7 Questions to Ask Before Buying Upholstered Furniture

Are you in the market for upholstered furniture? Whether you’re furnishing a new home, updating a room, or replacing a single piece, there are many factors to consider before you begin. Here are seven questions to ask to help you start the furniture buying process like a pro! Will it fit? Measure the length and width of your room, including windows, alcoves, doorways, and fireplace hearths. Then create a floor plan on paper with the measurements to scale. Sketch in the dimensions of furniture you like. Finally, recreate your plan on the floor, marking the spaces for each piece with tape (use painter’s tape to be sure it won’t damage the floor). Add any ottomans and end or coffee tables. Does the arrangement work in your room? What’s your style? This is the fun part of furniture shopping. Knowing the style of furniture you like best and that fits in with your décor will help you choose a furniture source that offers the most choices for you. Magazines and design look-books are a good place to start and platforms such as Pinterest and Houzz are also terrific for honing your style. It’s easy to window-shop online today, but visiting [...]

By |2023-03-14T21:36:08-04:00March 14, 2023|

Fall Is the Perfect Time for an At-Home Furniture Inventory

With the holidays fast approaching, now is a good time to do a room-by-room furniture inventory to find where a little sprucing up would make a big difference. It’s a novel way to experience your home as a guest. Here’s how to start: Grab a notepad and pencil. Walk out of your front door. Now walk back in, pretending you’re a stranger, seeing each room for the first time. Go from room-to-room and do a complete scan -- furniture, walls, windows, floors and ceilings. Take notes! You might come to the conclusion that the time has come to switch out the sofa or add a fresh new accent chair. Furniture shopping can be a huge inspiration. Most furniture stores feature room galleries that help you understand how a designer-inspired seating area works. And many offer complimentary design consultations. Don't get discouraged! Even if you can't redo an entire room, you can make a wish list and that alone is a good start. I’m always amazed at how much pleasure I get from adding a new piece of art, moving furniture around or bringing something from one room to another. Recently, I replaced an worn old sofa in a sitting [...]

By |2022-10-19T13:52:35-04:00October 18, 2022|

The History of Recliners: They Go Waaay Back

The evolution of recliners has been extraordinary in the past few decades, with designs to suit every décor and space.  The modern recliner can change multiple positions at the push of a button, charge your laptop, warm and massage your aching muscles, and even help you stand up. What’s not to love? The recliner earned its seat of honor following a long and noble path around the globe that dates back thousands of years. From royalty to dentistry, wretched excess to wrenching extraction, this special chair has seen it all. Here’s a salute to the not-so-humble history of the recliner: Peel me a grape. History’s first recliners may have belonged to the ancient Egyptians, whose lavish banquets took lounging to an art form. They wined and dined on daybeds called “klines” with intricately carved legs depicting animals, cushions, armrests, and headboards. During her 44-year reign, Queen Elizabeth I used a “stool” with a tasseled pillow to support her royal feet and spring mechanism that reclined in several positions. Monarchs such as King Philip II of Spain and Charles I of England enjoyed “sleeping chairs” with adjustable backs. Even the well-traveled Napoleon III used a portable, upholstered, reclining camp bed [...]

By |2021-08-19T09:08:21-04:00March 4, 2021|

Surviving the New Normal at Home

Home is being redefined in 2020. Who would have imagined that home would become where just about everything is, subbing for the office, classroom, gym, restaurant, vacation destination and countless other places that, sadly, we may never view quite the same way again. There is no sugarcoating the fact that many are enduring unbearable personal loss and financial hardship during the pandemic. If you have the good fortune to be healthy and still have a steady income, now is a time to consider donating to one or more of the deserving charities working overtime to fill unprecedented need. Before donating, you may want to research the organization's worthiness on Charity Navigator, a nonprofit that evaluates charities.  Those who do have the means are investing in their home life right now. Housing sales are booming—up a record 24.7% in July despite an otherwise troubled economy, according to the National Association of Realtors. Spending more time at home is prompting many people to look for larger places in which to work remotely. Other market factors, such as a shortage of available housing and low interest rates, are helping to fuel the boom. Those of us staying put are looking for creative [...]

