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furniture

10 Furniture and Design Trends That Will Be Big in 2019

With the new year, it’s time to examine the latest trends that are shaping the look of furniture and home décor. Some of the trending styles from 2018 will stay strong through 2019, but others are just emerging in the world of design. Many design trends from decades past are also coming back in style as more people look to add some personality to their living spaces. Still, there are plenty of modern design features that continue to grow in popularity along with the increase in urban living and concern over the environment. In no particular order, here are 10 of the top trends to watch for throughout 2019 and beyond.

 

  1. Retro Chic

Today’s dynamic interiors are fully embracing retro colors and shapes, particularly those from the ’60s and ’70s. The long-lasting “boho chic” style remains quite popular and fits in perfectly with emerging retro trends. Some of this retro styling is showing up in the form of curved throwback furniture and velvet upholstery fabric, which has made a triumphant return to the design scene in recent years.

 

  1. Natural Materials

While smart furniture and tech-focused design were big in 2018, people have started to shift gears a bit to embrace a more natural look within their homes. Wood, stones such as granite and quartzite, and even concrete are all on-trend in 2019. Other materials to look for include natural fabrics on upholstered furniture, cushions, and tapestries.

living room

 

  1. More Metal

An ever-popular material for fixtures, furniture, and accent pieces, metal will continue to feature prominently in interiors. However, the use of metal is changing somewhat to include more innovative designs. A shift is also occurring away from rose gold, polished nickel, and stainless steel toward new favorites such as copper, brass, and blackened metals.

 

  1. Multifunctional and Compact Furniture

A rise in urban living among Millennials and other demographics has led to greater demand for flexible furniture that is easy to move and serves more than one purpose. Stackable seating, expandable and foldable tables, and convertible sofas are just a few of the furniture pieces whose popularity will continue to grow in the coming months. These space-saving solutions are great for those with tight living quarters and small apartments, but they’re also perfect for people embracing minimalism and clean lines in homes of all sizes.

 

  1. Art Deco

Despite a move toward smaller living spaces, many people still crave luxury and glamour in their homes. This craving for a touch of opulence is driving a renewed interest in Art Deco design, which many designers believe will become quite popular in 2019. Watch for hints of Art Deco in textile designs and furniture silhouettes, as well as in furniture colors and detailing.

 

  1. Cozy Beds and Bedrooms

It’s safe to say that many people would list their bed among their favorite furniture items in their home. More than just a spot for sleeping, a bed provides a sense of comfort and safety, and more people are looking to turn theirs into the ultimate oasis for relaxation. You can expect to see more beds featuring headboards and footboards covered in comfortable upholstery. Canopy beds are also growing in popularity as the trend toward cozier bedrooms continues to gain steam.

4 post bed

 

  1. Bold Colors

Although light blushes and timeless black and white furnishings are still in style, many people are getting more adventurous with their color choices. The design palette of 2019 will feature more bold colors on walls and furniture. Some of the hues to look for include deep greens, striking yellows, and tonal reds.

 

  1. Geometric Patterns

Geometric patterns are certainly not a new design trend, but many experts are expecting to see a different type of geometric design rise to prominence in 2019. Oversized patterns featuring asymmetrical shapes and bold colors are becoming increasingly popular, thanks in part to the fact that many people are looking to bring a jolt of energy into their living spaces. Those who aren’t quite ready to embrace bold patterns on walls or larger furniture can still cash in on the trending look with geometric throws, pillows, and other accents.

 

  1. Matte Finishes

In 2018, matte black finishes emerged as the top trending finish choice for kitchens and bathrooms. Those who appreciate the sleek look will be glad to know that matte black is likely to stay on-trend throughout 2019. You can expect to see it on flooring, seating, lighting, and home décor items. Matte finishes on other colors are also growing in popularity as a choice for dressers, sideboards, and other furniture.

 

  1. Sustainability

Within the last decade or so, a growing demand for sustainable products has emerged in many industries, including home furnishings. Along with the trend favoring wood, stone, and other natural elements, 2019 will see more people looking for sustainable décor items made of materials such as jute, rice paper, bamboo, and clay. Sustainable furniture and textiles comprising eco-friendly fabrics will also be part of the trend.

