What is the difference between $1000 and $2000 sofas?

Expensive high end sofas ($2000+) may have very different constructions than less expensive mid-priced couches ($1000 or less.)

Expensive sofas may also have identical constructions as much cheaper couches.
If you take two identical looking sofas with the same fabric there should be substantial construction and quality differences if one is priced at $1000 and the other at $2000.
But it is also possible to find $1000 and $2000 couches with identical construction and quality of workmanship.

Fabric cost is a huge variable.

$1000 mid-priced sofas often use very inexpensive fabrics. There are durable fabrics available to manufacturers at a mill price of $3 per yard.
There are literally thousands of fabrics available at $4 – $5 per yard.

Some of these are very good looking and durable. It is not unusual to find $5 fabrics on sofas (with superior construction) selling for $2000 or more.

An average sofa may use 15 yards of fabric. At $4 per yard this means that the sofa has a total of $60 worth of fabric (at the manufacturer’s cost.)

High performance fabrics are becoming very popular. Although there are some available for as little as $5 per yard, many have a cost of $10 – $20 per yard (or more.)

A manufacturer using a $15 per yard fabric for the same sofa above is now spending $225 for the fabric. [$165 more than the sofa with the $4/yd. fabric selling for $1000.]

After adding in the manufacturer’s and retailer’s profit margins, that $15/yd. fabric can add $500 or more to the retail price of the sofa.

Leather is even more expensive. Even a cheap Chinese leather can cost $350 – $500 per sofa.

When you add that to the original $1000 sofa you now have the same sofa quality and construction selling for $1800 – $2000. Better quality (more expensive) leathers can boost the cost even higher.

There are genuine leather sofas available in stores for $1000 – $1500.

Those leather sofas start with frame construction and quality that are equivalent to what can be found on $400 – $600 sofas made with low cost fabrics.

-Reprinted with permission from Jeff Frank’s blog. Jeff is a 40 year furniture professional and owner of simplicitysofas.com.

His opinions do not always reflect those of Furniture Works, but we find his ideas & expertise always interesting. For more useful articles, visit our blog.

Dive into the Future with Accessible-Friendly Furniture

picture of sofa

Although it’s been over 25 years since the Americans with Disabilities act has passed, less than one percent of U.S. housing is wheel-chair accessible. According to a study by the Department of Urban Development, about a third of housing is potentially modifiable for a person with a disability but haven’t unlocked their full potential. This is all about to change with the introduction of new accessible-friendly furniture. Through advancements in technology, the house doesn’t have to be wheelchair friendly, just the furniture that people choose to go in it.  

Robotic Assistants Disguised as Furniture

1 in 5 people in the United States live with a disability, yet many home furnishings do the bare minimum to accommodate everyone. Therefore, one company is revolutionizing the industry by introducing robotic furniture designed to help people live independently within their own homes. The robot is known as Relay and is considered a cross between a multifunctional table, a walking device, and a voice-controlled assistant. Each piece of furniture performs meaningful tasks for the homeowner. The furniture can carry heavy items around the home, help someone stand up from a seated position, provide extra support while walking throughout the house, and open doors. All the homeowner has to do is say a command like “Come here”.

Smart Homes Making Smart Choices

The smart house concept started in 1996, allowing humans to interact with robots living within the walls of their house. Nowadays, smart technology is everywhere and can be fitted to help everyone with their daily activities. These smart house devices can be installed within a home and allow users to simply talk to their furniture. You can install a smart light to allow you turn lights on and off with your voice, connect a smart remote so that you can turn the TV on just by talking, or utilize smart cooking technology so that you can make a meal right from the palm of your hand.

Furniture that Turns into Whatever You Want

A new system of furniture is being developed at a lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology that uses modular robots to assemble into different pieces of furniture. Therefore, you can use these tiny robots to assemble into a full-sized couch or break apart and become six dining chairs. Researchers are currently manipulating the robots, called Roombots, through a Bluetooth device, but they are attempting to provide control via gestures and Microsoft Kinect. This will allow elderly people or anyone with disabilities to simply make a motion to move a glass of water closer, pull a dining chair in and out, or turn a table into a walker. Technology is working to make our lives easier and, in the future, non-accessible homes will be a thing of the past. Eventually, our furniture will not only be stylish but accessible-friendly as well.

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Chef-Approved Tips for Organising Your Home Kitchen

Staying healthy and eating proper food is one of the most important things in the world, but it’s also a challenge you need to invest a ton of time and energy into. That’s why lots of people spend hours and hours in the kitchen every single day, trying out new recipes and discovering new ingredients.

