Month: October 2016

Congo

7 Facts You Need to Know about Conflict Mineral Laws

The Democratic Republic of Congo continues to be overwhelmed with warfare. The violence has resulted in the creation of laws that address the use of minerals from the region.

The Conflict Minerals Act directly applies to the situation, bringing to light several issues that the home furnishings industry must tackle. Read on to learn about the law and find out what the government intends to do to help in the matter.

  1. What is the Conflict Minerals Act?

A law outlined in Section 1502 of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, the Conflict Minerals Act limits sourcing of materials from Congo to create products for sale. Jointly, the regulation requires public companies to give full disclosure of where they obtain materials so that measures can be taken to reduce the transfer of money to war-driven regions. As a result, the United States and its businesses can steer clear of supporting exploitation and trade of conflict materials by militia.

  1. Who is the governing body enforcing the law?

The United Sates Securities and Exchange Commission administers the regulation.

  1. Why is it important to spend less in Congo?

mineThe Congo region suffers from civil warfare that is driven by the mining of conflict minerals. Natural resources, such as gold and diamonds, are sold for the purpose of supporting rebel armies and funding violence.

The problem weighs heaviest in the eastern regions of Congo, which has experienced war for more than a decade. Rather than establishing a strong governing body with processes that involve taxing people’s income to spur economic growth for the best interest of its citizens, the Congolese government profits from royalties and remains functioning off of a lawless system.

  1. What minerals does the law cover?

The Conflict Minerals Act covers gold, tin, tantalum, and tungsten.

  1. What must be disclosed regarding use of conflict materials?

Paperwork must be filed whether the company directly makes a product or farms out production of an item to another company. In both instances, the company must do its due diligence to source materials from a region that does not support warfare in Congo.

In reporting use of conflict materials on Form SD, available through the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, a company must share the origin of resources utilized to manufacture a product. The statement must include if use of a material of concern is “necessary to the functionality or production” of the product.

For minerals that are determined to be “DRC conflict free,” which indicates they were not purchased from the Congo region and did not support armed groups, the company must have the report audited by an independent party and have it certified to be included as part of a conflict minerals report.

The same process applies to minerals that have “not been found to be DRC conflict free.” However, extra measures must be taken to explain the origin of the conflict minerals, processes taken to determine its source, and facilities used to convert the minerals into a product.

Some companies may not have the ability to identify the source of their minerals. In these instances, a company should file a report noting the phrase of “DRC conflict undeterminable.” Information required under the label includes giving an explanation of the process used to determine origin and how the company intends to mitigate risk. If possible, offering details of facilities used to process potential conflict minerals is helpful.

The final disclosure applies to scrap and recycled sources. Minerals that do not come directly from mines and instead come from a recycled or scrap source are deemed “DRC conflict free.” However, extra attention must be given to individual metals if a company cannot determine whether they came from recycled or scrap sources.

Gold, for example, must undergo an auditing process. Companies must also meet stipulations outlined in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Due Diligence Guidance. After completing both, results must be communicated in the report.

In terms of tantalum, tin, and tungsten, other details that must appear on a report should speak to a company’s process for determining materials’ origin. An independent audit will only be required once a due diligence framework is developed.

  1. How does a company determine the origin of minerals?

Conducting a “country of origin” inquiry is an ideal way to evaluate where minerals originate. There is no standard inquiry process or guideline, but companies should include questions that address where minerals came from to accurately relay the information on a conflict minerals report.

  1. What impact does this have on the furniture industry?

Unfortunately, furniture companies continue to struggle with determining where their minerals are sourced. A large factor is documentation fraud committed by mineral processing facilities. Failure to accurately note the journey minerals undergo before they reach their final destination to be turned into couches, tables, or other household furnishings makes it difficult to report with certainty that a product does not contain contents that possibly support warfare in Congo.

mine pit

In fact, a survey conducted in August of 2016 confirmed that more than half of furniture companies could not find the originating source of minerals used in some or all relevant products. The same survey concluded that nearly all companies in the industry were unsure if materials used financed or benefited Congolese armed groups.

