How to buy a Quality Sofa II: Foams

On Wednesday night we had the pleasure of talking to the Stage 2 class at the Nanette Cameron School of Interior Design which  has been the inspiration for this 4 part post on what makes a quality piece of furniture. First off it is the frame which we talked about in our last post. However Foams are equally important for supporting your body through their structure and how they shape a piece of furniture.  Then finally Cushions are the true source of comfort in a piece of furniture and the foam that goes in them is very important.

 

Be wary of a sofa that is super soft and squishy.  If it is soft on Day One  it will be positively saggy & offer no support by Day 365.  Your knees will be up around your ears when you sit down!  Equally be wary of a sofa that is way too firm.  Hard foam is not dense, and it is the density you pay for in a foam. Poor quality furniture has very little upholstery padding and the foams are cheap, cheap, cheap, light and offer no support. Look for lots of padding across the back and arms.  Look underneath the cushions.  You should not feel any sharp edges, staples, or the wood that lies beneath.  The piping and stitching should all be straight and not crooked.  Park your bottom on the seat.  Can you feel the front rail underneath your thighs? Can you feel any part of the frame beneath the foam? No?  Good, this could be the sofa for you then as it means lots of padding has been used and the seat foam is of decent quality.

 

Look for the use of Elephant foam, it is the heaviest, densest and most resilient.  It will give you years of firmness and stability which is good in a cushion. Memory foam and Luxura foam are used quite a lot but we wouldn’t recommend it to provide you with years of service.  Memory foam is lovely and soft and squishy for your sofa, but has no structure.  It was developed fas a topping foam for mattresses, and really should not be used in furniture.

Some manufacturers make a foam sandwich with their cushions.  But think about it – If you have a cushion that is 100mm thick you will get good structure by using all Elephant foam.  However, if you then make a ‘sandwich’ with Memory or Luxura foam (using 50mm of it for comfort) you will be taking away 50mm of structure and good support for your dear self in years to come.  So, it is a compromise.

 

In our next post we will talk about the cushioning on your sofa, and how elephant foam is used there along with feathers and other goodies.  Please come back to continue reading.

If you would like help selecting a comfortable, quality piece of furniture, we’d love to hear from you!

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Re-Style to give your Furniture New-Style

Reinventing or restyling a piece of furniture is a great way to inexpensively get a whole new look.The photo below shows how a humble cupboard, in a style we often see here in New Zealand, can be re invented by putting some funky fun colours, and more modern accessories around it.  Most of us would be inclined to paint the cupboard or change it somehow, but here it is shown that there is no need.  Just add a modern/retro touch with the cool colours and it seems quite at home.

And here is another idea for a dining area.  Repaint the chairs and place with a retro/modern styled table. Easily done to reinvent those old chairs that you might be tempted to give away!

RepaintedFurnitureBelow is a chair reupholstered in a funky pink, and yet it works with all the more up to date things around it.  Nothing expensive or trendy here, just great styling.

Below is an update on another chair- having a de-constructed look is quite a trend at the moment as is adding an industrial edge to more traditional pieces.

The Boiler Room does a fabulous job or reinventing some of our more colonial heritage pieces.  Gary and Sue have a great talent for finding the ordinary and reinventing it in a whole new way whether it be industrial or contemporary.  Very clever and talented.  Check out their website and visit their shop in New North Road.

Perhaps in our consumer, fast moving society we all just need to stop, take a breath, and think about how we can re invent a piece of Nana’s furniture so that it becomes an item of beauty.  Up-cycling, no more landfill required. What do you think?

Check out our Pinterest board for more inspirational furniture re-invention ideas.

Related Links and Further Reading:

http://leitmotiv-interiorismo.blogspot.co.nz/2013/09/buscando-el-desenfado.html

http://www.boiler-room.co.nz/blog.htm

Magic, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

How do you make my house the fairest of all? Mirrors are the best accessory you could spend your money on. Why? They bounce light into dark corners, they give depth to a room, seemingly increase the space, blur the boundaries of where your room starts and finishes, adds an interesting layer….

RSIMirrorWallpaper_web

Light and reflection in a dark corner of a room.

RSIMirrorDepth-Web

Visual trickery -The mirror above is reflected in the mirror above.

…Yes all of the above – and they sparkle and twinkle and catch your eye when looking around a space as seen in the image below. 

RSIMirrorGalleryWall-Web

They are also useful to carry on a theme or style that you have going in your space. And as we said in our last post, if you use an old, old, one ($ca-ching, $ca-ching) they will give your room soul. Or perhaps, if you have a modern theme, then search something out that is clean lined and sleek. Oversized and over-scaled, a mirror placed strategically behind the console in your entranceway will add grandeur.

