Month: August 2016

dining table

The Most Popular Decor Trends and How to Get the Look

There are many ways to outfit a space with popular looks to make your home more current. According to ELLE Décor and House Beautiful, homeowners are leaning toward the following trends in 2016:

Florals

Once considered dated, “granny florals” have come back into style. The prints are popular on couches, loveseats, rugs, chairs, and upholstered headboards. Florals also work with decorative accents, such as wallpaper and chandeliers. If you are not ready to fully commit, you can start small by adding a few floral throw pillows to seating areas.

Marble and similar stones

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Image courtesy J Lski | Flickr

Marble, or at least the look of a cloudy and veined stone, is an essential material to have in a home that seeks a level of sophistication and lavishness. If you can afford the cost, marble is ideal. However, stones like onyx and alabaster offer the same look. No matter what type of stone you choose, this material will give your room a refined touch.

Purchasing a smaller piece helps you update your room on a limited budget. As an accent, consider a decorative marble bowl or hanging clock. Those who can afford it can purchase larger-scale pieces of the material to make a bolder statement. Entry and dining tables are good options for displaying marble. The material can add even add opulence to a space when used on coffee and bar tables.

Digital-free zones

The world is overwhelmed with gadgets and technology. ELLE Decor suggests keeping one room free of these luxuries. Because these rooms traditionally promote bonding among loved ones, the family and dining rooms are good choices for this design scheme.

To make a family room enjoyable, ELLE Decor recommends adding a bar cart for beverages and tying in artwork with seating. For dining rooms, a marble table with surrounding matching chairs encourages conversation over a great meal. Include a buffet to keep clutter off the table and utilize the space above it to hang an eye-catching piece, such as a sunburst mirror.

Decorated corners

There is no need to leave any part of a room unfurnished. Even the smallest corner in your home has just enough square footage to add a tall pedestal. The wood columns from Ballard Designs and the Churchill pedestal from Chelsea House Inc. are good examples of interesting accent furnishings. These items make it possible for you to display decor, such as a sculpture or a plant, in an unexpected place.

Hominess in unlikely spaces

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Image courtesy John & Jan Woodward | Flickr

Bathrooms are among the spaces that are often overlooked. Although this room is often filled with clutter, you can easily turn it into a beautiful space.

Give your bathroom a facelift by adding simple decor that have a minimalist feel. Set a small table next to the tub to provide a surface for necessities. A low-set table also offers an opportunity for personalization with flowers and candles. If your bathroom is larger, add a plush chair for a spa-like ambience. For his and her sinks that have a vanity with an open space for a chair, consider purchasing a nice ottoman or stool that you can hide away when you’re not using it.

Matte finishes

In 2016, matte is the hot look. This is a complete reversal from 2015, when metallic was the rave. Now, modern trends lean toward matte glazes, oxidized metals, and chalk-finish paints. Fortunately, the shiny, glossy items you loved from 2015 can stay in your home because muted pieces look great next to metallic objects.

One simple way to integrate matte furniture into your home is through chairs. Many side and office chairs now are made in flat finishes. Dressers, such as the Modloft Bowery three-drawer dresser, come in shades like asphalt matte, while some sideboards, such as the one from Tema Dann, are finished in matte grey. Storage units, bar tables, and stools are other products that will work well with a matte finish.

Technicolor stripes

Rainbow hues aren’t just for clothing anymore. The multicolor trend now appears in bookshelves by Garth Roberts for Casamania and rugs by Loloi. Other colorful furniture designers include Nina Tolstrup and Anthony Hartley.

Mr. Hartley created Mrs. Smith the 2nd, which is a hand-sprayed table with an abstract look. Part of a larger collection of technicolor home furnishings, the table features rainbow colors running throughout the wavy base and top.

Nina Tolstrup launched the French Riviera Chair, part of her Re-Imagined collection, through Studiomama. The contemporary chair features multicolored Kvadrat fabric.

Raffia

Perhaps because it reminds people of beaches and tropical destinations, raffia is showing up in homes more now than ever. Besides its more obvious applications, like being woven into rugs and pillows, the material works well in accent pieces, like side tables and chair frames. You will also find it mixed into woven vases. A more unique approach is to incorporate it into wallpaper.

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apartment

1 of the Most Revolutionary Creations Changing Home Furnishing

With more and more people moving to increasingly expensive cities, the average square footage of urban living spaces has shrunk significantly in recent years. This lack of space often makes it difficult to decorate smaller homes with traditional furnishings. To address this problem, a team from MIT Media Lab has designed an innovative furniture system call Ori, which launched in three US cities this summer.