As a response, the Government Accountability Office sought the aid of the Department of Commerce. The agency requested the department create a plan of action to evaluate the accuracy of independent audits. Based on feedback, the Government Accountability Office and Department of Commerce can offer recommendations to improve the precision of the information that is relayed.

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contemporary livingroom

Everything You Need to Know about the International Contemporary Furniture Fair

Every year, home and design industry professionals have a number of opportunities to enhance their skills and knowledge by attending tradeshows and conferences. One event worth going to is the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF). The following synopsis gives insight on what can be expected from the global show.

What is the ICFF?

ICFFAn annual tradeshow, the ICFF welcomes home and interior design professionals to explore a range of products and services impacting the future of contemporary design. The event serves as a platform to share the latest trends, connect people in the industry, and cover other topical matters.

More than 750 exhibitors from around the world participate in the event. Their backgrounds, which cater to residential and commercial customers, range from home furnishings to carpet and flooring. Since the fair’s inception nearly 30 years ago, attendees have come as far as the Philippines to partake in the activities. Foreign advocates include the British European Design Group and Austrian Federal Economic Chamber.

When and where will it take place?

The upcoming ICFF event occurs from May 21–24, 2017. Trade days take place the first three days, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the exception of May 23, when the show ends an hour earlier. On the final day, the fair opens its doors to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Trade show attendees are still invited to come.

The event will be hosted at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, New York, at the intersection of 11th Avenue and 38th Street.

Who should attend?

The tradeshow is expected to host more than 33,000 attendees, including design professionals, such as interior designers, architects, and visual merchandisers, as well as furniture distributors, retailers, manufacturers, and developers. Vendors, which include companies that specialize in wall coverings, indoor and outdoor furniture, textiles, and lighting, will find the event crucial for building customer relationships. Editorial publications focused on furniture, home accessories, lighting, material, and textiles gain a valuable experience as well.

What special engagements take place?

The ICFF hosts ICFF Talks, an educational program that occurs throughout the event. Example past topics of discussion include “Design Trends: A Multi-Perspective View of the Year Ahead,” “Collective Innovation: Embracing Collaboration in (Home Furnishing) Design,” “Designing Retail Stores for Today’s Savvy Shopper,” and “Defining Luxury for Today.” Panels include executives from large home-interior publications as well as renowned furniture and textile experts.

In 2016, a collaboration with the American Society of Interior Designers gave attendees the opportunity to earn continuing education units through approved programming.  The six available sessions covered such applicable topics as business practices and the influence of design on people.

How can interested people register?

Those intending on going to the trade show can register online at http://www.icff.com. While registration is not currently open, visitors can opt to receive notifications when it does open by filling out an online form. Individuals attending only on the day open to the public will need to register onsite upon arrival.

What fees can be expected?

eclectic living roomPublic day access requires a $60 ticket payment, which can be made only with a credit card. Tickets fees are nonrefundable. The same fee applies to trade show members who register at the event. More information regarding advance purchase of trade show tickets will be released at a future date. Manufacturers planning to come as a non-exhibiting party may do so for an advance ticket fee of $100. The price increases to $150 on the day of the event. Regardless of the type of ticket purchased, attendees bringing children will be charged an admission rate of $60.

Exhibitor booth space can be reserved at a rate of $51.50 per square foot. The smallest booth is 10 feet by 10 feet. Larger sizes are available, but they must be reserved in 10×10 increments. For premium exposure, such as a corner booth, exhibitors can expect and additional $200 fee. A limited number of islands are available as well. Sizes range from 10 feet by 20 feet to 30 feet by 30 feet, and pricing begins at $10,300.

Are there suggestions for hotels and transportation?

Yes. The website has a designated page providing attendees with access to onPeak, a service that helps customers search for reduced hotel rates in the vicinity of an event. A complimentary amenity, onPeak provides options for group rates as well.

