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An A-to-Z Guide of the Different Types of Tables

When decorating your home, important pieces of furniture to consider throughout your home are tables. Smaller tables offer you a surface to set drinks and eat, stack books, and place accent lighting. Larger tables are made for gathering with friends and family. You might be surprised at just how many tables you need throughout your home though. There are so many different types of tables out there!

But what are they and where should they be used in your home? Let us be your guide. We’ve put together this shopping guide on the different types of tables to help you identify what tables you may need throughout your home. (Along with plenty of bedroom and living room design ideas along the way!)

side table with vase

Accent Table (AKA Side Table)

An accent table or side table sits next to a piece of furniture a person would sit on—like a chair, sofa, or even a bed. These tables offer some practical convenience, meant to keep items like lamps, books, and beverages within easy reach while you’re seated. Accent tables come in many styles, shapes, and sizes to satisfy all design and practical needs.

Things to Consider When Buying an Accent Table

  • How much function do you need to get out of it? Buy one big enough for what you use it for. Like enough surface space for books, beverages, accent lighting, and a bit of decor? Go for a larger accent table. Just want a surface to set your drink? Stick with a side table that has a smaller footprint. And don’t forget to consider drawers and doors if you want a little extra storage space.
  • How tall is the seat it’ll be placed next to? Make sure the height is right and you’re able to reach items on the tabletop when sitting. A good rule of thumb is that the table should be level with the seat or the arm of the sofa/chair it’s next to!
  • Do you want to go bold or straightforward with the design? Accent tables are less expensive than most other furniture and can easily be moved to different rooms as your style changes—so they’re a great way to add some flair to your interior. As such, don’t be afraid to go bold or try something unexpected!

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Bar cart woven stools

Bar Cart

A bar card is—surprise!—a cart used to make and serve drinks from, as well as store bottles and glassware. Typically, bar carts have two or three shelves, with the top shelf being a mixing station when actively in use. The lower shelves house liquor or wine bottles, mixers, glasses, decanters, bar tools, and anything else you might need to mix a drink!

Often, bar carts will have wheels, which allow them to be easily moved around for entertaining purposes. However, most of the time they stay in one place. They’re most commonly housed in a living or dining room for ease of use. Bar carts can be small and round or large and rectangular; what you choose depends on how you want to use it, how much storage space you need, and what style you prefer.

Things to Consider When Buying a Bar Cart

  • Where will you keep it? Depending on if you want it to be used inside, or outside on a porch or deck, you may want to choose different materials.
  • What will you be using it for? If you’re using a bar cart as a truly functional drink-mixing station, you’ll want to make sure it has plenty of surface space and bottle storage. But if it’s more of a decorative table within your space, you can choose a more style-forward piece.
  • Do you need wheels or can it be stationary? This simply dictates what style you look for. If it can be stationary, this opens up more options to explore!

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bedroom with green walls and nightstand

Bedside Table (Or Nightstand)

Bedside tables are tables that sit beside your bed that house things you need from bed—like books, glasses, a water cup, lighting, and perhaps a few decorative items. If you live alone, you may only have one nightstand, but many people opt for one on each side of the bed. Since this is a piece of furniture that’s about function first, they typically offer some sort of storage (whether a drawer or shelf) to optimize functionality.

Need some help finding the perfect nightstand? Check out our bedside table buying guide.

Things to Consider When Buying a Bedside Table

  • How tall is your bed? This will dictate how tall of a bedside table you should choose. Typically, a nightstand should sit just a bit lower than the top of your mattress so that tabletop items and lamps are comfortable and easy to reach.
  • How much storage do you need? Are you someone who likes to have lots of items close-at-hand when you’re in bed? Or are you more of a minimalist? This will dictate how large of a bedside table you choose, if it has open or closed storage, and how large of a tabletop it has.
  • Do you want matching nightstands? While a matching set is probably the most common design choice out there, you can also opt for mismatched nightstands for a more eclectic look or to bring in some variance to your bedroom’s design.

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tulip table and wingback chair

Bistro Table

A bistro table is a small table that’s typically 30 inches tall, with a tabletop that’s 24 inches or less in diameter. These tables are used for the purpose of dining, cafe-style, with a small meal or just a beverage. Bistro tables are great for small spaces—like balconies, eat-in kitchens, as a dining table in a studio apartment, or in a large living room to create a coffee nook!

Things to Consider When Buying a Bistro Table

  • Do you want a full set? Many bistro tables come with matching chairs (or have matching chairs available to purchase separately). But you can also mix and match table and chair styles as you please to create a look that’s all your own!
  • Where will it be used? Where you place it will impact the style of bistro table you choose. They can go in any of the spaces we mentioned above—and bistro tables are also a great design hack to fill out a bay window or awkward, unused corner!

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c-table over velvet sofa

C Side Table

This side table is named for its shape: inspired by the letter C! C tables have a base that can slide under a sofa or chair, while the top acts like a tray. This is a great table style for small spaces, since you can tuck it snugly into your seat—meaning it essentially takes up no floor space. But C tables are also great if you’re just looking for some versatility! They’re like grown-up snack tables or a mini desk which can move around your living room as needed. We love that they don’t take up a lot of space but provide surface space for eating, drinking, and working from a seat.

Things to Consider When Buying a C Table

  • What are the seat heights of your sofa and chairs? Find a C side table where the tabletop height is comfortable for use when you are sitting. This is especially important when using it for working, since you’ll want to tuck your legs underneath when using it as a computer table!
  • Do you want it to serve as a stationary table? Though one of the benefits of a C table is how easily it can move around your room, these side tables can also be used as stationary tables. However, they tend to have less surface space than your average side table—so they’re typically a bit too small for holding lamps. If you’re looking to put heavy objects on a C table, just make sure it’s sturdy enough to hold them.

