Month: December 2018

fabric

A Beginner’s Guide to Furniture Upholstery – All You Need to Know

With the exception of all-wood chairs and benches, nearly all furniture pieces meant for sitting and lounging are covered—at least partially—with some sort of upholstery. Along with providing comfort, upholstery fabric is perhaps the most prominent stylistic feature of any chair, sofa, or ottoman. Upholstery also gets more use than any other furniture element, so it’s important that it can stand up to daily wear and tear.

Knowing your options when it comes to furniture upholstery can help you in picking out pieces that are best suited to your needs. Depending on the intended use, you may want to choose an upholstered piece covered in tough, long-lasting fabric that can resist stains and fading. In some cases, you can get by with a less durable fabric. In order to gain a better understanding of your options, check out this guide that covers natural and synthetic upholstery commonly used in the furniture industry.

 

living-room

 

Natural Upholstery Fabrics

Natural upholstery fabrics are those comprising fibers and materials derived from plants and animals. Although some natural fabrics can be difficult to keep clean, many homeowners prefer the look that only natural materials can provide. While there are many options to choose from, here are a few of the most common ones:

Cotton – Cotton is one of the strongest and most durable natural upholstery options available. In addition to resisting fading and wear, cotton is fairly resistant to wrinkling and soiling, especially when blended with other fibers for added strength and durability. Cotton also can also be readily dyed, which makes it a great choice for many furniture pieces.

Linen – Unlike cotton, linen is not very resistant to soiling or wrinkling. However, this naturally lustrous fabric does resist pilling, abrasion, and fading. While it isn’t necessarily the best choice for casual family rooms, linen works perfectly for furniture pieces in formal dining and living areas.

Leather – Depending on the quality, leather typically lasts longer than most upholstery options. Leather is also very easy to clean and maintain, which is great for families with small children. It’s important to remember that leather pieces can vary in terms of grade and treatment, and this affects both price and overall quality. Be sure to do a bit of research to find the best leather furniture for your home.

Wool -If you’re looking for a very durable and sturdy upholstery fabric, wool is definitely worth considering. Made of animal hair, wool can be found in everything from sofas and chairs to carpeting and rugs. When it’s used for seating, the fabric is typically blended with synthetic and other natural fibers to improve texture, durability, and stain resistance.

Velvet – Velvet upholstery has been on-trend in recent years, and there are no signs that it is going away anytime soon. Its renewed popularity is due in part to advancements in fabric technology that have made today’s velvet more resistant to staining, fading, and abrasions than the velvet of the past. In terms of comfort, texture, and richness, velvet upholstery is hard to beat.

 

chair

 

Synthetic Upholstery Choices

When it comes to a heavy-use material such as upholstery, two of the most important qualities to consider are durability and ease of care. Today’s consumers have a number of manmade fabric options to choose from, and most are tough, fade-resistant, and very simple to clean. Take a look at these options:

Nuvella – Exclusive to Ashley Furniture, Nuvella is an extremely durable performance fabric used on both indoor and outdoor furniture pieces. While it protects against spills and stains, if it does become soiled, it can be cleaned up very easily. In addition, Nuvella is made with 100 percent recyclable fiber, which makes it a great choice for those looking to reduce their environmental impact.

Microfiber – A dense material, microfiber offers the aesthetic qualities of suede while providing greater durability and resistance to moisture. This knit-blend polyester fabric is also much easier to clean than real suede, and its low cost is ideal for those on a budget. Microfiber is particularly well suited for casual seating in family rooms and other high-traffic areas.

Faux Leather–If you want the look of leather without the price tag, faux leather is really your only option. In terms of construction, you have the choice of polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl). Vinyl synthetic leather is easier to clean and maintain than PU, a fabric which is softer, more breathable, and more flexible.

Nylon – Although nylon is rarely used on its own, it is a common synthetic upholstery material that works great in a variety of pieces. When blended with other materials, it creates a soil- and wrinkle-resistant upholstery fabric that stands up well over time.

Polyester – Like nylon, polyester is a synthetic fabric that works best when used with other materials. In addition to cotton and wool, polyester is often combined with velvet in order to eliminate crushing. Polyester blends are also resistant to fading, wrinkling, and pilling.

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dinner-table

How to Choose the Perfect Dining Set

Whether you’re planning a special holiday dinner or simply looking to update your dining area, shopping for a new dining table and chairs can be overwhelming if you’re not prepared for the many options that you’ll find at your local furniture store. Even though formal dining rooms have fallen out of fashion, most modern homes have space set aside for enjoying a meal with family and friends, and you’ll want yours to meet certain needs while reflecting your personal style. Read on to find out how you can ensure that you purchase the right dining set for your home.


Determine the Proper Size

Before you do anything else, you need to ensure that you buy a dining set that will fit in your dining area. If necessary, pull out a measuring tape and measure both the length and width of the space. When taking these measurements, it’s important to remember that you’ll need ample room around the table so that everyone can sit comfortably and easily get in and out of their chairs without bumping into their neighbors.

Most designers suggest that you maintain a minimum of 3 feet of space between the wall and each side of the table. You should also provide 2 feet of space at each place setting to prevent diners from bumping into each other’s elbows while they’re eating. This means you’ll have to account for how many people will be using the table at any given time to ensure that you get one that is right for your needs.

In addition to calculating the length and width of your table, you need to consider the height. The standard dining table height is around 29 or 30 inches, but you may want something a bit taller or shorter to accommodate different types of chairs and to fit in with the other decor. Keep in mind, however, that you may be limited in terms of the shape and design if you opt for something other than the standard table height.

