Month: March 2019

furniture

This Is What’s Happening Right Now in the Home Furnishings Industry

With the US economy improving, furniture retailers and other business leaders in the home furnishings industry have the opportunity to attract customers with more money to spend on large-ticket items such as furniture. However, retailers must learn how to reach a customer base that is embracing e-commerce while still craving quality in-store experiences.

Retailers are also working with a varied group of consumers who differ in their shopping habits and preferences when it comes to what they value in a retail experience. Many of these consumers lean heavily on technology in their day-to-day lives and are attracted to retail brands that are both digitally savvy and in tune with their wants and needs.

Read on to learn more about how these and other major trends are currently driving the home furnishings industry.

 

Economic Growth

In 2018 a strong US economy led to an increase in personal disposable income and a boost in consumer confidence. These and other factors helped the year end on a high note, including a significant increase in holiday spending. In-store and online sales during the 2018 holiday season topped $850 billion, the highest in six years. The economic growth that occurred prior to and during 2018 was also marked by low unemployment rates and a boom in housing, which is a promising trend for furniture and other home furnishings retailers.

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Despite recent growth, however, not all retailers thrived. Major companies such as Sears and Mattress Firm filed for bankruptcy, while others are still struggling to find their way in the market. Going forward, experts anticipate that the furniture market will continue to grow, but retailers are still facing uncertainty due to trade issues.

 

Generational Spending

Another challenge for today’s furniture retailers lies in the changing demographics that are currently shaping the retail economy. Millennials are poised to overtake baby boomers in number during 2019. This means that retailers must find ways to reach millennials and tap into their buying power, which Money Inc. reports is currently around $600 billion.

Meanwhile, a younger group of consumers known as Generation Z is beginning to enter adulthood. By 2020, this group will account for one-third of the population. Fortunately for retailers, millennials and Generation Z value similar things in a retail experience. Retail leaders who focus on digital promotion while providing personalized services will have the most success with these two consumer groups.

 

An Evolving Market

In addition to changing demographics, retailers must also contend with an evolving market environment, requiring the development of new strategic plans. Despite claims that retail is dead, it’s important to remember that changing consumer attitudes and behaviors have always shaped the market and led to changes in the way retailers do business.

Today, the current retail evolution is all about customer engagement rather than customer acquisition. Regardless of whether it’s online or in a brick-and-mortar store, the modern consumer prefers retail businesses that offer quality products, personalized services, and unique experiences.

 

Brick-and-Mortar Retail Gets Creative

In order to attract the modern consumer and compete with online giants like Amazon, brick-and-mortar retailers are focusing more on providing a top-notch in-store experience. The good news for those in furniture retail is that a large majority of consumers still prefer to purchase furniture at a physical store location. This means that today’s retailers who fail to inspire customers to visit their store are losing out on a large market segment.

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Successful retailers know that getting customers into a furniture store starts with marketing, but persuading them to stay and, ultimately, make a purchase relies on other factors. Well-organized merchandizing along with displays that enable customers to easily find and physically interact with the available products increases engagement. Creative visual displays, friendly salespeople, and a welcoming atmosphere can also encourage customers to spend more time in a store, which can translate into increased sales.

 

Retailers Embrace Technology

Although brick-and-mortar dominates furniture retail, digital technology still plays a major role in the overall customer experience. Recent statistics show that only 14 percent of consumers prefer to purchase furniture through a website, but over 90 percent of customers will browse online for products before ultimately making a purchase. Furniture retailers are wise to use technology to improve consumers’ website experiences and get more people into their stores.

Savvy retailers are also leveraging technology to engage with consumers and learn more about their shopping preferences. Maintaining a social media presence is rapidly becoming a necessity, and collecting customer data to personalize services, marketing efforts, and product offerings is now commonplace practice.

Consumer awareness, however, is creating a demand for a balance between privacy and personalization. Rather than relying on third-party data sets, retailers are shifting to “zero-party data,” which uses technology to collect information that customers willingly share with companies.