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living room with mustard velvet chairs and white sofa

Coffee Table

A coffee table is a low table that is designed to sit in the center of a seating area in a living room. Specifically, coffee tables tend to be centered on your sofa—placed with enough room for walking between the two pieces of furniture, but close enough that you can easily reach anything on the table. One of the top essentials on our living room checklist, coffee tables offer the convenience of a place to add decor and books, set your drinks, and even gather around to play games.

Coffee tables come in many shapes, sizes, styles, and materials. You can explore our guide to coffee table shapes and the many different coffee table materials. Plus, check out our dos and don’ts when picking a coffee table.

Things to Consider When Buying a Coffee Table

  • How large are the other pieces of furniture in your seating area? When choosing a coffee table, you want to make sure it’s in proportion to the sofa and chairs it will be surrounded by. You also want to make sure it’s sized in a way where there’s room to walk around it without bumping into other furniture and that it’s the right height in comparison with your sofa. (The top of the coffee table should be level with cushions or slightly lower.)
  • What functions do you need from your coffee table? Consider what you need from your coffee table: Storage? Style? Kid-friendly? Extra seating? Coffee tables are hero pieces of the living room that see a lot of action—so consider all the variables before committing to your table. (If you’re looking for extra functionality, consider some coffee table alternatives as well.)
  • What’s your budget? Coffee tables can be expensive! But they also tend to be pretty durable. So, think of this as an investment piece that will set the tone for your living room. Bonus: they do tend to retain their value, so you have the flexibility to sell it second-hand in the future.

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Console table with bowls and circular mirror

Console Table

Console tables are both decorative and functional. Since they’re narrow and unobstructive, they work perfectly along the wall in entryways and hallways—offering a surface for trays, lamps, and decor without becoming a tripping hazard by impeding the walkway. They’re also a great piece to use behind a floating sofa and can be used in place of a larger credenza or media cabinet in small spaces.

Many console tables have drawers and a lower shelf, for a bit of extra storage space and surface area—but some only offer the tabletop.

Things to Consider When Buying a Console Table

  • What are your needs for the space? If all you need is a surface space for lighting, you can be pretty flexible in your choice. But if you need drawers for storage or need one that’s narrow enough if it’s for a small hallway, you’ll want to consider those limitations and needs when shopping for a console table.

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tall kitchen table with stools

Counter-Height Table

A counter-height table is a mix between a traditional dining table and a bar table. The surface is as high as a kitchen counter (about 36 inches) and they’re paired with counter stools for seating. This is a great dining table option in a small apartment. The height keeps a small space feeling open—and the tabletop can double as extra prep space since it’s counter-height!

Things to Consider When Buying a Counter-Height Table

  • How many people need to sit around it? Counter-height tables tend to have smaller surface areas—seating anywhere from two to six people max, depending on the size and shape. (Though you can find some that are larger.) You’ll also need to get counter-height stools to go with (regular dining chairs will be too short), so need to factor that in as well.
  • Do you like formal dining? Counter-height tables have a more casual vibe, so consider if that’s right for you! Because of their casual nature, these pieces actually work best as kitchen tables or in open living/dining rooms.

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white desk in gray office

Desk

Desks are pieces of furniture used in home offices as a workspace. And they come in many shapes, sizes, and styles! From crafting, writing, or working on computers, there are desks for all working needs. Some writing desks are minimal in design and are simply a tabletop on legs with no storage. Other desk styles have tons of built-in storage for office supplies, paperwork, and files.

Need some help finding a desk for your home office? Here are six tips for choosing your perfect desk.

Things to Consider When Buying a Desk

  • How will you use the desk? Do you need storage space? How much surface area do you need? Thinking through what you need out of a desk will help you narrow down your options!

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natural wood dining table with woven leather dining chairs

Dining Table

No surprise here: a dining table is used for dining. But there is quite a bit of variety when it comes to dining tables. Dining tables can be round or square, oval or rectangular. They can  be small and seat only 2-4, or they can be extra long and seat up to 20! Most are somewhere in between, and some dining tables even come with leaves to extend the size and seat more people when entertaining. And, of course, you can find dining tables in just about any design style, made from a variety of materials.

Dining tables are a big investment, and a major piece of furniture in your home. If you need a little extra help thinking through your options, check out our guide to dining table shapes, sizes, and materials. And, to make sure your table’s style coordinates with the rest of your home, read our post on dining table styles. And, since you need dining chairs to go with your dining table, feel free to check out our guide to different types of dining chairs.

Things to Consider When Buying a Dining Table

  • How many people need to sit around it? It’s great to be able to comfortably seat your family, along with a few extra guests. So, think through your typical dining group size, and choose a table size based on those numbers.
  • Do you entertain often? Look for tables with extra leaves so you can size your table to your group size every time.
  • How durable does it need to be? If you have kids, you’ll want to go for a more sturdy and durable material—and one that’s easy to clean!

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home office with antique style drafting desk and black wall sconce

Drafting Table

A drafting table is a type of desk that’s similar to a work table (more on that later in the post)—but rather than a stationary top, drafting tables have tops that can be adjusted to different angles. Also known as drawing boards, drafting tables are traditionally used by architects and engineers. But they’re also perfect for a home office or workroom for someone who simply enjoys sketching, painting, crafting, or wants an adjustable surface!

Things to Consider When Buying a Drafting Table

  • How much space do you have? Drafting tables can take up quite a bit of space. Not only do they tend to have large table tops—but they need a bit of extra space to allow for adjusting the angle of the desktop.

side table next to chaise

Drink Table (AKA Martini Table)

A drink table—or martini table—is a small, round accent table that is placed next to seating, like a sofa or chair. As the name suggests, its primary purpose is to hold drinks. Quite a bit smaller than your average pedestal table, drink tables can typically hold just one or two drinks. These tables are great for small spaces where you don’t have room for a full-sized accent table, or next to a chair in any room where you want a surface to set a drink!

