entertainment center

How to Choose the Perfect Entertainment Center for Your Space

The ways that people access and consume television, movies, and music have certainly changed in recent years, but in-home entertainment is more important than ever. While the Internet makes it possible to stream media from anywhere, the entertainment center remains the focal point of family movie nights and daily TV viewing.

If you’re looking to purchase a new entertainment center for your space, you may have some trouble knowing where to start due to recent advances in televisions and other media devices. Fortunately, you can find plenty of great options if you follow a few simple tips.

 

  1. Start with Size

Whether it’s a couch, bed, chair, or entertainment center, it’s always best to start the furniture-buying process by getting familiar with the space you have available. When it comes to entertainment centers, you want to carefully consider both the size of your room and the size of your TV.

Of course, an entertainment center that’s too large will crowd your living space, but it will also make a smaller TV look tiny. A piece that is too small, on the other hand, will throw off the balance of the space and may not accommodate your television or the other media devices you use daily.

To get an entertainment center that’s the perfect size for your needs, you have to take a few measurements. Be sure to measure the width of your TV as well as the height and depth. In addition, make sure to measure your wall space and don’t forget to consider your line of sight so that you can find a unit with the right height for optimal TV viewing.

living-room

 

  1. Consider Your Needs

Once you’ve taken and written down all the measurements, it’s time to take a minute to consider your entertainment needs. Are you only going to use your entertainment center for your TV, or do you also need room for media players, speakers, cable boxes, video game consoles, and/or soundbars?

If you only have a TV, you may want to opt for a smaller TV stand or simply some shelving that can sit below a wall-mounted unit. If you own several media devices, on the hand, it’s important to find an entertainment center that can accommodate them while providing extra space for remote controls, DVDs, and any other items you may need to store.

 

  1. Think Storage

When it comes to storage, you’ll want to consider the size and layout of shelves and cabinets, and also how well the entertainment center accommodates cords. It’s important to look for a console that has open shelves or portals in the back panels so that you can run cords from your devices to your wall outlet.

For many people, one portal or open area will suffice, but you may need more. If you need to manage cords from several devices, look for an entertainment center with multiple portals or opt for a piece you can customize by drilling your own cord holes.

 

  1. Learn about the Available Types

Like other pieces of storage furniture, you’ll find several different types of entertainment centers online and in your local furniture store. One of the simplest is the above-mentioned TV stand, which is basically a small cabinet with a flat top for your TV and additional storage space underneath for DVDs, games, and media devices.

television

When many people think of an entertainment center, however, the object that comes to mind is a much larger wall unit with shelves, cabinets, drawers, and a large open space for your TV. These pieces can reach upwards of 6 feet tall, and most are capable of accommodating all of your entertainment devices and accompanying gadgets. Wall units work great for many homes, but they usually aren’t right for smaller spaces.

For something in between a wall unit and a TV stand, you can opt for a media cabinet that blends in with your other home décor. You can even find enclosed media cabinets that give you the option of concealing your TV, speakers, and media players behind doors when they are not in use.

 

  1. Look for Smart Features

To get the most out of whatever type of entertainment center you choose, it’s important to look for built-in features that will cut down on clutter while protecting all of your devices. In addition to portals for cords, units with enclosed back panels should include venting grills or other openings to allow for proper airflow. These features are particularly important for entertainment centers that will hold gaming equipment and/or sound systems, which can generate a lot of heat.

Other features to look for include tempered glass doors and removable back panels for easy access to all of your equipment. It may also be beneficial to find an entertainment center with wheels. Along with making it easy to get to the rear of your unit, wheels make it simple to move your entertainment center when you need to clean or want to rearrange your living room.

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pets

How to Select and Protect Pet-Friendly Furniture and Décor

According to the results of a recent survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, approximately 85 million families in the United States own at least one pet. This fact suggests that nearly two-thirds of American households include an animal of some type. Perhaps not surprisingly, the most common animals found in people’s homes are cats and dogs. For most pet owners, these lovable furry critters occupy their hearts and minds as well as their furniture.

Fortunately, if you’re part of the majority and have a pet in your home, there are several things you can do to keep your furniture in good shape. Here are a few simple tips for selecting and maintaining pet-friendly home furnishings:

 

Keep Fabric in Mind

Upholstery fabric is the most important thing to consider when deciding on a piece of furniture for your pet-friendly home. In addition to avoiding pet-hair magnets such as chenille and velvet, look for stain-resistant fabrics and those that can hold up to some wear and tear.