Upon arrival, attendees may board the courtesy shuttle bus for a ride to their hotel. Not all hotels, such as the Sheraton Lincoln Harbor Hotel and W New York Union Square, receive the free service, so it is imperative to inquire prior to using the shuttle.

home dwelling

4 of the Most Anticipated Home Design Trends for 2017

As the end of 2016 nears, designers are already making predictions about 2017 trends. To recap, 2016 is the year of creating glamorous family rooms; hanging pretty pendant lighting; outfitting spaces with interesting pedestal tables; designating a home office space with a glam desk; mixing metals; and integrating colorful textiles, like those found in Guatemala, into decor. Still popular are home furnishings covered in prints and neutral tones, as well as minimalist spaces with a pop of color. In terms of technology, three-dimensional (3D) printing is catching on, due the endless manufacturing possibilities it provides.

While some of these trends will remain strong heading into 2017, design pros expect a few new ones to take off. Read on to see what you can expect in design and decor in the coming year.

  1. Revived Vintage Furnishings

Seen during the most recent High Point Market Week, popular styles from the art deco period were given new life through the use of contemporary textiles and materials. Similar approaches were applied to classic campaign furniture and other vintage pieces. Preserving the historical significance of the home furnishings while updating accents and vintage couchtrimmings to match trends, such as midcentury modern, keeps the look fresh and worth integrating into any home.

One good example is an office chair produced by Worlds Away. Inspired by a 1950s Pierre Jeanneret chair made with teak and woven cane, Worlds Away updates the subdued aesthetic by doing away with the beige upholstery, instead covering the seat with a stark-white textile. The lighter hue offers a drastic contrast from the dark wood base of the chair, making it look more lively and modern.

  1. Beautiful, Durable Fabrics

People want to live in their spaces, not just look at them. They prefer rooms that are inviting to both adults and children. However, one thing is certain: consumers are less willing to forgo design in favor of function. They want options that offer style as well as the ability to withstand wear. For this reason, in 2017, furniture made with fool-proof fabrics will do well among buyers.

Crypton, a manufacturer of stain-resistant fabrics, is partnering with furniture makers to upholster such high-end pieces as the Jean-Louis Deniot sofa at Baker. The French designer wanted the look of luxurious velvet, but needed the seat to be more durable. He achieved this by using a fabric that looks like velvet, but is made of 40 percent polyester. The polyester-blend helps maintain the shape of the upholstery because the fibers are sturdier, and polyester is known to preserve color well and release water-based stains. If a homeowner places the sofa in a place that gets direct sunlight, the exposure will not fade the material as quickly, which is great for a piece that will endure frequent use.

  1. Colorful Pieces

As in 2016, pops of color will remain an attractive design choice, but the 2017 way to do it colorful furnitureinvolves using it sparingly. Doing so looks more purposeful, and allows the color to make a bolder statement.

Highlight brighter colors, like cobalt blue and saturated red, in smaller pieces like décor or accent furniture. Softer hues, like pastels, are suited for larger furniture. A bright-colored chair or sofa can anchor a room as well. For artwork or wallpaper, lean toward products that contain gradients or have a watercolor effect. The airiness works well with other up-and-coming trends, such as cool-toned glass pieces and warm felts and wool.

  1. Bohemian Style

If you enjoy traveling or collecting things from different parts of the world, the bohemian trend will pique your interest. It gives you the luxury to create an eclectic space and embrace traditional, handmade products from other cultures. The style works best if you find furnishings and home accents that have a strong regional look. For instance, mohair and tweeds can lend your home a look very reminiscent of Scotland.