Things to Consider When Buying a Drink Table

  • Will it offer enough surface space? Drink tables are quite stylish and functional—but they’re not meant for more than one person. So, when choosing one, make sure it will have enough surface space for your needs. (These tables definitely don’t have enough room for a table lamp—so keep that in mind!)
  • Do you have kids? Though drink tables are typically weighted at the bottom so they don’t topple over, they’re not a good option for homes with small kids, since they do topple more easily than the average accent table.
  • What’s your budget? Because they are smaller in size, drink tables are often less expensive than full-sized accent tables. Just be sure to consider the trade-off in surface space when buying one of these. We’d hate for you to expect a full-size table and wind up with something that can only hold your martini!

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rustic side table with glass lamp

End Table

An end table is a small table used in a living room that visually serves as an “end cap” to a larger piece of furniture in this space. Most often, end tables come in pairs and are meant to be used on either side of the sofa.

The main thing that differentiates end tables from accent tables is that end tables typically have a distinct front and back (whereas accent tables can be used from any side). They’re also usually placed against a wall rather than paired with a floating sofa.

Things to Consider When Buying an End Table

  • How tall is your sofa? End tables should be the same height as the arm of your sofa—so make sure the height is right for the sofa it is next to.
  • How much surface space do you need? If you want to max out on surface space, end tables are a good option, since they’re often larger than accent tables. They offer plenty of surface space for lighting, drinks, books, and more!
  • Do you need storage? Many end tables have drawers, which are great for stashing remotes, extra coasters, and candles. However, not all end tables have drawers, so consider your living room storage needs before shopping!

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small kitchen-table

Folding Table

Many types of tables can be folding tables, but the most common is a folding dining table like the one pictured here. (We’re not talking about folding card tables, like the ones your grandma always kept in the basement—though those are technically folding tables as well!) What we’re talking about here is a dining table (often round in shape) that has sides that fold down. (Sometimes these are called drop-leaf tables.) Folding down one or both sides of the table saves space, allowing it to be pushed against a wall or even stashed in a large closet when not in use. Folding tables are great for dining in small spaces, for use as a kitchen table, or for occasional entertaining needs.

Things to Consider When Buying a Folding Table

  • How often will you need to fold and unfold it? If you’ll rarely fold down the leaves, it might be worth getting a fixed table instead. However, if you live alone or with one other person, you can save space day-to-day by having the sides folded down, while having the option of expanding it to its full size when having guests over.
  • How heavy is it? This is something to consider if you’ll be moving it from room-to-room for entertaining purposes!

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Office with drafting desk

Game Table (or Card Table)

As the name implies, game tables are meant as a surface for playing games. Some game tables have built-in elements for specific card or board games. (The one pictured above has chip slots for poker, plus cup holders!) Others have a plain vinyl gaming surface, gaming table covers, or reversible tops where one side is for gaming and the other is a solid surface to be used as a dining table. (This third option makes for the most versatile table!)

Game tables will typically need to be large enough where you can fit all the players of your preferred games comfortable around the table. We also recommend pairing game tables with comfortable upholstered chairs that are on casters!

Things to Consider When Buying a Game Table

  • What games will you play? If you enjoy a wide variety of games, go for something a bit more versatile, without specific game built-ins. But if you have one specific game you play with friends, look for a table that’s made more specifically for that game.
  • What’s your budget? Game tables can be quite expensive—so this is probably a piece of furniture that you won’t casually incorporate into your home. It’s an investment piece and worth finding one that will suit your needs for years to come.

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club chairs by fireplace with side table

Tray Table

A tray table is a small, collapsible or foldable table. Typically used for serving and eating food in a living room (think: 1950s TV dinner trays!), tray tables are easy to use for different functions. But we especially love them as a snack table for movie nights or between two accent chairs for a cozy coffee nook!

Tray tables come in a variety of styles—ranging from super simple, like a typical TV tray, to more elaborate and decorative, like the one pictured above.

Things to Consider When Buying a Tray Table

  • How will you mainly use it? If you’ll be using the tray top to carry food and drinks between the kitchen and living room, you’ll want to look for one with a fully removable top that’s easy to reattach vs a folding tray table where the top is attached to the base.
  • Will it be an occasional or permanent fixture in your space? If you only plan on pulling out your tray table for a movie night, you can go more simple and functional in design. But if you plan on leaving it out, go for a more stylish design that complements the style of your room.

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desk used as vainty

Vanity

A vanity is a dressing table that’s used as a place to do hair and makeup and put on jewelry. These tables often look like small desks and typically have small drawers for storing dressing items. Vanities are accompanied by a mirror and a stool that slides underneath, so you can sit down in front of the mirror while getting ready. Some come with a mirror attached, and some even come with a stool—but others have each piece sold separately.

Vanity tables are usually placed in a bedroom—though if you have a separate dressing room, a large walk-in closet, or even a large bathroom a vanity could also go in any of these areas.

Things to Consider When Buying a Vanity Table

  • How much storage do you need? If you want to keep makeup and hair tools nearby, opt for a style with drawers so you can tuck things away once you’re ready for the day.
  • Do you want one with an attached mirror? Many vanities have built-in triptych mirrors to make it super easy to get ready. But some require you to purchase a mirror separately. This, however, gives you the flexibility to choose whatever style of mirror you prefer!
  • Does it need to serve a secondary function? Not everyone has the luxury of having enough space for a dedicated vanity. If you need this piece to serve double-duty, you can combine this piece with a desk if you also need a home office space but don’t have room for both.

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home office with dark grey wall and natural wood working desk

Work Table

A work table is used for working on large-scale projects or for spreading out to collaborate. Offering a larger surface area than a typical desk, these tables are great for when you’re working from home with multiple monitors or if you have a child who loves to “work” alongside you.