The following are things you should know about Ori and how it is changing the world of interior design:

What is Ori?

Ori logoOri is a type of “robo-furniture” that lets people easily configure their living areas to maximize their use of space. The collection consists of modular and transformable system that incorporates a number of furniture pieces. Ori’s technology allows owners to nearly double the size of their living area by hiding away items when not in use and moving walls with a tap of a finger.

Why is it named Ori?

Because Ori contains elements that fold, its creators chose a name inspired by the term origami, which refers to the Japanese art of folding paper.

Who was involved with its development?

Researcher Kent Larson spearheaded the project at the MIT Media Lab as part of CityHome research, which focuses on using technology to improve the livability of small spaces. He and his team partnered with designer Yves Behar to give the robotic prototype a pleasing aesthetic that would appeal to a wide range of customers. Behar also leveraged his expertise to develop branding for the system and design the customizable “skins” that cover the robotics.

What features does Ori offer?

The foundation of the system is a wall-like unit that is built over a motorized frame.  Within Ori are elements that serve as a desk, extra living room space, a bookshelf, a couch, and a bed, which retracts or extends horizontally from the bottom of the unit with the push a button on a touch-sensitive control panel. Urban dwellers can use the control panel, which lights up when people come near, to reveal and hide most of the furnishings that people need to work and live.

How many versions are available?

Presently, the Ori collection contains two models: a queen version and a full version. The full-sized system includes a retractable bed and closet storage and acts as a fully functional bedroom. The closet also doubles as office storage and pairs well with the desk that extends out to fit a laptop and other office accessories. To complete the living space, Ori contains a media console and credenza.

Similar to the full-sized system, the queen-sized model accommodates a queen bed and can be converted to include a walk-in closet. Customers can also use the closet as an office. Other welcome features include extra storage space and a couch.

Will there be an app?

Yes. The accompanying app makes it possible for users to communicate with the unit when away. This remote accessibility is perfect for instances when people have limited time and can’t use the control panel, thus making it possible for owners to configure their unit to their preference, so that when they arrive home, their space is staged appropriately.

Who benefits from the product?

Ori targets young professionals, who must live in the city to accommodate their jobs, as well as individuals who choose to make their residences in micro-living spaces. The apartments of this demographic are much smaller and sometimes referred to as micro-apartments for their limited square footage. Because of Ori’s technological advances, these people will be able to enjoy a functional work environment as well as a beautiful home.

When will Ori be available to the public?

This summer, Ori will launch in three cities: Seattle, Boston, and Washington, DC. Its initial release will focus on working directly with commercial property owners and multifamily real estate developers. Long term, Ori’s founder plans to work with businesses outside of the launch cities and eventually offer the product directly to consumers.

Where can one learn more about Ori?

To learn more about Ori or to inquire about purchasing, visit www.orisystems.com. Real estate developers and building owners can submit an application of interest through the website. In addition, consumers can sign up to receive news on the product. People can send all other inquiries to press@orisystems.com.

conference

9 of the Most Essential Details to Know about the NEXT Conference

In July 2016, Furniture Today announced its agenda for the NEXT Conference. Formerly known as the Future Leadership Conference, NEXT will take place in Savannah, Georgia, starting September 14, 2016. The two-day event includes educational forums made possible by an advisory board. The board consists of home furnishings professionals from Ashley Furniture, Colfax Furniture, and Wolf Furniture, among others. Find out what you should know by reading further.

Demographic

The NEXT Conference caters to innovative professionals within the home furnishings industry. Expect to meet individuals who are quick to adopt new trends and think outside the box. Up-and-comers will also be present to learn how to make their mark on the industry.

Agenda

technologyProgramming focuses on the future of retail, so there will be no shortage of technology discussions. In fact, of the five NEXT ideas presented as breakout sessions, number four is Take on Tech: Content, Commerce, Curation. The session includes experts from MicroD, Inc., the Design Network, Amber Engine. Other NEXT ideas slated for presentation include Leading through Times of Change, the Home of the Future, Retail Experiences, and Industry Innovators. Keynote addresses from sponsor Surya will kick off the event, while Dot & Bo representative Anthony Soohoo will close. Make sure to also attend the brainstorming lunch and networking breaks, sponsored by STORIS, to create valuable connections. At the conclusion, event hosts will celebrate with a cocktail party in the Harbor Ballroom.

Registration

Separate from the hotel fees, registration is $295 per retailer, through August 5th. Afterward the fee rises to $550, so make sure you obtain the best price possible by registering early. If you are a manufacturer or supplier, or another professional in the industry not considered a retailer, the fee is $995. No special rates apply.

