off.  You might have one main grouping by the fireplace with the couch and everything.

And then in the corner, you have another smaller grouping on one side with maybe a little cafe table and chairs or an accent chairs, or in some huge living rooms you might have like, Two separate furniture, groupings with couches. So like one for the fireplace and another one for the TV. But think in terms of these like activities zones grouping.

So when we talked about, you know, the basics of interior design, and we talked about how we were going to go through and write down everything we want to do in the space before we start. Feeding on Pinterest and finding all that inspo. This is why, because for all of those activities, you would need a different furniture grouping to support that.

So maybe want, you know, a big chase lounge in the corner for reading, maybe you don't read and you want like a little cafe table to enjoy your coffee. So those activities aren't going to hugely impact. The type of furniture that works for you and the type of groupings you need to have. So think in terms of grouping 

and then another good space planning strategy is a bubble map.

 Bubble maps are, if you don't fully know how you want the layout to work, what exactly you want your You know, furniture, layouts to be, but you kind of have the activities you want to do in this space. You can make those activities zones via bubbles. So, you know, a big circle in the middle of the living room.

We want here to be our relaxing couch reading. Main hangout spot than a small bubble in the corner is we want a reading nook or some storage. So bubbling out on that floor plan before you actually like play around with actual pieces of furniture helps you translate like that empty space. Then the traffic flow, then we have the bubbles of where we need to put things and then we can start playing around with actual elements.

But the bubble is kind of the strategy, the high level, like concepts of activities that we're going to do. And that's a really good way to plan it out. And see, okay, do my bubbles look balanced, or am I under utilizing this space?

What could we do here? Do we need another bubble? Does the bubble need to be bigger or smaller? So bubble maps are really fun. You can get colored pencils too, if you want to be really exciting.

Another really like classic design.

Concept is balanced lines. So basically this is, if you're looking down on your floor plan that you drew, you're going to cut the room in half, both ways.  There's like a big X in the middle. There's a line going through you know, each side. So you're making a big X. This is basically going to divide the room into four quadrants.

Each corner of the room has kind of its own quadrant. You can number these there's a lot of like technical design things around like what's number one. And what do we do with each, but you don't really need to know that the point of this is that each of the four quadrants should be balanced. So if you're in a space and you have like, you know, one of the corners has the fireplace, let's say the fireplace isn't centered.

 One of the corners has the fireplace. That's where we put, like our main furniture grouping over there, kind of in that corner. Okay. Well then you have three other squares or rectangles that need something in it for that room to feel balanced. You can't put all the big furniture and the big focal point, just in one corner of the room, that room is going to feel.

Very off balance. So this is helpful because when you're laying out your furniture, you're laying out those activities zones and those furniture groupings, you're really going to look okay. How is each area each quadrant of the room balanced?  This is helpful, just kind of bird's eye view.

Top-down what, where could we add visual weight? Whether that is a piece of furniture, whether that's kind of maybe some built-ins, maybe you could add you know, some cabinets or an accent wall could do that too. Like a big stone accent wall can add some weight. So think about balance and the quadrants are just like an easy way to do that.

in my design school, basically what they did is they gave us this little print out that had like all these little furniture, things like pictures, but they were to scale of the room we drew. So you could cut them out and literally like rearrange them on your floor plan. So that's something I actually really recommend.

If you have like, you know, the size of your furniture, you know, it's three by five, you can cut out on a piece of graph paper, a little thing. That's three squares by five squares. You can label it. You can get crazy in color if you want to. But you can actually move things around and kind of play with it without having to like, actually move around all the furniture in your space that, that shows you how things fit whether or not it'll work. It's really simple, but it's really a good way to kind of play around with things. It can actually be really helpful in terms of visualization. 

Another thing I want to talk about. Is axes. So basically the idea with axes is that you don't want just one side to be the focal point of your space. You want to balance on the other wall.  You're going to draw a line. Through the center of the focal point, like a fireplace or really where you want the focal point to be.

If you're going to set up a TV and kind of like a little piece of furniture, that could be your focal point, but you draw a line through the whole space from one wall to the other, across the floor, and this is your axis. So this is going to help you set up your furniture in a way that it's like centered.

