Furniture

interior

How to Easily Break up Your Open Living Space

A relatively new trend in residential construction and design, the open floor plan started to catch on in the United States in the latter half of the 20th century. Prior to the 1950s, most American homes featured a much more divided layout dominated by smaller spaces and a main hallway connecting them. In this traditional floor plan, the kitchen was typically located in the rear of the home. This is because it was viewed as a utilitarian space that was off-limits to guests.

Today’s open-plan concept, which started growing in popularity around the 1990s, brought the kitchen into the center of the home alongside the dining room and living room. The merging of these three areas creates an open, casual living space that is great for entertaining and socializing as a family.

While an open floor plan comes with several advantages, it is certainly not without its drawbacks. In addition to largely eliminating private living spaces, an open layout can appear cluttered and be more difficult to keep clean.

Combining the kitchen, dining room, and living room into one shared space also leads to design challenges. Without physical separation, an open floor plan can look and feel a bit chaotic. Fortunately, creating clearly defined spaces can be quite simple with a little creativity and the right furniture and design elements. Here’s how to do it:

 

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Embrace Symmetry

When separating areas in an open-space layout, it’s wise to start by creating a balanced look using your largest furniture pieces. The classic living room design featuring two matching sofas facing each other is perfect for open floor plans because it uses symmetry to clearly define the space. Complementing the area with a large dining room table and matching chairs adds to the design while enhancing functionality.

Alongside the large furniture pieces, you can create even more symmetrical definition by adding matching chairs and paired-up accessories such as lamps, mirrors, and framed art. Be sure to avoid cluttering the area and don’t hinder the traffic flow from one living space to the next.

 

Use Rugs to Establish Conversation Spaces

In an open floor plan, rugs can be your best friend. In addition to complementing your layout, area rugs are the ideal solution for demarcating conversation spaces while also adding warmth and character to what could otherwise be a large, empty, and cold area. Rugs also guide foot traffic and create subtle visual boundaries that don’t interfere with eye-level design elements.

When using multiple rugs in an open living space, you can opt for matching pieces or go with a more eclectic layout by mixing colors, patterns, and textures. Don’t forget to carefully consider the look of your furniture and the overall design scheme of the room when deciding which rug(s) will work best in the space.

 

Choose Color Wisely

An open layout gives you the opportunity to use color in creative ways. Color can be used for two distinct purposes: to create a cohesive look or establish clearly defined spaces. If you’re looking to create definition with color, don’t be afraid to go bold with colorful accent walls, furniture, and accessories. You can tie everything together with a unifying neutral background that flows from one area to the next.

If you find it difficult to determine when to start and stop applying color, you can instead choose to keep all walls and architectural elements the same hue. Another option is the tone-on-tone approach. This enables you to add subtle contrasts while sticking with a coherent color palette.

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Invest in Open Shelving and Room Dividers

Room dividers provide an easy solution for those who want to break up their open living area. While products such as folding screens and curtains can be used for this purpose, you can get creative without comprising the overall flow of the space. Consider using open shelving and other see-through storage solutions to define a room’s boundaries while preventing the area from feeling too closed in.

Other clever options include multipurpose partitions that double as a space for planters. For added texture and character, use see-through wooden partitions with striking geometric patterns. Whatever the style, it’s always a good idea to choose freestanding dividers that can be moved as needed.

 

Don’t Cut Corners

One of the best things about an open floor plan is that it gives you the option to divide the living area as you see fit. When delineating the space, don’t overlook the corners because they can be used in a variety of ways. If your great room’s current layout seems lacking, consider creating a cozy corner reading nook or perpendicular dining area.

A corner can also provide a small conversation space or study area. Even if your corners can’t be used for these purposes, try to get the most out of the space by adding shelves, artwork, or extra storage to often-overlooked corner areas.

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business

Traditional Marketing Actually Matters in the New Digital Age

While it’s important for today’s furniture retailers to market via social media and other digital channels, doing so should not come at the expense of traditional marketing efforts. Of course, most prospective customers are spending a significant amount of time online, but they are still reading the newspaper, watching television, and tuning into the radio. In fact, the average person spends 112 minutes each day listening to the radio and five hours each day in front of the TV. Also, while online and satellite radio services are increasingly popular, more than 90 percent of Americans still listen to AM/FM stations and all of the advertising they broadcast.

People are also exposed to visual advertising each day when they drive past billboards on their way to work and return home to find flyers and brochures in their mailboxes. It’s true that the ways people consume information have changed, but the types of advertising and promotion that worked prior to the digital age are still effective at spreading a brand’s message among potential customers. The fact that radio, television, and print media remain an integral part of most people’s daily routines is exactly why furniture retailers should continue to include these channels in their marketing campaigns. Read on to learn more about traditional marketing methods and find out how you can make them work for your business.

 

Traditional Marketing Channels for Furniture Retailers

Direct mail and printed ads—In a largely brick-and-mortar industry like furniture retail, direct mail can be very effective at generating sales. This is particularly true of small retailers that rely on local customers to remain in business. Flyers, brochures, and even postcards are especially useful for advertising in-store events and other special offers.

