How to Choose the Perfect Stool for Your Kitchen, Bar or Game Room

The stool is a fixture in any setting that’s relaxed and informal.  From the bistro to the home game room, to the bar, to the kitchen island, stools are an attractive, comfortable alternative that add another dimension to your home décor scheme.

But there’s a science as to how to choose the perfect stool for your kitchen, bar or game room.  Let’s look at some of the things you need to consider when striking out to find that perfect stool.


The Right Height

Most bar stools are fabricated in four standard heights.  These correspond to table tops, bars, counters and higher surfaces, like bistro tabletops.

But you may desire a flexible alternative, so choosing a model which includes a hydraulic lift to allow for adjustable height is the perfect alternative.  This creates the ability to use them with variable surfaces.

How Many?

Understanding the spacing of stools relative to their width and the available surface area they correspond to determines how many you’ll need.

Some stools are wider than others, with four standard sizes.  For the narrower stools, you’ll need to leave 6 inches between each.  For the wider stools, 8 inches is the accepted distance, allowing for getting in and out and turning the stool to face people sitting in the next one.

Karina chairs


Here’s where it gets personal.  You know what you like and you know what you’re looking for in a stool that works in the environment you’re buying for.

But there are 4 standard categories stools fall into.  These are backless, low back, full back and swivel, with arms.  Much hinges on available space and personal style.  You may envision a hybrid version of one of these styles.  For example, a backless, cowhide swivel stool.

Remember that each style has its advantages and disadvantages, practically speaking.  Backless stools can readily be stored under the lip of the counter, whereas stools with backs can’t do that.  But backless stools off no support for your back.

Stools with a low or mid-rise back offer a little more support and tend to be fabricated in modern design schemes.  Stools with full backs are ideal for working at the kitchen counter or eating around a higher dining table arrangement.

PRO-TIP:  the more time you intend to sit in your bar stool, the more consideration you should give to comfort and support.  The stylish stool you envision may not be ideal for its intended purpose, so be honest with yourself and choose the stool that works with your primary use of it.

A brief cocktail before dinner and assembling a presentation package are two difference activities, requiring two different seating options.

How to choose the perfect stool for your kitchen, bar or game room is about function, form and purpose.  The height of the surface the stool is intended to service is key, but so is comfort and back support (if you intend to sit in it longer).

Trade professionals are invited to contact Michelangelo Designs to book an appointment.

Come!  Cure the common.

How to Choose a Sofa: Finding the Right One for Your Home

The sofa is like a unifying island in the middle of your sitting or living room.  It sets the tone, as the room’s centerpiece.

It’s also a high-ticket item, so you want to get it right, as mistakes can be costly.  How to choose a sofa: finding the right one for your home is a highly personal matter, but it’s one which should be guided by certain design principles to ensure your get the piece that’s best for its setting, while meshing seamlessly with your lifestyle.



The room your sofa’s going to live in has everything to do with your choice.  A large room can take a more substantial sofa.  It can even accommodate a sectional solution, or more voluminously-proportioned offerings.

A smaller room lends itself to a smaller sofa, or course, but you can still manage a scaled version of a sectional, even if your room isn’t large.

Remember that it’s not going to be the only piece in the room, so scale it to existing chairs, tables and other elements in the environment to ensure the fit you get is right.

Lifestyle Considerations

Choosing the right sofa goes beyond form to function and that’s determined by you.  If your sofa is going to be the focal point of a room in which you play games, read, or enjoy quiet family time, you’ll want something comfortable, with adequate seating to accommodate guests and other family members.

Television viewers will, of course, want to orient their sofa to accommodate viewing.  It’s important to remember that the sofa will still be in use while you’re not watching, though.  Other furniture in the room should relate to both viewing and non-viewing functions.

Lifestyle also determines the style of the sofa, which encompasses a sectional approach, but which should also factor into comfort.

Leather is great for rooms with fireplaces, as it warms to make sitting or lounging on it a cozy joy.  Also highly adaptable to large families and heavy usage, leather develops a patina which can become an important element of the room’s relaxed style and is easy to clean.

Tufting and fine fabrics lend themselves more readily to formal settings and are especially at home in conversational areas, where guests, colleagues and business associates are entertained.