Although it costs a bit more than other options, leather is an excellent investment for pet owners because it is durable and easy to clean. Synthetic alternatives such as microfiber, microsuede, and Crypton are also tough and simple to maintain.

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Use Colors and Patterns to Your Advantage

Along with considering a fabric’s strength and care requirements, pet owners should keep color and overall design in mind when choosing furniture for their home. It may sound somewhat strange, but matching the color of a sofa or chair with that of your furry friend may be a good idea. Doing so can help hide pet hair and keep you from having to constantly vacuum or wipe down your furniture. This is particularly helpful if your dog or cat has solid white or black fur, which is very noticeable on contrasting colors.

Opting for complex or multicolored patterns may also cut down on the headaches associated with keeping your furniture looking clean and hair-free. In addition to camouflaging hair, patterned furniture can hide stains that you’re unable to remove. Blocks of patterns can also conceal small areas of damage your pet has caused.

 

Think Durability

It’s important for pet owners to look beyond the upholstery to evaluate a piece of furniture’s overall durability. A sturdy couch or chair will hold up over time to rowdy dogs, frisky cats, and careless family members and guests. You may also want to choose wooden or metallic legs over pieces with fabric skirting, which can rip and tear quickly in a home with animals.

The importance of finding durable pieces also extends to your home’s accessories. Be sure to look for sturdy coffee tables and end tables that won’t easily tip over if they’re bumped or jumped on. It’s also a good idea to keep vases, knickknacks, lamps, and other breakable items off of surfaces within reach of a curious cat’s paws or an excited pup’s wagging tail.

 

Get Prepared to Clean

Regardless of how prepared and careful you are, accidents are bound to happen in a home with pets. If you’ve purchased pieces with the right upholstery, the stains and damage will be kept to a minimum, but you’re still going to have to clean up from time to time. You’ll want to soak up liquid messes as soon as you notice them. Be sure to blot rather than rub to help remove as much of the liquid as possible without damaging fabric fibers or spreading the mess.

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You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with upholstery fabric cleaning codes. These tell you which types of cleaners can be used on the product. For pieces that haven’t been reupholstered, these codes are typically found on the furniture tag.

Some of the basic codes include Code W, which calls for water-based cleaners, and Code S, which indicates that the piece must be cleaned with dry solvents. A “W/S” code means that you can clean with both water-based and dry solvents, and an “X” code means that only vacuuming should be used. Regardless of the code, be sure to pre-test all cleaning products in an inconspicuous area before proceeding with the cleaning process.

 

Don’t Forget the Small Stuff

In a home with pets, you can take steps to keep your animals happy and your furniture protected. Slipcovers are always an option, but you can also deter animals from hopping on your favorite sofa by adding a few throw pillows to the piece. Another way to keep animals out of certain areas is to use ottomans and other small furniture items as blockers. This is a good idea around areas with nice rugs, hard-to-clean furniture, or breakable décor.

Finally, if you really want to keep animals off your furniture, get them their own. Investing in a comfortable pet bed that can be placed where your animal can see or be near their favorite human will go a long way toward protecting your favorite furniture.

living-room

3 of the Top Technology Trends to Watch for in Furniture Retail

The global furniture market has been experiencing continual growth in recent years. The latest projections indicate that this growth isn’t stopping anytime soon. In fact, a 2018 report from Zion Market Research predicts that the market will experience a 5.2 percent compound annual growth rate over the next five years to reach a valuation of approximately $472.3 billion by 2024.

Among the important factors helping to drive growth in the industry are several tech trends that increase consumer engagement and improve the overall shopping experience. Here’s an overview of three technology trends to watch for in furniture retail:

 

  1. Increased Mobile Payment Optimization

With the number of smartphone users expected to exceed 5 billion in 2019, the rise of mobile is now one of the most widespread tech trends affecting the human experience. Seemingly everyone is tied to their devices. Mobile technology is now used for everything from socializing and catching up with the news to streaming entertainment content and shopping for the latest retail products.

While savvy retailers have no doubt already optimized their websites for mobile, consumers are starting to use their devices for more than just browsing. Now, more people than ever are turning their phones and wearable devices into convenient mobile wallets.

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Millennials and members of Generation Z are the biggest groups behind the smart-payment trend, but it isn’t limited to younger consumers. Recent research shows that a significant percentage of consumers across all age groups either already uses or is interested in using mobile payment applications on their devices. Additionally, since the first apps of this kind were launched around 2014, the number of users has steadily increased.