 

dining set

 

Think about Shape

Size isn’t the only consideration that factors into creating a comfortable dining space. The shape of your table will also play a role. Rectangular tables are definitely the most popular and widely available, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have other options to consider. In a furniture store, you’ll also find round, square, and oval tables.

A long, rectangular table is probably a good idea if you have a large family or enjoy hosting dinner parties. If you’re short on space, but still want a traditional look, consider opting for an oval table. A round table is also an excellent space-saving solution for cozy dining areas. While a square table is probably the least popular option, it can be a great choice for a long, narrow room.

 

Keep Function and Style in Mind

Once you’ve considered the size and shape of your dining set, you need to think about its general function and how it will fit in with your design scheme. Of course, the dining table is primarily used for eating meals, but yours will likely serve other purposes, as well. You might pay bills, complete work projects, or help the kids with their homework at your table, so it’s important to find one that can accommodate your needs. This means carefully considering the size and materials, which will be covered in a moment.

If you’re investing in a new dining set, you’ll certainly want to get one that looks good in your home and aligns with your personal taste. In a modern home, a sleek design is the way to go, but you can choose to add some contrast by opting for a rustic table rich with wooden tones. For an open floor plan, it’s probably best to choose something that will fit in with the rest of the living area without disrupting the flow. When deciding on a style, don’t forget to carefully examine all the components of your dining room set, including the table and chair legs.

 

dinner-table-444797_1280

 

Consider the Materials

Trying to select materials for your dining set will also present you with a number of choices. Picking the right one will depend on your style and budget, as well as your dining space. You’ll also want to choose materials based on your lifestyle and the ways in which your table will be used. If the table is an extension of your living room or family room, for instance, it’s important to choose durable materials that will stand up to a lot of activity.

In addition to solid woods, you can find tables and chairs made of composite wood material covered in veneer. This can provide an affordable alternative for those who want the wood look without the sometimes-hefty price tag. Other materials commonly used in furniture construction include plastic and laminate, as well as a variety of metals, including steel, brass, and zinc. Granite and marble tabletops are also available. Another popular material is glass, which is a great tabletop option if you’re looking to add an open feel to a small room or apartment.

shopping

How to Host a Great In-Store Event

Today’s furniture retailers are working in a market that is much different than it was just a decade or so ago. With easy access to online shopping via computers and mobile devices, modern consumers are certainly not lacking for options when they want to spend money on a new product. Unlike many other areas of retail, however, the home furnishings industry is still largely driven by brick-and-mortar sales. Furniture retailers looking to stay ahead of the competition must focus on creating a great experience for every customer who walks through their door.

One way to deliver a remarkable experience while boosting your brand is by hosting an in-store event. Fortunately, hosting a successful event at your store doesn’t have to be a headache. Here is some advice to help you on your way:

 

Preparation Tips

 

  1. Plan well in advance

While you shouldn’t let planning an event take over your professional and/or personal life, it is important to take the time needed to put all the necessary moving parts together. It’s best to begin planning at least 90 days beforehand—and don’t forget to set a timeline with attainable goals along the way. During the planning phase, think about the timing of the event and make a list of what you want to accomplish to ensure that you’re successful.

 

  1. Set a budget

Another important part of the planning process involves sorting out your budget so that you do not overspend. After you’ve decided on what to do during the event, carefully calculate the costs of promotional items, marketing materials, staff, and other needs before establishing your budget. Having a budget in place will also help you assess your return on investment after you wrap up the event.

 

  1. Get the word out

You can’t expect people to show up to an event that they don’t hear about. Be sure to focus heavily on marketing and don’t hesitate to use multiple forms of media to get the word out. You can send out invitations to customers via postal mail, e-mail, and social media. Print ads and outdoor advertising are also effective. If possible, you can create more buzz about your event by reaching out to journalists and local media outlets to help share your story.

 

instagram

 

What to Do the Day of the Event

 

  1. Consider offering freebies

Who doesn’t love giveaways? One of the best ways that you can boost attendance at your event is by offering free stuff. Providing free food and drinks is always a good idea, but you can also hand out goody bags with promotional items and discount offers. For an added draw, consider having a prize raffle. If you go this route, be sure to capitalize on your investment by collecting valuable customer info from those who enter.

 

  1. Get out the camera

After going through all the work of planning and hosting an event, it’s important to document the activities via photos and video. If you’re uncomfortable or unskilled behind the camera, consider delegating the task to a staff member or hiring a professional for the job. Don’t forget to get your guests’ permission if you plan to post the photos and videos to social media or your website.

 

  1. Don’t oversell

While the whole point of hosting an in-store event is to boost sales, it’s important to focus on creating a great experience rather than pushing products onto your customers. Give your guests the opportunity to explore your store and browse on their own without you or your staff getting too “salesy.” Those who are thinking about making a purchase during the event will be more likely to do so if they are comfortable and having a good time, so be sure to make that your priority.

 

shopping

 

How to Follow Up

 

  1. Post photos and event highlights

In the days and weeks following your event, keep the buzz going by posting photos, videos, and recaps on your website and social media pages. If any special guests, community groups, or business partners took part in the activities, don’t forget to mention them in your posts. Also, look around for other people sharing info about the event and send them thanks.

 

  1. Send out follow-up offers

As a thank you to those who attended, you can send discount offers via e-mail or traditional mail to any guest whose information you collected during the event. You can also send out a blanket thank you to the community by offering a “second-chance” promotion to those who were unable to attend.

 

  1. Reflect and start planning the next one

Once everything has settled down, gather your staff to discuss what worked and what didn’t. This is also the time to review your goals and see how well you did at achieving them. In addition, it’s important to crunch numbers to evaluate your budget and overall return on investment. With this information in hand, you can refine and improve your strategy for your next in-store event.