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chair

A Quick and Easy Guide to 10 Types of Chairs for Your Home

Along with the beloved sofa, one of the most-used pieces of furniture in the majority of homes is the living room chair. When carefully chosen, a stylish chair offers an additional seating option and complements larger pieces, such as a sofa. In some homes, a comfortable chair is the star of the living room, providing a cozy place to relax after work or during a lazy weekend.

Regardless of whether you’re looking for an accent piece or a new favorite lounging spot, knowing the different types of chairs available can help you to determine what will work best for your needs. Here’s an overview of the 10 most common types of chairs found in furniture stores:

 

  1. The Recliner

Due to its presence in many American homes, most people are quite familiar with the popular reclining chair. Recliners are ideal for reading and relaxing in front of the television, which makes them suitable for casual family rooms. However, there are many more subtle and stylish versions of recliners available that would work great in a formal living area.

 

recliner

Image courtesy colorblindPICASO | Flickr

 

  1. Club Chair

Likely named in reference to the gentlemen’s clubs that commonly used it during the 19th century, the club chair is a deep-seated armchair that offers comfort rivaling that of the recliner. While club chairs traditionally featured leather upholstery and nail head trim, the style is now available in a wide variety of fabrics and colors. These pieces work great when paired together or used as an accent to a sofa.

 

  1. Wingback Chair

Wingback chairs are easy to spot due to their wide side panels or “wings” that give them their name. Although these tall-back chairs can feature a very formal design, many modern versions are much less “stuffy” in appearance. It’s important to note that wingbacks are typically larger than other chairs, which means they might not be ideal for flexible seating arrangements.

 

  1. Barrel Chair

Like the wingback chair, the barrel chair gets its name from its unique shape, which resembles that of an old-fashioned nail barrel with a cutout area for sitting. Along with the rounded back, these pieces feature high arms that combine with a high backrest to create a cozy place to relax with a good book. In terms of its design, the barrel chair can fit in with traditional or more modern layouts depending on the color, fabric, and embellishments used on the piece.

 

  1. Slipper Chair

An armless seating option, the slipper chair sits much closer to the ground than the other chairs on this list. Originally, they were mostly used in bedrooms, but they have since found a spot in the living room. With their minimal size and silhouette, slipper chairs are a great option for those in search of additional seating in a smaller space.

 

slipper chair

Image by John M. | Flickr

 

  1. Parsons Chair

Another armless option is the Parsons chair, which was first created in the 1930s. The name is derived from its place of origin, the Parsons School of Design in Paris. The best feature of the Parsons chair is its simple design that enables it to fit in with nearly any room’s decor. In a living room, these pieces can be ideal for providing additional seating without taking up much visual or physical space.

 

  1. Occasional Chair

As its name suggests, the occasional chair is not meant for frequent use. Instead, it provides secondary seating when a need arises. Although there is no one shape or style that is common among occasional chairs, most are armless and very lightweight, two features that make them easy to move from one place to another. Additionally, occasional chairs are typically eye-catching pieces that can provide decorative value when they are not in use.

 

  1. Side Chair

Another option for additional seating, the side chair is a petite piece of furniture that may or may not be upholstered. The chair is available in both armed and armless designs. Unlike the occasional chair, most side chairs blend in with other decor and are not necessarily chosen for their eye-catching design. In many cases, they look very similar to dining room chairs.

 

  1. The Chaise Lounge

The style of the chaise lounge has been around since ancient Egypt, and these long chairs with a slanted back remain popular today. The traditional chaise lounge features a long design that essentially combines a chair and footrest into one piece. Other lounger styles, however, consist of a semi-lounging chair along with a separate ottoman. As is evident by its design and name, the piece is all about comfort and relaxation. The chaise lounge is common in living rooms and other areas of the home, including outdoor patios.