On that focal point. So, you know, your couch could be centered on the fireplace and then the line continues across to the other wall and you need to put something there. So it doesn't feel heavy on one side where the fireplace is. And light on the other. So the very best example I can give you to visualize this is in a bedroom.

 The focal point in a bedroom is often the headboard because the bed is like the whole point of the space. So when you draw that access through the headboard, you draw across to the other wall and you need to put something on that other wall. So that often looks like a dresser. You know, maybe there's a TV on top of the dresser.

Maybe there's a big mirror artwork. But you find a lot of times it's like bed and then dresser across.  That is why they're doing that because that creates balance from one set of the room to the other. And don't get hung up on these terms, like balanced lines, activities, zones, access, like. You don't need the terms to be able to implement these concepts into your space and how have it changed the game for your space planning and your furniture layout?

Just kind of take like the concept that they're trying to achieve. So all access means is that you want to mirror things. When you have a focal point, you want to make sure to have something on the other wall across from it. If you have a bunch of stuff in one corner of the room, you want to make sure you're spreading things out throughout the space so that it feels.

Balanced. If you have furniture groupings, you know, In the middle of the room, what are you doing with the corners? How are we filling those out in a way so that everything doesn't feel like heavy in the middle? And then same with like the furniture hugging thing we talked about where,  the middle is empty.

We don't want that either.  Really it's about balance and it's about how you're walking through the space and the activities you're doing in this space. So just keep yourself centered on that when you're thinking of this and don't get too hung up on the lingo. Cause it's only there to help you understand the concept.

Okay. There's a couple more really fun design concepts that I want to tell you about. And the first one is called the fishbowl or displacement concept.  If you just imagine your whole room as a fish bowl filled with water, and I guess you're the fish in this analogy.

But when you put something in. Displacement happens. It pushes water up and out of the bowl. You know, this, if you've ever filled your tub too full, but basically you don't want to overfill the space.  If everything is too full, there's not going to be enough water for the fish to swim around.  You need to have enough empty space or enough air.

So don't overfill your space.  Thinking of it as a fishbowl and thinking every time you add something in, so like chandelier, Bookshelves tables, coffee tables, decor. It's going to push some of the water out and just make sure you don't overfill your space. And then this is when I really, really resonate with, but it's called the prospect and refuge theory.

 This is the idea that every space needs to have a refuge. So a cozy place to relax, like a furniture arrangement.  Somewhere that is. Kind of more enclosed feels tight and cozy and where you can kind of sit and feel grounded and then it needs to have a prospect. So some sort of view to the outside world.

 This could be a window. It could be a focal point, like a fireplace with art or a mirror on top. Just something where you're not facing a blank wall. You're kind of looking out into the world in some way, whether that's through art, through a window through a patio. But this for me is a really good way to think about balance because it's not just about like the items you're putting in the room that balance it it's about like the experience being balanced.

 You want that cozy, close, tight, you know, everything you need is right around you. You have a little furniture grouping that you can do the activity you need to do in, but then you can look out and there's. A view or there's kind of an experience of the outside world happening through the decor through the window or through, you know, maybe just how, where things are facing in the space, how you faced the couch.

Another example of this would be maybe you have a reading chair in the corner and maybe it kind of looks over across the living room, into the kitchen. But just things are facing somewhere where they feel cozy and enclosed. And you have everything you need right there, but then you have space to kind of look up and enjoy the view.

So it's very simple, but I think it can be a game changer if you're struggling to translate furniture, groupings into like an experience in this space. Okay. Another thing that's super important with space planning and furniture layout is scale. The easiest way to explain how this could go wrong is if you have a ginormous room and you put a bunch of tiny furniture, it's going to look wrong and a tiny room with a bunch of huge furniture is also going to look wrong.

It's like the Alice in Wonderland effect where she was like way too big for the house, if that makes sense. So basically you want to make. They make sure things are appropriately sized for this space. And this means measuring and planning ahead, but there's also like a visual element to this that can be tricky where things like look bigger or smaller.

I'm sure you've seen those like brain vendors where it's like a picture and it's like, which one's larger. Just kidding. They're the same size. And you're like, what? Because our brain plays tricks on us. So there's ways to kind of use that to our advantage. So one example of this is that vertical lines tend to dry your eyes up and horizontal lines tend to draw them across.

 you know, this, if you're in vested in fashion, like wear vertical stripes to look taller and horizontal stripes on areas you want to make look wider. That's kind of like a funny fashion role, but it's really true. Cause it's kind of how our eyes work to follow lines.  A really cool example of this would be lighting.