Things to Consider When Buying a Work Table

  • Will you be using it just for work or will it need to dual function? Since these tables offer so much surface area, sometimes you can sneak in a secondary function with a large work table. They work great as dining tables and would also make a great table for working on a puzzle!

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Shibori: How to Decorate With This “It” Pattern

Is your home in need of a visual pop? Something to enliven a room or add some extra flair? Whenever we feel like our homes need a little something new to freshen up the vibe, we bring in some new patterns to the space. And one of our favorite patterns and decor trends for warm-weather months is shibori.

Eclectic living room with leather sofa and marble coffee table

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What is Shibori?

As a word, shibori is a verb that means to wring, squeeze, or press—which makes sense when you discover how shibori patterns are created. It’s a Japanese manual dyeing technique that dates back to the 8th century which produces a number of different patterns on fabric. (Though it’s generally thought of as a Japanese dyeing technique, shibori also has a history in Chinese culture.)

Shibori is reminiscent of tie-dye patterns and is most often created with deep indigo dye on crisp white fabrics. There are six main techniques used to create shibori patterns, each of which results in a different style of indigo dye patterning. Some techniques are very reminiscent of how we tie-dye fabrics at home, while others are more involved and are created by folding fabric and clamping it together between two wooden blocks.

Regardless of technique, shibori patterns turn out best when it’s used with strong, durable-but-pliant fabrics like canvas. (But we also see it on cottons and linens as well!) The prints and patterns that are created are usually derived from geometric patterns or shapes. However, because of the way the pattern is created, it takes on an organic, one-of-a-kind design.

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How to Decorate with Shibori

There are so many fun ways to incorporate shibori patterns into your home—from small to large pieces! Today, you’ll see shibori used in a variety of styles and applied to numerous home decor items. This pattern brings an eclectic twist to coastal designs, which we love. But those with more modern styles can also embrace shibori as a way to add a pop of color and print to their space. And it’s a great way to add a bit of global flair to any home!

Scroll down to see some of our stylists’ favorite shibori home decor!

Modern grey sofa with beach artwork and shibori patterned pillows

Shibori Accent Decor

Throw pillows are one of our favorite, easy ways to add shibori home decor to your space. (And a favorite spring decor update since pillows can easily be swapped out. They’re a fun way to add color and pattern to your living room or bedroom without the commitment of keeping those patterns in your space forever. This is also a great way to give shibori a try if you aren’t totally sure it will jive with your space or style!

You can also find shibori patterns applied to other textiles, like curtains, bed linens, poufs, and even rugs! While shibori-patterned rugs aren’t often dyed using the traditional methods, they’re woven in a way that mimics the organic, unique nature of this pattern.

Mid-century living room with blue sofa and rust colored accent chairs

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Shibori Wall Art

Art and wall hangings are another great way to embrace shibori home decor. Antique Curiosities, a brand in the Modsy catalog, has a beautiful collection of framed shibori-dyed fabric that’s beautiful as a piece of solo art or hung in a collection, since each piece has a unique dye pattern! We also have a few tapestries with shibori-inspired patterns, which is perfect for those looking for decor ideas for large walls!

Shibori upholstered swivel accent chair

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Shibori Patterned Furniture

Modsy’s own Ravine Home furniture line even has accent chair upholstery that mimics a shibori pattern. We love this for those who want to decorate with shibori patterns year-round and make a larger statement in their space! And you won’t just find indigo dye coloring; Ravine Home’s shibori patterns also come in ink, brown, coral, and a bluish-green.

Shibori Tabletop Decor

You don’t have to limit the use of shibori home decor to upholstery! We love how a shibori pattern is applied to the mug and bowl in the products below—adding a pop of color and pattern to your tabletop any day of the week!

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Furniture Shopping Guide: When’s The Best Time to Buy Furniture?

If 2020 caused you to take stock of what’s working in your home and what it’s lacking, 2021 may be the right time to pull the trigger on some new furniture to help your home be more stylish and functional. But it’s no secret that good furniture can be quite the investment. However, it’s not impossible to find furniture that suits both your style and your budget!

If budget is a factor when shopping for new furniture, it’s worth strategically planning your purchases throughout the year. Because different types of furniture and decor tend to go on sale at different times of the year, so there are better times to purchase certain items.

Shopping for a specific piece of furniture? Be sure to check out our interior design buying guides for the full scoop on sofas to side chairs!

In general, the furniture industry operates on a spring and fall schedule, with their biggest collections launching biannually. So, if you want to save some money, shop right before new styles hit retailers—in January/February and August/September. These are the months that retailers tend to discount their stock to make room for new collections. President’s Day and Labor Day sales tend to coincide with these seasonal patterns, which means these are some of the best across-the-board sales of the year.

If budget is less of a concern, you may want to consider shopping in March and September, when new collections launch, so that you can choose from the broadest (and newest) assortment of furniture and decor.

Today, we’ll walk you through the best time of the year to buy furniture—from being mindful of annual sales to knowing when new collections typically launch. Keep reading for our month-by-month breakdown!

Best time of year to buy furniture

January

After the rush of the holidays, when many households buy new furniture for hosting guests, January tends to be a slower month for furniture sales. Because of this, retailers often put furniture on sale in January. This is also a time of year when they’re clearing out inventory before their spring collections launch.

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Notable Sales

Keep an eye out for New Year’s sales at the very beginning of the month. Many brands also run big sales around MLK Day.

It’s a great time to buy…

Bedding: Bedroom furniture, as well as sheets, linens, and other bedding tend to be a focus in January and February.

Office Items: Some retailers also put office items on sale in January to coincide with New Year’s Resolutions involving organization and productivity. So, you’ll see a lot of organizational and storage items on sale this time of year.