Additionally, handcrafted products work well because they often contain imperfections, highlighting the uniqueness of a one-of-a-kind piece. Hand-knotted rugs, woven baskets, and inlaid mother-of-pearl items are some pieces to consider. Another way to achieve a bohemian vibe involves sourcing products made with vegetal dyes, in colors such as indigo, light aubergine, and deep red. Warmer hues of orange, mustard, and brick are bohemian mainstays as well.

hotel room

3 of the Best Things to Know about the Home Furnishings Manufacturing Solutions Expo

Did you know 56 percent of consumers require their furniture to arrive less than a week after completing their purchase in-store in order to be happy? Furniture Today found that 14 percent of individuals who shop online expect the same turnaround time. A mere 43 percent of online shoppers are willing to wait up to two weeks.

In regard to the home furnishings industry, the global sector is expected to grow greatly by 2019. The website cit.com estimates revenues to reach $695 billion by that time. The number reflects a predicted growth rate of up to seven percent each year, beginning in girl on couch2016. Experts anticipate online sales to improve as well. By 2018, online sales could reach $32 billion if the current growth rate of 11 percent continues year over year.

The best way to support growth is by offering consumers what they want. Specifically, customization appeals to modern-day shoppers. They want to express themselves through home furnishings they can personalize to their taste. Customization is so highly valued that 92 percent of consumers agreed that they would be willing to spend more money to purchase a one-of-a-kind sofa tailored to their specifications. Knowing these details offers a big advantage to furniture retailers, suppliers, or manufacturers that want to improve their business success.

Fortunately, this information and more are being shared at the upcoming Home Furnishings Manufacturing Solutions Expo in Atlanta. Structured as a forum, the event mixes educational programming with live exhibitions to support professionals and businesses that make and sell furniture. The unique trade show pays a crucial role in boosting the success of the $150 billion home furnishings industry. The following provides an overview of the event.

  1. General Information about the Expo

The Exposition Development Company, Inc. and Progressive Business Media created The Home Furnishings Manufacturing Solutions Expo. The latter is the parent company of the media outlet Furniture Today. The event supports the home furnishings industry by sharing products, services, and innovations influencing the future of the sector. Additionally, professionals representing more technical and administrative services pertaining to logistics and technology also participate.

The expo is a good opportunity to network among peers or stir up conversations with industry vendors. Educational programs regarding regulatory environmental policies, emerging trends, and other subject matters give attendees a chance to hone their expertise on specific topics.

Furniture Today, the Franklin Furniture Institute, and American Home Furnishings Alliance support the upcoming forum, which will take place on June 7, 2017 and June 8, 2017. The event begins at 10 a.m. on both days. The first day concludes at 5 p.m., while the second day will wrap an hour earlier. All activities will be hosted at the Georgia World Congress Center, 285 Andrew Young International Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA 30313.

  1. Information for Attendees

The expo benefits all professionals in the home furnishings industry, but caters specifically to those involved in manufacturing. Because topics and products related to machinery and technology are among the key areas of focus, engineers, plant managers, quality control managers, and machine operators are among those who should attend. expoLikewise, specifiers and managers of research and development, purchasing, and procurement divisions would gain value from the educational components developed by the Franklin Furniture Institute and American Home Furnishing Alliance.

While the program is not yet available, interested parties can visit http://www.hfmse.com closer to the event to review course details. The same website will direct people to a contact form to be notified when tickets go on sale and new details become available. If an interested person prefers directly contacting organizers, representatives can be reached at info@hfmse.com.

  1. Information for Exhibitors

The expo is centrally located between Mississippi and North Carolina, two markets that dominate the home furnishings sector. For this reason, vendors interested in sharing their products and services should reserve an exhibition space to gain direct access to important decision makers in the industry.

Exhibitors are broken down into more than 25 product groups ranging from paints and finishes to financial management and publications. Vendors do not have to be associated with the Supporting Industry Association in order to register. However, membership reduces the early bird rate from $30 to $27 per net square feet. The early bird rate remains effective until November 15, 2016. The standard rate is $30 per net square feet for association members, while non-members pay $3 more per net square feet.

Those requesting a booth with open corners must fulfill a $300 fee no matter their membership. The same applies to the bulk rate, which covers reserved spaces of more than 1,000 net square feet. This $300 fee is in addition to the $25 net square feet fee for the larger space.