So let's say you're designing a room and you want a light on either side of the bed and you want to save space on top of your nightstand. So you're thinking, okay, let's put a light on the wall.  If you use. Sconce lights that come out of the wall that maybe have a bendable arm, that's going to be a horizontal line.

So that's going to draw your eye across, which can be really good if you're putting art in the space and you want your eye to be drawn around. Or you could install some pendant lights on either side of the bed, which is like what I have, and that's going to create a vertical line. That's going to draw your eye up.

So that would be really good for accentuating high ceilings. Or if you kind of have an accent wall going on, you want people's eyes to be drawn up. it's not just when it comes to. Like, you know, wallpaper prints or accent, wall trim or that kind of stuff. It's also like the specific elements that you're putting in the room that create those lines.

And when you're planning your space, you want to think through that because you know, shorter couch with a really low bar rock is going to give a strong horizontal line and it's going to be scaled down differently. Whereas if you have a taller couch, Or maybe even a piece with fluting that goes up and down, that's going to create vertical lines.

And that draws your eye up. So thinking about the lines in your space and on your furniture actually is going to change the vibe of the space in more ways than you realize, because it's subtle, but your brain pays attention to those. Okay, let's dive into three more tips. And then I'm going to go over some questions.

You should ask yourself when you're creating your own space plan to help you dive in and apply these to your own space, but some more tips real quick.  Number one, if you have a small space, you can actually borrow space from the outdoors.  If you really leverage your window, you make sure to hang your curtains super high.

And wide so that you're not covering up the window. You really set up your furniture to be kind of facing, or have a view outside the window. It's kind of like an uninterrupted view or sight line. That's going to help your space feel bigger. So you can borrow space from outside. You can borrow in quotes space from adjoining rooms by kind of doing the same thing 

and then in terms of visual weight, so things look heavy if there's a lot of it. So if you have a couch that is huge and all one color, and it's so cozy and you love it. And it's the perfect color that still can look really heavy because there's a lot of it in the space and one place, it looks kind of like a blob of one color in the middle.

 You can break this up. By, you know, a colored or a textured throw that you put on different throw pillows, maybe a tray. So the way you style your furniture. Is also going to impact the visual weight of that furniture. And then scale and materials are two other things that really impact visual weight.

 Scale, if you have like a, you know, chair with big flowers on it, that's going to look bigger and heavier and louder. Than a chair with a more subtle floral print with really tiny flowers and then materials. So if you have a basket pot for a plant that's made out of stone, that's obviously gonna look heavier than one that is a basket.

 Thinking through where do you need to balance your space? Where are things seeming light or feeling heavy based on where you placed your furniture, then you can go back through and think of, okay. How can I add heavier elements over here to make the room feel balanced? So maybe I put a stone pot in that corner that doesn't have the, you know, the TV and the fireplace going on because it needs a heavy visual weight going on there. So think about balance in terms of. The actual size of the items you're putting in this space where you're putting them, but also visually how heavy they look, are they really loud and bold? And they're going to pull your eye over there and be heavy, or are they subtle and gentle and they're going to kind of not contribute.

A lot of weight to the room.  This is like a fun design concept to play around with, because it's something that you really have to move things around in your space or mood board to kind of see how it really works, but it's kind of wild when you really dive into it. You see how things look  heavy or look light depending on the material, the pattern, the color and playing with that is really kind of some of the details that make your space look next level and look designer when they say design is in the details.

It's like these kinds of details that we're talking about, how you're playing with proportion and scale and weight and color and all of that stuff.

So today's guest is Kate sands, who is an Amazon style host and influencer. She lives in an apartment in New York city, and she has found a way to rent her furniture instead of buying it to make everything super easy when it comes to moving and relocating, but also so that she could swap out pieces whenever she wants and really be able to capitalize on trends.

She's loving. So we're going to dive in, talk to her and learn all about this process. Not only that we talk a little bit about her personal style and how fashion influences her interior design style. Let's dive in and talk to Katie.  

 INTERVIEW 

so today I have Katie with me and Katie has some amazing information on decorating in 2020 and how to rent your furniture. We'll get to that in a second, but first welcome, Katie.