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kitchen

Kitchens and Dining Rooms – How to Get the Most out of Your Space

Although they are often a hub for daily activity in the home, the kitchen and dining areas can easily get overlooked when it comes to furnishing and decorating. In some cases, the space may be cramped or hindered by an odd layout that makes finding the right furniture and décor challenging.

Fortunately, a number of innovative options are readily available in stores. You can also find plenty of creative solutions for overcoming any challenges related to either space or layout.

 

Recent Dining Room and Kitchen Trends

To get the most out of your kitchen and dining room, it can help to know about some of the top trends that are showing up in these spaces. While the use of rustic wood and repurposed materials continues to be popular, a trend toward a sleek and minimalist design is also on the rise in kitchens and dining rooms. Those who prefer an uncluttered look are achieving it by using hidden drawers and inconspicuous cabinets to tuck away dishes, kitchen gadgets, and other items.

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As in other areas of the home, more technology is also finding its way into the kitchen and dining spaces. This includes everything from Wi-Fi enabled coffeemakers to Bluetooth speakers and automatic lighting. Many homeowners, however, are choosing to skip these modern touches in favor of natural materials and vintage-inspired décor.

 

Learning to Maximize Your Layout

Regardless of whether you opt for a trending design or choose to go your own way, you’ll want to start by examining how to get the most out of your current layout. In the dining room, this process will focus heavily on your dining set.

A formal dining room often has the table and chairs as the centerpiece. However, you shouldn’t hesitate to add some bookshelves alongside an armchair and/or bench to make the space a bit more functional. When it comes to a dual-purpose dining room, you can maximize your layout by turning the dining set into a multi-use space for eating, socializing, and studying.

As far as the kitchen layout goes, your options may be limited due to permanent fixtures such as cupboards, cabinets, and islands. That doesn’t mean you can’t look for ways to get more out of the space, however.

To accomplish this, you can take a few pointers from the restaurant industry. Be sure that flow follows function by storing items close to where they’ll be used. This includes keeping prepping items next to cutting surfaces and cooking tools next to the oven and stovetop. It’s a good idea to keep as much open counter space as possible so that you have plenty of room for working and storing kitchen essentials.

 

Selecting the Right Seating

Choosing the appropriate seating for your kitchen and dining areas is part of optimizing your space. The traditional dining chair is probably the first thing that comes to mind here, but it certainly isn’t your only option.

Recently, benches and other banquette-style seating have risen in popularity. In homes without a specific dining area, these options are perfect for creating a space-saving dining nook.

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Those who are tight on kitchen and dining space will want to consider the versatility of bar stools. Stools can slide up to an island or kitchen counter. They can also be conveniently tucked away in a corner until an extra guest is in need of a place to sit.

Whether you’re looking for dining chairs, a kitchen bench, or bar stools, it’s important to obtain the right items for your needs. Before visiting a furniture store, take a few measurements in the area where the items will be used. That way, you get something that is the appropriate size for the space.

Also, don’t forget to think about specific styles and features. For instance, bar stools are available with no backs, small back lips, and full backs. You shouldn’t neglect to consider these kinds of features because they can affect both the look and feel of your seating.

 

Storage Options

Keeping your kitchen and dining room uncluttered requires that you have the appropriate storage space for the items you use on a regular basis. Built-in cupboards, drawers, and shelving are all great, but many people need other storage options.

Fortunately, there are plenty of standalone pieces to choose from, including sideboards and buffets. These pieces are great for storing extra plates and tableware used in a dining room.

For the kitchen, you can find a wide variety of hutches that can be used for everything from pots and pans to everyday pantry items. If your kitchen is on the smaller side, something like a bar cart might be a good option. These versatile carts on wheels may be designed to hold liquor and glasses, but they can also work equally as well as a microwave stand, coffee bar, or convenient kitchen prep station.

cat on bed

Here Are 10 Bed Styles You Need to Know

When it comes to the ultimate comfort items in the home, the bed comes to mind. Most people will spend an average of eight hours a day in their beds. This makes finding the right one a priority.