By 2022, estimates predict that the total transaction value of mobile app payments worldwide will reach almost $14 trillion. This will represent nearly a sevenfold increase from 2016. It seems that now is the time for furniture retailers who haven’t done so already to get on board with the mobile wallet trend and start offering smart-payment options in their stores.

 

  1. 3D Visualization Tools

While their full potential has yet to be realized, augmented reality and virtual reality are two emerging technologies that are particularly well-suited for the world of furniture retail. These 3D visualization tools give consumers the ability to place a virtual model of a piece of furniture in a real room. This can help potential furniture buyers see how a product would fit in their home alongside their other furniture and décor items.

With the ability to view a product from all angles in their own living spaces without having to step into a physical store, consumers are more likely to make a purchase. In fact, retailers that have offered 3D visualization tools have experienced both an increase in sales and a decrease in returns.

Even though the tech is becoming more common, however, it’s important to note that both augmented reality and virtual reality are still in the early phases. In the world of home furnishings, the list of companies that are already taking advantage of the technology includes retailers like Ashley Furniture. Consumers can expect more companies to get on board as the technology improves and becomes less expensive to adopt.

 

  1. Growth of Digital Merchandising and the “Endless Aisle”

Tools supporting 3D visualization are definitely big right now. However, they are just a part of a larger trend to drive consumer engagement through digital merchandising. It likely goes without saying, but more consumers than ever are now browsing for and purchasing products online. Still, even the most connected consumers crave multiple options, including having the ability to buy the items they see online in a local store.

Creating a seamless customer experience in today’s retail environment requires an omnichannel approach that blends both digital and physical merchandising. This is particularly true in the world of furniture retail, which still relies heavily on brick-and-mortar transactions. Going forward, consumers can expect to see more blurring of online-offline boundaries as retailers leverage more digital merchandising and concepts such as the “endless aisle” to provide a better retail experience.

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The term “endless aisle” refers to a strategy that gives retailers the ability to essentially extend their in-store shelves. This is accomplished with the help of digital tools such as interactive kiosks and tablets. The strategy offers numerous benefits.

First, it gives stores the ability to showcase their entire product selection without having to carry each item at all of their physical locations. It also gives customers the option of browsing through products and their variations in-store while they wait for assistance from a sales associate.

Perhaps most importantly, the endless aisle creates a more engaging shopping experience for consumers. It also prevents them from turning to another retailer because they can’t find a certain product in-store.

Combining digital tools with support from a knowledgeable sales team also increases customer loyalty, which results in more sales. Endless aisle technology may be relatively new, but it is likely to play a big role in retail going forward thanks to the benefits it provides for both retailers and consumers.

recliners

Reclining Furniture – A Look at the Latest Features and Trends

The recliner is a longtime favorite among people who value comfort in their homes. Over the years, this beloved piece of furniture has advanced with the times to include many features that previous generations would have never considered.

Today’s consumers can also find recliners in a wide variety of styles, fabrics, and sizes to fit any home, budget, and design scheme. Additionally, multi-seater reclining sofas are becoming increasingly popular as more people look to boost the comfort level in their homes and commercial spaces such as theaters, auditoriums, and office reception areas. If you’re in the market for new reclining furniture, check out the following features and trends that are driving this area of furniture retail.

 

Current Trends

According to a recent Consumer Trends Buying Survey from Furniture Today, casual styles of reclining chairs are the most readily available in furniture stores. In 2017, these styles accounted for nearly 40 percent of all the reclining units on showroom floors. Among the styles, those selling at middle ($500 to $899) and low price points (below $499) are the most popular. Furniture Today’s survey also revealed that while leather is the most popular covering for recliners, a variety of fabrics are available, including faux leather, vinyl, and polyurethane. Recently, “green” fabrics have also significantly increased in popularity because more consumers are looking for sustainable furniture options.

In the area of reclining sofas, recent research from Technavio shows that increasing demand from younger consumers, particularly millennials, is driving the market. These and other consumer groups are turning more frequently to private-label and niche furniture brands for their reclining furniture. However, well-established retailers such as Ashley HomeStores are still playing a major role in connecting consumers with these furniture styles. In fact, the increasing demand for reclining sofas is driving retailers of all sizes to expand their product offerings in this area.