Katie Sands: [00:25:10] thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to just get right into it. And no one's ever asked me about my furniture.

Cara Newhart: [00:25:17] Oh my gosh, I have so many questions. So you live in an apartment and I just want to kind of get like a glimpse into your personal style. How would you like describe your style in terms of your home?

Katie Sands: [00:25:31] Ooh. So I definitely think my style, my interior style is very similar to. My fashion style. I like, I don't really try to follow any type of trends. And I don't really look at trends when it comes to interior design or fashion design. I try to really stick with just things pieces I'm drawn to. I'm definitely drawn to more a modern aesthetic in my home with pops of color here and there. Like, I love fun popper and I really use pop art and young emerging artists to decorate. But when it comes to my furniture, I really stuck with neutrals things that looked modern, but super comfortable. I'm not drawn to anything that, doesn't look like I can fall asleep in the chair or couch.

It has to be super comfortable and Cozy because I live in a one bedroom apartment in New York city. So if my furniture is not comfortable, I'm not going to be comfortable in the space at all.

Cara Newhart: [00:26:26] Right. I love that approach so much. I love that you're like, I'm going with whatever I love.  Cause I feel like it's so easy to get wrapped up in trends. Would you say it's like it was a journey to kind of get to know your personal style or was it something you always kind of just went with what you loved and comfy and color and that was it.

Katie Sands: [00:26:45] I kind of feel like I always have just gone with what. I loved S similar to my approach with fashion. Like I've always just been drawn to unique pieces and abstract pieces and. My mom growing up, designed our house and people would always come into our house and say, who who's the interior designer who decorate your house?

It's so unique and different and pieces I've never seen before, but that are really inviting and look like a home. And I think I definitely picked up a lot of what she did because it was always just her on her, her own, going to antique shows and finding special pieces here and there. And she has a great eye for putting things together with both art and interior. Furnishing. So I feel like I definitely must've picked it up from her growing up.

Everyone always wanted to come to our house. Cause it was just the most inviting and welcoming. And I think that has of course, a lot to do with the family, but a lot to do with like the surroundings and where you walk into and how inviting it feels.

Cara Newhart: [00:27:46] Oh, I love that. Yeah. Making your home inviting is like, I mean, that's like my huge goal. All my decor is like not only a house I love, but a place I want to share with others. So that's really beautiful.

Katie Sands: [00:27:58] I feel like it's the so similar to fashion style as well. Like I feel like there are so many. Influencers and creators out there where their style is so cool and unique, but it's so intimidating because it's super high end designers and it's not attainable. And for me, when I came into that space, I always wanted to be like the opposite of that. The girl that. You felt like you could go to, and not her clothes were attainable because I just always, I'm not someone who ever wants to make someone feel intimidated or that they can't come up to me or they can't dress like me.

Like to me, it's like, no,  you want to feel like you can get your hands on it yourself, which is. Also kind of the impetus for why we rented our furniture and all the design and our apartments, all, something that I can like link up to that people can buy.

And they're not going to break the bank by doing it.

Cara Newhart: [00:28:49] I love that so much. And this conversation specifically is exciting to me because as listeners know, I started out as a fashion blogger and yeah, really didn't like that world of being like, I don't know everything looking expensive and luxury, and  I love how your reaction was to just go against that and just go, I'm going to be the opposite.

And that's going to be my thing. I like jumped ship and went into DIY. But along like the fashion world, when you're at like New York fashion week, and you're looking at trends and all these designers. Is there anything about that that you take home? And you're like, Ooh, I could do this, but in my house, like it's not something I'd wear, but it's like a way that I could stay on my house.

Is there any like fun things that have inspired you on the fashion side?

Katie Sands: [00:29:35] definitely. I feel like, you know, with fashion, I've always been drawn to abstract pieces and unique pieces. And I was that girl in high school that like, didn't follow the dress code whatsoever. And I would come in and like pop, like pop of neon colors. And our dress code was like to wear skirts to our knees.

So I would have like a high end, low skirt that was like higher on one side. But the other side went to Miami. So I feel like for fashion week and when I do see as so many of these creators in these high-end outfits and couture outfits, it's definitely inspiring and I love it. And I'm like, how can I bring that down to my level?