 

chaise lounge

Image by David Pritchard | Flickr

 

  1. Chair-and-a-Half

Also referred to simply as an oversized chair, a chair-and-a-half is larger than your typical armchair but a bit smaller than a love seat. Like the chaise lounge, it is perfect for relaxing while reading, watching TV, or listening to music. This makes the chair-and-a-half a great option for informal living areas and even bedrooms. The chair-and-a-half is particularly well-suited for apartments and other small spaces that can’t easily accommodate both a chair and a sofa.

couch

What You Need to Know about the 2019 Winter Las Vegas Market

lasvegasmarketIt’s time to register for the 2019 Winter Las Vegas Market, which will bring together retailers, designers, and other professionals for four days of programming focused on furniture, gifts, and home decor. As one of the home furnishing industry’s most anticipated events, the Las Vegas Market features an unmatched product showcase comprising over 4,000 brands from leading manufacturers, as well as emerging companies.

While exploring the more than 5.4 million square feet of showroom space, attendees at the 2019 Winter Market will have an opportunity to view the latest furniture, home decor, bedding, lighting, and upholstery. Las Vegas Market will also feature a wealth of networking activities alongside unmatched educational programming offering insights into the latest industry trends. If you plan to attend, here are five things to know before you go:

 

  1. Market Dates, Hours, and Location

The 2019 winter edition of Las Vegas Market will take place January 27-31 at Las Vegas’ World Market Center. The venue comprises three separate buildings and two temporary pavilions. Showrooms in Buildings A, B, and C, featuring furniture, bedding, decor, and outdoor items, will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. from January 27-30 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on January 31.

As home to exhibits featuring gifts and antiques, as well as handmade and artisanal products, the temporary pavilions will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. most days of the Market. The final day to visit Pavilion 1 will be Wednesday, January 30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Attendees will still have an opportunity to explore Pavilion 2 on Thursday, January 31, but the space will only be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 

  1. How to Register

As a trade show for professionals in the home decor, furnishings, and gift industries, Las Vegas Market is completely free to attend for those who can provide proof-of-trade documentation, which can include industry-related business licenses, business cards, and past invoices from Las Vegas Market exhibitors. All attendees are also required to provide state- or government-issued photo identification.

Las Vegas Market offers pre-registration for buyers and suppliers, independent business representatives, and non-exhibiting manufacturers. After arriving at the Market, registered attendees can pick up their required registration badges at special scan-and-go locations and partner hotels. Those who forget to pre-register or who prefer to register in person can take advantage of the on-site registration services available on each day of the event.

 

  1. Lodging Options

For its 2019 winter event, Las Vegas Market has negotiated special rates with 26 area hotels. While rates vary from one property to the next, guests can expect to pay anywhere from $39 to $275 per night at one of the Market’s official housing partners. Those who book a room through Las Vegas Market aren’t required to pre-pay for their stay, and each registered guest is entered into a special drawing for show tickets, dinner, hotel upgrades, and other incentives. Of course, attendees also have the option of handling their own housing registration at one of the many available Las Vegas hotels.

 

bedroom

 

  1. Seminars and Events

In addition to providing a variety of exhibits, the main attractions at Las Vegas Market will include seminars, discussions, networking activities, and other special events. During the 2019 winter edition of the Market, attendees will have an opportunity to take part in learning activities focused on design trends and business management. The educational programming will include discussions on tableware, urban design, home accessories, and e-commerce. The Market will also feature seminars on merchandising, business profitability, and client relations.

In order to help attendees to navigate the showroom displays, Las Vegas Market is offering the special Furniture Market 411 Tour on Sunday, January 27, and Monday, January 28. Hosted by designer Glen Peloso, the 411 Tour will help designers and retailers to find the products and suppliers that will work best for their business. The Market will also offer attendees the popular FIRST LOOK tour, which will highlight the latest products in categories such as furniture, gifts, housewares, and handmade products.

Featuring many opportunities for networking, Market will offer guests the chance to attend an evening reception nightly from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Grand Plaza Courtyard of Building A. The relaxing reception will feature music and a cash bar. Other notable networking activities that will be held as part of the Winter Las Vegas Market include the 2019 WOW Awards Dinner and the 2019 Housewares Design Awards Celebration.