Payment covers pipes and drapes, wastebaskets, material handling, signage, directory listing, cleaning, and personnel badges. An exception is made for island booths, which do not require pipe or drapes. If a vendor prefers to have either, a special request must be made ahead of time.

 

store interior

3 Ways to Boost Business Success in a Buyer-Driven Market

Consumers have exacting demands when it comes to home furnishings. They believe furniture serves a larger purpose than its intended use. It is meant to represent them. For this reason, people today spend more time shopping for the perfect piece of furniture to outfit their space. When they cannot find what they want or at the price point desired, consumers turn to customization.

With endless options, your business must have the ability to handle any and all requests to survive in a buyer-driven market. For a better idea of what can be done to increase business success in the home furnishings industry, read on.

  1. Optimize production processes.

A zero error rate can be achieved if you consistently improve your production processes. Your goal should always be to avoid consumer dissatisfaction and publicized complaints by constructing pieces well. This applies to both in-stock items as well as those that are customized.

The best way to limit missteps involves automating data generation and transfer. You may not be able to automate all aspects of your business because some areas are more dynamic than others. However, for items such as material and model, having a designated option chairmakerfor employees to select in your computer software ordering program will make it easier to communicate purchase requests to fulfillment personnel.

These actions will improve manufacturing accuracy and ensure repeatability, an important achievement that helps sustain quality and manage cost. Additionally, you will discover it aids in procedures standardization. Standardization is a necessity for reducing errors. Consistency in executing processes and procedures results in crafting a quality product every time.

Keep in mind, however, you must invest a substantial amount of effort to developing an approach that has flexibility, so all requests have a solution. The end result is an optimized process that expedites production development and brings your product to market sooner. The quality is always on point, and consumers who are elated by the furniture they receive.

  1. Boost efficiency.

Before people expected everything to be quick, you had the luxury of making up to eight prototypes of a single product to ensure it met your specifications and lived up to quality standards. Thereafter, the product would launch for purchasing. If a consumer preferred customization, it was available, and could take approximately 12 weeks before the person received their final product.

However, that is no longer the norm. Buyers do not want to wait a prolonged period to receive their product, even if it means they will receive an outstanding piece that fits their style. Instead, consumers expect their demands to be fulfilled with expedited delivery. In that respect, it is crucial to increase your appeal to customers by instilling greater efficiency in manufacturing processes.

A good starting point for improving efficiency involves streamlining processes with the implementation of new software. The software you choose should eliminate unnecessary steps in the design, industrialization, and production processes by offering both two- and three-dimensional visuals and data on the actual product. The illustrations would allow you to select specific colors, stitching, textiles, and foam, among other aspects.

Having a clear picture of a piece of furniture as well as associated expenses based on the options chosen reduces the need for a physical prototype, thus speeding up the manufacturing timeframe. Keep in mind the importance of proper training when introducing new software. Develop a training strategy that involves a holistic approach to ensure you address all factors, including employees and processes, impacted by the tool. In doing so, you can maximize your return on investment.

  1. Offer customization.

macaroonsConsumers are enticed by customized products. They consider a customized piece to be a premium purchase because it is made exactly to their personal preference. While giving the option is costly to execute, it can increase your appeal to consumers as well as your bottom line.

So how can you maintain your margins and still give people exactly what they want? As stated in the previous section regarding efficiency, utilizing software will limit the need to invest in physical prototypes. It also helps you understand how to manipulate designs to meet a particular budget. A simple switch of fabric or material that still meets a consumer’s request, while reducing production costs, can alleviate financial burdens.

Further, software that provides data transfer is the best option for customized pieces. Accurate data transfer from 3D to 2D is essential when multiple parties are involved in manufacturing a final product. Some departments require a visual 3D model of a piece of furniture to view it for design and function. They want to understand that all the components will work together and result in a cohesive product.