Most people have a good grasp of the basic mattress sizes for the bedroom. However, not everyone has a thorough understanding of the many different types of bed frames that are available through their local furniture retailer.

There are dozens of bed types, but only a few of them are widely-known. Here’s a quick list to help you identify some common bed styles and learn more about the benefits they offer:

 

  1. Platform/Panel

A very popular option in the United States, the platform bed features clean lines and a headboard but no footboard. Platforms also sit lower to the ground than other bed styles. They utilize wooden slats to support the mattress without requiring a box spring.

Panel beds are almost identical to the platform style. However, their design enables the use of both a box spring and a mattress.

 

  1. Sleigh

The sleigh bed is named after its curved headboard (and footboard if it has one). This style resembles an old-fashioned wooden sleigh. Most examples of this style also feature large side panels that further accentuate the “sleigh” feel.

It is important to note that these side panels also limit the storage space under the bed. While they aren’t designed to provide storage, sleigh beds offer a distinct look that will stand out in any bedroom. They also come in a variety of materials, including wood, metal, and even leather.

 

  1. Divan

Unlike the sleigh style of beds, divan beds are designed with storage in mind. Although these beds sit directly on the floor, they typically feature drawers built into the base.

Along with providing a space-saving storage solution, the thick base also adds to the overall sturdiness of the bed. Another attractive feature of the divan is its cushioned headboard. As a result, this style is perfect for those who enjoy a bit of reading or television before falling asleep.

 

  1. TV Bed

Another option for those who enjoy some entertainment before sleep is the TV bed. This modern style features an oversized footboard that discreetly hides an LED television inside.

Depending on the model, the TV lifts out of the frame either manually or electronically. Some also include built-in speaker systems and space beneath the mattress for media players and game consoles.

Along with accommodating movie and TV lovers, these beds are great for those who are tight on bedroom space.

 

  1. Cabin Bed

While they are very similar to a traditional bunk bed, cabin beds are lower to the ground and only include a single sleeping bunk. Instead of a second bed, this style features space beneath the bed frame that is typically used for drawers, shelves, and other storage solutions. Cabin beds are the perfect option for parents looking to control clutter in their child’s bedroom.

 

  1. Mid-Sleeper

Another member of the bunk-bed family, the mid-sleeper is a raised bed with a detachable ladder leading to the mattress and tall sideboards around the frame to prevent children from falling off.

Like the cabin bed, mid-sleepers feature storage under the main frame. They also offer additional space underneath to accommodate a desk or provide an extra play area.

 

  1. Trundle

Featuring two beds in one, the trundle includes a second mattress that tucks neatly under the main frame. Trundle beds are great for bedrooms housing kids and teens. They also work well in guest rooms and cramped apartments.

 

  1. Poster

The poster bed is easily recognizable thanks to the four vertical columns located at each corner of the frame. These beds come in several different styles.

Poster bed styles include the pencil poster, which features tall, thin, and pointed posts, and the low poster, which has posts that are only a few inches tall. The half-poster bed is another option. It has tall posts on the headboards and much shorter posts attached to the footboard corners.

 

  1. Murphy Bed

The ultimate space-saver, the Murphy bed has grown in popularity in recent years as more people embrace smaller living environments. These hideaway beds fold up vertically and can be stored against a wall or tucked into a closet.

The Murphy bed is named after William L. Murphy, an inventor who patented the folding bed design in the early 20th century. Similar folding beds, however, date back to Thomas Jefferson’s time.

 

  1. Ottoman Bed

Another option for those with cramped sleeping quarters is the ottoman bed. This style comes with a large, hidden storage compartment underneath the main bed frame and mattress.

Thanks to a convenient lifting system with gas struts, these beds can be opened easily to access the storage space below. There are also innovative ottoman bed designs that look like an ordinary footrest but unfold into a twin or double bed for guests.