 

  1. The Market App

Available on both the App Store and Google Play, the Las Vegas Market app is the perfect tool to help attendees to plan and enjoy their Market experience. The app includes floorplans, an exhibitor directory, and product lists that attendees can access while on the go. Additionally, the app features the Market Planner tool, which offers attendees an opportunity to create a custom itinerary for each day of the event.

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.

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.

ecommerce

Here Are the Top Qualities of an Excellent Retail Website

It should come as no surprise that it’s critical for furniture retailers to have an effective website to be successful in today’s market. The home furnishings industry as a whole has been somewhat slow to embrace certain technologies, but retailers can’t deny the power of the Internet. Maintaining a presence online is now more important than ever as consumers continue to turn to the web to communicate with friends and family, keep up with the news, and connect with all types of businesses.

Whether you’ve just gotten started or your business is already well-established online, there a few things you can do to ensure that you stand out among other retailers on the web.

Read on for some of the top features of a standout website.

 

Effective Design

Design is important for all websites, but those that offer items for purchase need to ensure that the products are the star of the show. Regardless of whether yours is an e-commerce site or not, the focus should be on the sofas, chairs, tables, beds, and other furniture items you offer. Typically, a sleek, simple design is more effective than a layout with a host of effects that may distract from the products.

online shopping

However, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to add some “wow factor” elements that can stimulate consumers visually and draw their eyes to promotions and call-to-actions. The best website designs showcase new and popular products while making it easy for consumers to find and browse the specific items they’re looking for.

 

Simple Navigation

With effective design and layout, navigating through your website should be simple, logical, and intuitive. Prospective customers who are browsing your products online are often in a hurry, and nothing will kill a potential sale more quickly than a frustrating user experience. In fact, studies have shown that over three-quarters of all consumers cite ease of use as the most important characteristic of any website.

On yours, be sure that product categories are clearly labeled, and don’t hesitate to include filters and comparison capabilities to help users narrow down their search. For retailers of daily use products like furniture, it’s also a good idea to feature easy-to-find customer reviews and FAQs that can assist buyers in their purchasing decision.

 

Search Capabilities

Simple navigation will go a long way toward helping your customers find what they’re looking for, but some will still run into trouble locating certain products. This is particularly true of larger sites featuring several product categories that all contain a variety of options. A simple sitewide search function can help customers get right to the product they want without having to wade through multiple links along the way.

In addition to offering site-wide search capabilities, giving site visitors the ability to check the inventory in your brick-and-mortar store is also worth the investment. Often, the main purpose of a furniture retail website is to get shoppers into a physical location. Enabling customers to see what’s in their local showroom can definitely help accomplish this goal. If you offer an inventory look-up function on your website, however, be sure that it is current with accurate pricing and availability information.

 

Eye-Catching Visual Content

You can’t sell anything online without quality photos that clearly and accurately display your product offerings. Text can be effective, but images are what matter most in the modern age. It’s also important to remember that today’s consumers have come to expect multi-media visual content that gives them the ability to see products from multiple angles and in different environments. To make the most of your website, offer several high-resolution photos of each product and make sure they are optimized to reduce page-load times, which plays an important role in keeping consumers engaged.

Along with quality photos, effective websites use animation and other visual content to drive attention and quickly tell a story. Eye-catching logos, menus, and banners can improve engagement even further and keep customers on your site for longer. Partnering with a proven website developer can help you put all of your visual content together most effectively.

 

checkout cart

 

Simple Checkouts

If you give customers the ability to buy items through your website, it’s crucial that you make the checkout process as simple as possible. While maintaining security, avoid over-complicating things with too many steps that can lead users to abandon their shopping cart (which happens with nearly 70 percent of all online transactions). Don’t forget to include an easy-to-find shopping cart icon to help speed up the purchasing process.

It’s also a good idea to offer advanced payment options and ensure that customers know what payment methods you accept before proceeding with their purchase. Of course, credit and debit cards are the most common forms of accepted payment, but you may also consider accepting PayPal, Apple Pay, gift vouchers, cash on delivery, and even bitcoin.

Quick and Easy Tips to Protect and Clean Your Furniture

Furniture can be a significant investment for many families. Picking out the right pieces for your home can also be a time-consuming process. Once you’ve found that perfect table, chair, or sofa, it’s important that you protect it with regular cleaning and care. Your furniture will likely see a lot of use over the years, but you can keep it looking great without too much effort. The following tips will help you do this.