By |2021-08-19T09:07:05-04:00August 26, 2020|

7 Surprising Facts about Chairs

I just love “Chairman Tut,” a sculpture by the artist Larry Morris because it speaks to the creative process (often born of discomfort!) and also illustrates that chairs may well be one of man’s greatest inventions—certainly a vast improvement over nature’s chairs, such as the logs, tree stumps and rocks used by our early ancestors. In his book “Now I Sit Me Down,” which is an appreciation of the chair and its 5,000-year history, architect Witold Rybczynski notes, “The way we choose to sit, and what we choose to sit on, says a lot about us: our values, our tastes, the things we hold dear.” Consider these seven facts about the fascinating history of the chair: Seating styles differ around the world. More than 100 distinct seating postures have been identified worldwide. For example, some cultures have a strong preference for squatting, kneeling or sitting on mats on the floor. In China, chair backs often have a 45-degree angle, as opposed to Western chairs with straight backs or slight reclines. Each of these culturally dictated postures has informed the development of chair styles as well as our muscles—which is why people used to floor-sitting may choose to sit on [...]

By |2020-02-24T07:13:57-05:00February 19, 2020|

Reinvent Your Home With a Furniture Inventory

When is the last time you did a room-by-room furniture inventory in your house? A friend and I once worked together on a little pamphlet about the pleasures—and frustrations—with decorating a home. The opening paragraph stuck with me. To paraphrase, we advised homeowners to take time to see their home through the eyes of others.   When I am expecting houseguests, I am never more aware of all the places in my home that need sprucing up. The sofa looks more worn when I imagine a visitor walking in. And that stack of mail by the phone? Unsightly. Just how old is that floor lamp in the family room? And how many years have I put up with the dang switch on that lamp that falls off every time I touch it?!  So here’s an exercise for you to try. Grab a notepad and pencil. Walk out your front door. Now walk in, pretending you’re a stranger, seeing each room for the first time. Take notes! You might come to the conclusion that the time has come to switch out the sofa or add a fresh new accent chair. You can even get a whole new look with a [...]

By |2019-05-16T11:14:08-04:00January 17, 2019|

Counting Blessings and Chairs at Thanksgiving

Is Thanksgiving at your house? If so, you’ve already made a lot of decisions—like what to serve, what to serve it on, how to decorate your table and house, who to invite and how to seat them. On this most-American of holidays, you want your guests to feel welcome in your home as you share the bounty of food and spirit of gratitude. How much thought have you given to what your family or friends will be sitting on during the meal? More than anything else, you want your seating to be comfortable because your guests will be sitting through several courses and second (or third) helpings. If you don’t have quite enough matching dining room chairs, don’t worry—a mix-and-match, eclectic assortment of chairs and benches is considered chic today.  Consider adding comfortable, upholstered armchairs of a different style or color at the ends of the table.  I’ve recently seen sofas being used for seating on one side of a dining room table, or even as an L-shape to create a booth-like feeling. This approach can add space to a room by allowing you to place the table off-center and deeper into a corner. Experiment to create a relaxed [...]

By |2019-05-24T09:43:17-04:00November 19, 2018|

Three Cheers for Customer Service

It’s easy for a furniture store sales rep to be customer service-oriented when you’re buying a sleeper sofa, but the real test is when that sale goes south. Here’s what happened this week when I was shopping for a sleep sofa in preparation for lots of family—and all bedrooms taken—for an upcoming baby shower for one of my daughters. Of course, I was only going to purchase a sleeper sofa that had a mattress that was comfortable—and I was sure contained CertiPUR-US® certified foam. I drove to the showroom of one of our listed companies and found a sofa that I just loved the style of—and the mattress met my requirements. However, it wasn’t available in quite the right color. Because it could be delivered within a few days, I decided to forgo my color preference and told the super-nice sales associate to ring it up! With all my paperwork and receipts in hand, I left the store, which was in a strip shopping center. Lo and behold, as I walked to my car, I noticed there was another furniture store in the same shopping center! Oh, dear. Should I even look? I did. And there was a sleeper sofa—also [...]