NEXT Recognition & Awards Program

To avoid registration fees and highlight your expertise in one of the five NEXT focuses, consider entering the NEXT Recognition & Awards Program. The video contest is NEXT’s way of soliciting the best examples of its core subject matters in action. Through your video submission, you must demonstrate leadership, retail experience, technology knowledge, innovation, or home environment expertise. Leadership relates to how a person manages and guides a team and company through generational and transitional challenges. Retail experience pertains to creating excitement that encourages more consumers to shop. Specifically, judges will look for a person who successfully implements a strategy that is different from the norm. Technology knowledge fixates on commerce and content. Innovation is driven by new business models and entrepreneurism. Finally, home environment expertise will judge entrants on smart home and sustainable solutions, as well as interior and lighting design. If you are chosen among the top five in one of the categories, you will win free registration to the conference. Further, the NEXT committee will integrate your video into the programming to show other professionals how to excel. If you feel inclined, you may also use the contest to nominate a colleague for the award and prize.

Social Media

To stay current on conference news, follow Furniture Today on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Likewise, the hashtag #PBMnext has been designated for the event. Use it to tag your posts while partaking in the event and to track what others are sharing.

Location and Accommodations

The event will be hosted at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa on 1 Resort Drive. Attendees can book a room at the resort at a rate of $192 per night through August 10th. Thereafter, fees may change. To ensure the lowest rate possible, call (800) 228-3000 or visit http://www.next.pbmconferences.com to secure the hotel special. All rooms are 100 percent smoke-free and include a turndown service, express checkout, and a fully integrated multimedia connectivity system. Around-the-clock room service and the signature Heavenly shower and bath are included for a more comfortable experience.

Transportation

A one-way transportation service to the airport is available with advance reservation, which is accessible through the resort’s website or by calling (912) 201-2000. Mercedes Airport Shuttle departs daily and costs $25. If you have others joining you, you will need to pay $15 for each additional person.

Dining

The conference is in a great location for exploring local restaurants. Find 11 recommended dining establishments, ranging from classic American to Jamaican, on the website. Those featured include the Green Truck Neighborhood Pub, Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room, and Sandfly Bar-B-Q. For something sweet, head to local bakeries Maté Factor or Joe’s Homemade Cafe.

Contact Information

For additional assistance, the senior manager of conferences and events at Progressive Business Media is handling all inquiries. Heather Thompson, located in Greensboro, North Carolina, will respond to messages left at (336) 605-1061 and hthompson@pbmbrands.com

furniture

What Happened in the Furniture Industry in the First Half of 2016

Prior to 2016, many factors suggested a promising year for home furnishing retailers and manufacturers alike. E-commerce and domestic manufacturing were among those expected to drive business in the sector. Other variables included gentrification and household formation. To gain a better perspective of what actually impacted the industry during the first half of the year, here are some noteworthy events and news that surfaced.

Millions Granted

Georgia Ports Authority logoGeorgia Port Authority, the fourth busiest container port in the United States, received a $44 million grant from the US Department of Transportation. The funds were distributed through Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects, a program of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, which President Obama enacted on December 4, 2015, to support surface transportation infrastructure planning and investment. Overall, the act intends to streamline industry practices and resources in an effort to improve safety and efficiency. Georgia Port Authority will use the funds to increase rail capacity at the Port of Savannah, the largest single container terminal in North America and second busiest US container exporter. The project, known as the Port of Savannah International Multimodal Connector, is expected to alleviate congestion on highways by transporting more containers by train.

Weighing Required

The Safety of Life at Sea regulation was amended to include a new rule regarding verified gross mass (VGM). The announcement, made prior to July 1st (when the rule began enforcement), requires all exporters to provide an accurate VGM for cargo they intend to ship. Failure to comply will prohibit port staff from loading containers onto ships for export. The person responsible for providing the information to the maritime carrier and terminal operator is the shipper named on an ocean bill of lading. In the event that a VGM does not reflect the actual capacity of the cargo, the shipment must remain at its location for the stakeholder to reclaim and have repacked at their expense. Penalties may also apply for misrepresenting the weight of cargo.

Another Store Opened

ashley logoIn May, Ashley Furniture HomeStore opened an 11th location in the state of Indiana. The opening marks Ashley’s 624th showroom worldwide. The 35,000-square-foot facility promotes a lifestyle element that creates a more inviting and inspiring shopping experience, according to the brand’s vice president of global visual. The showroom promotes 10 lifestyle displays, including contemporary, vintage casual, and “urbanology.” Products, ranging from furniture to accessories, outfit the spaces to give consumers a sense of what items can look like in their homes. The 11th store also features the Dream Destination mattress gallery, which promotes bedding from Simmons, Sealy, and Ashley Sleep.