 

Available Features

As is the case with other areas of life, technology is finding its way into the furniture that people use each day. This is quite evident in the latest features that you will find in reclining furniture of all styles and sizes. Along with the classic comfort that recliners offer, today’s consumers can now enjoy phone chargers, LED lights, full-body massagers, and Bluetooth capability built into their recliners. Even lower-end reclining pieces are receiving a boost from more subtle features such as power-activated footrests and headrests.

recliner

 

Types of Recliners

As far as basic styles are concerned, the reclining furniture market is certainly not limited. Furniture stores carry a wide variety of traditional recliners with plush padding and an overstuffed look alongside sleek and contemporary pieces with sharp lines and angular edges. Other popular styles are more transitional. These options work well in both classic design schemes and contemporary spaces. Timeless styles that are still widely available include club chair and high-leg recliners, which offer a reclining feature without the recliner look.

In addition to a range of styles, recliners offer several options when it comes to the types of reclining mechanisms they use. One of the main options is the pushback recliner, which you can recline by pushing on the chair’s back while holding the arms. Other recliners have a mechanical handle, lever, or pull-loop to activate the reclining mechanism. In most cases, these options feature two positions: upright and fully reclined.

Along with basic power recliners that recline with the touch of a button, there are also fully automated power chairs available that both recline and lift. Many of these offer several reclining positions, as well as a rising mechanism that enables a person to get on their feet safely and easily. This option, which is typically referred to as a riser recliner, is most well-suited for individuals with mobility issues. While they can be pricey, riser recliners may qualify for rebates if they’re purchased for medical reasons.

 

Purchasing Considerations

If you’re ready to purchase a new piece of reclining furniture, there are several things to consider. Once you’ve established your preferred style, your next step should be to evaluate how much space you have for your new furniture. Be sure to account for the space you’ll need when the piece is fully reclined. You’ll want one that you can recline without making it difficult for others to move throughout the room. Also, whether it’s a reclining chair or sofa, you need to make sure that you have enough space in the back to recline without bumping into walls or other furniture.

Other important considerations to keep in mind are the materials used to build the recliner. In many cases, reclining pieces are among the most popular furniture items in a home. Because of this, it’s important to select a piece that is durable and resistant to staining. Leather and microfiber are both good covering options for durability and stain resistance. It’s also a good idea to opt for reclining furniture with high-density foam cushions, which will hold their shape under frequent use.

Of course, before making a purchase, you should be sure to try out the piece out in both the upright and reclining positions. The best recliners will be sturdy and comfortable and feature easy-to-use reclining mechanisms with smooth action.

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.

shopping

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.

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.

couch

Here Are 3 Simple Tips to Help Boost Customer Loyalty

Any business leader working in retail understands how important customer satisfaction is to their bottom line. All too often, however, retailers focus so much on attracting new customers that they forget to nurture their existing customer base, which is crucial to maintaining a thriving business.

Furniture retailers, in particular, can be a bit neglectful when it comes to building customer loyalty. This is because many furniture shoppers make a major purchase only every five years or so. However, there are a number of things that retailers can do to shorten the interval between customer visits and ensure that customers return time and time again to make purchases both large and small. The following tips provide some easy ways to boost customer loyalty in any area of retail.

 

  1. Offer a loyalty program.

There are an estimated 3.8 billion individual loyalty program memberships in the United States, but the question is: Do these programs work?

The answer is both “yes” and “no.” While the average consumer belongs to over 13 loyalty programs, they actively use fewer than half. That’s why it’s important for retailers to make sure their programs offer attractive awards and a personalized shopping experience. Rather than sending out the same offers to all members, use the customer data collected through the program to provide relevant offers to each member.

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When considering what to offer, keep in mind that consumers are most likely to stay active in a program that gives them free samples and discounts. Customers also appreciate being able to access their loyalty programs via their mobile phones. Investing in this type of capability may increase customer participation.

Doing all you can to engage rewards members will pay you in spades—research has shown that over 85 percent of customers are loyal to the business where they maintain active rewards program memberships.

 

  1. Communicate with your customers.

You can’t expect to build or maintain a loyal customer base if you don’t reach out regularly to past customers. To do this, it’s best to use multiple channels of communication, including e-mail and traditional mail. These two channels are particularly useful for communicating store news and sending out promotional offers and discounts to customers.

In this day and age, it’s also very important that you leverage the power of social media to communicate with customers and give them a place to interact with your business and each other. Maintaining a strong online presence via Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms can take some effort, but the payoff comes in the form of free, direct access to your customers 24/7. Social media also gives you the opportunity to show the personal side of your business as you build an engaged community with a steady stream of posts and comments.