 

General Furniture Care Tips

Regardless of the type of materials your furniture is made of, there are some things you can do to care for any piece. Here are a few general tips to remember:

sofa

 

  1. Read the care label.

Most new furniture, especially upholstered pieces, will include a care label with information on how to clean and maintain the item. If your furniture has one of these labels, read it so that you know how to clean the piece without damaging it.

 

  1. Avoid direct sunlight and heat.

With excessive heat and sunlight, the color of your furniture upholstery can fade, and your wood pieces may dry out and crack. If possible, keep all of your furniture away from heating sources as well as windows. You can also use a window film to protect furniture in brightly lit rooms.

 

  1. Rearrange from time to time.

Moving your furniture regularly is one easy way to keep pieces from being overexposed to heat, sunlight, and other environmental elements. It also gives you a chance to clean in hard-to-reach areas.

 

  1. Lift, don’t drag.

When you move your furniture, be sure to safely lift the item instead of dragging it across the floor. Dragging can break furniture legs, rip upholstery, and damage floor coverings.

 

  1. Protect surfaces.

Using coasters, placemats, and tablecloths is one of the easiest and most important things you can do to protect your furniture. It’s also a good idea to use a protective pad when writing with a ballpoint pen on furniture surfaces.

 

Protecting Wooden Furniture

Wooden furniture is a timeless option that can look great in any design scheme. Most wooden pieces are also durable, but how long they last depends on how you care for them. To keep your furniture woods looking great, follow these tips:

wood furniture

 

  1. You must dust.

Regular dusting keeps wood surfaces shiny and helps avoid the buildup of abrasive material that can cause scratches. Dust every few days or so, and be sure to use a cloth that is soft, dry, and clean.

 

  1. Mind the chemicals.

Cleaners that contain ammonia can damage wooden furniture. It’s also important to avoid products with silicone and excess alcohol, which can harm wood surfaces. In most cases, it’s best to wipe down any truly dirty spots with a damp cloth that’s been soaked in warm, soapy water, then wrung out so it’s not dripping wet. Repeat as needed, then dry the area with a clean cloth.

 

  1. Avoid moisture.

When cleaning wood, be sure not to use too much water. Excessive moisture can lead to mildew, warping, and other problems. For this reason, wooden furniture should not be placed in bathrooms or laundry rooms.

 

  1. Keep the polishing to a minimum.

Despite popular opinion, regular polishing does not create a protective layer on wooden furniture. It does add shine, but it also makes surfaces more slippery and can cause a buildup of residue. Very oily products can show every fingerprint, too. Cut the polishing back to once or twice a year.

 

  1. Make timely repairs.

Repairing damage quickly will ensure that a minor issue does not become a major problem. If the damage is beyond your repair skills, call a professional for help. Doing so will save money in the long run.

 

Caring for and Cleaning Leather and Upholstery

Upholstered and leather furniture often gets a lot of use. Children, pets, and life in general can take a toll on sofas, chairs, and other pieces, but caring for them doesn’t have to be complicated. Just follow a few care tips, and you can keep them looking great.

leather furniture

 

  1. Always test cleaning products.

When using a new cleaning product, test it in an inconspicuous area before spot cleaning. This will help you avoid ruining the material with something more unsightly than a simple stain.

 

  1. Blot, don’t wipe.

When you spot clean, avoid using a wiping or scrubbing motion, which can spread the stain and work it deeper into the fabric. Instead, gently blot from the inside to the outside of the stain.

 

  1. Use a leather conditioner.

A barely damp, soft towel is all you need to clean up messes on leather surfaces. To keep leather looking and feeling great for many years, it’s also important to apply leather conditioner every six to 12 months.

 

  1. Flip and rotate cushions.

Rotating cushions once a week will help evenly distribute wear. While you’re at it, take a minute to fluff your cushions and don’t forget to vacuum in order to keep dirt from becoming embedded in the upholstery fibers.