 And I feel like in my home, I try to do that as well. I have so many interior designers that I follow on Instagram and just follow their story and their life that I absolutely love, but I could never buy the pieces they share show.

And that's why I love your account as well as you're like, this is how you can do it yourself and actually bring it. Into your own house. Like, and I think that to me, the people that I know that are DIY wires and can make things their selves and make it so beautiful and unique. And then it adds not only, you know, you're not breaking the bank that way, but it adds more special element because you have like a story behind it now.

Cara Newhart: [00:30:50] Mm, I love that. Yeah. I think we're moving so far away from like trend, trend, trend, and more into like story and meaningful pieces. And especially with like a small space, like things. If they're going to exist in your home, they have to serve like a really good purpose. Otherwise they're just cluttering it up.

So I totally totally resonate with that. Okay. So one of the most exciting things is that you have found a way to get really gorgeous, expensive looking pieces in your home without having to buy them. And that way is that you rent your furniture. This is something I have never heard of anyone doing besides like stylists that like are staging a home for sale for real estate, but you rent.

Furniture in your apartment that you live in. So I want to unpack all of this, but first of all, how did you learn? That was like a possibility.

Katie Sands: [00:31:42] It's so interesting that I feel like this is such a novel concept because it was to me as well. Going back a little further. I have lived in two other apartments in New York city when I graduated college and moved back to New York city that I did not rent furniture, that one I lived with roommates and we all split the furniture.

And it was cheap furniture from Ikea. And then I moved into my own apartment where then I decided to apply my own furniture from a mixed between  in West Elm and all the popular places. And I, first of all, was spending a fortune. I didn't even know how expensive furniture was because living in a college dorm prior that wasn't even something that came into my mind that you have to actually spend money on your furniture.

I know it sounds so silly now, but I never, it never crossed my mind before. And when I lived with the roommates, we split furniture, which definitely wasn't the smartest idea, because then when you move out, who takes what.

Cara Newhart: [00:32:46] Right.  

Katie Sands: [00:32:46] And we ended up trying to sell some of our furniture, which we got pennies for.

And the other furniture either ended up with one of us and we need to buy the other ones out. And then like ended up at our parents' home and it was just like such a mess. And then I remember when I moved into my apartment that I lived in alone, I ended up buying my furniture and I bought this couch. And it was so expensive. And I just remember thinking this is so ridiculous. I'm spending so much money on this couch and I had just met my boyfriend and I was like, I'm probably only going to be here about a year. Why am I spending this crazy amount on this couch?

I was thinking in my head, like, I wish I could rent. My furniture, the way like I rent clothes, or I rent some of my designer bags, or I'm not supposed to use the word rent, but I borrow I don't know why the word rank get such a bad reputation in subscription models. I actually don't have any, like, I think the word rent is like a positive, so that never made sense to me, but also I'm not in marketing, so I'm not

Cara Newhart: [00:33:48] Right,

Katie Sands: [00:33:51] but I do like borrow tons of my designer items.

Like all my Chanel bags, I borrow and I was like, I wish you could do that with furniture. And this startup called feather arose and My boyfriend, Brian and I started running, doing a lot more research into it. I think they had like two employees at the time or something.

We're like, this is the coolest concept. This is a dream concept. The fact that I now just bought all my furniture, spent a fortune. It's probably not going to fit in my next apartment. Look good in my next apartment or something that I would even want in a few years, because I'm so someone that doesn't like to spend crazy amount of money on. Expensive items because I'm someone who likes to go through the, I wear the outfit a few times. I take my photos and then I'm over it still. Why would I say

Cara Newhart: [00:34:40] new and

Katie Sands: [00:34:41] it's not? And I ended up always giving my clothes to my younger sister or my friends because I'm someone who just like I get over material items very, very fast.

So I was like, I can't believe I'm spending so much money on this. And so when we heard about feather, we started doing the research into it and my boyfriend actually left his company that he was with and decided to work with feather. And he's been there since the beginning. And so we decided to kind of be their Guinea, pigs and rent.

All the furniture go online. Well, we moved into our apartment together and kind of be like their test run. And we, I, I could not say enough incredible things about it. We moved into a new apartment within a week. I had picked out different furniture items from the website just by measuring myself around the apartment.

That I thought would work well. And what I was most upset about was they had the couch that I bought from less

Cara Newhart: [00:35:45] gosh.