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Direct mail is also perfect for delivering coupons, which are great tools for getting customers into a store. In a recent survey of furniture shoppers, 70 percent of respondents said that a coupon or ad delivered to their mailbox had led them to take action on a purchase within the last year.

While the main goal of direct mail campaigns is to increase store traffic, they also work for retailers looking to simply boost their brand awareness. In fact, studies have shown that brand recall is much higher among those who received direct mailers as opposed to digital advertisements sent via email.

 

Outdoor advertising—Falling under the category of out-of-home (OOH) advertising, billboards are common, hard-to-miss sights along highways and freeways across the United States. Like direct mail, billboards are strongly effective at promoting brand recall among those who notice them, and they are great tools for advertising sales, new product lines, and store grand openings.

Advancements in digital technology have led to billboards with giant LED screens that bring an advertising message to life using vivid colors and eye-catching movement. It’s also important to note that OOH advertising isn’t limited to billboards. To promote their store, furniture retailers can also use smaller signage on bus benches, public transport, and vehicles.

 

Radio and TV spots—Although radio and television advertisements are more expensive than other traditional marketing channels, they are also among the most effective. Retailers on a budget may want to forgo the TV commercials and opt instead for a radio ad, which is a more affordable option that still has the ability to reach a large number of people. While the exact figure varies among industries, radio advertisements have the ability to generate up to $17 in revenue for every dollar spent on the ad.

Despite the expense, the main benefit of advertising on television is that it gives retailers the ability to use sight, sound, and motion to showcase their products while attaching personality to their business. Consumers also trust TV commercials more than other forms of advertising, which is great for retailers looking to build credibility in their community.

 

Tips to Consider

Now that you know about the traditional marketing channels available to furniture retailers, how can you use them to spread your business’ message? Here are a few quick tips for creating an effective advertising campaign:

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  1. Target the right audience.

For direct mail campaigns, it’s important for retailers to understand their customer demographics and find ways to target those who will most likely come into their stores. Tools like the U.S. Post Office’s Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) program can be helpful in accomplishing this goal.

 

  1. Run multiple advertisements.

Whether it’s in a newspaper, on the radio, or on TV, a single advertisement alone isn’t very effective at attracting new customers. Running different ads simultaneously in several formats or running the same ad for an extended period will do a better job of boosting business awareness.

 

  1. Be creative.

Just because they’re labeled “traditional” doesn’t mean that billboard, print, radio, and TV ads should hold back on the creativity. Advertisements with eye-catching logos and designs, and well-crafted photos, videos, and ad copy will attract more attention and potentially more business.

 

  1. Reach out to the community.

Along with using creativity in the content of their advertisements, furniture retailers should be creative in the other ways they communicate their brand locally. Donating products for local contests and raffles or sponsoring sports teams, community groups, and/or events offers retailers the opportunity to fulfill marketing objectives while showing potential customers they are committed to their community.

Your Easy How-to Guide for Protecting Your Patio Furniture

Unless you live in a locale that offers warm year-round temperatures, there inevitably comes a time when you have to retreat to the indoors after enjoying your outdoor living areas throughout the spring and summer months.

More and more people today are bringing the indoors outside with the help of modern and stylish patio furniture and accessories from retailers like Ashley HomeStore. These quality products are durable and built for the outdoors. However, there are still several actions you can take to keep them looking their best season after season.

Take some extra time now to prepare your outdoor furniture for the snow and cold winter weather. Doing so means your chairs, tables, sofas, and accessories will be ready for you when the temperature starts to rise once again. Keep reading to learn what to do to prep your outdoor furniture for winter time.

 

How to Get Started

Before you do anything else, it’s a good idea to start the winter-prep process by organizing and cleaning your outdoor living areas. Put away anything you’re not using and clear some space on your patio or deck so that you can give your furniture a good cleaning. Furniture pieces that are left dirty over the winter can be very difficult to clean later. They may even become damaged from mold or mildew growth.

You can avoid these issues by spraying your furniture with a hose and scrubbing down any stubborn spots. A mild solution of dish soap and water is typically safe to use on most materials. However, you should be sure to check with your furniture’s manufacturer for specific instructions. Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned everything, let it all air dry in the sun before moving on to the next steps.

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Protecting Materials against Moisture and Cold Temperatures

Although manufacturers design most outdoor furniture pieces to be weather-resistant, they may feature paints, stains, and protective coatings that can degrade over time. If these layers of protection start to fail, your furniture can become vulnerable to damage from harsh weather conditions. Here are some tips for protecting outdoor furniture materials from the elements:

 

Metal

Aluminum and wrought iron are two of the most common metals used in outdoor furniture. You can periodically apply a coat of automobile wax to extend the life of the protective coatings on both these metals. If you see any scratches or rust, gently brush or sand the area and apply a rust-inhibitive paint to keep the damage from spreading.