 

  1. Know your upholstery cleaning codes.

Many manufacturers provide cleaning codes on care tags to help people clean the item properly. For example, Ashley Furniture has 13 universal cleaning codes for its products. Knowing what these codes mean will help you with your regular furniture cleaning.

What You Need to Know about Furniture Today’s Leadership Conference

furnituretodayleadershipconferenceEach year, the top furniture retailers and manufacturers in the home furnishings industry gather at Furniture Today’s Leadership Conference. The multi-day event features expert speakers, panel discussions, and insightful presentations.

The Furniture Today 2018 Leadership Conference takes place November 27-29 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Following is an overview of everything you need to know about the industry event.

 

Venue Location, Travel Details, and Lodging Options

Furniture Today’s 2018 Leadership Conference will be held at the Four Seasons Orlando Resort on Dream Tree Boulevard. Those flying in for the event will likely land at either Orlando International Airport or Orlando Executive Airport. These are both approximately 30 minutes from the conference venue.

The conference does not provide transportation between the hotel and the airport. However, attendees can hire a taxi, hop on a shuttle, or rent a car. During the event, attendees can take advantage of reduced valet parking rates at the Four Seasons.

The hotel room block reserved for attendees at the Four Seasons Orlando is sold out. However, there are numerous lodging options in the area. Nearby hotels include Villas of Grand Cypress (3 miles away), Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek (4 miles away), and Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress (5 miles away).

 

Four Seasons Orlando

Four Seasons Orlando | Image by Inside the Magic | Flickr

 

Registration Information

Those planning to attend the Leadership Conference can register for the event online. Registration pricing ranges from $599 for home furnishings retailers to $1,499 for third-party service providers. The rate for manufacturers is $1,250 per person. Spouses and other non-industry guests can attend conference activities for $499 per person. Registered parties who find that they are no longer able to attend may be subject to a cancellation fee of up to 50 percent of the registration total.

 

What to Expect from the Educational Programming

One of the main highlights of Furniture Today’s 2018 Leadership Conference is the all-star lineup of prominent speakers. Vincent Boles, a US Army general who served in the military for over three decades, is the event’s keynote speaker. During his presentation, Boles will discuss the leadership insights and experience he gained over the years serving as an Army general, executive coach, university professor, and owner of a supply chain consulting practice.

In addition to General Boles, expert speakers and panelists include Clarence Smith and Irv Blumkin. The home furnishings executives are directing a peer-to-peer leadership session focused on furniture retail. During the discussion, Smith, Blumkin, and other panelists will cover topics ranging from merchandising and retail technology to human resources and business management.

Other speakers include Liza Hausman of Houzz and Alessandra Wood of Modsy. Their merchandising session will focus on holistic retail and discuss how consumers are engaging with businesses through both in-store and online environments.

TedX speaker Andrew Tarvin will discuss leadership through improvisation. Danny Kim, a millennial executive coach, will explore how today’s furniture industry leaders can best manage a multi-generational workplace that is affected by technology and social media. Attendees can also learn about human resources best practices from furniture industry veterans Joe Genduso and Victor Herrera.

A leadership session examining the customer experience will focus specifically on what furniture retailers and manufacturers need to do in order to compete for customers in a retail environment dominated by big-box and online companies. Strategic consulting executive Lorri Kelly will lead the discussion.

To close the show, a “Future of the Industry” panel led by Ryan Blumkin, Mark Mueller, and Travis Wagner will address how the next generation will guide the future of furniture retail and manufacturing. Following the panel, Furniture Today Editor-in-Chief Bill McLoughlin will officially wrap up the 2018 Leadership Conference.

 

What about Networking?

Outside of the learning activities, there will be plenty of time for attendees to socialize and network with other leaders in the home furnishings industry. On the afternoon of November 27, Leadership Conference sponsor Malouf will host a golf tournament at the Tranquilo Golf Club.

Attendees not interested in hitting the fairways can instead take part in a tour of a local furniture store’s warehouse, showroom, and adjoining café and wine bar. In the evening, attendees can return to the Four Seasons Orlando for a cocktail reception and dinner in the hotel’s grand ballroom.