Katie Sands: [00:35:46] on the website. So I was like, I just spent so much money and I could have rented this couch. I will ever, it was like until I buy a house or an apartment, which I definitely don't see happening, at least in the near future, I will never find my furniture again.

Cara Newhart: [00:36:05] Why would you, yeah.

Katie Sands: [00:36:06] rent it. Yeah. You can rent it and you can pick the specific amount of months that you want to rent it for. You can, you can also trade in if the piece doesn't work and try different pieces. They also will bring you like a few more pieces.  When the delivery Two men were at our apartment.

Like some stuff didn't fit or didn't look good. And they just took it back in the truck with them. It was kind of like no hassle. 

Cara Newhart: [00:36:28] And just looking at your apartment, I was like looking at the blog post you had, and it's gorgeous. Like your coffee table is so, so pretty. And it all looks so expensive, but you're not buying it. So it's like totally within reach.

Katie Sands: [00:36:42] Oh my gosh. And do you want to hear the funniest thing about the coffee table? So the coffee table. Yeah. I is my favorite piece in the apartment. I love it. It looks like a tree stump, but it's super lightweight. Like I can just pick it up and move around if I have to clean my carpet and it looks so heavy, but our best friends actually just moved into an apartment like a year before and they have it, they bought it at first full price and we rent it and they're so upset about it.

Cara Newhart: [00:37:12] Right. Oh my goodness. So just to give listeners an idea, how much does it cost to rent, like your whole apartment full of furniture, like per month,

Katie Sands: [00:37:22] each piece of furniture I want to say is a different price point. So you pick out your, your furniture and then it calculates it. So I think everyone's price point is actually going to be different. And of course, the longer you rent the furniture for the bigger of like a discount, the brand, the brand gave us. So I don't know exact amounts with the price point, but I know that each piece, each item is a different price.

Cara Newhart: [00:37:50] yeah, so it'll just depend on like how big your space is, how many pieces you pick. What do you pay a month? If you don't mind me asking?

Katie Sands: [00:37:57] So we pay, I, I want to say I'm like looking back, I'm pretty positive. I pay one 90 a month.

Cara Newhart: [00:38:07] Okay. So not bad at all.

Katie Sands: [00:38:09] Yeah. Not bad at all. And actually another interesting fact about our furniture because now we've had it for a year. We extended it because we were only supposed to have it for six months and then we extended our apartment lease. And so we were just able to keep the furniture, which was really nice. It's whereas like some other subscription models, like a rent, the runway, or some others that I work with you have to get the pieces back by a certain date or you're fined for it.

You can't like extend, but this week we had the option to extend if we wanted to, without like having a date where we had to like switch it up or give it back, which I thought was really nice. And because we've technically had our furniture for over a year now, if we. Wanted to, we could keep the furniture because we technically, since we paid certain amount each month, we own it now.

Cara Newhart: [00:39:05] Oh, that's so cool that, that counts to like being able to keep it. If you fall in love, you don't have to like give it up , do you have. Any tips for how to choose stuff for your space without ever seeing it. I know you said you measured and you kind of just matched it up that way, but do you have any tips, especially when it comes to like couches and big pieces 

Katie Sands: [00:39:25] Yes. Okay. So  I knew I needed bar stools. I had a trick, this was like one trick that my grandmother actually taught me that you always.

No matter the height of your bar, like your kitchen bar or your Island, you always want to feel like you're sitting under it. So always go for the lower option of the bar stool, not the higher option, even though you might think you want to be sitting higher up you always, the comfort is key. So I thought that was a good trick.

Cara Newhart: [00:39:56] That is really good.

Katie Sands: [00:39:57] And then for just picking out the furniture, it's so important you measure, I was always someone that like, was I in different pieces, in different places? And I was like, Oh, I ever really got up.

I know that will fit there. That doesn't work. That does not work. Like I can do that maybe. And with my clothing and my accessories, it definitely doesn't work for, for mature. You have to have. Very specific measurements in order to pick out certain furniture. So once I got measurements for our living space, then I knew how I was able to fit my couch and what size rug I could order.

And what if I could fit one chair, two chairs. I've always like been drawn to people's apartments and homes that have very mix and match shapes. So I knew if I had very structured. Arm chairs in the living room that I was going to want a circular coffee table and that it shouldn't be all like square and structured that you want the way to make people feel more invited into your home is to give them more than I think mixing shapes gives you that feeling of work.