 

Wood

Even treated or rot-resistant wood won’t last forever. Fortunately, there are plenty of things that help ensure that your pieces look good and remain functional for many years. Like a wood deck, outdoor wood tables and chairs need to be treated with a water-repellant stain every other year or so. This protects against cracking and eventual failure. If you want your wood furniture to maintain its color, you’ll also want to regularly apply a new coat of paint after the original begins to fade.

 

Plastic

Plastic furniture is generally easier to care for than metal or wood pieces because it doesn’t absorb water. It is prone to cracking in cold temperatures, however. For this reason, most manufacturers recommend that you either cover or move plastic furniture indoors during the winter months.

 

Cushions and Fabrics

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Staining is the most common issue that you’ll have to deal with on your outdoor cushions and upholstery. Keeping these items clean may require more than one washing a season. It’s also important to make any necessary repairs to holes and ripped seams. In most cases, it’s best to store your outdoor cushions indoors or somewhere under cover when they aren’t being used.

 

Don’t Forget about the Accessories

In addition to outdoor furniture sets and individual pieces, you likely have at least a few accessories that you’ll need to prepare for the winter. Like pillows and cushions, umbrellas will need to be cleaned with mild soap and water. Your umbrella may also need to be repaired from time to time. As long as it is collapsed, a patio umbrella can withstand some harsh weather conditions. However, you’ll definitely want to put it away before the snow starts to fall.

Don’t forget about other items you may have in your yard, including hammocks. If you have a cotton hammock hanging somewhere outside, it’s especially important to bring it indoors because the fall and winter weather will likely ruin it. Hammocks made of synthetic materials are more durable than cotton hammocks, but they are also prone to damage. It’s probably best to just to take them inside during the colder months.

 

Cover and Store

Cleaning and maintaining your patio furniture will go a long way toward protecting it. However, the best protection comes when your furniture is properly covered and/or stored away from the elements. If possible, put your pieces away in a shed or garage under cover to protect them from dust and mildew.

If you don’t have the storage space, just do your best to properly cover furniture with commercial furniture covers or even a waterproof tarp secured with a rope or bungee cord. Remember, any extra protection you can add will help ensure that your outdoor furniture lasts as long as possible.

furniture

Here Are the Top Colors and Designs in Furniture Upholstery

As a key component of interior spaces, furniture plays an important role in the overall design scheme of a home. Staying on-trend requires stylish furniture pieces that can make a statement while fitting in seamlessly with the latest “hot” interior looks.

Unlike more affordable accessories such as pillows and drapes, however, furniture is a semi-permanent interior fixture that isn’t swapped out according to the season. The long-lasting nature of quality furniture requires designers and manufacturers to walk a fine line in order to blend timeless style with trending colors, patterns, and materials.

Industry leaders do this through the use of upholstery, which often reflects the trending looks that are showing up throughout the home. So, what are the latest trends driving upholstery and interior textile design? Keep reading for an overview of the new looks that are likely to stick around.

 

Welcome the Return of Color

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Throughout the 90s and well into the 2000s, a preference for subdued colors dominated the home furnishings and interior design industries. This meant beiges and other neutral tones were the top choices for chair, sofa, and ottoman coverings. For the past several years, however, color has been making a strong comeback, and it’s now poised to become a lasting trend. Some of the top color choices for furniture include:

Deep blues. While blue in general has made a comeback, the most popular blue for furniture and other design elements is navy. Navy can act as a strong neutral for adding contrast and richness to pastels, whites, and other light colors. Navy also looks great when tastefully paired with other deep blues, such as sapphire and the bluish-green petrol.

Vibrant greens. Like dark blue hues, a stylish green tone can also act as striking neutral alongside a variety of colors. The list of greens that are finding their way onto sofas and chairs include emerald, kale, and other nature-inspired shades. Another top choice for green upholstery is teal, which works surprisingly well next to everything from red and blue to yellow and orange.

Subdued pinks. In recent years, pink has become more of a gender-neutral color than it once was. This is inspiring more people to embrace pinkish hues within the home. One of 2017’s hottest colors was “millennial pink,” a very light shade that remains a popular choice for furniture and other interior design elements. Other pinks to look out for include subtle blushes, striking fuchsias, and eye-catching berry tones.

Rich yellows and golds. Typically used to provide bold accents, bright yellows and metallic-inspired golds are beginning to show up more on a variety of furniture pieces. Rich mustard hues are also on-trend. Many designers today are even pairing yellow-based furniture with pink and terracotta colors to create an earthy combo within the home.

 

Embracing Plush Velvet and Performance Fabrics

velvet

In line with a trend that embraces luxury and glamour, velvet has become a very popular upholstery choice. Whether it’s used as a furniture accent or complete covering, this plush fabric can add a touch of elegance to both formal and more relaxed living areas.

The velvet trend has been gaining momentum for the last several years, but it is now becoming mainstream thanks in large part to advances in fabric technology. Unlike its predecessors, today’s velvet is both soft and plush while also remaining stain-, fade-, and abrasion-resistant. The fabric is also available in a wide range of colors and patterns, so it can be incorporated into a variety of design schemes.

Along with welcoming velvet, more consumers are showing an interest in stylish, durable performance fabrics. Like velvet, these synthetic upholstery choices have also improved significantly in terms of style, comfort, and functionality.