Without the 3D option, the complexity of furniture making can be overwhelming, and the potential to construct a solid, functional product without a prototype is less likely. Departments that value 2D information utilize it for the industrialization phase. They require specific measurements to build a piece. Accurate data results in fewer errors, especially when designing a one-of-a-kind product.

outdoor furniture

How to Create an Outdoor Space That Is on Trend

Each year, the Casual Market Chicago four-day trade show attracts attendees who serve the outdoor and casual living sector. This event gives design professionals an opportunity to witness the latest innovations in their industry as well as discover new trends related to product design, color, and textiles, and more. Leading up the 2016 show, representatives of the market announced what they deemed to be the latest trends of the year, and Furniture Today shared the details on its site. To stay on trend when creating an outdoor space, use the following guidelines:

Mix hard and soft elements.

Juxtaposition plays a key role in making your patio look its best, and this year’s trend involves mixing hard and soft surfaces together to create balance. The goal is to mimic the feel of nature by combining hard elements, like wood, with soft features, such as grass and foliage. Keep in mind, though, that tougher woods can also have a softened look. For instance, a piece of wood exposed to the sun for a long period of time becomes weathered, fading from a vibrant brown to a subtler grey hue.

A good way to outfit a space with both hard and soft elements is to combine materials and textures. For the latter, find pieces that have a distressed or aged appearance. Natural woods look great, but they may not always be accessible or affordable. Fortunately, many patio furnituremanufacturers have developed a method for artificially duplicating the appearance of weathered wood.

You can bring in other “soft” elements with textiles. For example, you can place accent pillows on seating for added comfort, and linens can accompany a table setting for an al fresco dinner. Fabric-covered seat cushions, throws, potted plants, and hanging curtains can also help you soften the appearance of a patio.

For hard elements, look to woods, again, and metals. These materials look aesthetically appealing together. Metals that work well as part of outdoor furnishings include wrought iron, aluminum, and stainless steel. In terms of wood, any type is good. However, teak is popular for its beautiful grains that shine through the wood’s silver-grey coloring. Its durability withstands extreme changes in temperature, so it lasts longer and is less likely to rot. Further, the wood is termite resistant.

Find inspiration in nature.

Organic materials highlight the rawness of nature. Outdoor furniture designers take this into consideration when decorating spaces. Wicker and bamboo are more traditional materials found in most residential patios. Both types offer numerous options when it comes to color, weight, and pricing. For an even more substantial, but still organic look, you can personalize your patio with redwood or cedar pieces. Both have a high tolerance against decay and warping. The woods are also nearly impervious to bugs.

Does your patio sit near a pool? Choose teak wood. As stated before, it is durable, plus it has water-resistant qualities. HGTV recently spotlighted teak wood in its “15 Hot Outdoor Furniture Trends” list, featuring a sturdy, deep sectional covered in plush cushions and pillows. The base was made of teak that had a weathered finish.

Look indoors.

Outdoor furniture has evolved from basic collections of chairs and tables. Today, the industry thrives on producing and selling pieces that embody fashion and make a statement with patterns and color. Currently trending are mid-century modern looks and designs that include architectural elements.

patio furnitureThe best place to get inspiration for your outdoor decor is to look at indoor home furnishings collections. For functionality, opt for an outdoor dining set that sits eight or more people, just like you would want for inside. Pick a neutral color that you can easily transform to match changing trends by adding pillows, linens, and other accents.

If you like to entertain, purchase a seating set that comes with an ottoman. The ottoman not only serves as a place to prop up your feet, it can also provide extra seating. To make your seating arrangement stand out, decorate it with bold-colored cushions. You can also use more eclectic materials that boast lively prints.

Another decorating option involves playful patterns. A good example is the Trefle collection by Fermob. The company took plain pillows and personalized them with clusters of four-leaf clovers. All are white, except one clover that is a different color. The pillow itself is interesting to look at and helps tie in other pieces of the collection that have a similar color scheme. You can bring these out for St. Patrick’s Day or any time of the year because of the appeal of the unexpected color of the clovers.

