Modern black side tables are versatile pieces that can work with modern or traditional decor. They can add a more modern twist to a more traditional design (like the below design from DecorMatters), or they can add contrast and drama to a minimalist room just as easily.
I recently used a modern black side table in a dark and moody study design in DecorMatters. The problem with spending time playing interior design games is that you create beautiful designs but don’t realize the items you’re choosing are luxury items. Then… you fall in love with the pieces you choose. Like this gorgeous side table by Arteriors. Dilemma. Do you fork out $1480 for a side table? Or find a cheaper alternative?
After falling in love with the Scout Side Table by Arteriors I decide to try and find a cheaper alternative. Here’s my pick of the best modern black side tables.
Scout Modern Black Side Table by Arteriors
Let’s start at the beginning, where this all started. The Scout Side Table by Arteriors is voluptuous and beautiful. It’s made from sand blasted wood to give it a charred look. Then finished with a wax coat to give it a shine. Priced at $1480 it’s the most expensive on the list.
Kellaman Drum End Table by Upper Square
Another textured end table, this time made from stone. The Kellaman Drum End Table is a sturdy piece that won’t fall over easily. It can also be used outdoors which is a bonus. Priced at $241 and is available from Wayfair.
Fernando Accent Table by Crate & Barrel
The Fernando Accent Table from Crate & Barrel is a beautiful piece. I love the texture of this table from the handcrafted hammered iron finish. This is the piece I’ll be buying for my living room from this list. I love the organic shape of it and of course the texture. Priced at $249 it’s great value.
Macbeth Hemlock Modern Black Side Table by CB2
Another beautiful table, the Macbeth Hemlock Side Table has great texture from the wire-brushed matte black wood. Made of solid Canadian hemlock wood and priced at $349, it’s a little more expensive than the Crate & Barrel option, but is still a great value piece.
Aurea Modern Black Side Table by Kathy Kuo Home
A stunning side table by Kathy Kuo Home. The Aurea Side Table is made from oak and oak veneer, and has a ribbed texture on the plinth to give an interesting profile. Priced at $688, it’s the second most expensive on the list, but is certainly worth the splurge.
Black Iron Contemporary Accent Table by Studio 350
The base of the Black Iron Contemporary Accent Table is made from iron and the top from real marble. Although it doesn’t have texture like the others, at a price of $172 it’s a bargain considering the luxe materials. Available from Overstock, this is a great cheaper alternative.
I hope you liked the list of modern black side tables. It shows that if you do fall in love with an expensive piece, it’s definitely worth shopping around to find a more affordable alternative.
For other luxe looks for less tips, you should check out these other blogs:
If you’ve wondered why I’ve been quiet the past few months, it’s because we’ve been busy: buying, renovating and setting up a brand new vacation rental business – The Hygge Suite. It’s been a dream of mine to get into property investment for a long time, and ironically we chose 2020, the year of COVID and chaos, to jump in.
There’s a lot to learn in setting up a business of any type, including setting up a vacation rental business. We wanted to share what we learned in setting up our first vacation rental to help you by avoiding the same pitfalls.
1. Don’t underestimate how much stuff you’ll need to buy
After multiple IKEA trips and carefully stacked truck bed of stuff, it felt like we were students again, moving to university for the first time. We bought a fully furnished vacation rental, complete with furniture, knives, cork screws, and door mats. But that didn’t mean any of it was worth keeping.
It depends on the standard you want to set for your guests, and where you want to be positioned in the market. If you want to offer a budget bed for the night, then buying an existing vacation rental that’s a few years old and using the equipment it came with will probably be fine. However if you want to create a higher-end experience to generate more rental income, you’ll need to assess the condition of the existing items and take a call on whether you need to buy new.
The place we bought had been a vacation rental since the 90’s and I don’t think much had been updated since then. We wanted to create a higher-end rental that would stand out, so we ended up replacing everything, even the cork screw!
2. Careful planning
If you’re buying a vacation rental in a remote place, or even one that’s not familiar to you, this will create some challenges. We bought our vacation rental in Northern Minnesota on a ski resort, with very few stores locally, and a three hour drive from the city where we live. We quickly found out that this required a lot of pre-planning. Add to that the challenges of COVID and it creates a project management nightmare.
I highly recommend creating a project plan up front, and if you’re doing the work yourself, you’ll need to plan it down to every last detail. You don’t want to be running to the hardware store every five minutes buying that tool that you left at home. Not only does it waste time, but it also wastes money. Which brings me into my next learning tip – return on investment.
Look out for a blog in the near future on Project Planning.