Manufacturers have even begun to create more textural performance fabrics. These choices provide a distinctive look and feel while also adding durability and performance qualities to both indoor and outdoor furnishings. In recent years, the demand for performance fabric has led to significant growth in this area of the market, which is projected to reach almost $80 billion by 2020.

 

Back-to-Nature Prints and Varied Textures

floral pattern

Florals and other nature-inspired patterns have always had a place in home decor. However, they are becoming more popular as an increasing number of people move away from the long-standing minimalist design aesthetic.

Along with bold colors and luxurious fabrics, a trend toward maximalist interior themes is leading furniture manufacturers to incorporate detailed patterns into their designs. Tropical themes, animal prints, and bird motifs are all on-trend. Tribal looks and oversized floral patterns are also popular.

The move away from minimalism is also sparking greater demand for textural home furnishings. Everything from weaving and ruffles to rugged ruching and looped embroidery effects are helping furniture designers create fresh looks for cushions and pillows.

Also, while large, plump cushions are trending in living room furniture, many consumers are opting for the vintage-inspired textured look of sofas featuring distinct button and channel tufting.

sideboard

8 Tips for Putting Your Sideboard to Good Use

A sideboard, also known as a buffet, is a long, low-profile storage and service piece that first began appearing in homes during the late 18th century. The earliest versions were based on a design by Scottish architect and furniture maker Robert Adam, and they were primarily used in the dining room to serve platters of food and to store cutlery, napkins, dishes, and other table items. While they still have their place in the dining room, these versatile pieces of furniture are essential storage solutions that can be found in nearly every room of a home. Whether you already have one—or several—or you are simply considering if it’s the right piece for your needs, check out the following eight tips to learn how to put a sideboard to good use.

 

  1. Keep It in the Dining Room

If you entertain often or gather regularly for family meals, a sideboard is definitely a piece of furniture you’ll want to use in your kitchen or dining room. Here, you can use it to store silver cutlery, fine china, tablecloths, candleholders, and just about anything else you’ll need to host a fabulous dinner party for your friends and family. The sideboard surface is also ideal for serving both hot and cold foods. However, you may want to invest in a natural stone or tempered glass top to protect it from burns, spills, and scratches.

dining-room

 

  1. Make It the Focal Point of Your Family Room

Outside of the dining area, the first place that many people use a sideboard is in their family room. Due to its long and narrow shape, a sideboard works great as a design piece for holding lamps and vases. It also works perfectly as a media center that can hold a TV, speakers, game console, and other essentials, while keeping cords, wires, CDs, and DVDs out of sight in the drawers and cabinets below.

 

  1. Use It to Create a Cleaner Workspace

Those who work from home or maintain a separate area for paying bills or helping their children with homework can use a sideboard to keep clutter from overtaking their workspace. If you’re tired of files, stacks of paper, and odds and ends such as paper clips and boxes of staples taking over your desk, a sideboard can be the perfect solution. It also provides a convenient space for a printer, scanner, and other office gadgets.

 

  1. Give Your Hallway a Boost

Tight spaces such as hallways and entryways can be difficult to furnish. However, it’s often nice to have a spot in these areas to hold items such as your keys, hats, gloves, and lamps and extra storage space for things that don’t get much use around your home. If your hallway is wide enough, consider investing in a sideboard to add some extra style and functionality to the space.

 

  1. Create a Cocktail Bar or Entertainment Area

In addition to serving food, a sideboard can be easily converted into a casual bar for instant entertaining. Use the surface for bottles, ice, and garnishes, as well as to keep mixers, tumblers, trays, and glasses stored safely in the cabinets below. Be sure to store glasses on a non-skid liner, and if you want to add an extra touch, consider investing in a suspended storage unit to hang stemware above the sideboard surface.

 

  1. Break Up An Open Living Area

While an open design concept can work great for many families, it can sometimes be difficult to define multiple spaces. Along with providing a spot for both functional and decorative items, the long and low sideboard can be just the piece you need to show where one living area ends and another one begins. The sideboard is particularly well-suited to sit behind a “floating” couch in an area that combines a living room and eating area.

 

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  1. Display Your Collections

If you collect knickknacks, pottery, small art pieces, or other decorative items, a sideboard may provide the perfect spot to display them. You can simply arrange them on the surface or find a sideboard with glass cabinet doors that give you the ability to show off your collection without having to worry about anything getting broken. A sideboard can also be used below your favorite painting or photograph to ensure that it stands out among other items in a room.

 

  1. Create Extra Storage

As functional as they are stylish, sideboards can be used for extra storage in any room of your home. Consider putting one in a playroom or multiple-use area to keep toys, books, art supplies, and other children’s items neatly tucked away. You can also bring a sideboard into a bedroom to provide extra storage for clothes, blankets, and linens. With their sleek design and narrow profile, sideboards can be particularly helpful for those who need to stay organized in a condominium, apartment, or small home.

living room

Here’s How to Refresh the Look of Your Living Room

For many people, the living room is the heart of the home. Whether you live in a one-bedroom apartment or a sprawling ranch house, the living room is where you relax, entertain guests, and spend time with family. Of course, a space that sees this much activity is prone to a lot of wear and tear and can quickly lose its fresh look. Fortunately, updating the design and functionality of your living room doesn’t have to be an overly complicated task. When it’s time to put some life back into your family’s living space, you can do the following to make it as stylish as it is comfortable:

 

Don’t Be Afraid of Color.