RSIMirrorBthroomWall-Web

The Mirror Frame was the inspiration for the wallpaper.

Mirrors add visual trickery – placed between two windows a mirror can seem like another window. If you place a mirror at right angles to a window your eye will get confused as to what is window and what is mirror. Upon reflection (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun!) they are so, so useful in so many ways. 

So, find some mirrors, in opp shops, your favourite design store or in the attic and use them to create your own magic. Often cheaper than art and pictures, they will take your room to new heights. The Magic Mirror, as the Queen in Snow white found out, can make life in a room very, very interesting. 

For more ideas and inspiration have a look at this Related Article: http://design-vox.com/?s=mirrors

Some mirror magic inspirations are on our Pinterest board.
If you would like help adding mirror magic to your home we’d love to hear from you.
Please also like us on Facebook. Thank you Readers.

The Do’s and Don’ts of a Guest Bedroom

Please, please do not make your guest room the junk room.  The last thing your guest wants to find are your old clothes in the wardrobe or extra table linen in the dresser drawers!  Keep under the beds, clean, clutter and dust free.  Make sure the towels & sheets are clean with no stains.  None of your family photographs or other memorabilia either and no sign of the guest who was there before.  They also won’t like broken alarm clocks, lights and fans!

RoomServiceBed123-Web

You know the saying “Guests, like fish, tend to go off after three days”….so when it comes to guest bedrooms it is best to find the happy medium.  You don’t want them to stay tooooo long, but  while they are there you would like them to feel welcome and comfortable.  You also want them to feel like they are getting a bit of hotel luxury too. So, a clean, neutral space with a good comfortable mattress, good pillows and empty closets (with hangers) and drawers.  Clean stain free fresh linens on the bed and fluffy towels.  Spare blankets, and hangers or pegs for their clothes.  A table or surface that is clutter free, and good bedside lamps for reading are a must.  Books, magazines. local maps and places of interest are good to allow you a few hours to yourself when they go out!  A small chair for sitting in or laying clothes on could be handy and a luggage rack/place to put a suitcase if space permits too.

ThriftShopFinds

TwinBedroom

Toiletries like the courtesy soaps, shampoos and lotions you get in hotels are a great way to make some one feel welcome.  A spare key and garage door opener is also good if you don’t want to be disturbed at night. You can add lavender bags on the pillows and in the cupboard. Or a scented candle is great  in cupboards as the smell is beautiful when you open the door/drawer and it can be used if they want added romance or there is a power cut!  Cut flowers, fruit,  a carafe of water and glass are all welcoming.  Anti-Mosquito plug ins, sunscreen and a fan are a good idea in summer too.  This guest basket idea is also a great to contain all of these things.  Check out http://bobbleheadbaby.com/?p=2850

Abigal Ahern, decorator extraordinaire, is also full of how to add a bit of interest inexpensively to your guest room.  Take a look at: http://abigailahern.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/pallet-bed-frames/

Well that has given you another room to get sorted, so give yourself a deadline by inviting some one to stay. Lets hope in return for your well thought out bedroom your guest offers to cook lunch or organise drinks and nibbles before dinner.  Then they definitely will be invited back.

mylittletumberbedroom

Related Articles:

http://abigailahern.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/pallet-bed-frames/

http://bobbleheadbaby.com/?p=2850

http://mylittlebox2.tumblr.com/post/45021025054

Display your Personal Style

Have you ever come back from holidays with pieces you have collected en route?  Not sure what to do with them? Often they are not quite as easy to mix into your interior upon return.  Need a Solution? Think about  displaying your collected treasures together in groups that have similar colours or are the same objects (eg baskets or necklaces).  Do not be afraid to group them together with other personal items that you do not want to part with. Below is a lovely idea from ‘me & alice’ a Swedish Interior Stylist and photographer. She has created a ‘memory cupboard’ in which you could include all your souvenirs along with other personal memorabilia…….MemorycupboardMe&alice

This does not have to be the main focal point of the busiest room in your house, but could add interest to other spaces – eg hallways.  They are often a neglected and uninteresting area of the house so a perfect place to add something interesting.