3. Think like a business owner
Unless you’re buying your vacation home primarily for yourself and don’t care about the profit you make on it, you need to treat every decision you make as a business decision, i.e. what’s the return on investment.
This means you need to save money wherever you can without jeopardizing the overall look you’re trying to achieve. It’s important to understand the market you’re in and the standard of decor and amenities that’s expected. If you’re trying to match the market and everyone around you has laminate countertops, then maybe you don’t need to splash out on quartz. But if you’re trying to appeal to a more premium market, and stand out from the competition then maybe quartz would help with that.
There’s also the maintenance aspect. Quartz will likely outlast a laminate countertop as it’s scratch resistant, stain resistant and hardwearing. So you need to factor in the total cost of ownership, i.e. the upfront cost vs the replacement cost, and how long it will last.
Some questions to consider when making decisions about your rental are:
How many nights does that take to earn back?
Can I charge more for having this feature / amenity / upgrade?
Does this need to be purchased new or can I buy this second hand and save some money?
Will I be upset if this gets damaged?
How often will I have to replace this?
Is this something that only I want? Or that guests would enjoy too?
4. Utilize smart technology
Being remote hosts, we explored ways to manage the property remotely. One thing we did invest in was a Nest thermostat, allowing us to control the temperature of the condo from anywhere, therefore saving money. This came down to the ROI decision I was talking about. We didn’t need to change the thermostat, the old one was working perfectly fine. The $250 it cost to buy though, plus the $100 rebate from our electricity provider, and the money it will save us from turning off the HVAC when we are not at the property, means it will pay itself back within the year easily.
We also upgraded all the smoke detectors in the condo to Nest smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Not only is it required by local code, but having these detectors in every room with remote capabilities gives us peace of mind to know what’s happening at our remote rental in case of emergency.
Another thing we considered was an August smart lock. This is a remote door lock that you can change the code from anywhere, and costs about $200 to buy. We decided not to go for one, even though we love the functionality. We already have a keypad lock on our door that is easily changed by our cleaning staff each time they clean. It only takes them about a minute, so doesn’t cost us anymore in cleaning fees. So for now at least, the investment doesn’t seem worth it. We’d love to hear from more experienced hosts though to see if you think differently!
5. Try it out yourself
Something we learned from the Thanks For Visiting podcast was to try out the rental yourself before renting it to others. Even though we’d been living there through the renovations, I’d still recommend this as a great idea. Live a day in the shoes of your guests. Can you reach all the glassware? Is it easy to find the trash can liners? Do you have enough space for all your clothes? It’s the little details that count, and having a small detail not considered can mean the difference in a good vs a bad review. Even better, have some honest friends stay at your place before you launch it to the general public. That way you get someone’s fresh eyes on it that you may not have considered.
6. Invest in marketing
Another thing we learned is that even if you buy an existing vacation rental business, you’re really starting from scratch in terms of marketing. The first year is probably going to be the hardest year in terms of raising awareness of the rental, and getting people to book a property with zero reviews. We listed on Airbnb and VRBO, because the research we did via AirDNA told us that 50% of guests booked through each platform in our particular location. And that’s great, but you can’t rely solely on these platforms to get your listing seen.
I’d recommend you set up your listing on Google Business, Facebook and Instagram, and get your own website as a minimum. That way you can control your own destiny. Don’t be shy to talk about your listing on your own personal accounts to friends and family too. Word of mouth is a powerful (and free) tool that can help get your listing noticed and talked about in a potential pool of guests.
You may have to spend some money on getting noticed though – make sure you have a marketing budget. Facebook and Instagram have easy to use ad tools where you can quickly and easily set up a paid ad for a few dollars that can potentially reach thousands of potential guests. Same goes for Google AdWords too. Research keywords, start testing, and see what works.
Look out for a blog in the near future on Marketing Your Vacation Rental.
Our vacation rental business journey
We’re only two weeks into our vacation rental business journey. Our listing The Hygge Suite went live to our first guests last weekend. We bought the condo 3 1/2 months ago, and since that time it’s been a wild ride. From living like students again, camped out on an air mattress for weeks. To having to adapt our designs due to availability issues with products caused by the pandemic. One thing for sure is that we’ve learned a lot, and we’re sure there’s still so much more to learn.
Are you interested in setting up your own vacation rental business? Or listing that spare room on Airbnb? Or maybe you just did? If so, We’d love to hear about it, and what you’ve learned, or have questions about. Message us, or comment below.
Kitchens can be expensive rooms to makeover, trust me, I’ve been there recently. So how do you makeover a kitchen on a budget? Is it even possible? The answer is, “it depends”. Let me walk you through some deciding factors as to how cheap or how expensive your kitchen makeover is going to be.