While neutral tones such as gray, tan, and white still have their place throughout the home, more people are getting braver with their choice of living room colors. To join the trend favoring moody interiors, consider painting your walls with a rich violet, navy, or emerald green.

 

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Many people worry about darker colors making a room feel smaller, but this won’t happen if you use them correctly. The ever-popular accent wall still provides an easy way to inject some color without shrinking the space. Another way to refresh the look of your living room is to employ multiple shades at a time and then tie them together with furniture and accessories.

 

Add Texture and Natural Elements.

Along with rich and/or unexpected color themes, multiple textures and textiles are growing in popularity. Leather and suede are both making a comeback, but velvet is particularly on trend. The soft, luxurious fabric is well-suited for sofas and chairs, but it also works as an elegant drapery. Consider using it alongside a stylish leather chair or ottoman to add some warmth to your living space.

To bring some additional warmth into your home, don’t shy away from accessorizing with rich wood pieces and other natural design elements. If you’ve opted for a modern look, using wood in the space can keep it from becoming too cold and impersonal. A high-quality wood coffee table is always a good choice in a living room, but you could also choose to make a bolder statement by brightening up the space with a wooden wall treatment. Add some indoor plants throughout the room to complement the natural look and bring a little nature inside.

 

Get Organized.

With the amount of traffic your living room sees, it’s important to keep the space organized and uncluttered. Corner sofas remain a popular furniture option because they are convenient space savers that work well in many different room configurations. With a spot for books, magazines, toys, and remote controls, modern coffee tables, ottomans, and end tables that feature drawers and other storage areas also provide an easy way to cut down on clutter while maintaining a stylish look. Don’t forget about the long-loved entertainment center, which can provide extra storage along with serving as a central location for your television and other electronics.

 

Look Up and Down.

When updating your living room, it’s important to look beyond the walls and furniture. While they aren’t necessarily the focal point in most rooms, your floor and ceiling give you the opportunity to brighten up the space in an unexpected way. A recent trend toward statement rugs and carpets is becoming more popular in the world of interior design. This look involves embracing bold patterns and colors and asymmetrical design elements for your living room floor coverings.

 

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In addition to bold floors, wild ceilings are a growing trend. If you’re looking to try something different in your living room, turn your attention upward and add some paint or wallpaper to your ceiling. You can also add texture, wood paneling, or geometric patterns for a three-dimensional look.

 

Embrace Metallic Finishes.

For the last several years, metallic finishes have been omnipresent in interior design, and it appears that this trend isn’t likely to go away any time soon. Particularly fashionable right now are satin gold and brushed brass, which both work well on everything from lamps to end tables. The best thing about metal design elements is that you don’t need much of them to make a statement. Simply adding some new hardware to an existing cabinet or bureau can go a long way toward freshening up your space.

 

Brighten Up Your Lighting.

Regardless of how much work you put into improving the look of your living room, it won’t be noticeable without the proper lighting. Be sure to take advantage of natural light and don’t skimp on the artificial light sources, either. Throughout the room, add table and floor lamps to provide task lighting where it is needed. Also, consider adding wall-mounted lighting for artwork, and try using illuminating accessories to highlight accent walls and other design features.

While enhancing your living room lighting, don’t forget about the fixtures. Make a statement with pendant lights or a sculptural chandelier. If you’re on a budget, you could simply bring one or two eye-catching lamps or lampshades into the space. As with the rest of the room’s design, it’s all about finding something that works well with your own unique style.

New York

What to Expect at the NY NOW Summer 2018 Market

NYNowMarketTwice a year, thousands of attendees gather in New York City for the NY NOW Market, a leading trade show for professionals in the gift, lifestyle, and home furnishings industries. The event features more than 2,300 exhibiting companies and tens of thousands of design-driven products all under one roof. In addition to spotlighting great products, the multiday convention includes an educational program comprising insightful seminars, presentations, and discussions by top designers, retail experts, and home and lifestyle industry executives.

In 2018, the NY NOW Summer Market will take place August 12-15 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Drawing on over nine decades of success, the event promises to offer an exciting experience for retailers, buyers, and design tastemakers looking for the latest products from both established and emerging brands. Keep reading for a closer look at what’s happening during this industry-leading trade show in New York City.

 

Products, Products, and More Products

One of the main reasons that over 20,000 people from around the world attend the NY NOW Summer Market is to see the latest home, lifestyle, gift, and handmade products on display. With four levels of showroom space to explore, attendees at the 2018 event will have more than enough to see during the four days of programming. Exhibitors at the show will feature thousands of lines across a wide range of product categories, including gourmet housewares and kitchenware, home textiles, garden and outdoor, decorative accessories, and, of course, home furnishings.