Holiday Decor: In early January, you’ll see holiday-themed decor go on major sales. Retailers are looking to clear out their holiday inventory. So, plan ahead for next year and stock up on lights and decor at your favorite big-box retailer or department store so you’re ready with a fresh look next holiday season! And if you’re in the market for some post-holiday winter decor ideas, we can help you there as well!

Best time of year to buy furniture

February

February is the month that many furniture retailers are clearing out inventory before spring collections launch. So, you’ll see plenty of furniture sales, especially around President’s Day. Sometimes retailers will even start to preview their spring collections or pre-launch certain items. So, if you want to jump on a new collection, keep your eyes peeled in February.

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Notable Sales

You won’t want to forget about President’s Day sales, which tend to be fairly robust!

It’s a great time to buy…

Textiles: Retailers often focus on bedding and other home textiles in the month of February, with smaller sales accompanying this focus.

neutral color scheme modern dining room with sleek stone dining table and black dining chairs

March

March is when new spring collections launch—so you’ll see a lot of fresh furniture and decor hitting stores this month. If you’re not as concerned about shopping sales, this is a great time to get in on fresh, new merchandise.

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It’s a great time to buy…

Seasonal decor: Whether you simply want to refresh your home with some new spring decor or are in need of some kitchen items for hosting Easter or Passover meals, March is a good time to make these purchases.

Best time of year to buy furniture

April

Outdoor furniture collections often launch around April, making it a great time to get your outdoor spaces ready for the summer. It’s also a great time of year to do some spring cleaning and give your home a little refresh with some new greenery, window treatments, and lightweight fabrics!

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It’s a great time to buy…

Lightweight textiles: Strip away those heavy winter wools and knits and make space for linens and other lightweight and gauzy materials. April is the perfect time to switch out winter blankets, drapes, and bedding for fabrics that are light and airy, and more suited to the warmer months.

Best time of year to buy furniture

May

May is a big sale month, with most mainstream retailers hosting robust sales around Memorial Day. This is a time of year when many people pull the trigger on new sofas and other large furniture items. With the school year ending around this time, this is also when “moving season” is in full-swing. So, it’s also a great time shop secondhand.

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Notable Sales

Memorial Day sales start in late May—and they tend to offer huge discounts.

It’s a great time to buy…

Big-ticket items: With Memorial Day sales, it’s a good time to buy big pieces of furniture like sofas, beds, and furniture sets. Memorial Day sales generally include all types of furniture!

Second-hand furniture: Since this is a time of year when many people move, many people donate or sell old furniture around this time of year. So, if you’re looking for budget-friendly second-hand items, this is a great time to snag some great used items.

Best time of year to buy furniture

June

June means that school’s out for the summer! So, it’s a great time of year to dive into summer decor and take advantage of sales on outdoor furniture and rugs.

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Notable Sales

Some retailers will start big Fourth of July pre-sales in late June, so keep your eyes peeled.

It’s a great time to buy…

Summer decor: Not everyone switches out their decor seasonally—but if you do, June is the time to bring in the summer decor. While furniture retailers generally have larger spring and fall collections, they’ll often release smaller collections of summer decor in May or June.

Best time of year to buy furniture

July

The Fourth of July is—of course—only four days into the month, but that’s when the biggest sales of the month occur. And, although July is when summer is at its peak, it tends to be the time when early Fall decor and back-to-school items start hitting stores. So, it’s a good time to start assessing your home office needs for the fall.

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Notable Sales

Retailers generally host sales the days leading up to the Fourth of July, as well as the weekend (or weekends) surrounding the holiday.

It’s a great time to buy…

Outdoor furniture: With retailers wanting to clear out their outdoor furniture inventory by the end of the summer, the Fourth of July tends to be when they start putting outdoor items on sale. The 4th of July through Labor Day is the best time to get good deals on outdoor furniture. (And sometimes some indoor furniture as well!)

Best time of year to buy furniture

August

By August, back to school “season” is in full swing. This means figuring out what office furniture and organizational pieces you may need for the new school year. It’s also when new fall decor collections officially launch, so you can get inspired by seasonal trends.

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Notable Sales

Many retailers have smaller End-of-Summer sales, a time when they really clearance outdoor furniture. Depending on when Labor Day falls, you may also start seeing pre-Labor Day sales start in late August.

It’s a great time to buy…

Office furniture: With the new school year looming, you may realize your child needs a desk for a dedicated homework space, or that you’re in need of additional organization in your home office. Some retailers have office-specific sales in their end-of-season sales, otherwise you can generally find good discounts on office furniture during Labor Day sales, so August is a good time to assess your needs.

Fall decor: Want to refresh your decor for fall? Start shopping in August so that fall decor isn’t picked over or sold out by the time you actually want to decorate for fall!

Outdoor furniture: If you didn’t pull the trigger in July, but still want to purchase some outdoor furniture, make sure to shop for it in August, before inventory is cleared out. This is when you’ll find the best discounts on outdoor items, making it one of the best times to buy these pieces.

Best time of year to buy furniture

September

September is when everyone is getting back into their school-year routines—and realizing what furniture pieces they need for a productive work-from-home or homework space. Some retailers start releasing holiday products as early as September. And speaking of the holidays—this is a good time to look ahead and assess your needs and holiday and hosting season looms closer.

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Notable Sales

Labor Day sales—like Memorial Day sales—tend to feature big discounts on almost all furniture categories.

It’s a great time to buy…

Large furniture: Anticipating hosting for the holidays? With production and shipping lead times, the discounts you’ll find during Labor Day sales makes this one of the best times of the year to purchase any big furniture items you’ll need in time for the holidays. This could be anything from storage furniture or a new guest bed to a dining table and extra seating.

Best time of year to buy furniture

October

October is when retailers tend to launch their holiday decor collections—and it’s also the perfect time to start thinking about your holiday hosting needs. Whether you need new furniture or want to refresh your decor before guests arrive, plan ahead so you’re not left scrambling at the last minute.

