Manufacturing

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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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.

dinner-table

How to Choose the Perfect Dining Set

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


Determine the Proper Size

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

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

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

 

dining set

 

Think about Shape

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

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

 

Keep Function and Style in Mind

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

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

 

dinner-table-444797_1280

 

Consider the Materials

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

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

tiny home

How to Make the Most of Your Small Living Area

Whether you reside in an apartment, tiny home, or just an older home with a small living room, furnishing and decorating the space can present a challenge. Finding furniture that will fit in a tight area can be difficult enough, but then you have to tackle the task of arranging items in a way that is inviting, comfortable, and stylish. Fortunately, you don’t have to be an interior designer to turn your apartment or cramped family room into a great living space. With a little creativity and planning, anyone can make the most of every square foot in their home.

Here are some tips to get you started:

Think about the essentials

If you’re tight on space and ready to improve the look and feel of your home, it’s a good idea to start with the essentials. The items you can use will depend on the space, but to make your living area functional, you’ll need a few crucial pieces. You’ll definitely need seating along with some sort of table that can provide a usable surface for you and your guests. Also, don’t forget to think about what type of storage you’ll need in the space. Once you’ve determined what is essential, you can decide on the exact pieces to use and where to put them.

 

tiny home

Image courtesy Inhabitat | Flickr

 

Consider your seating carefully

When furnishing a living area, seating is often the first thing that people think about. For those with a cramped space, the options can seem limited, but that isn’t necessarily the case. It’s all about assessing your needs and then getting creative. Of course, loveseats and smaller sofas are the logical choices, but you don’t have to rule out larger options.

If you need seating for several people or just want ample room to stretch out, it may be possible to bring a sectional into the space. When combined with the right pieces, a sectional that hugs the walls can make a small room feel cozy and inviting rather than crowded and overwhelming. Other options to consider include a sleeper sofa or sofa bed, which are perfect for those who need to optimize every inch of their living area.

 

Invest in multi-functional and flexible pieces

In addition to sleeper sofas, a number of other furniture pieces can save space by serving double duty in your home. Coffee tables with built-in storage or adjustable height may be worth the investment, as are nesting tables that can be “stacked” or fully extended when needed. You can even find couches, chairs, and small accent tables with drawers and compartments for keeping clutter from overwhelming a tiny room.

If you lack the resources to buy new furniture, don’t be afraid to get creative with the pieces you already have. Consider using your dining set for extra seating or putting your desk to work as an accent table. Bookcases and shelving can also double as room dividers in studio apartments and other small combined living areas.

 

Add functionality and personality with accessories

You may have limited space, but that doesn’t mean you need to skimp on the accent pieces. Don’t hesitate to add some personality to the area with rugs, pillows, and ottomans. Instead of table lamps, consider lighting the space with eye-catching floor lamps, which can add visual interest while freeing up surfaces for other items.

Photos, trinkets, and keepsakes can also add life to your small living area. Rather than feeling cluttered, a room that is carefully designed with personal items can feel larger because the eye is drawn into every area of the space.

 

tiny house

Image courtesy Nicolás Boullosa | Flickr

 

Use design to your advantage

While you’re accessorizing, be sure to do so with design in mind. Whenever possible, do your best to use visual tricks to make the space feel larger than it is. Ceiling-to-floor curtains and tall shelving units can elongate the space, while linear prints on an area rug can add width.

Also, consider opting for clear coffee tables and accent furniture with delicate frames to cut down on visual clutter. A classic design trick, strategically placed mirrors reflect light and make a small room feel open and airy.

 

Don’t waste space

This final tip may seem overly obvious, but it is far too easy to underutilize what little space you have. Overlooked areas such as windowsills provide a perfect spot for books, houseplants, and decorative objects. If you need extra storage, look for hidden space in corners and under coffee tables and sofas.

When space is at a premium, it’s also important to think vertically. You can free up more room by opting for stacked storage and using any available wall space for extra shelving. If you want to create a sleek look in your small room, consider the benefits of floating shelves, which give you a spot for books and other items without taking up valuable floor space.

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.

 

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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.

 

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  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.

 

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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.

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.