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Although tens of thousands of products will be on display during the summer 2018 edition of NY NOW, event organizers have carefully coordinated the market layout to make it easy for attendees to find the specific products for their business. Each level of the Javits Center will feature separately curated collections in three broad categories: home, lifestyle, and handmade. While exploring each collection, attendees will have the opportunity to speak with hundreds of exhibitors and product designers.

Furniture retailers and other home furnishings professionals will want to focus their attention on level three of the Javits Center to find the latest in interior furnishings and decor. The Home Collection of NY NOW features three sections, including an area dedicated to home furnishings and textiles. In addition to hundreds of furniture pieces for indoor and outdoor living, the section will showcase the latest floor coverings, wall décor, and bedding products. The section will also include displays of lighting, pillows, and other decorative accessories.

 

Ample Learning Opportunities

Along with seemingly endless displays of products and services, the NY NOW Market offers attendees plenty of opportunities to learn how to advance their careers and improve their businesses. At the 2018 Summer Market, learning opportunities will feature a robust seminar program with sessions on a variety of business-related topics, including e-mail marketing, social media, sales goals, and merchandising. Other seminars will focus on buyer behavior, brand building, SEO, and influencer marketing.

Another highlight of the 2018 educational programming will be a specialty series called Retail Minded @ NY NOW. New for 2018, the four-part series of sessions will be led by Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, a retail expert who founded the well-respected industry website RetailMinded.com. During the Retail Minded series, Reyhle and other guest speakers will offer retail survival tips and discuss topics such as in-store technology, online reviews, and marketing on a budget.

 

Networking and Social Activities 

For many repeat attendees, NY NOW is all about connecting with businesses and other professionals in their field. Event organizers understand this, and they do their best to provide a variety of structured and casual ways for attendees to engage with each other and exhibiting companies.

living-room

Each day of NY NOW includes networking coffee hours in the morning and happy hours in the evening. The event also includes networking lounges as well as live music, giveaways, and other fun activities. In addition to the on-site networking, attendees at the NY NOW 2018 Summer Market will have the opportunity to join their peers for a performance of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical on Broadway.

 

Book Signings and Industry Insights

Those hoping to meet innovative designers and business leaders will certainly not be disappointed by the lineup of speakers at the 2018 summer edition of NY NOW. Alongside the seminar programming, the event will include book signings and the special Trend Talks series, which will provide insight into the latest retail, design, and merchandising trends.

The free Trend Talks series will feature presentations from Bonnie Mackay, a retail design and merchandising executive; Wesley Moon, an interior designer; and Paula Flynn, founder of The Shopkeepers website. The list of authors who will deliver trend talks and be on hand for book signings afterward includes Justina Blakeney, author of The New Bohemians: Cool & Collected Homes and The New Bohemians Handbook: Come Home To Good Vibes, and Nicole Feliciano, author of Mom Boss: Balancing Entrepreneurship, Kids & Success. More information about speakers, exhibitors, and activities at the NY NOW 2018 Summer Market is available at www.nynow.com.

smart-home

Top Trends to Watch for in “Smart” Furniture Tech

As wireless and mobile technology continues to advance, homeowners are becoming increasingly reliant on gadgets to improve the home environment. The Internet of Things (IoT), which refers to the billions of everyday items worldwide that are connected to the Internet, is leading to a new level of interconnectedness between people and their devices. Modern tech has made it possible to adjust a thermostat remotely using a smartphone app or start a favorite playlist with a simple voice command, but these actions only scratch the surface of what is happening in the area of home automation.

Consumers’ demand for the latest technology is leading many furniture manufacturers to create products that integrate tech-driven features into their design. While “smart” furniture is still in its infancy, it makes up a rapidly growing market in the home furnishings industry. In fact, a recent report projects that the global smart furniture market will reach $916 million by 2022. This growth correlates with an expanding IoT network that experts estimate will comprise more than 20 billion devices by 2020.

So, what can consumers expect in terms of furniture that makes their lives more efficient, productive, and entertaining? Here are some smart furniture trends to watch for:

 

Seamless Connectivity

Much of today’s technology is developed with a focus on improving people’s lives, and smart furniture is certainly no exception. In addition to connecting to the Internet, furniture pieces with Wi-Fi capabilities can connect with other items in the home to make everyday tasks easier. Tech-loving consumers can expect to experience greater connectivity as manufacturers create more products with the ability to “talk” to one another through the latest technology.

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Some of the most seamless connectivity today exists in the kitchen, but connected bedroom and living room furniture is becoming more popular. Many of these products use smart technology that combines Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, cloud-based artificial intelligence, and voice control to connect with speakers, smartphones, and other devices. Integrating Internet-connected touchscreens into coffee tables and cabinet doors is also an emerging trend.

 

Tech-Hiding Furniture

While the trend toward smart furniture is the result of an increased use of technology, it’s also driven by a desire to make tech less visible in one’s living space. Recent tech-inspired furniture is sleek and minimalistic. Rather than prominently showcasing their tech features, these modern pieces are designed to keep them out of sight.