It’s a great time to buy…

Tabletop decor: With the holidays approaching, it’s a great time to purchase anything you may need for holiday hosting. From new dinnerware and serving dishes to candle holders and centerpieces, now’s the time to prep for holiday hosting!

Dining furniture: Didn’t order furniture during Labor Day sales? If you still need a dining table or chairs for holiday hosting, don’t wait past October. Order this month to make sure your items arrive before your guests.

Holiday decor: If you want new holiday decor this year and don’t mind paying full-price, now is the time to buy, before holiday collections are picked over and start to sell out.

Best time of year to buy furniture

November

For many retailers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren’t just two days of big sales—they’re sales that now start before Thanksgiving and often bleed into December. These sales can be a bit overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for. So, spend early November doing some planning ahead so that you know exactly what you’re looking for when the sales begin!

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Notable Sales

When it comes to November sales, it’s all about Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

It’s a great time to buy…

Large furniture: Not concerned about getting new furniture in time for the holidays? Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are a great time to make larger furniture purchases.

Fall and Halloween decor: After Halloween, retailers dive head-first into the holidays. So, if you want a good deal on Fall or Halloween decor for next year, hit up your favorite stores in the first week of November, when retailers will be clearing out their Fall and Halloween inventory.

Holiday decor: Take advantage of Black Friday sales to get some good deals on new holiday decor!

Best time of year to buy furniture

December

In December, many retailers have sales going on throughout the month. With a focus on gifting, these sales are often on smaller items like decor and art. But, after the holidays, the focus tends to shift toward organization and storage furniture as people make resolutions for the new year.

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Notable Sales

While there are often sales going on throughout the month, many retailers have large end-of-season sales post-Christmas.

It’s a great time to buy…

Holiday decor: After Christmas, retailers put holiday decor on clearance—so it’s a great time to scoop things up for next year.

A Quick Recap

If you’re looking for indoor furniture, shop President’s Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day sales. Specifically, February and August tend to be when retailers are discounting inventory to make space for their new spring and fall collections. Specifically, living room and dining room furniture tend to be on their best sales in the winter months, and office furniture is often discounted at the end of the summer for back-to-school sales.

For outdoor furniture, it’s all about that time between the Fourth of July and Labor Day.

Of course, if you can’t wait for a big sale, many retailers have smaller sales going on each month so you can get at least a bit of a discount! Pro tip: If you start a Modsy design project, you’ll have access to a diverse array of brands, and we guarantee that you’ll find the best price if you shop through us! Affordable interior design and access to great sales year-round? Now that’s a win-win.

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Lighting Checklist: How to Choose a Lamp for Any Room

Lighting is a crucial part of every room in your home. But it can be challenging to know exactly what lights you actually need in each space. Table lamps or floor lamps? A pendant or track lighting? Directional or ambient? Since every room differs in its function, what it requires in terms of lighting varies as well. On top of that, every home and person is unique—so what works in a living room in one person’s home might be totally different than what works in another.

However, there are some general rules you can follow to help you move in the right direction. And we’re here to lay them out for you! Read on for our ultimate lighting checklist, with a room-by-room guide to what lighting you need in each space. (And check out our Lighting buying guide for a full run-down on the many different types of light fixtures you can use throughout your home and how to budget for what you need!)

How to choose a lamp

Essential Entryway Lighting

Entryways are the first thing a person sees when they walk into your home. So, you definitely want to make an effort to make it feel warm and inviting! Good lighting is key to making this happen. For an entryway that’s at least somewhat—if not completely—separated from your living space, you’ll want to incorporate some overhead and ambient lighting. But if your “entryway” is simply three square feet in the corner of your living room, simply incorporate it into the rest of the living space, in terms of how you use lighting.

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Pendants or Chandeliers

Overhead ambient lighting, in the form of a pendant or chandelier, can hang from the ceiling in the center of your entryway space. This will effectively light up the entire area, so you can see while putting on or taking off shoes and coats.

Table Lamps

If you have a console table in your entryway, we love including a table lamp in the room design—in fact, it’s an essential element in our entryway checklist. This adds a touch of accent lighting, and offers a softer light that you can leave on when you leave your house. It also gives you a bit of light when you come home, before you turn on the overhead light! In addition to offering accent lighting, a table lamp can also be a stylish, sculptural element within your entryway.

Sconces

A wall sconce is a great option for smaller entryways, where you don’t have space for a console table and table lamp. It offers all the benefits of a table lamp, but since it’s attached to the wall, it takes up less space.

How to choose a lamp

Essential Living Room Lighting

Living rooms are the heart of a home and the space where so much action takes place. From watching TV and reading to game nights, conversations, playtime, and homework, these spaces are major workhorses in the home. So, when it comes to living room design ideas, good lighting from a multitude of light sources is key, so that you have the right amount of light throughout the day. This is a space where you want it all—ambient, accent, decorative, you name it. This will give you maximum flexibility in creating the right mood for your space all day long.

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Pendants or Chandeliers

Not every home has a pendant or chandelier in their living room—but if your space is wired for this, it’s a great way to add overhead ambient lighting for use throughout daylight hours. Overhead lights are especially great in the morning to help complement natural lighting and brighten up your space a bit more.

Track Lighting

Some living rooms have track lighting rather than a pendant or chandelier. With track lighting, you can have each light face the direction you’d like—highlighting artwork, bookcases, or offering directional lighting to specific areas of your room. Track lighting is also fairly easy to install if it’s not already built-in to your space.

Floor Lamps

If you want warmer, moodier lighting in your living room as the day wears on, floor lamps are a great lighting option. Floor lamps project light throughout space, and depending on the shade and shape of the lamp they can offer focused task lighting or act as ambient lighting in your space.