By |2019-05-24T09:55:40-04:00June 7, 2018|

Small Nook, Big Rewards

Do you have a favorite cozy spot in your home? To relax properly, it helps to have a space all to yourself -- a private escape. That can be a challenge! But taking a few minutes to discover the right spot in your house and then adding comfortable furniture and a few accessories can turn an under-utilized area of your home into the perfect, re-purposed corner. Where can you create your own mini getaway? Try these ideas: under stairs, within a closet, on a stair landing, an entrance way, in an attic, where there is (or could be) a window seat, an empty corner, alcove, or at the end of a hallway. A friend of mine created an oasis with a small leather chair in a corner of her home office where stacks of unread magazines and a floor lamp were collecting dust. She added a mini area rug, cozy throw and pillows -- which she switches out each season -- to make a favorite spot for stepping away from the computer. It doesn’t have to be a large area or cost a lot of money. Use your creativity: An apartment-sized upholstered chair (made with CertiPUR-US® certified foam, of [...]

By |2022-01-17T14:14:19-05:00February 28, 2018|

Furniture Hollywood-Style

I make a study of the furniture in the homes portrayed in movies -- especially during Oscar season. The Academy Awards ceremony is coming up March 4. It's fascinating to think about how set designers use the tools of their trade to say so much about a character, a place, a period in time -- just through the choices made in furnishing the homes seen on the screen. Compare the modest home of the down-on-their-luck Hardings in "I, Tonya" for which Margot Robbie and Allison Janney have been nominated for best actress and supporting actress respectively--with the home of Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman, best actor nominee) in the "Darkest Hour" (best picture nominee). Compare the well-appointed Georgetown home of Katherine Graham (Meryl Streep, best actress nominee) in "The Post" (best picture nominee) with the self-proclaimed wrong side of the tracks home of "Lady Bird," (best picture nominee; Saoirse Ronan, best actress nominee) and the nearby upscale home she pretends is her residence. Today, great style and beautiful living spaces are not just the domain of the affluent. Do you have a favorite Hollywood movie home? Diane Keaton’s beach house in "As Good as it Gets" and the wonderful house [...]

By |2021-12-20T10:52:57-05:00February 1, 2018|

It’s Hygge Time

The Danish have a word for the feeling you get when you are cozy. The word is hygge (pronounced HOOG-gah). And because the 2017 World Happiness Report gives Denmark one of the highest happiness scores, I wanted to learn more. I checked out a blog about design and hygge, which features photos that depict being cozy. Nearly every photo features furniture or beds. Isn’t that the truth? We are most cozy on a sofa, an upholstered chair or loveseat, or a bed. Three cheers for the foam that cushions our homes and brings so much comfort. With the holidays upon us, take time to nestle in, sit down, lie down and feel cozy. Whether it’s adding a throw blanket to your sofa or textured pillows to your bed, think about adding cozy elements to every room in your house. But hygge is also a state of mind. Taking the time to really listen to a friend or family member, for instance. Stealing a quiet moment with a cup of hot chocolate or pulling on some warm and fuzzy socks. Dimming the lights to create a hygge atmosphere is also good. So, for the holiday season, I urge you to find [...]