For an outdoor kitchen setup, invest in nicer stools that have a metal base and comfortable cushioning for the seat. The goal is to make something simple, like a stool, look like it was purposefully purchased to fit a designer space.

couches

The Upcoming High Point Market: Why It’s so Exciting

The High Point Market will return in October for its 2016 fall show. Leading up to the occasion, there have been a number announcements that have piqued the interest of those waiting for the big day. The following are some of the more exciting announcements:

The Return of Abbyson Living

Abbyson Living logoAbbyson Living made an official announcement that it will return to the High Point Market for the upcoming fall event after an almost 10-year absence. The lifestyle home furnishings supplier will occupy space 1156 in the International Home Furnishings Center’s Commerce Wing on the 11th floor. The 22,000-square-foot showroom will include eight full-home collections and 300 new product designs. Taking advantage of the growth in e-commerce business, the vendor will launch a digital selling program and service that will benefit designers and retailers. The company’s president stated the digital feature is expected to grow business because it will help Abbyson Living reach new audiences. On October 22nd, the first day of the market, the company will celebrate its return with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

A Captivating Design Series

In August 2016, Furniture Today released an article outlining the design series that will help market attendees increase their industry expertise. Dubbed the Design Viewpoint Series, it consists of four sessions, all of which will take place in the High Point Theatre. The High Point Market Authority and American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) focused all the classes on the growing “aging-in-place” movement, which refers to older adults (aged 50

5609883429_08d2329026_b

Image courtesy coco+kelley | Flickr

and up) who are choosing to stay in their homes and communities for the remainder of their lives.

The choice creates a new challenge for designers, who must develop a strategy that targets their services to this demographic. Based on the Oxford Journal’s projection, the number of people in this group is expected to increase by 135 percent between 2000 and 2050. For this reason, the series will be of utmost importance to professionals seeking success in the future.

The first class begins on day one of the event at noon. It includes a panel discussion and a preview of the Public Broadcasting documentary Thriving in Place: Designing Your Best Life, Now & Later. On Sunday, the market will have two classes: Color & Paint in Environments for the Aging and Livable Design: The evolution of the Home Environment. Both courses are one hour long. The final class, Where We Choose to Thrive: A Discussion of Aging-in-Place Communities, starts at 9 am on Monday, October 24. It will be led by an award-winning interior designer specializing in senior living. A complimentary breakfast buffet will be available 30 minutes before the class. All courses offer continuing education units.

An Abundance of Exhibitors

As of August 2016, more than 40 home furnishings companies have signed up to participate in the High Point Premarket, which occurs a little more than a month prior to the actual event. The premarket gives interested parties a sneak peek at what brands will be at the October event. Among the participating vendors  are Ashley Furniture, Lane Home Furnishings, Bassett Furniture, Prime Resources International, and Stanley Furniture.

New Collections

Thanks to a partnership with Biltmore, Capel Rugs will be unveiling three new collections at the upcoming market. The duo currently promotes 11 collections of licensed rugs. The latest collections, while keeping true to the brand’s traditional design, will reflect trending colors in celebration of the partnership’s 11th anniversary. More specifically, the Capel’s Biltmore Palisade collection will highlight subdued stone hues, the Estate collection will focus on vibrant reds and blues that are balanced with neutral grays and ivories, and the Century collection will contain greens, reds, creams, and mushroom tones. Customers can purchase rugs as small as 4 x 6 and as large as 10 x 14.