Table Lamps

In a living room, table lamps can sit on a side table and offer lighting to a reading corner or as additional lighting when you’re lounging on the sofa. Or these living room lamps can be placed on a credenza or console and used as accent lighting to simply better layer the lighting in your space.

Sconces

In a smaller living room, sconces can be used instead of floor or table lamps to offer layered or directional lighting. However, sconces are also great in larger living spaces as simply another layer of lighting. We love using them to highlight paintings or flanking a fireplace for a more formal look.

How to choose a lamp

Essential Dining Room Lighting

Dining rooms are centered around gatherings with family and friends. They’re spaces where meals are shared and memories are made. In a dining room, you most definitely want the ability to light up your whole space, so that every meal-time is well-lit. But the ability to create moodier lighting in the evening allows you to change up the vibe and make the space feel a little more special.

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Pendants or Chandeliers

Wondering what key pieces make a dining room really sing? Check out our dining room buying guide. But we’ll give you a teaser: ambient overhead lighting can really make or break this space. A pendant or chandelier in your dining room not only acts as your main light source—but it’s also a great way to make a stylish statement in the space. And, while overhead lights light up mealtime, they also offer the ambient lighting needed for homework sessions and crafts. However, we love when overhead dining room lights have a dimmer switch so we can turn down the intensity of the light in the evening.

Table Lamps

If you have a buffet or credenza in your dining room, we recommend placing a table lamp on top. This accent light offers more nuanced lighting in the space in the evening. You can also use it to highlight decorative objects on the same surface.

Candles

Candles can happily be used in any room of your house. But in a dining room, we view taper candles as a necessary light source. Lighting candles for dinner creates a moodier—sometimes even romantic—vibe for the evening meal. You can opt to only have them out for special occasions, or you can light candles for dinner every night for year-round hygge!

How to choose a lamp

Essential Bedroom Lighting

Bedrooms transition from bright morning getting-ready spaces to cozy dens of relaxation at night. So, when considering bedroom lights and lamps for bedrooms, layered lighting is so important. You’ll want to make sure you have several bedroom lights throughout your space to transition the lighting throughout the day.

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Bedside Lamps

At the top of the list of essential bedroom lighting? Bedside lamps. At the end of the night, when you’re tucked in bed, you don’t want to have to get out of bed to turn off the lights (and risk stubbing your toes on the journey back to bed!). Having bedside lamps within arms-reach will save you hassle and stubbed toes!

Task Lamps

If you like reading in bed, you might want to consider a task lamp rather than a traditional bedside table lamp to serve as your reading light. This gives you the ability to change the angle and direction of the light so your book page is perfectly illuminated! If you have a small home office space within your bedroom, a task lamp on your desk is also essential.

Floor Lamps

Other bedroom lamps to consider? Floor lamps. Using these in your bedroom is a perfect choice if you have a seating area within your room. Placing a table lamp next to an accent chair not only creates the look of an intentional arrangement, but it offers additional lighting for when you’re reading or scrolling on your iPad—morning or evening!

Sconces

In a bedroom, we love sconces for a bit of extra light above a dresser, as well as another alternative to traditional bedside lamps! At your bedside, opting for a sconce saves surface space on your nightstand and can make a stylish statement. Above your dresser, it can illuminate any products atop your dresser as you get ready in the morning and add a nice glow to your bedroom in the evening.

How to choose a lamp

Essential Home Office Lighting

Home offices are all about productivity and creating a space where you can get in the zone. And the lighting you have in this space has a big impact on your focus and energy levels. Ideally, you’ll have some natural lighting—but the light fixtures in your home office should be geared toward illuminating your space in a way that helps you effectively get work done.

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Desk Lamps

In a home office, we recommend opting for a task light for your desk lamp rather than a more traditional table lamp. In fact, task lighting is one of our home office “must-haves” in our home office buying guide. Why? This type of lamp allows you to have more control over the angle and direction of the light, so you can put a spotlight on whatever you’re working on. If you have a lot of video calls, work the angle of your task desk lamp and make the most of the natural light in your space for optimal video call lighting!

Flush-Mount Lights

While you may not need a big statement chandelier in your home office, it is nice to have an overhead light in your workspace to keep things bright and cheery. In a home office, we’d do a simple flush mount light to give ambient light to your whole space, with your task light as a supporting lightsource.

Floor Lamps

Having a floor lamp in your home office simply offers an additional light source to your space. If you have a seating area within your home office, incorporate the floor lamp into that area for use as a reading light. Otherwise, floor lamps can sit next to a bookshelf or file cabinet to offer additional light where you might need it.

Looking for expert help finding the perfect pieces for your home beyond lighting? Explore all of our interior design buying guides for advice on sofas, beds, dining tables, and so much more!

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Why Are Rugs So Expensive? A Guide to Buying Your Next Rug

image of a bedroom with different rugs swapping in and out under the bed

If you’ve done any internet browsing for rugs, you might have stumbled across the fact rugs are, more often than not, really freaking expensive.

Even if we exclude handmade oriental rugs, which can easily fetch upwards of several thousands of dollars, a standard 8×10 rug from popular retailers can still cost you a month’s rent. We’ve had more than a couple customers ask us, “Why are rugs so expensive?” But then, occasionally, you’ll stumble across area rugs for under $200. So, what gives? Is a rug’s price totally arbitrary?

The short answer: No. While area rugs cost anywhere from $100 to over $2,000, there’s actually a lot that goes into the production of a rug that is reflected in the price tag. What’s it made of? Where is it made? How big is it? Are we talking machine-made rugs or hand-tufted and hand-knotted rugs? Rugs made of synthetic materials or natural fibers?

To help shed some light on the subject, we’re taking a look at all the reasons why rugs are so expensive. We’re hashing out what factors make up a rug’s price so you can decide which are important for you and ultimately figure out how to choose a rug for your space.