In addition, social media sites provide an excellent platform to respond to concerns and feedback and show consumers that you value their opinions and are committed to offering top-notch customer service. This, in turn, can lead to greater customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth recommendations, which can bring new customers through your doors.

 

  1. Focus on providing a great customer experience.

Whether you’re interacting with customers online, over the phone, or in person, your main focus should be on making the experience as positive as possible. Recent research has shown that a large majority of consumers believe that the quality of a company’s customer service reflects how much they value the people who shop in their stores. All in all, a customer who does not feel valued by a business isn’t likely to stay loyal to the brand.

business

Creating a great experience with every interaction will help you stand out from the competition and keep customers returning to you when they’re looking to make a purchase. It’s important to note that providing consistently good service to each customer requires the efforts of everyone in your store. Business owners and managers may set the bar, but lower-level staff members are typically the direct link between your business and its customers.

Assembling a strong team of employees and training them to be friendly, helpful, and efficient is the best thing that you can do in the customer service department. Always keep in mind that your customers have a number of choices when it comes to where they shop. If they feel valued and respected regardless of whether they make a purchase, your customers will reward you by bringing repeat business and recommending your store to family and friends.

bedroom

What You Need to Know about Furnishing the Master Bedroom

While the main purpose of a bedroom is to provide a spot to sleep, it also serves as a type of sanctuary where you can escape from the world and wind down after a busy day. While you may not realize it, the bedroom is also where you spend most of your time when you’re at home. In fact, the average person will spend upwards of 26 years sleeping and seven years trying to fall asleep during their lifetime. This means that over one-third of your life will likely take place in bed.

Ensuring that you have a welcoming, comfortable, and visually appealing master bedroom can help to improve your sleep and the quality of your life overall. Fortunately, anyone can turn their sleeping area into a great master bedroom with a little knowledge and planning. Read on for an overview of what you need to know:

bedroom

 

Tips for Choosing the Right Furniture

Before discussing specific pieces, it’s important to know how to choose the right bedroom furniture for your needs. You can start by answering these three questions:

What’s your budget?—The amount of money you have to spend will play the largest role in determining what type of furniture you can get for your bedroom. While it’s definitely a good idea to spend some time browsing for potential pieces online and in stores, you should avoid making any purchases until you have established a budget. Furniture can be a major expense, but you have a few options if you find yourself low on cash.

First, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to upgrade everything all at once. Buying your bedroom furniture one piece at a time can be a great way to get what you want without breaking your budget. On the other hand, you may be able to save some cash by opting for a matching set. Just be sure that it fits your space and style before making a purchase.

How big is the space?—To ensure that you get furniture that is appropriate for your bedroom, you need to carefully consider both the size and scale of the space you’re working with. Of course, if you have a smaller bedroom, you probably won’t want to opt for an oversized dresser or giant four-poster bed. Likewise, those with spacious bedrooms may want to avoid low-profile or small furniture that can be dwarfed in big spaces.

If you plan to update your entire bedroom, you may want to get out the tape measure and take down some measurements. It may also be helpful to make a few sketches to help you decide on the best layout for your new furniture. When measuring and sketching, be mindful of how the main door and closet doors open into the area, and be sure to account for the extra space that you’ll need to comfortably walk around the room.

What’s your preferred style?—While you probably have a good idea of your style preferences, you need to understand how your personal tastes can translate to the bedroom. In some cases, a design that works in one area of the house may not be the best fit for your sleeping space. Some of the top design styles that work well in a bedroom range from rustic and Scandinavian to mid-century modern.

An eclectic look that combines varied but complementary colors, patterns, and textures can also be a good option for the bedroom. This is especially true if you prefer a more casual look. Those who lean more traditional, however, may want to go with matching furniture instead. Opting for a matching set may also be a good idea if you’re more suited to the one-and-done approach to furniture shopping.

bedroom

 

Items That Every Master Bedroom Needs

Once you’ve established a budget and made a plan for the type and style of furniture that you want to purchase, it’s time to create the ultimate master bedroom. To do so, every adult needs a few items. Aside from the obvious, such as a bed, nightstand, and dresser, the most essential pieces include:

A place to sit—Whether it’s a single accent chair or a padded bench, bedroom seating can be both functional and decorative. A bench works particularly well in providing seating and storage for extra pillows and blankets at the foot of your bed. If you have the room, consider combining two accent chairs with a small accent table for the perfect reading nook.