Other networking activities at the conference will include an awards dinner and after-party on the evening of November 28. More information is available at www.leadershipcon.com.

furniture

What to Know about Sofa Design – A Look at 9 Popular Styles

Few pieces of furniture can affect the look and feel of a living space as much as a sofa. As a favorite spot to socialize, entertain, and relax, it gets a lot of use and is often a focal point of many design schemes.

The earliest sofas were little more than wooden benches. However, over the years, advances in materials, design, and construction led to much more comfortable furniture pieces suitable for an extended Netflix binge.

Today, the sofa, which many people prefer to call a couch, is available in a wide range of styles, sizes, and configurations. Finding one that fits your family’s needs and complements the overall look of your living space can be delete a challenge.

Fortunately, taking a few minutes to learn a little more about the available styles can help make the task a whole lot easier. Here’s a closer look at some of the most common sofa options:

 

  1. Chaise Lounge

As one of the oldest sofa styles, the chaise lounge dates back thousands of years. In fact, it was commonly used in ancient times by Egyptian pharaohs and upper-class Greeks and Romans. The style continues to be popular today.

A chaise lounge can be a great addition to any living room, but it is also suitable for other areas of the home, including a master bedroom suite. With its elongated, reclining design, it is also a popular patio furniture item.

 

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  1. Camelback

Named for its characteristic hump-shaped backrest, the camelback sofa also traditionally features exposed wooden legs, scrolled arms, and elegant upholstery. This option has an antique look that is ideal for traditional or formal spaces. Pairing a camelback sofa with a chaise lounge is the perfect way to add some regal elegance to any room.

 

  1. Chesterfield

The Chesterfield sofa is known for its classic design featuring deep button-tufting and high rolled arms. Most often, these sofas are fashioned out of leather, but the style also works well with other materials.

First created in the 1700s for the fourth Earl of Chesterfield, the sofa was traditionally found in gentlemen’s clubs and libraries. Nowadays, a Chesterfield is a great option for those striving to add a time-honored look to any space.

 

  1. Tuxedo

Like the formal suit of the same name, the tuxedo sofa is simultaneously timeless and modern. The style is similar to the Chesterfield in that it typically features tufted elements and exposed legs. The tuxedo sofa also features the Chesterfield’s high arms, but instead of being rolled, they are usually square shaped.

With their boxy design and straight backrests, tuxedos aren’t the most comfortable sofas available. The sleek, clean lines, however, make them perfect for modern spaces, and a few stylish throw pillows can help boost a tuxedo sofa’s comfort level.

 

sofa

Image courtesy erin williamson | Flickr

 

  1. English Roll Arm

A more casual option than the Chesterfield, the English roll arm sofa has low, rolled arms and loose seat cushions. The design is loved for its comfort and timeless style that works well alongside a variety of home décor. Regardless of whether a space is traditional or modern, the sophisticated silhouette of the English roll arm will likely complement the look.

 

  1. Lawson

The signature features of the Lawson-style sofa are its back pillows and seat cushions that sit separate from the frame. The loose pillows and cushions create a softer and more comfortable piece of furniture that is perfect for lounging. The Lawson-style sofa has become an American favorite over the years, and it’s probably what most people picture in their heads when they hear the word “couch.”

 

  1. Mid-Century Modern

While the name may sound complicated, the mid-century modern sofa features a straightforward design defined by clean lines and a minimalistic, streamlined look. The style was popular from the 1940s until the 1970s. It recently made a comeback thanks in part to the TV series Mad Men. These sofas work equally well in both minimalist and eclectic homes with a modern aesthetic.

 

sofa

 

  1. Sectional

Designed to seat the whole family, the sectional sofa first became popular in the mid-20th century, but the style dates back to the Victorian era. Today, sectionals are most commonly configured in either an L-shape or U-shape. Both configurations are great for entertaining and can be found in a wide variety of materials and design styles.

 

  1. Sleeper Sofa

If you’re looking for a piece of furniture that plays double duty, the sleeper sofa is for you. Since the first modern sleeper was invented in the 1930s, many other types have hit the market. In addition to a traditional pullout sofa bed, you can find convertible sleepers, futons, daybeds, and even bunkbed sleepers.