Orders Fall

Smith Leonard, the accounting and consulting firm overseeing the High Point Market account, reported at the end of June that furniture sales dropped by 3 percent. The decrease in sales occurred between April 2015 and the same month a year later, despite a minimal rise in September of 0.6 percent, according to the US Department of Commerce. The numbers reflected responses of market participants, who disclosed that their orders declined as well. A decrease in orders became evident in February. The industry did have one silver lining, however. Shipments were up just shy of 1 percent from the year prior.

Second Inland Port Planned

The South Carolina Ports Authority announced in April plans to open a second inland port facility. The new infrastructure would provide much-needed support to Inland Port Greer. While Inland Port Greer has performed with great success, the efficiency of rail transportation requires the highly used facility to have another intermodal infrastructure to handle growing cargo by rail. Still in the preliminary stages of discussion, port officials intend to have plans solidified by the end of 2016. One location considered for the new facility, Dillon, is located nearby Interstate 95, making it ideal due to its access to a CSX mainline that services the southeastern and Midwest markets. CSX leads in freight transportation as a rail service provider. Experts believe the opening of a Dillon inland port facility will lower shipping fees and boost employment in South Carolina. Further, the second facility will decrease traffic congestion and encourage economic development.

Imports Grew

Furniture Today published an April article highlighting statistics regarding imports from the year prior. In 2015, furniture retailers purchased a majority of their overseas products from China. The country supplied 57 percent of total imports, which was nearly 12 percent more than the figures recorded in 2014. Other countries supporting the American home furnishings industry included Canada, Mexico, and Vietnam. The latter grew its exports to the United States by more than half a billion dollars in one year. Conversely, exports were significantly less for the United States, which grew exports by 1 percent, totaling $2.38 billion. The decrease in demand of American-made products came primarily from Saudi Arabia, Canada, and China.

furniture

The Most Important Changes to Popular Furniture Markets

A crucial contributor to the American economy, the furniture sector has generated in excess of $100 billion annually, even during the economic recession. Factors keeping the industry lucrative and moving forward are manufacturers’ ability to innovate and consumers’ demand for more environmentally-friendly products.

Among places to discover these and other trends are at furniture markets hosted nationwide throughout the year. Markets give industry professionals the ability to share new products and view trends expected to drive revenue. To ensure that visitors gain the most from their experiences at an event, some of the most popular markets have taken the following measures.

Las Vegas Market

Las Vegas Market logoDuring its 2016 winter showcase, the Las Vegas Market made history by breaking the record for highest attendance since its inception. With plans to host other successful events, the market is undergoing an expansion of The Pavilions, which will be a temporary home to approximately 500 exhibitors during its summer engagement.

More dates have also been released to allow interested parties to plan their visit to future Las Vegas Markets. Similar to those in the past, the markets will occur in late January and July. The 2017 events kick off on January 22nd and July 30th. The 2018 markets commence on January 28th and July 29th. In 2019, exhibitors will display products beginning January 27th and July 28th. The final market dates announced were January 26th and July 26th of 2020. Each market spans five days and attracts attendees from around the world.

Dallas Market

Dallas Market Center LogoThe Dallas Market is receiving a facelift with the creation of a new design facility. Dubbed The Interior Home & Design Center, the 220,000-square-foot space will give interior designers and retailers a new place to conduct business on the first floor of the International Trade Plaza building.

Market representatives shared with Furniture Today that construction will begin on the center during the summer of 2016. Its projected open date is slated for the fall of 2016. The premium space involves relocating existing companies from the first floor to a nearby location, making room for new companies to establish a presence.

As of April of 2016, the market began accepting leases from manufacturers and sales agencies looking to expand operations into Dallas. The market has placed great care in hand-selecting companies that will be able to conduct daily business operations from the facility.

The facility will feature custom showrooms with large front windows, natural light, and a clean and modern aesthetic, and it will also partake in the seasonal markets. Tenants will benefit from a newly-updated registration area and valet parking services as well as exterior doors allowing for easy access to and from hundreds of parking spaces.

Tupelo Furniture Market

Tupelo Furniture MarketIn an effort to enhance the user experience, the Tupelo Furniture Market redesigned its website. The launch played an integral role in communicating the new programs that the market rolled out prior to its February event in 2016. Among the latest opportunities was its Small Operator Program. The benefit provides special pricing on a wide range of products for smaller companies through partnerships. Products range from home furnishings to appliances.