In order to do everything right, you need to organise your kitchen first and make sure it’s functional, practical and properly designed. Doing this on your own is quite all right, but listening to someone else’s advice can’t hurt, so here are a few ways to organise your kitchen, recommended by chefs who really know what they’re doing.

The Layout

This is the first step towards putting together a well-organised kitchen you can be proud of. So much depends on the type of the layout you pick, from the way you move around your kitchen to the food you prepare, so making sure the layout works for you is more important than you can imagine. After all, just picture spending your entire life in a kitchen you don’t like at all, not knowing where everything is and wasting time trying to prepare your food – doesn’t sound like fun, does it?

Luckily, there are lots of layouts you can choose from, so spend some time exploring these and figuring out which one is going to fit your kitchen the most. Depending on the amount of free space you have, you can choose between a U-shaped or an L-shaped kitchen, and these are two of the most popular designs out there. Alternatively, you can design a galley kitchen, a one-wall kitchen or a peninsula kitchen, but just be sure to leave enough space for moving around as well.

The Cabinets

Once you’ve decided which layout you’re going to use, it’s time to start furnishing and decorating your kitchen. First, take care of the cabinets because these will determine what kind of cooking experience you’ll have and whether you’ll love spending time in the kitchen in the first place or not. These are crucial, and not all cabinets will do, so give them all the attention they deserve.

No matter how big your kitchen is, utilise every inch of free space you have – this might not seem that important at the moment, but this is ultimately going to make or break your kitchen design. Don’t be afraid to design your own cabinets and tell your contractor what you want them to look like, because that’s the only way to get the cabinets that will actually fit you. Organise them in accordance with your own needs and try to keep the things you use on a daily basis close by while storing those you use rarely on the top shelves.

The Island

This is another feature you can see in all chef-approved kitchens, and it’s really something all cooks need, regardless of their experience and cooking skills. A kitchen island can seem too big at first, especially in tiny kitchens, but you can’t imagine how essential this really is. An island is an additional working area, storage area and, if you add a few bar stools to it, an additional eating area too, so it’s amazing on more levels than one.

What’s even better is that you can spice up your island by adding more features to it. Things like sinks, stoves, convection ovens, and dishwashers can be easily incorporated right in the middle of your kitchen island, not to mention lots and lots of pullout drawers that can fit in more stuff than you can imagine. If you opt for a stove, though, don’t forget to install one of those powerful fire ducts above it as well, as these will come in handy whatever you’re cooking.

The Countertops

In the end, this is another thing all modern kitchens need, so don’t forget to add as much countertop space as you can. Of course, you need to pay attention to the colour and make sure it matches the colour schemes of your walls and your cabinets. Going with the same colour can turn out to be too boring and counterproductive in the end, so either pick an accompanying colour or one that’s completely different.

When it comes to the materials, granite, marble, quartz, and wood are among the most popular choices out there. All of these materials are durable and are going to last you for decades, but check their pros and cons before making the final decision.

In the end, picking your kitchen furniture doesn’t have to be so hard, as long as you know what you’re trying to achieve and what kind of effect you’re going for. Take your time, think everything through, and you’ll surely come up with the best kitchen design in the world.

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2019’s Hottest Home Decor

Comfort is trending for 2019, a consensus of home decorators agree, with more people seeking warm colors, intimate spaces and a casual but sophisticated lifestyle.

Designers looking to pair physical coziness with emotional comfort forecast seven decor trends:

blue living room

Scaled down furnishings – After years of favoring large furniture and open spaces, consumers are aiming for a ‘nesting’ environment and choosing smaller pieces arranged in more intimate settings.

Wall coverings – The return to traditionalism brings with it a return to wallpaper, fabric wall coverings and murals. Expect to see plenty of rich shades of green in fabric and wallpaper patterns.

Color changes – While blues and indigos have been huge in recent years, green is the new blue for 2019 and is likely to be used in everything from upholstery patterns to kitchen furnishings.

Color ‘pops’ – People are ditching beige minimalism in favor of fun colors, especially in family-friendly spaces. Yellow is the hottest color for small accent pieces–from ceramics to lamps to sofa pillows.

Warm woods and traditional styles – Antiques and even second-hand items are having their moment again, with consumers looking for skirted tables, wooden chests and other wood pieces with a sense of history.

Indoor and outdoor fireplaces – The coziness trend favors indoor fireplaces, working or not, with homey hearths as a nice spot to gather. Outdoors, fireplaces are preserving the joy of summertime barbecues.