By |2022-01-17T13:45:58-05:00December 12, 2017|

Next Trend: Furniture on Wedding Registries

The couple on the wedding cake needs to sit down on something comfortable! September and October are now tied for the most popular month for getting married, according to a 2016 poll by The Knot. Pinterest’s 2017 wedding report finds that autumn weddings are up nearly 300 percent. I was just perusing the wedding registry of the daughter of my maid of honor (that makes me feel so old!). Rebecca is getting married in December—a rebel—and I was intrigued to see how the items on wedding registries have changed. Brides and grooms today are more practical. Many have already set up households together so they simply don’t need as much of the setting-up-your-first-home stuff. I noticed there were registry items that were less “things” and more experiences, such as dinners, massages, tickets. Love that, too. Another trend I’d like to see is the addition of furniture and home accessories on wedding registries, especially with the options afforded by a gift registry site such as Blueprint and others like it, which enable multiple contributions to one gift. These gifts are each identified as a “group gift” opportunity with a special banner. How thoughtful. Furniture becomes your home—and you can take [...]

By |2019-05-30T15:48:23-04:00September 27, 2017|

Friday is Lazy Mom’s Day

The term “lazy mom” sounds like an oxymoron to me. Is there such a thing? And why is the first Friday of September Lazy Mom’s Day? I wonder who designated the date for this particular day since it is often the first week of school and one of the busiest times in many moms’ lives. That said, when we think of being lazy, most people think of napping, being a couch potato for the day, putting their feet up and leaning back in a recliner. We may lie in the sun on a chaise lounge or curl up on a cozy chair reading a book—you get the idea. Notice the common denominator? Our laziest, most comfortable moments take place on beds and upholstered furniture that are cushioned and cozy. Most often that cushioning is made with flexible polyurethane foam cushioning, ideally CertiPUR-US® certified foam—which I think is pretty cool. Laziness also often has a negative connotation. It seems rude to call Mom lazy. This quote from the New York Times was included in an article about the power of downtime in Scientific American magazine: “Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable [...]

By |2022-01-17T13:48:06-05:00August 31, 2017|

What is Certified Foam?

Before the establishment of the CertiPUR-US® foam certification program, consumers looking for the comfort of knowing what’s inside the foam in their mattress and upholstered furniture--or rather, what isn’t--had no compass to guide them in the shopping process. CertiPUR-US has demystified a critical aspect of shopping for mattresses, mattress toppers, pillows and upholstered furniture, which typically contain conventional or viscoelastic (memory) flexible polyurethane foam for cushioning. CertiPUR-US-certified foams meet standards for content, emissions and durability, and are analyzed by independent, accredited laboratories. The CertiPUR-US foam certification program, administered by a nonprofit organization, was established in 2008 to combat substandard foams imported from other countries. In some cases, these substandard foams contained substances that had been banned in the U.S. or were listed by chemical watch groups as potentially being harmful. A group of foam manufacturers, in conjunction with environmentalists, academics, industry and consumer groups, and chemists developed a testing, analysis, and certification program specifically for these uses of flexible polyurethane foam. Now considered the industry’s most rigorous certification program for foam used in bedding and upholstered furniture, certified foams are: Made without ozone depleters Made without PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (“Tris”) flame retardants Made without mercury, lead, and other [...]

By |2019-05-24T09:36:36-04:00August 16, 2017|

Furniture Industry Champions Child Safety

It’s called furniture tip-over, and one child dies every two weeks when a television, appliance or piece of furniture falls on them, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).  Please share this infographic —these are horrifying but important-to-know statistics. Most of the deaths involve children between the ages of 1 and 5. Three-quarters of the time, it’s a TV or piece of furniture that falls on them; a quarter of the time it’s a dresser or table. These accidents happen most often in the bedroom. Anchoring furniture, TVs and appliances is a critical way to protect your child or children who visit your home. Three cheers to the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) for bringing public attention to this danger. AHFA supports the CPSC’s “Anchor It” campaign, and works to promote compliance with ASTM F2057-14, a voluntary furniture stability standard for freestanding clothing storage units, such as drawer chests, door chests and dressers, that are more than 30 inches high. Here’s a typical scenario: A child sees something on top of a bedroom dresser that they want. Maybe it’s a stuffed animal that’s out of reach, or Mom’s necklaces on a jewelry tree, or a photo of [...]

By |2021-12-20T10:53:45-05:00July 26, 2017|
Go to Top