New items, such as sofas with built-in surround-sound systems, reduce tech clutter while maintaining the look of a traditional sofa. Even furniture pieces without built-in technology are designed with tech in mind. These include cabinets with built-in charging ports and electrical outlets, coffee tables with hidden drawers for computers and other devices, and end tables that keep cords and wires neatly tucked away.

Wireless Charging Capabilities

Most people today remain connected to the world through their smartphones and other mobile devices. Until recently, charging these devices required unsightly cords that could get in the way of a clutter-free lifestyle. Thanks to innovations in wireless charging technology, consumers can now ditch the cords for stylish lamps and side tables with built-in wireless charging units.

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Today, a number of furniture manufacturers are offering these products, which use an electromagnetic field to charge phones and tablets. As wireless charging capabilities improve, charging tables and standalone charging units will likely become commonplace in homes and businesses. In the near future, developments in this technology could make it possible to keep a phone or tablet charged without ever using an outlet.

 

Intelligent Mattresses

With the average person spending approximately one-third of his or her life sleeping, it’s not surprising that people are always looking for ways to improve upon the traditional mattress. For several years, manufacturers have been offering basic intelligent mattresses for use in the healthcare industry. More recently, other companies have created smart, interactive beds with various features designed to support a good night’s rest.

These intelligent mattresses include sensors that monitor sleeping habits and biometric information such as heart rate and breathing rate. Some also incorporate voice recognition technology that enables users to adjust the mattress and turn on components with a simple voice command. Other smart mattress technologies to watch for include climate-control systems, motion-activated ambient lighting, and automatic air-suspension units to prevent snoring.

 

Smart Furniture in the Workplace

In addition to offering benefits in the home, smart furniture is finding its way into the workplace as employers look for ways to improve employee well-being and productivity. Standup desks and adjustable monitors have been popular for several years, but companies have recently introduced desks that can remind an employee when it’s time to change from a seated to a standing position.

The desks feature connected sensors that provide reminders via a smartphone app. Along with helping employees monitor their daily movements, the app can automatically adjust a desk to an employee’s preferred height. Connected desks can also give employers better control over how their office space is being used throughout the day, which is especially helpful in a hot-desking environment.

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Spotlight – Social Media Best Practices for Furniture Retailers

Along with providing a space where users can chat with friends, catch up on news, and follow the latest celebrity gossip, social media channels can be a great source of business information. Alerts about upcoming sales, pictures of the newest product arrivals, reviews, and helpful shopping and design tips are all available on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. With so many people using these and other sites on a daily basis, social media is playing an increasingly important role in many retailers’ marketing strategies.

According to Social Media Examiner’s 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 92 percent of marketing professionals say that social media is important to their work. Many marketers and retail professionals, however, still struggle with implementing the right strategy to reach their target audience. This problem is particularly prevalent for many retailers in the home furnishings industry, which has been somewhat slow to fully embrace new technologies, including social media.

The good news is that leveraging social media to attract and engage customers does not have to be an overly complicated task. Read on to learn more about social media and the marketing channels available to your business.

 

Why Use Social Media?

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The easy answer to this question is that these platforms are extremely popular. An estimated 2.62 billion people worldwide use social media, and this number is only expected to climb in the coming years. Ensuring that your business has a presence on prominent online channels can help you reach the many people who use social sites every day to connect not only with friends and family, but also with local businesses.

Studies have shown that while price is the leading factor in determining where an individual shops, knowing and trusting a business is also very important to today’s consumers. When used effectively, social media provides a way for retailers to build trust and brand awareness while showing the personal and sometimes light-hearted side of their business. Although boosting profits is the ultimate goal of all retail marketing strategies, social media offers the unique opportunity to drive sales by starting a conversation, building a community, and making personal connections with customers.

 

Mastering Facebook

Although it has been the recipient of negative press recently, Facebook still reigns as the top social media channel in terms of the number of daily users. The platform is also the top choice for marketers looking to reach consumers through social media.

Retailers wanting to get the most out of their Facebook page may want to start by rethinking the size and content of their posts. A recent study conducted by social media analytics company Quintly found that posts with fewer than 50 characters resulted in the most interactions. Posts with no text at all came in second place. Quintly also found that visual content is extremely effective at driving Facebook interactions. Video is the best way to boost engagement, but posts with images are also popular.

Using the Quintly study as a guide, retailers may be able to improve the effectiveness of their Facebook page by avoiding wordy posts and embracing video content, which still appears to be underused as a marketing tool. Retailers may also want to minimize the number of posts that include links. Although posts with links to products are pervasive on Facebook, they are less effective than videos, images, and status updates at boosting online interactions.

 

Embracing Instagram and Twitter

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Facebook may have the most active users, but it certainly isn’t the only social media platform that retailers should be using to reach their customers. While these platforms require a somewhat different approach, Instagram and Twitter are also effective tools for driving consumer engagement.