Speaking Your Language

The sofa you choose should speak your language, adding something to the room that’s readily discernible as your personal style.  Saturated color and bold patterns have a place when it comes to sofas, especially if that’s who you are.

The sofa is a traditional fixture in living spaces.  It provides comfortable seating and a design element that anchors and elevates a room to its full potential.  Choose yours carefully and you’ve found an essential piece of the home living puzzle.

Michelangelo Designs

Michelangelo has been offering professionals in the Trade the cure for the common since 1985, with exclusively Italian furniture brought to these shores exclusively for the Trade.

We invite Trade professionals to contact us for an appointment.  Italy’s riches await!

How to Effectively Mix and Match Different Styles

If you’re like most people, you probably know what you like.  You have a certain style.

That doesn’t mean to say that everything you like is of one recognized style or another.  It means you see beauty where you see it. You have eclectic tastes.

And there’s nothing wrong with eclecticism.  In fact, eclecticism (the incorporation of a variety of furniture and décor styles into one environment) is a style unto itself and one that people are increasingly attracted to.

eclectic dining area

This post is about how to effectively mix and match different styles without creating a “garage sale” effect.  It can be done and it’s a factor influencing some key home furniture and décor trends, as we speak.

Balance and Harmony

Your taste in décor and furniture may have evolved from favoring one style over all others.  Or perhaps you’re a world traveler, who spirits the wealth of the world back to your home, finding a place for the exotic there.

You may have a collection of furniture that includes contemporary pieces, mid-century modern and antiques.  You may have rustic items.  The point is, it doesn’t matter, if you can create a sense of balance and harmony when combining them.

Color is a major consideration when uniting disparate elements.  How to effectively mix and match different styles is to add a unifying element of color (and that may be more than one color in any given room – but choose no more than 3) to bind the whole together.

Group related items together in “nests” of 3.  This is a principle of design which also shows up in art and photography and is a sound way to curate items of varying design origins.  You can also group items of varying design traditions by color or shape.

Create impact with nests which catch the eye and invite it to wander through the harmonious setting you’ve thoughtfully created.

Contrast and Texture

When items of furniture are so different that you’re not sure what to do with them, put them in the same room.  In that contrast is the start of something beautiful.

Contrast Ultra-modern with Baroque décor touches.  Try Baroque, gold leaf mirrors in dialogue with a space age dining set.  Or re-vision a traditional wingback with contemporary, geometric fabric to bring it into a harmonious relationship with your Mid-Century stereo console.

Texture plays an important role in mixing and matching different styles.  The nubby eye-appeal of natural fabrics dances with the sleek modernity of modular, leather seating.  A color-saturated kilim interfaces with the Victorian orientalist elegance of a rattan settee.

But the true secret of bringing together different styles in harmony is time.  Consider each piece with care and then ask yourself how it can be part of a conversation between styles that amounts to a type of elegant eclecticism that’s stunning, while imminently comfortable.

Michelangelo Designs

Since 1985, Michelangelo Designs has been bringing the cure for the common to the USA’s shores

Trade professionals can choose from a dozen of Italy’s most sought-after design houses.  Contact us to schedule an appointment.

Essential Modern Dining Room Pieces to Elevate Your Style

The time has come to transform your dining area.  You’re busily seeking out essential modern dining room pieces to elevate your style, taking it to the next level of elegance.

But “modern” can mean any number of things.  It can mean the latest style trend, but it needn’t and to be honest, it probably shouldn’t.

Because you’re going to be living with your new dining room for a while, trends are best ignored in favor of classics.  Classics stand the test of time, never appearing dated.  Let’s talk about essential modern dining room pieces to elevate your style and a few pointers to guide you on your way.

dining room Oreste

What Defines “modern”?

While the words “modern” and “contemporary” are often used interchangeably, “modern” refers to an era of design and certain qualities which were introduced during that era.

The 1940s can be referred to as the historical home of modern design, but some argue that its genesis originates in the 1920s and the sleek lines of Art Deco.

And sleekness is one of modern design’s most compelling features.

There are several sub-categories falling under the rubric of “modern” which apply:

  • Scandinavian (light pine, clean lines)
  • Industrial (rivets, steel, exposed pipes)
  • Minimalist (the absence of extraneous elements)
  • Mid-Century Modern (sleek, futuristic)

What all these sub-styles have in common is an absence of clutter and ornamentation, in favor of the pure lines of the furniture.