Crafts and artisanal accents – In a world of increasing mass production, there has been a shift back to artisanal and boutique choices in pillows, wall hangings, quilts and other accent pieces all around the home.

Article written by Barbara Pronin and published with the permission of Paul Gaskins of Keller Williams Realty.

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How to Shop for Used Furniture That Will Last

Purchasing used furniture is a great way to save money, but sometimes it can be difficult to determine if the furniture found in second-hand stores will last. There are a few simple steps buyers can take to ensure each piece of furniture will hold up to everyday use. Consider these four factors when shopping for furniture at second-hand stores.

Understand the Wood Types

examples of used furniture

When shopping for used furniture, it’s important to understand the different types of wood construction used in furniture making. There are typically three types of wood used in furniture: composite wood, veneers, and solid wood.

Composite wood, which is also known as particle board, is the cheapest way to construct wood furniture. Composite wood is made of a combination of resin, plastic, and wood pulp. Since furniture made of composite wood is usually constructed using scraps, it will likely cost less than other wood-constructed furniture. And it typically won’t last long once you get it into your home.

Furniture made of veneers is a step above composite wood furniture. Veneers are constructed with an inexpensive wood base, which is then covered by layers of higher-quality wood. Furniture constructed using veneers are a great option for budget shoppers who are hoping to purchase higher quality wood furniture without the high price tag of solid wood pieces.

Solid wood furniture is often heavier and more well-constructed than furniture made of veneers, but it can also be more expensive. While solid wood furniture is a great option when searching for second-hand pieces, there are a few drawbacks to buying furniture constructed of solid wood. Wood furniture is often more susceptible to damage, like scratches and water rings.

Check Joints and Openings

Higher quality furniture made to last will use higher quality building tactics. The first sign of a higher quality wood piece is furniture constructed using wood joinery, which means the wood is joined at its ends and corners and not glued or nailed. Furniture using wood joinery is sturdier than pieces using glue or nails in their construction. The most popular wood joinery options are dovetail (square teeth that interlock) or mortise-and-tenon (a narrow-ended piece inserted into a hole in another piece).

It’s also important to check all openings, like drawers and cabinet doors, when evaluating a piece of used furniture. Drawers of high-quality pieces will open and close with ease, in addition to pulling out all the way and closing evenly. Additionally, cabinet doors should remain in an open position on their own and should shut evenly when closed.

Upholstered Furniture Construction

sofa and end table

There are a variety of important areas to inspect when evaluating a piece of upholstered furniture. First, take a look at the cushions to determine if their construction will last the test of time. Couches or chairs with removable cushions will allow you to look inside to determine their quality. High-quality cushions are typically made of a block of dense foam wrapped in a layer of cotton. Cushions constructed of only foam are less durable. You should also look inside removable back cushions. High-quality back cushions are usually constructed of wrapped foam or loose fill inside internal compartments to prevent the fill from settling.

In larger pieces of upholstered furniture, like a couch or loveseat, inspecting the support system is essential. Start by looking at the sofa’s frame. A high-quality sofa frame will be made of hardwood and constructed using both dowels and screws for extra stability. Corners should also be reinforced using blocks for additional support.

Continue your inspection by looking at the couch’s seating support. The best support system is the eight-way hand tied springs system, which uses twine to connect each spring together inside the sofa. Sinuous spring construction, in which the springs form an S shape from the front of the seat to the back, is another strong support system.

Make Sure You Transport Your Furniture with Care

car moving a sofa

Purchasing high-quality furniture will do you no good if you don’t safely transport it home. While transporting your new furniture using a trailer or truck is the preferred method, used furniture buyers with cars can safely transport their new purchases with a little planning. Furniture can be safely secured to the top of a car if you don’t plan to travel far with your new purchase. 

Start by covering the roof of your car with blankets to protect the finish. Choose a rough, old blanket to keep the furniture from slipping as it rests on top of the car. Then, secure the furniture using strong rope and ratchet straps to ensure the furniture is bound tightly to the top of your car. To safely use rope to secure your furniture to the top of your car, you will need to tie several knots in the rope and use several ropes along the length of the piece of furniture. Buyers in Olympia also know it’s important to cover the furniture with plastic to protect it from the elements, like rain or snow. Finally, be sure to drive slowly and avoid highway travel, if possible. Choosing and transporting a high-quality piece of furniture may take some time and attention. But the extra effort will be worth it when you have a beautiful new piece of furniture in your home that is sure to last a lifetime.

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