Because visuals are an important part of most marketing messages, more and more companies are using Instagram to build brand awareness. This is especially true in the home furnishings industry where design, color, texture, and functionality all come together in each product. To boost your Instagram account, include more product videos and consider posting user-generated content that highlights items found in your store. Don’t overdo it, however. For an Instagram account with less than 10,000 followers, one post per day should be sufficient.

Due to its character limit, marketing on Twitter can pose some challenges. However, it is the perfect platform for promoting discounts and sales events. Retailers can boost sales by creating special offers for followers. They can also drive engagement and attract more followers by using target keywords and hashtags to reach specific audiences.

 

Final Tips

In addition to focusing on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, retailers looking to reach the largest possible audience on social media should maintain a presence on other platforms, including Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, and Tumblr. While retailers should treat each platform differently, it’s important to post content that starts a conversation and is worthy of a customer’s time.

Overall, the tone of social media posts should be friendly and conversational rather than salesy and promotional. It’s also important to monitor conversations and respond to customers’ questions, concerns, and even negative comments. Be genuine and add personality to your posts, and don’t forget to use social media accounts to show your company’s involvement in the local community.

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How to Prevent Furniture-Related Injuries in the Home

The home is where families spend much of their time outside of work and school. As such, it is the site of many accidents, and, surprisingly, quite a few of them involve furniture. While a new flat-screen TV or heirloom dresser may be a prized possession, these items can also be a source of injury, especially in homes with small children or older adults. The first step to preventing furniture-related injuries is to purchase sturdy pieces made with high-quality materials. Once the furniture is in your home, it’s important to take some additional steps to keep your family safe. Here are a few things to keep in mind when maintaining an accident-free home:

 

The Hazards of Furniture Tip-Overs

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According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), tipping furniture and TVs are among the top hidden hazards in the home. It’s common for young children to climb furniture to get something out of their reach, but items like dressers, armoires, and TV stands can easily tip over under the weight of a little climber.

Each year, tip-over injuries send 38,000 Americans to the hospital, and the majority (two-thirds) of those injuries involve children under the age of 5. Tipping TVs and furniture can also be deadly. In fact, according to CPSC statistics, furniture-related accidents account for one child’s death every two weeks in the United States.

To raise the public’s awareness of furniture tip-over accidents, the CPSC launched its “Anchor It” campaign in 2015. The national campaign urges consumers to anchor large items such as dressers, bookshelves, and TVs to the wall to prevent them from tipping onto children and other family members. Additionally, the CPSC advises families to remove tempting items such as toys and remote controls from out-of-reach places as part of the Anchor It efforts to “get on top of it before they do.”

 

Preventing Tip-Overs with Furniture Anchors

Properly anchoring heavy furniture is a quick and easy task when using the right equipment. Manufacturers often ship anchoring kits with furniture, but these kits, which typically include two brackets and a tether, are also readily available in stores. Consumers attach one bracket to the furniture and the other to the wall. The brackets are then tethered by a strap or cable to prevent the piece from tipping over. When using furniture anchors, it’s important to do the following:

Select the right anchor—Some furniture comes with small plastic cable ties that experts warn can degrade and eventually break. Instead of using plastic, it is better to buy kits that contain nylon or braided steel cable tethers. Metal “L” brackets will also work well for many pieces of furniture.

Find a wall stud—Most modern homes are built with walls comprising drywall boards attached to interior wooden studs. You should screw furniture anchors into these studs rather than drywall, which can easily tear and break. Use a stud finder to locate a fastening spot, and be sure to attach the anchor using screws that are long enough to ensure a secure connection.

Attach to solid wood—In addition to attaching the wall bracket to a wooden stud, it’s important to firmly secure the other anchor into a solid piece of wood on the item of furniture. Avoid attaching the anchor to thin back panels or other areas that may not hold a screw firmly. Once you’ve located a solid spot, mark the area and pre-drill the wood before fastening the anchor with a wood screw.

 

Furniture-Specific Safety Tips

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Your home most likely contains many heavy items that could cause serious injury if they fell on a member of your family. Along with anchoring all top-heavy furniture to the wall, you should examine every piece of furniture for potential hazards. Some items to watch out for include the following:

Dressers and Armoires—Always install some sort of anti-tip device on dressers and armoires in every room of your home. When purchasing new items, you should look for dressers with automatic drawer stops and drawers that open and close smoothly. It’s also important to always close your dresser drawers after use to keep young children from using them like a ladder to reach items on the top of the dresser.

Bookcases—Like dressers and armoires, bookcases are very tempting to young climbers. Be sure to properly anchor your bookcases to a wall and take time to arrange the items on the shelves. Keep the heaviest books on the lowest shelf and never place any enticing items up high, where a child may be tempted to climb for them.

Televisions and Entertainment Centers—Regardless of whether it’s a newer flat-screen or an older “tube” model, the TV in your home could be an accident waiting to happen. Luckily, you can easily prevent injuries by mounting televisions to the wall or anchoring them firmly on a sturdy stand that is the appropriate size for the TV. If anchoring is not an option, be sure to push the television as far back on the stand as possible. Also, always keep all cords tucked away and out of reach to prevent tripping and tip-over injuries.