Does the Layout Work?
The first thing to ask yourself, and be careful how you answer as this could save you a LOT of money, is “Am I happy with the layout of the existing kitchen?” If you answered “yes” then congratulations! You just saved yourself a lot of money, mess and time!
If your existing kitchen layout does work for you, then you have a couple of options to save money:
Paint the cabinets
Reface the cabinets
Redo the countertops
Paint Your Existing Cabinets
The cheapest way to makeover your kitchen on a budget is to paint your kitchen cabinets. Note, I didn’t say the “quickest” way or the “best” way, but definitely the cheapest way. Painting kitchen cabinets is not for the faint-hearted, or impatient (like me!) But it can look amazing with the right techniques, proper prep and care taken.
Check out some of these great tips from other bloggers:
If you don’t like the shape or design of the existing cabinet doors, or just don’t have the time or patience to paint them, then another budget friendly option for you would be to reface the cabinets with new doors. This is where you swap the old doors out for new, but keep the existing layout of the kitchen. Jenny from Refresh Living does a great job of talking you through the whole process from start to finish and the end result looks amazing!
Redo the Countertops
There are lots of ways to redo countertops. From painting them, to tiling them, replacing them with poured concrete, or the traditional way of replacing them for an upgraded material like granite or quartz. Hometalk does a great job of offering you 13 Ways to Transform Your Countertops Without Replacing Them. These are all great budget friendly options that cost just a few $100, however they will take more time and skill.
If you don’t mind splashing out, my recommendation would be to replace them for quartz if you can afford it. It’s hard wearing, stain resistant, scratch resistant and will last for years. To make it more affordable try looking for remnants that will fit your space, remnants can start as low as $40 per linear foot, so if you have a smaller kitchen it can really give the wow factor for around $1500-2500.
If the answer was “no” to “Am I happy with the layout of the existing kitchen?” then I’m sorry, read on…
Re-Purpose Old Cabinets
If you are lucky enough to know the source of your existing cabinets, then you could save money by re-purposing your existing cabinets and changing the layout of them, or adding more. You’ll have to do some investigation into what new stock cabinets you could buy to match your existing cabinets. However if you really can’t find any new ones that match, you could combine this option with the refacing option above, that way you could re-use the cabinet boxes (the frames without doors) and save some money by just buying new doors. Or even cheaper, re-purpose the existing doors, and new doors by adding trim over them so they match. Brooke from Cribbs Style did exactly that with her MDF kitchen doors, and the end result looks amazing. This is something I’ve also tried in our downstairs bathroom and can confidently say it’s cheap, quick and easy and the results are amazing!
You can add smaller details to existing kitchen cabinets to make them look more custom too. Sarah from Thrifty Decor Chick did an amazing job finishing the ends of her cabinets here and island here. With just a few pieces of wood and some paint, the end result looks so much better and more high-end.
Another way to get a high-end look with existing cabinets, is to extend the wall cabinets right the way to the ceiling. Lori from The Stonybrook House does a great job here showing you every step of her kitchen transformation. Laura from Inspiration for Moms also has a great tutorial for how to add height with trim here. This is a great way to achieve a high-end look from a budget kitchen makeover.
The Last Resort – New Kitchen Cabinets
If you’ve exhausted all options above, and you’re tired, busy, don’t know how to swing a hammer etc, then perhaps your only option is to get new kitchen cabinets, but it doesn’t have to cost $10,000’s. There are some tips for finding budget friendly kitchen cabinets, the first is to stay away from custom anything. The cheapest way to get new kitchen cabinets is to by stock cabinets. These are the ready-to-go cabinets from your local DIY store. The options are limited, and you may need to paint them yourself, but they will be cheaper than semi-custom or custom options.
A great place to find well-made cheaper kitchen cabinets is IKEA. They start out very affordably, and can run quite expensive, so to save money stick to the cheaper ranges like the Haggeby or the Veddinge but you can make them feel more expensive with quartz countertops, remnants of course, and upgraded handles. We’re actually going down this route ourselves currently in our new vacation rental property. We chose Oland White cabinets by Klearvue Cabinetry from Menards, which is very similar to the IKEA Veddinge, and upgraded it with white quartz countertops and modern pull handles. Follow our journey on Instagram to see the progress.
I hope this helped guide you through the daunting task of deciding which route to go down on your kitchen remodel. We’ve lived this decision process for the past couple of years with our own home kitchen remodel and now our vacation rental. And both times we opted for new cabinets, and new everything. For reference our vacation rental will cost around less than $5k all in. Even though it is a small space, there are ways to do a kitchen makeover on a budget with new cabinets by shopping around and saving in some places and splashing out in others.