Cara Newhart: [00:41:04] Oh, I love that so much. I'm a texture girl. So anytime we can mix things up and add a lot of texture, I'm all in so that I like totally resonate with that. As a tip, like mix, make sure shapes change it up, get away from the boxes. And I really love how your approach was to go neutral with like the furniture and the bigger pieces, and then have those pops of color that is like perfect for people like us that like to switch it up and have a fresh look. So you can totally switch out the colors like seasonally or based on your mood.

I know my favorite color changes every day when you ask me. Yeah. So that's such a good strategy. Do

Katie Sands: [00:41:41] I feel like, and I love collecting designer pillows and. Being like really, you know, I have these old Sony pillows that I got for like 70% off at a discount store and they're really fun pops of color. And I got four of them so that I can mix and match the colors in the spring and the winter. And it's just fun for me to like, play around with color.

So it was super important, like you said, to just keep everything Alice, very neutral so that I didn't constantly want to switch up my furniture.

Cara Newhart: [00:42:12] So, so true. I totally feel you there. Well, perfect. Okay. So I'm going to link everything about feather in the description. So everyone can go research that, figure out how to rent their furniture. That's going to be a game changer for so many people.  So where can everyone connect with you? I'm assuming Instagram is your main place to find you, or

Katie Sands: [00:42:32] Yes. I feel like I use my Instagram to connect with my audience the most, just because that's where I can like answer DMS quickly. So definitely on my Instagram, it's at honestly, Kate and I do have a blog as well.  And that is, I am honestly, Kate, just in case people didn't know.

Cara Newhart: [00:42:51] No, that's amazing. So everyone head over there ask all your questions about renting furniture, tune into her show, bother her in DMS. Sure. You'll love that. I know I do, but yeah. Thank you so much for your time. This was seriously so cool. 

Katie Sands: [00:43:05] Thank you so much for having me. I love talking about this. I can't wait to listen to all your other episodes because now I'm so curious what other people are doing. It's such a new world for me to just step into like the DIY and design world. And I feel like now I'm getting it. I feel like I'm going to be going to like Michael's and all those stores, and now buying everything for me to do myself after I stock your entire page.

And Brian's going to be like, what is happening?

Cara Newhart: [00:43:30] I love that so much. Well, if I do anything right, it is that, that is the result. And I have diy-ing  things. So fingers crossed. We'll get you there. Yeah. I love it so much. 

Hashtag obsessed. 

For this week's hashtag obsessed segment. I thought I would give you my list of questions that I love to run through when I'm doing space planning.

This is something I've built over time. I'm obsessed with this process, and I think it will be super helpful for you. So here's questions you should ask yourself when space planning or trying to work out your furniture layout.

Okay. So with the understanding that this is a process, it is something we are playing around with over time. It's not going to be a before and after that's super quick, let's dive into some questions.

So you can kind of dissect your own space and use some of these concepts in it. So we already started with the question, you know, what are you going to be doing in this space? Those activities are really going to drive. The furniture you put in there and how you lay it out. Another really important step too.

And this is something we do in design is like dive into what they call like a lifestyle questionnaire, where you ask your clients about their life.  How big is your family? How many people are going to be in here? Do you like to entertain? But just thinking of your space, like, do you entertain, does there need to be enough seating when people come over that.

You know, there's plenty of space, so that could look like a big enough sectional that could look like having poofs that you store under the coffee table that you can take out when people come over. And so those kinds of furniture, strategies, and layout strategies are really going to change the space, because if there's not enough room for people to sit, you have to drag chairs from the dining room.

There's all kinds of little nuances that that could create when you're not intentional about it. And this goes down to, you know, just even your family living in this space. Are there going to be multiple people in that same room where you're going to want to be doing different activities at the same time?

And how can we set up our furniture to make sure everyone has space to hang out and do you know their different activities together. So is there enough space on the couch for everyone to sit in their corner with their iPad and have a place to plug it in? Is there, you know, the reading corner. That you can sit in while someone watches, TV, how could we partition the space so that someone can work and have a work from home space in the corner.