Setting the Scene

While some associate modern furniture design with muted colors, that’s not necessarily the case.  It’s often true that modern furniture errs on the side of saturated, bold color which elevates the space and creates specific stylistic points of reference.

But surfaces which gleam are another key element of modern design.  Smooth, reflective glass and steel figure prominently, realized in table tops, wall finishes and even flooring.  Lighting which is dramatic and eliminates the need for pieces like table top lamps is a concurrent design element which works with the reflective surfaces in this style to heighten their impact.

The Right Stuff

For the furniture itself, you’re looking for clean, sensual lines which are somehow organic and functional at the same time.  For ideas, seek out the work of designers like Eames and van der Rohe, who typify mid-century modern furniture design and are largely responsible for its proliferation in homes all over the USA.

For your table, materials like acrylic, glass and metal create a sophisticated modern ambience.  Surround it with chairs which speak to it and anchor the whole with a bright, geometric area rug to anchor it, keying it to modern artwork.

Suspended over the table, illuminating its modern elegance, a lamp which enlivens its gleaming surface creates intimacy and drama.

This brief discussion of essential modern dining room pieces to elevate your style will have gotten your juices flowing.  Now it’s your turn to create the ideal home dining experience, touched by the simple sophistication of modern design.

We invite Trade professionals to schedule an appointment.  Come, discover the cure for the common at Michelangelo Designs.

Design Trends – Channel Tufting

We talk about tufting rather a lot on this blog (because we adore it), but channel tufting is one of our new obsessions.

Aesthetically associated with the Hollywood of the 1920s and enjoying a resurgence in the 1970s, channel tufting never really went anywhere.  It went undercover, in terms of home design.  But cast your eye about any public interior of distinction, like a high-end hotel and chances are you’ll run across it.

channel tufting sofa

Channel tufting creates an aura of glamor and opulence.  It’s arguably more comfortable to sit on, too, as it doesn’t employ buttons.  Running either horizontally or vertically, channels of fabric are created then filled with stuffing or foam.

Let’s explore one of the moment’s most compelling furniture design trends – channel tufting – and see how it can work in a variety of rooms in your home.

Opulent Practicality

We’ve all witnessed wall treatment trends like the recent renaissance of wallpaper and fabric wall coverings, as well as high gloss, lacquered walls.

But channel tufting on walls adds a distinct air of opulence that goes just a little over the top, delivering a plush finish that gets noticed.

Vertical tufting has the effect of making the ceiling seem higher, while horizontal channels add width.  Another advantage of channel tufted walls is the insulation they provided, as well as sound-proofing.

So, they’re not just gorgeous.  They’re practical!

Extra Plush In Bed

Creating a channel tufted headboard creates another level of plush for your bed.  This is the place you want to be most at ease, luxuriating, as you unwind.

Channel tufting is best employed for this purpose by either running horizontally, along the length of the entire wall the bed is against, or vertically to the ceiling, at the width of the bed.

Both headboard configurations add dimension, texture and comfort to your room.  Use a light-colored fabric to emphasis the tufting or go dramatic with an eye-popping primary color against a neutral wall.

channel tufting bed


Channel tufting lends itself beautifully to seating and is probably most familiar to us in the form of a sofa.  This trend is so redolent of the sleek Art Deco stylings of the 1920s that it brings with it a sophistication to complement any living area.

Fabrics that work well with channel tufted seating include rich velvet.  The tactility of this fabric enhances the dimensional aspect of channel tufting, making it even richer.

Or try a Maximalist approach with a bold, printed fabric in a riotous floral.  When placed in a room with solid-colored pieces which echo the fabric you’ve chosen, you’ve created another dimension for your channel-tufted sofa by adding pattern and color – truly a Maximalist triumph!

At Michelangelo, we welcome the return of channel tufting to the world of furniture and home décor.  As we said at the beginning, tufting is our thing, but channel tufting is a level of luxe that comes with built in practically and comfort.  In short, we’re fans.

Professionals in the Trade are invited to schedule an appointment with Michelangelo Designs.

Come discover the cure for the common!