The new website makes it easier to navigate to find applicable market news, industry discounts, new product offerings, and close outs. Further, Tupelo Furniture Market dedicated a page to its new Design Center. Situated in building II of the market, the center highlights manufacturers and distributors of furniture and textiles, as well as window treatments and flooring products.

High Point Market

high point marketJuly 1, 2016 kicked off the construction of High Point Market’s latest addition, a 50,000-square-foot facility that will be affixed to the New Classic showroom. The current space, located at 135 South Hamilton Street in High Point, North Carolina, covers 30,000 square feet. Expected to be completed in the spring of the following year, the showroom has been designed inside and out by ARCH Studio 7 and a local contractor.

The two firms focused on combining contemporary with historical design to develop a cohesive aesthetic. The market also contracted CD & Associates to integrate educational components that help retailers understand company offerings. Once finished, the interior will provide room for new and existing products. The fifth floor will serve as a lounge and entertainment area that extends outside onto a terrace overlooking the city.

The facility will receive a boost in marketing strength, as well, if Governor Pat McCrory signs the proposed budget approved by the Senate and House of Representatives in July. The new proposal for 2016 and 2017 would provide an extra $400,000 in recurring marketing dollars as well as $200,000 in non-recurring promotional funds.

If enacted, the marketing budget for the High Point Market will be $22.3 billion. The cost is expected to boost the success of the market, which is “the largest economic event in the state,” according to Doug Bassett, High Point Market Authority board chairman and president of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture. The market generates a substantial income for the local economy.

shopping

Sure-Fire Ways to Serve Omnichannel Shoppers Effectively

Consumers have changed their approach to shopping since gaining access to more technological resources. Rather than going into furniture stores to search for a product, inquire about its features, and establish a long-lasting relationship with a brick and mortar establishment, they are turning to their smartphones and tablets to find their ideal product at the perfect price point.

Fortunately, technology has not made physical furniture retailers obsolete. In fact, the fear of purchasing a pretty couch that turns out to be uncomfortable or a table that does not fit the intended room still drives people to stores. The only change is that consumers have a clearer understanding of what they want to purchase prior to their store visit.

With that in mind, furniture retailers should heed the following advice for appealing to a new generation of consumers, known as omnichannel shoppers. Their purchasing behavior and preference consists of both shopping at a physical retailer as well as online.

Create a seamless experience.

furniture shopping

Instant gratification is a must, so making the shopping experience as convenient as possible will increase sales. Give consumers multiple outlets to research products. Depending on how they shop, a person may engage in either “webrooming” or “showrooming.” A combination of both may also occur.

Webrooming involves researching products online prior to visiting a store to view them in person. The store visit comes with the intention to buy. Conversely, showrooming starts with checking out a product at a brick and mortar retailer and then turning to an online store to procure the product at a lower cost. In order to cater to both types of consumers, retailers should have a physical location and a website that fulfills the wants of omnichannel shoppers.

An online platform is a good place to provide the specifications of a product, so consumers can measure their space to make sure it will fit. In addition, retailers should use online platforms to share other information that can boost the chances of a sale, such as color swatches and an example image of how a piece of furniture looks in a space. To enhance the customer service, having an online representative available to answer questions encourages consumers to explore more and may reduce barriers to purchase.

A brick and mortar store allows a person to see a product in person and test its comfort. Further, it provides an accurate representation of what a sofa or table looks like, so a consumer can decide if a color matches their room scheme or a product’s size fits the intended space. While it is not advised to offer different shipping prices in-store versus online, reducing shipping costs by purchasing in-store can be viewed as an added benefit of purchasing directly from a brick and mortar location.

Analyze shopping behavior.

Omnichannel shopping creates a new opportunity for retailers to better understand their consumers. Retailers can create marketing and operational strategies based on what shoppers are viewing on their site and how they are purchasing their products, among other factors.

e-commerce

Image courtesy Joe the Goat Farmer | Flickr

According to the TMO Group, retailers that execute a successful omnichannel shopper engagement strategy have the potential to retain nearly 90 percent of their customers. The statistic is more than twice the retention rate of companies that are not active in omnichannel engagement. Google also indicated that the demographic possesses a 30 percent higher lifetime value. For these reasons, having an omnichannel program in place to leverage information efficiently and convert it into a sale is essential for future success.