And it's kind of feels isolated from the rest of the room. So thinking about how your family. Is going to function in this space, how many people are going to be using the space alongside those different activities,

it's people living together. So how does that impact your space planning then when you're assessing your furniture? What existing furniture do we want to use in this space that could be in the actual room or from other rooms that we want to rearrange and repurpose.  What furniture do we have that we like then?

What furniture do we need for these activities? And thinking of that multipurpose situation, how can we make sure that we have options in the room so that when activities change, more people come over, we can kind of do simple tweaks of like moving the little Ottoman to convert the space, add more seating.

Can we move furniture in or out of the room to other areas of the, of the house. So, you know, maybe we're grabbing those chairs from the dining room, or maybe where. Moving something against a wall to create more space or a dance floor. So. Think about your furniture as kind of being in flux. It's not something that you just sit and it's stiff and it's done.

It's something that you're living with. You're moving around. You're using aside from just like using it in the place you put it and it's frozen forever. And that's kind of like a pro level design strategy is I see a lot of people like set it and forget it with their furniture, but furniture is meant to be.

Moved and used, especially some of the smaller pieces, especially things like dining chairs. And it's not meant to be like frozen locked into the space. How do you want the room to feel? So, yes, this is when we get to start getting into the aesthetics part and not talking about just function. You know, what textures do you want?

Does it need to be light and airy or cozy or maximalist or minimalist? But. Along with aesthetics. It's also the types of furniture we're choosing. So kind of back to the fishbowl concept. If we overfill the space, it's going to feel very maximalist. Minimalist spaces are very underfilled. You know, if we're adding a lot of.

Very soft textures that will feel more cozy versus harder. Texture, sleeker textures are going to feel more modern. So our textures on our furniture and our layout is definitely going to give the space a certain field before we even talk about like color and decor elements. 

Where are my existing focal points so focal points are often architectural things that are just built in. So we talked about the fireplace a lot. Windows can also be a focal point arches interesting areas in your space that are unique. Whether that's texture or a certain wall or cabinetry, a bar different things like that can be focal points.

 You want to kind of look at like, what do I have built into the space? That's a focal point. And then how. Do I balance that? So like on the other side of the room, what do I make placing so that the room feels balanced and then do I need to create focal points?  This is a really good example for a bedroom.

When a lot of bedrooms you're walking in, it is blank. It is empty. You have a window, a closet and a door. Where are you creating the focal point? Because you don't have to necessarily use the window as the focal point. That can be kind of like a supportive area of interests, but the focal point is something that you can actually create.

You can see. Set up a gallery wall or a mirror or a really beautiful piece of furniture. That's kind of, you know, anchors the space and has that weight and creates the focal point. So what ones do you have and then where are you going to create them? Do you need to create them? And if so, where is that going to be?

And the final question is, do you like symmetry asymmetry or some sort of combination?  This is really important because this is so personal. This is when design decisions become personal. There's not one right way to do it. Things do not have to be symmetrical. They do not have to be asymmetrical. This is totally personal preference, but you know, if you do something on one side of the room, are you also going to do it on the other to create that symmetry that you love?

Or do you not want things to be matchy? And you're going to go just very unique and unexpected with the space. So this is something when you're thinking about your furniture and your space planning, like, do you need to buy two? Do you need to mirror things or are you just going to kind of make it unique?

And different different experience in each corner of the room. So think through that, that could be one of the most important things to think about, because that is so personal, whether you like those clean lines, that symmetry, or those unexpected elements, or a combination between the two

SOCIAL MEDIA

    if you're not already, you need to get it together and follow me on Instagram. That's where the party happens. Every day, it's where you can see me do all of my projects and DM me with your questions and your spaces and all of that fun stuff.

So hop over to Instagram type in neverskipbrunch and follow me so we can be friends there and talk more than just once a week.

OUTRO: [00:51:03] thanks for listening. If this is your first time listening in, be sure to hit that subscribe button so you can stay in the loop with the newest episodes. If you're a subscriber and you like the show, be sure to rate, review or screenshot and share your favorite episode on social.

p.s. This post may contain affiliate linking for your convenience. These links don’t cost extra for you to use + I always share my honest opinion.

I'm Cara, the designer & diy queen behind Never Skip Brunch. I'm a color & prints obsessed DIY queen who's here to help you create a beautifully lived-in life through home design advice and chic DIY tutorials

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