Lamps—A source of indirect lighting is a must-have for any bedroom. While bedside lamps are always useful, you may also want to add a floor lamp or two to light up the space without relying on a glaring overhead fixture. Properly placed lighting can soften the feel of a bedroom and help to create a cozy space.

Finishing touches—Along with functional pieces, you’ll want to add some finishing touches to up the style and comfort of your bedroom. Think about using an area rug to add color, texture, and your own personal touch to a space. Mirrors and wall art will keep your bedroom walls from looking sterile and boring. Moreover, a well-placed mirror can add light or make a room feel larger. Finally, you may want to add some comfortable and visually appealing throw pillows. However, you shouldn’t overdo it. Depending on the size of your bed, somewhere between two to six pillows is the perfect number.

furniture

Here Are the Top Tips You Need to Prep for High Point Market

high point market logoIt’s time to start planning for the biannual High Point Market, which will host its 2019 spring edition April 6-10 in High Point, North Carolina. As the world’s largest furnishings industry trade show, the Market brings together tens of thousands of people each spring and fall.

Attendees take part in a weeklong event featuring exhibits, education, and networking. If you plan to attend the event this April, the following seven tips will help you get ready.

 

  1. Don’t Forget to Register

Before doing anything else, your first step should be to secure your Market pass by registering for the event online. Registration opened in early January 2019, and now is the time to sign up.

Keep in mind that High Point Market is only open to members of the furnishing and design trades. You’ll need to provide proof of occupation along with your current state identification in order to register.

 

  1. Make Travel Arrangements

When planning your trip, you’ll find that you have a number of transportation options for getting to the Market venue. You can take advantage of rental car discount codes from several agencies or try the local rail service from NC By Train.

plane travel

Those who are flying into North Carolina can choose to land at one of three airports: Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO), Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), or Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT). GSO is the closest point of arrival, but all three airports are within 90 miles of the High Point area.

 

  1. Book Accommodations

With more than 75,000 people expected to attend the five-day Market event, it should come as no surprise that hotels in High Point, North Carolina, fill up fast. To ensure that you have a place to stay, book your accommodations sooner rather than later. You can find local hotel information on the Hotels page in the Plan Your Trip section of the High Point Market website.

Also, keep in mind that private home rentals are an option. A home rental may be a particularly good idea for those who are visiting the Market with a group. Visit the Private Home Rentals page on the Market website if you’re considering this option.

 

  1. Check Out Pre-Market Activities

There is a lot going on leading up to the main Market activities in April. Soon after opening registration for the event, Market organizers announced the New Product Premiere program. It will feature introductions of notable products via social media.

A weeklong social media campaign called Inspiration Week will kick off Monday, February 18. It will include product-focused posts from the 2019 Style Spotters, a group of eight design and home furnishings experts. As part of Inspiration Week activities, the 2019 Style Spotters Advisors, Shay Geyer and Gary Inman, will also hold a sneak peek webinar on February 21 at 1 p.m. EST.

Other lead-up activities to be aware of include a weeklong series on LuAnn Nigara’s popular A Well-Designed Business podcast. During the week’s podcasts, which begin on February 25, Nigara will interview designers and explore activities taking place during Spring Market. In early March, Market organizers will invite followers to join the new product discussion via Pinterest and other social media channels.

 

  1. Get the MyMarket Planning Tool

While enjoying the pre-Market activities, take a few minutes and sign up for MyMarket. With this online planning tool, you can use any Windows, MacOS, iOS, or Android device to quickly search for exhibitors and learn about all the educational and social events at the Market. The tool also gives you the ability to save selected showrooms and events to your personal Market plan.

 

  1. Schedule Appointments

Another way to ensure that you have a great Market experience is by setting up appointments with exhibitors in advance. The regular showroom hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday through Tuesday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

appointment

Fortunately, many exhibitors offer appointments for their showrooms outside of these published hours. Be sure to check the exhibitor list and reach out to those you’d like to meet with during the event.

 

  1. Use the Available Travel Services

If all this information about registering, making travel arrangements, and booking rooms has you feeling overwhelmed, you’ll be pleased to know that help is available. High Point Market has partnered with Travel Quest, Inc., to provide full-service travel planning.

Travel Quest is available to help you book a hotel, find a rental car, and reserve an airport shuttle without charge. For a nominal fee, the company will also help you with airline and rail service reservations.

Interested in learning more about how to prepare for the Spring 2019 High Point Market? You can find all the information you need at www.highpointmarket.org.