Need help finding the perfect rug for your space? Start a Modsy design project and see expert designs set in your exact room in stunningly realistic 3D! Our designers will show you rugs that fit your style and budget and you can see how they fit in your space.

Coastal living room design with a blue rug, white sofa, and wooden coffee table

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Factor #1: What the Rug is Made Of

What a rug is made of matters. The material a rug is made of will determine the quality of the rug and affect how long it lasts. The main difference between materials often lies in their durability and clean-ability. Materials that are more durable, as well as those that are more difficult to source, drive up the price of the rug.

Rugs are most commonly made of either natural fibers—like wool, cotton, or silk—or synthetic materials, like nylon or polyester. Since the natural fibers in these rugs involve a growth process, these rugs tend to be more expensive. Curious to learn more about different rug materials? Here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of each material, which can help you decide between natural versus synthetic rugs.

Wool

A sturdy natural fiber, wool rugs are generally a more expensive option. This is because wool rugs last for decades, are highly durable, and keep their color and pattern over time. (Just a few of the benefits of wool rugs!) In general, wool rugs have a softer and more plush texture than their synthetic counterparts.

Cotton

Soft and fluffy, cotton makes for very soft rugs. Cotton rugs are easy to clean, but they lack the durability of wool and even some synthetic fibers. Because of this, they’re not great for high-traffic areas. But they’re a great option for homes with kids and pets! And if you want a rug made of natural fibers, these are less expensive rugs than wool or silk.

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Jute

Jute rugs tend to have chunky weaves, offering a lot of visual texture to whatever room they’re placed in. A material that’s naturally light brown, jute can also be dyed in a variety of colors. However, this material does shed quite a bit, which might bother the neat freaks. Two other materials of natural fiber rugs that are very popular are sisal and seagrass, which have the same natural woven look as jute, as well as a ton of durability.

Silk

Second to wool in their durability, silk rugs are coveted for their high-shine and luscious texture. Steering away from a super expensive rug? Skip the silk. Silk rugs tend to be extremely expensive and they require professional cleaning—so, not the best fit for homes with kids, pets, or rooms with heavy foot traffic.

Nylon

A less expensive and synthetic alternative to wool or silk, nylon is known for its durability. This makes it a good choice for high-traffic areas. Conversely, the material is highly absorbent, meaning a nylon rug can be easily ruined by spills.

Polyester

Another inexpensive synthetic option, polyester (or PET) is a less absorbent material, rendering it more stain-resistant. It’s also the most eco-friendly synthetic option, as PET is made of recycled plastic bottles! That said, polyester is a less durable material, and rugs made from it tend to have a shorter lifespan.

Polypropylene

A great synthetic-fiber dupe for wool, polypropylene rugs are soft, sturdy, and affordable. And they’re also stain-resistant! However, they’re the chemicals they’re treated with to make this happen are of concern to some households.

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Factor #2: What the Rug is Dyed With

Fabric dyes are a really important factor in the price of a rug. Rugs are generally given their color with either natural dyes (usually vegetable-based) or chemical dyes.

Natural dyes tend to be more lightfast, meaning they will not fade over time. This plays into a rug’s durability—and therefore impacts the price. Rugs dyed with natural options also take more labor to produce, making them more expensive.

Chemical dyes are a much cheaper alternative and result in very vibrant colors. However, depending on the dye and method of the dying process, these options tend to fade much quicker (even after a few months of foot traffic and sun exposure).

 

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Factor #3: How the Rug is Made

The rug production process, or the method by which a rug is made, is also an important factor in determining its price. A rug can be completely handmade, fully machine-made, or a mixture of the two.

The more expensive options tend to be loomed by hand and can take days to months of labor to complete. Often, these are referred to as hand-knotted rugs. These rugs contain a high knot count, which results in that amazing plush texture and their rich colors. Handmade rugs are more durable and can last decades if cared for properly.

The alternative to costly handmade rugs are machine-made or power-loomed rugs. While they tend to sit at a lower price point, these options have a lower density of knots and a looser weave, causing them to be less durable in the long run.

You may also hear the term “hand-tufted rug,” which is a process of weaving a rug partly by hand and partly by a mechanized tool.

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Factor #4: The Rug’s Size

It might seem obvious, but the larger the rug, the higher the price point. That’s because rugs are priced by the square foot or square meter. The natural result? Larger rugs will be more expensive. Check out our rug size guide if you’re wondering how to choose a rug size.

Factor #5: The Rug’s Country of Origin

In the rug industry, labor costs and the skill of workers varies quite a bit. What does this mean for how much rugs cost for the consumer? Consider this: a hand-knotted rug made by a third-generation rug artisan in Morocco will cost more than an area rug that’s power-loomed in China, where a specialized skill set isn’t required and labor costs are lower.

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Other Things to Consider When Rug Shopping

The Ethics Behind Rugs

Another component behind the cost of rugs is the ethics behind their production. Rugs made in factories with child labor are able to be sold at an extremely cheap price point. Before you purchase a rug, consider doing a bit of research on its production methods.

Value Over Time

While not so much a factor in the cost of a rug, another point to consider before you make a purchase is that rugs keep their value over time.

Like investing in a piece of art, high-quality rugs, when cared for properly, will last for decades and can be passed down as a family heirloom. They can even be resold later and retain much of their original value.

But you may not be in the market for an heirloom. If you just need a quick fix or a rug that will last a couple of years, consider that in the rug (and price point) you choose.

So, why are rugs so expensive?

When it comes to the question of “why are rugs so expensive?”, the materials, the dyes, the method of production, the rug’s size, and the country of origin all impact a rug’s price. The decision to splurge or skimp on your next rug? That’s up to you.

 

Need help finding your perfect rug?

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This post was updated on July 9th, 2021