Along the same lines, Hancock & Moore will introduce its newest division, Urban Logic. This brand will offer a variety of seating options that cater to city dwellers. The Urban Logic collection will contain products that suit the needs of individuals living in tight quarters, such as lofts, studios, and guest homes. The collection is expected to be modern and edgy and will integrate natural materials, such as leather. The simplistic line, with its neutral hues and earth tones, will allow the company to price items more affordably. On October 23, Hancock & Moore intends to host a “Best of N.C.” launch party on the 3rd floor of 200 Steele, where the company has reserved its showroom. The celebration will span two hours.

formal lighting

The Best Ways to Create an On-Trend Formal Dining Room

It is finally happening: homeowners are returning to tradition and opting for separate, formal dining rooms, according to an article published on the ELLE Decor website. While the desire to turn a dining room into an office, media room, or kids’ play area may still spark some people’s interest, industry observers have noticed an uptick in purchases of dining sets and other furniture that encourage sit-down family meals. To get on board with this trend, here are some ideas on how you can create your own formal dining space.

Include a china cabinet.

china cabinet

Image courtesy smilla4 | Flickr

Formal dining rooms are a good place for displaying your prized collection of dishes and serving pieces. House these items in a china cabinet, which functions like a traditional cupboard, but with glass doors to showcase what you are storing. Depending on the cabinet, the price may be more than you prefer. If that’s the case, try mixing separate pieces to create one unit. Furniture showrooms and consignment stores often carry top and bottom pieces of cabinetry that you can purchase individually. Ideally, the woods should match, but it’s not strictly necessary as long as the two pieces look cohesive when paired together. For a more formal style, select a dark wood, like cherry or mahogany. If your style leans more toward country décor, pick a lighter wood or finish.

Be eclectic.

Speaking of china cabinetry, make sure your dishes match in color. A formal dining room requires a sense of harmony (if not perfect uniformity), and that applies to plates, bowls, and any other pieces that will be prominently displayed in the room. While the hues should match one another, the product shape and size does not matter. Add depth to your collection by purchasing varying pieces that can be layered. The eclectic look is often more interesting.

Find a quality chandelier.

Nothing says formal like a high-quality chandelier hanging above your prized dining table. Stick with a light fixture that is smaller than the width of your table by at least one foot. chandelierOnce you determine the size needed, pick a style that best suits the space.

Chandeliers come in a variety of options, such as ones with shades, candelabras, crystals, and beads. There are also tiered chandeliers. Finishes to consider include antique or oiled-rubbed bronze and brushed nickel, among numerous others.

If the expense is an issue, don’t let that keep you from getting the perfect fixture for your room. A chandelier is still an option, even if you’re on a budget, if you seek out a non-functioning one. This tactic requires a bit more effort, because you’ll have to search flea markets, antique stores, and estate sales. After finding one and making the purchase, you’ll also need to buy a rewiring kit to make it work.

Combine light and dark elements.

Lighter-colored elements can make a room look sleek, while dark furnishings convey a more dignified, traditional look. Combined, they bring sophistication and grandeur to a formal dining room. To make such contrasting styles work together, find an accent that can tie it all together—such as a rug or wallpaper, for example. Whatever you choose, it should bridge the gap between light and dark.

Another good rule of thumb is to have your contrasting pieces match in some way. For instance, offset the brightness of a large metal-front cabinet with navy blue upholstered chairs. Match the chairs to the cabinet by finding ones containing silver details, like silver nail heads or rivets. Or consider a navy chair with silver patterns etched in the fabric.

Stick with linear.

luggageYour home may have an open floorplan that combines the kitchen and dining space. Though you may think this lends a more casual look, you can still create a formal dining area with the right furniture and placement. First, make sure you have four to five feet between the kitchen island and the dining table, so people can easily move about. Position the table with the width facing the kitchen for a smooth, linear flow between the two spaces. You can also add a rug underneath the table to create a more defined space. As for the dining set, simple upholstered chairs and a long table work well. Antique-looking sets can also convey a more formal look. If you want an ornate feature, keep an eye out for tables and chairs with decorative, carved legs.

Reintroduce period detail.

Another good approach to creating a formal dining room is to consider how these rooms used to be styled. In the past, dining rooms often contained elaborate décor and special touches, from the seating to windows. Take note and incorporate this style in your formal dining room. For example, instead of chairs, seek out sofa-style benches with a unique print. Add luxury with damask wallpaper or a woven floral rug.