For example, a retailer may determine that a significant percentage of their consumers want to support a local store. However, the option to purchase online is more appealing. To give shoppers the best of both worlds, a brick and mortar establishment can give buyers a “ship-from-store” option, which consists of shipping products from the closest store available.

This option improves customer satisfaction by reducing delivery time and, possibly, fees associated with shipping. The tactic also enables retailers to stock products based on regional preferences, thus alleviating inefficiencies derived from operating a large warehouse with inventory that does not take into consideration local buyers’ wants. Rather, it focuses on the old-school model of having an abundance of products just in case they are ordered.

In terms of marketing and advertising, a retailer can utilize consumer data to influence purchasing behavior. The concept of a customer-centric, channel-agnostic retail model boosts sales activity because it takes into account consumer buying habits and expectations. To maximize potential, a retailer may realize there is more value in combining the marketing, merchandising, and planning efforts of both their store and ecommerce teams to create a single strategy for omnichannel shoppers.

An ecommerce team can weigh in on products peaking consumers’ interest online during a specific timeframe and work with representatives in a store to develop marketing collateral that strategically promotes those items. In the same respect, the team, as a single unit, can create digital collateral that targets specific audiences most likely to purchase a product, based on need or want. The approach increases awareness among prospective buyers about products that may interest them, which potentially can increase sales.

basic office

5 of the Best Methods for Creating a Home with Sustainable Furniture

Sustainability has made an impact on interior design, and sites like Deocist do not expect the trend to subside. Live up to the trend by reducing your carbon footprint and bringing more environmentally friendly elements into your home. The following tips will help.

1. Find live-edge pieces.

furnitureAchieving an organic look can be as simple as switching out a dominant piece in your home that was made of artificial material with something that was created by nature. Make your new focal point a memorable one by integrating a piece of furniture that has a live edge.

Live-edge furnishings are not designed to have straight lines throughout the entirety of a piece. Instead, the trend highlights wood’s rustic appeal by leaving knots and natural grains at the edges. In fact, these characteristics are purposefully accentuated to give your space just enough contrast to create interest.

You can typically find live-edge designs in the form of dining tables, headboards, and coffee and side tables. Some furniture manufacturers have leveraged the style to make seating as well. While this trend lends itself well to rustic homes, it can easily fit into a modern space if you find a piece that has some metal, like a dining table with a live-edge surface and steel base. To live up to the purpose of sustainability, find a live-edge piece that is made from reclaimed wood, a material saved from old buildings and furniture.

2. Know earth-friendly materials.

Recycling is a friend to the environment, and believe it or not, you can buy furniture that is made of recycled or sustainable material. To “go green” in your home decor, look for items that use certified sustainable woods.

The Forest Stewardship Council, in particular, offers certification for wood that comes from well-managed forests. The trees are harvested responsibly to reduce the impact on the environment. Lumber sourced from sustainably-harvested tree farms and reclaimed woods that meets other criteria may receive certification.

Another option is skipping trees all together and considering bamboo. A type of grass, the plant is fast-growing and incredibly sturdy. It is pliable and can be shaped into furniture. Depending on the farm harvesting the plant, few to no pesticides may be used.

Do your homework, however. Some growers do utilize chemicals to grow bamboo. Furniture manufacturers may also employ harmful adhesives to create products. The best thing you can do is inquire where and how the plant was grown and what methods were used for constructing the bamboo furnishings you are interested in purchasing.

3. Opt for recycled.

recycled furnitureWood is not the only material capable of having a second life. Technology has given companies the option to recycle plastics and metals, which has resulted in a growing inventory of eco-friendly products that require fewer resources to make. Look for furnishings that promote use of recycled materials when shopping.

On the other end of the spectrum, furniture made from virgin materials should also be mulled over. Though it does not reuse existing woods, metals, and plastics, it may be considered recyclable in the future. The best trait of a recyclable product is its ability to be disassembled for other use once its initial need or lifespan has been fulfilled.

McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry highlights recyclable products through its Cradle 2 Cradle certification program. The program upholds a commitment to material health and reutilization, renewable energy, water stewardship, and social fairness. Access this source to find a recyclable product if you decide a new piece of furniture fits your needs best.

4. Repurpose old pieces.

If you enjoy crafting or do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, think about using existing furniture that has outlived its time with another owner. Whether vintage or worn, the piece may require a facelift, but your effort will keep it out of landfills. To purchase a quality project piece, look at the craftsmanship as well as the wear. You want to find a sturdy item that possesses only a few cosmetic elements that need changing, such as reupholstering a chair to have a fabric that matches a specific color scheme.