The technology has also come a long way over the years. Today, the sleeper sofa is a great option for those who often host overnight guests or need a space-saving solution in a cramped apartment.

 

living-room

What Will the Future of Furniture Retail Look Like?

furnitureOver the last 10 to 15 years, many retailers in the United States have experienced some ups and downs due to fluctuations in the economy and changes in consumers’ buying habits. These and other factors have undoubtedly affected the world of furniture retail, but the US home furnishings market is now enjoying a fair amount of growth. Thanks in large part to a healthy housing market, sales of furniture and home furnishings have steadily increased since 2013. With spending on furniture and bedding up 3.3 percent in 2017, retailers can be optimistic about the future of the home furnishings market, which is projected to continue growing at least through 2019.

While continued market growth is good news for furniture retailers, now is not the time to be complacent. Consumers are changing their habits, finding new ways to research and purchase goods, so marketing and sales strategies need to change as well. At the same time, some traditional ways of reaching customers are still working. Knowing how to adapt while sticking with the things that continue to work will be the key to success in the future of furniture retail.

 

Brick & mortar holds steady

While online furniture sales have increased dramatically since the 2000s, brick-and-mortar stores still dominate. Unlike other product categories such as music and videos, electronics, and home décor, online penetration into the furniture market remains relatively low. In fact, online sales in the $125 billion furniture industry only represent 5 percent to 6 percent of retail.

The relatively small success of online furniture sales can be attributed to a few factors. First, furniture is a hard sell online and, without massive local fulfillment solutions, large furniture items are very expensive to ship. E-commerce giants like Wayfair and Amazon may have success selling lamps and other small home furnishings, but these sales are having little impact on brick-and-mortar furniture businesses, which continue to thrive by selling larger, pricier items like chairs, sofas, and sectionals.

 

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Retailers boost their presence online

Though brick-and-mortar stores have the advantage over many online players, online retailing can offer traditional furniture businesses plenty of opportunities to boost sales and reach more customers. Savvy retailers know this and have already adapted their business plans to include more online technology.

Boosting their business’ online presence through websites and social media gives retailers the opportunity to improve customer engagement and remote sales while strengthening their brick-and-mortar strategy. In today’s Internet-driven world, studies have shown that as much as 75 percent of consumers research products online prior to visiting a physical store to make a purchase. The fact that online marketing and merchandising essentially drive customers to a store’s doorstep is not going unnoticed. In the future of furniture retail, businesses that effectively retool their strategies to balance their online presence with a great in-store experience will continue to find the most success.

 

Technology supports a better shopping experience

Along with maintaining a presence online, furniture retailers are working to improve the overall customer experience by embracing established and emerging technologies, including mobile-friendly apps and websites. As an increasing number of people use their mobile devices to browse for and purchase various items, planning customer-engagement strategies with mobility in mind is now more important than ever. Many retailers are also beginning to utilize mobile devices in stores to help sales associates better serve their customers.

Augmented reality (AR) is a newer technology that is particularly suited for the furniture industry. AR gives consumers the ability to virtually see how an item will look in their home next to their other existing furniture, which can help to reduce hesitation over purchasing big-ticket items. AR features can be incorporated into websites, apps, or self-service digital kiosks (which are part of another growing area of in-store technology).

 

furniture

 

Manufacturing adapts to changing lifestyles

As retailers adapt to changing sales and marketing strategies, furniture manufacturers are taking new approaches to furniture design. Lifestyle trends among millennials, generation Xers, and baby boomers have spurred furniture manufacturers to begin diversifying their product offerings to better meet the needs of each group.

Unlike the typical furniture shopper of previous generations, more consumers today value affordability over durability. Instead of buying high-dollar pieces that will last 20 years or more, most people, especially millennials, are looking for more cost-effective furniture that they can use for a few years before moving on to something else.

A growing interest in sustainability issues and the increased use of technology among millennials and other consumer groups are also leading manufacturers to design and produce environmental- and tech-friendly pieces. Other consumer segments making an impact on furniture manufacturing include the increasing number of renters and single-person households. These groups are more likely to demand furniture that is affordable, space saving, and multifunctional.