Travelpersonality

A tablescape like the one we have created above is also a great way to display and remember trips to Egypt, Morocco and Turkey.  All pieces collected on our travels.  Alternatively you could make your children’s or guest room into a themed one – for example a Chinese theme- add interesting bedsides, use a Chinese themed pillow on the bed.  A Moroccan themed Rumpus using cushions, pouffs, rugs and lamps ex Morocco makes for a very hip and cool place for teenagers to hang out in.  The trick with any themed room is not to add too many accessories of that theme. You only need touches to add the interest.  Do not make every last thing Chinese or Moroccan.  The majority of the furnishings should be in your original style so that it links back and relates to the rest of the spaces in the house and where you are in the world. We touched on this in a previous blog – the problem there was the lack of relating the theme back to its surroundings and the original. Below is another idea for displaying shells and personal things courtesy of greige design.   Pinterest is full of these kind of ideas – so have a look and get pinning.

displaymemorabiliagreigedesign

 

Neutral Colour Schemes

A neutral colour  is not just cream or black or beige.  They are an example of a neutrals, but what most  fail to realise is that any colour can be a neutral.  Yes, that’s right! So you can have a neutral green (khaki), neutral yellow (ochre), neutral red (pink), neutral blue (Wedgewood blue) and so on.  A neutral is any colour that has been muddied up, had some sludge thrown in there, a bit of chalk, a bit of dirt.

A neutral colour is the opposite of an accent or “loud” colour.  It does not “pop” out or grab your attention and is a softer version of a bright colour. For example red, orange or blue or any colour that attracts your eye easily.  Go to your wardrobe and give it a quick scan- the colours that grab your attention are the accent/pop/loud colours, the rests are probably neutrals.  Not so hard huh?

So, how do you use neutrals in a colour scheme?  They make a good base to pop your favourite accents on.  If your favourite colour is navy or bright blue, then you might to warm it up with a cream.  (Blue is a ‘cool’ colour and cream is a white that has had yellow added to it) Alternatively you may like yellows- this is all good until you are sitting in a very hot room on a summers day and are surrounded by bright yellow.  Nothing mellow-yellow about that, so off set it with a subtle blue grey and that will give you the balance.  Save the bright full on yellow for the accent colour in accessories.  You also don’t need to use exactly the same neutral colour throughout the house. Use varying depths and shades of the same colour, or something less sludgy in different rooms to suit its aspect and light.  This makes for an interesting scheme that flows through the house without it being boring and beige.  For example, it is good to use a double/stronger/deeper neutral in rooms where you want to be cocooned – studies, dining rooms, or in rooms that are on the cool side (south side in New Zealand) of the house that get no sun.  Alternatively on the warmer (Northern in NZ) side of the house, go for the slightly cooler shades and lighter tones, so things feel light and airy.

JoMalone2viaLonny

So get into neutral but do not forget to beef up the textures.  This adds the interest in a neutral scheme.  The inspiring pictures are from Lonny magazine of Jo Malone’s new headquarters.  The beautiful mouldings did not need too much colour to set them off – in fact they are texture itself and the designer, Rose Uniacke has kept the rest of the decoration beautiful but minimal so they come to the fore. There are other elements of texture added too – bare wooden floors, the glorious chandelier and even logs in the fire place.  I bet the place smells as gorgeous as it looks too!

JoMaloneviaLonny

Making an Entrance

Have you been invited to some ones house, you get dressed up, by some flowers, take a bottle of wine and when you get there it is well, a bit of a let down, as it is a little disappointing? Think you have got the wrong house as it is not what you expected?  Or even worse cannot find the front door?  Do you think Goldilocks would have visited the 3 Bears if she couldn’t find the front door?

So…How is your Front Door or Entrance looking then?  Does it look like you have gone to an effort? Does it set the scene? No?  Well, you better get busy with the broom and/or water blaster.  Make sure the area is clean, dust, litter, cobweb and leaf free.  Remove the smelly old trackies. Nothing worse than it looking like a rubbish dump- that says: “You came around but I couldn’t be bothered cleaning up for you”

RoomService123FrontDoor_Web

Next, make the front door an Entrance,  so that you create excitement when someone arrives.  They need to think: “Wow, this is the front door!  Wonder who lives here?”

The front door needs to be highlighted. Paint it a show stopping colour – Red, or Blue, Liquorice Black or anything that is not Beige!  Place a couple of pots in the same colour either side and put some cool structural plants or coloured ones in them.  Try to match your scheme and/or style of house.  A good idea is to bring the hallway colour or accent colour you use inside out onto the front door.  Often the door opens into a hall, and so it sets the scene for what is going on inside your abode.

IthinkIwantolivehere

I think I want to live here.

ComeonIn

Come On In

Also think about updating the door mat often – the ‘Welcome’ really is not necessary if you have done all the above as you will have Made an Entrance.