If you are a more skilled DIY person and do not mind spending extra time, effort, and money repairing dents and prepping a surface to stain, focus on finding a piece that you like. Make sure you have a plan and research proper techniques for executing the changes you have in mind to avoid wasting time and money.

5. Pick low-toxicity furniture.

You may think a finished product cannot emit harmful toxins, but that is untrue. Furniture treated with flame retardant chemicals and formaldehyde gives off toxic gases known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The emission, commonly referred to as “offgassing,” can contaminate the air as well as increase risk of cancer, birth defects, and endocrine disruption. In addition to damaging the environment and potentially your health, offgassing of VOCs is not good for pets.

The key to buying low-toxicity furniture is to identify the treatment that was used. Untreated furniture is best, but if you prefer a treated look, purchase a product that uses natural wood finishers. Furnishings covered in organic cotton or naturally tanned leather usually contain fewer toxic substances as well.

sofa

The Most Important Factors to Think About When Buying a Sectional Sofa

Americans are shying away from formal living spaces in 2016. Instead, they are focusing on creating more relaxed environments that lend themselves to entertaining. This trend, as a result, has popularized sectional sofas. If you want to host friends and family comfortably and stylishly, consider these sectional sofa factors.

The “Arm”

sectional

Image courtesy Ginny and John Woods | Flickr

Sectional sofas have arms that are named based on what type they are on when you are facing the furniture. If you look at a sectional, observe if the arm appears on the left or right. The former is dubbed “left arm facing,” while the latter is called “right arm facing.” Determine which works best for your space and use it as a starting point when combining additional sectional pieces.

Keep in mind that some pieces do not come with an arm. Figure out how that will affect your guests’ comfort. In most scenarios, avoid having an end piece that is armless because it makes people uncomfortable.

Space

Because a sectional comprises of multiple pieces, you may conclude that it will not fit into a small space. On the contrary, the abundance of options makes it possible to combine pieces in a way that fits any size room.

For example, in a narrow space, combine a left arm facing love seat with a chaise that possesses a right arm. This maximizes the original two-seating option with potentially two additional spots. The chaise may also accommodate a single person, who chooses to lounge.

Rounded Corners

If you have a larger room where the television is placed in a corner, adding a rounded corner piece to your sectional is a good option for increasing the number of seats available. Also known as a “wedge,” the rounded corner section is generally situated directly in front of your television set.

When shopping for this option, take time to measure your room first. The wedge takes up considerable space, so knowing the dimensions of your room and accounting for the additional length needed on each side will make it easier to shop. Best of all, when your furniture arrives, it will fit perfectly.

Shapes

The L- and U-shape as well as semi-circular make up the three types of sectional sofas available. The L-shape design resembles the letter, in that there is one long and short side. The configuration may include a loveseat paired with a chaise, or a couch and sofa connected with a wedge or squared-off corner piece.

The U-shape also resembles the letter for which it is named and typically consists of two longer sides that are anchored with a chaise. The semi-circular option curves to create a unique look. It offers multiple seating options and occasionally ends with a stretch that does not have backing.

There is also a bonus option you can try. A modular sectional gives you the freedom to reconfigure a sofa to fit any room. You can select from three to five individual pieces to create an interesting seating arrangement.

The Reclining Option

Being limited to sitting up straight in your sectional is no longer a problem. You can now find pieces that recline, giving you the added luxury of sprawling out. Depending on the piece chosen, you may have the option to recline in a single section, or in multiple seats. The feature works well in media and family rooms.

Color Scheme

sectional

Image courtesy Miami Modern Furniture | Flickr

Figure out whether you want a sectional to match the color scheme of a room, or if the piece of furniture will complement existing hues. If you lean toward the latter, choose a sectional that adds a pop of color, like a red piece to stand out in a room with blue-painted walls.

Another option involves selecting a solid-colored or patterned sectional with similar tones found in your room. For a bolder approach, make your sectional the star of the room and redesign your space all together. This may include purchasing new home decor to fulfill a color scheme that is driven solely by your new sectional.

Price

Pricing varies, but in many cases, sectional sofas will cost more than traditional couches and loveseats. However, you must take into account that this type of furniture serves a larger crowd, so it reduces the need to purchase a separate loveseat or recliner. For a more affordable piece, designing a sectional with fewer elements will keep the price down.

Material

To find the most suitable fabric, think about your lifestyle. Are you a bachelor or a parent? If you are single and have no children, more options are available. Leather, for instance, requires added care to preserve the material. For that reason, it is not advised for people with children.

Stain-resistant and durable fabrics, such as indestructible soft sensuede and supple vinyl, work well for families, according to interior designer and Nesting founder Liz Levin. If you own pets or are known to spill food and drink, these fabrics should also be considered to increase the longevity of your sectional.

Bedroom

9 of the Most Helpful Facts about the Tupelo Furniture Market

Tupelo Furniture MarketEstablished in 1987, the Tupelo Furniture Market welcomes hundreds of manufacturers and retailers throughout the year to view the latest in home furnishings, casegoods, and accessories. The event has become one of the leading order-writing markets in the United States. Here are other details that will provide a better overview of the show.

How frequently does the market occur?

The Tupelo Furniture Market is hosted twice a year: once in February and a second time in August. The show takes place over four consecutive days, beginning on Thursday. Doors open at 8 a.m. For the exception of Sunday, when the market closes at 5 p.m., showrooms stay open until 6 p.m.

How large is the facility?

The market covers 1.6 million square feet of space. Attendees can expect to explore six different buildings during their visit.

Is there a fee for parking?

No. In fact, the market ensures plenty of parking by designating 3 million square feet of space to parking. Complimentary spaces are located adjacent to the venue.

Who comes to the event?

An estimated 600 companies attend the event to exhibit their products. Both domestic and international exhibitors participate, and they comprise importers, manufacturers, and suppliers. Past participants have included BG Industries, Largo International, Malouf Sleep, and United Furniture Industries. The quantity of vendors gives tens of thousands of furniture buyers an abundance of options for items that fit their retail brands. All 50 states are represented by these buyers, and many travel from overseas to attend as well. Attendees must present a resale or business license, and either a business card or cancelled payroll check to be considered a buyer.

Are there educational opportunities?

The Tupelo Furniture Market hosts a “Lunch and Learn” workshop series led by expert consultants, who have a track record of improving revenue streams and streamlining operations for retailers. All attendees have free access to the educational seminars, which include a complimentary lunch. During the 2016 event in February, Joe Milevsky of JRM Sales and Management hosted three seminars, each of which ran just over an hour long. He covered strategic planning, sales tools, and succession planning.

What is the Buyer & Seller “Matchmaker” Initiative?

FurnitureDue to the size of the market, it is not possible for all buyers and exhibitors to meet for the purpose of networking and doing business. For this reason, the market’s buyer recruitment department launched the Buyer & Seller “Matchmaker” Initiative in 2012. The program leverages a team of buyer recruitment personnel, sales employees, and marketing experts to connect showroom exhibitors with pre-registered attendees prior to the market. Those interested in speaking in-person at the event can coordinate a meeting through the buyer recruitment department. Following the show, additional opportunities for buyers to interact with exhibitors are available through promotions and other engagements. More details about the program may be obtained by emailing buyers@tupelofurnituremarket.com or calling (662) 842-4442.

How can a buyer attend for free?

Prior to every show, market staff solicit feedback from leading exhibitors on who they think is a “top buyer.” From this list, the buyer recruitment department develops a special package to invite these selected retailers to attend the event at no cost. The package may include airfare and hotel accommodations, in addition to a complimentary ticket. Further, unique opportunities may be provided, such as business-to-business (B2B) meetings and product incentives.

Another option that allows buyers to enjoy the event for free is the TFM Weekend Pass. A limited number of passes are given to targeted buyers who drive to the market. These passes cover hotel accommodations, meals, and fuel. Additionally, those chosen will receive Tupelo Only Special (TOS) Club membership and show dollars, among other perks. The only stipulation is that the chosen party must come to the market on both Saturday and Sunday.

What benefits come from TOS Club membership?

Buyers can maximize their experience at the market by joining the TOS Club. Membership offers valuable savings in the form of discounted hotel rates, exclusive incentives through exhibitors, and special pricing for networking events. Additionally, all members are eligible to win TFM show dollars to purchase items from exhibitors. Other benefits include guaranteed seating at Lunch and Learn sessions and a chance to partake in the hosted buyer programs.

Where do people break for meals?

To keep participants fueled for the day, the event coordinators ensure five out of the six buildings with showrooms also have concessions. In Buildings 1, 3, and 4, concessions are located in the middle food court. In Buildings 5 and 6, food can be found at the front entrance and center food court, respectively. Buyers who arrive prior to 9 a.m. may also take advantage of the appreciation breakfast. Located at the Tupelo Market Cafe in the Tupelo Complex in Building 6, breakfast is available for two hours beginning at 7 a.m. every day the event is open. At the close of the market, a dinner buffet takes place. It’s a good opportunity to enjoy a meal with other industry professionals and network.