Leather VS Fabric

At Furniture Market, most of our seating pieces can be custom built in either leather or fabric coverings, which sometimes results in us be asked 'which is better?' There is really no right or wrong answer as it really depends on the purchasers needs and style. But with so many options to choose from, picking one can get really confusing!  I thought I would put an end to the covering dilemma by highlighting the benefits and disadvantages of both materials.

Comfort

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There are many factors that determine the comfort of furniture. The type of textile and the support system, such as cushions and frames play a huge role. In this case, the fabric pieces can be more comfortable than their leather counterparts for several reasons. Like your car seat, leather absorbs heat faster than fabric. The same is with leather furniture, it will feel warm after sitting on it for a while. Leather furniture however, are firmer than the fabric ones.

Maintenance

Depending on the quality of the material, fabrics have different lifespans in terms of wear and tear. All our brands feature very high quality materials which will hold-up and retain their new appearance for a very long time. Many of them come with a stain-resistant finishes that makes it easy to wipe off any unfortunate stains. Fabric cleaning products are widely offered and affordable, and can simply take care of spills with a handled steam cleaner or with a sponge and soap. But if the fabric is not of a premium quality, removing stains can prove difficult. In this case leather might be a better solution, seeing that they are very easy to clean, mostly requiring only light dusting and vacuuming. But leather is more vulnerable to scratches and humidity than the fabric pieces, which makes them not-so pet friendly if you have furry little family member who likes to sit on the sofa.

Color Durability

Both materials offer a wide variety of color and texture options, and fabrics you'll have an unlimited selection of tones and pattern choices that will fit any decor. Although it is not a concern at Furniture Market, fabric products of low quality tend to fade out very quickly in time, where as leather’s color palette is more lasting.

Appearance

A leather sofa for example, with its sleek and classic appearance, adds certain elegance to the room. You can hardly achieve the same effect with fabrics. Fabric sofas are available in many hues and designs, and tend to add to a contemporary vibe to a home.

Health

Leather seating surfaces are hypoallergenic, which makes them appropriate for people with allergies. Unlike fabric, leather doesn’t accumulate dust mites, pet dander, and other allergens easily. Professional cleaning services can be costly and would need to be done on a regular basis for fabric coverings. Leather will save you effort, money and time.

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So which should you pick?

Both materials have their benefits and disadvantages. At the end of the day, you need to decide what you value most – durability, comfort or appearance.

Set Your Colors Free

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When it comes to interior design, Liz says “never be afraid of color, let your imagination lead the way.” As a rule Liz tends not to work with only muted or tertiary colors as with many luxury home designers today, but instead has looked towards color and vivid whites and blacks to create a visually stunning, and exiting living space.

Pick a Color Palette

Liz likes to select a color palate and then use as a base-line throughout the home. This will not only help the rooms feel cohesive, but it also helps with the visual transitions between rooms. For example, when standing in the homes foyer you'll often see many of the adjacent rooms as well. By staying in the color palate you'll be able to use variations of the same color and repeat in different ways in each space. Combine that with a vibrant upholstery color, decorative lighting or accessory and the effect is striking.

Decorate from Dark to Light

One rule Liz will often follow to make any space look good is by using darker color values for the floor, medium color values for the walls and light values for the ceiling. The idea is that it reflects the natural color of the outside world. In other words the color is generally darker below our feet and grows lighter skyward.

Start with the Living Areas of the House

The family room, living room, and kitchen are the rooms we spend the most time in. Choose a color scheme for those areas first, then pull one color from the scheme and tone it up or down, like taking a red sofa and tone it down to burgundy as an accent in more private spaces such as the den, office or bedroom.

Make Small Spaces Pop

Most people will take a small room in their home and paint it white to make it seem bigger. Instead, Liz will use vibrant colors as way of gaining that room more attention and making it pop. Allow your large rooms to expand with light, and let your small rooms envelop you.

Stay with Grays

There are many ways of taking today's trendy neutral and gray colors and making them work in any style interior. Gray's chameleon-like quality allows the color to appear either warm or cool depending on your accents. They go beautifully with vivid colors and even pastels to add visual texture and areas of interest to any room.

Choose a Color Scheme From the Largest Pattern in the Space

If you've selected a patterned upholstery, a colorful rug or a large piece of artwork, choose a color you like from the pattern and use it as a wall color on one or more walls. For a neutral wall paint color, look to the pattern's whites and beige's. The result will look stunning and professional.

Get a Color Wheel

Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, such as blue and green — are more casual and relaxing, and work best in informal or private spaces. This is a great way to create a restful and appealing space such as a bedroom or den.

Basic Black

Liz likes to sometimes add a bit of black in a room which helps clarify the rest of the room's colors, such as black lampshade or a black vase.

Never Forget the 60-30-10 Rule

"When I decorate a space, I divide the colors into components of 60 percent of a dominant color (walls), 30 percent of a secondary color (upholstery) and 10 percent of an accent color (accessories)," says Liz. This ratio ensures that the colors are properly balanced and there's just enough pop for interest.

Rely on a Timeless Pairing

“I consider black and white to be the dynamic duo” says Liz, “they never go out of style”. She'll take the dynamic duo and accent it with metallic gold, silver, yellow or red to create a compelling color story.

Follow the Rule of Three

Keeping your palette to three basic colors is a can't-miss strategy in any space. Take shades of sunny yellow, navy blue and grass green for example and it will make the room feel fresh and vibrant.

 

Light - The Illumination of Emotion

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Designers spend a lot of time choosing the perfect sofa, chairs and even paint color for their living room walls, but many forget about the importance of proper lighting. Regardless if the room is for watching TV, read books, play games and entertain guests, the right lighting serves an important purpose in both the function and look of the room. "Lighting is important because of the intimacy it creates," says Liz Wenrer, especially for living rooms considering they are usually one of the first rooms you walk into when you enter a home. It inevitably sets the tone for the rest of the house.

A properly engineered lighting scheme should use different kinds of light, set at different levels, that work together to make the space warm and attractive. The use of dimmers for example will allow you to control the level of light to suit the activities that take place in the space, and by doing so will make people want to linger and enjoy the setting longer.

Living Room Lighting Designs

Lighting options on the market today offer the homeowner and designer an array of choices, most of which are now much more energy-efficient lighting solutions then they were just a few years ago. Halogen fixtures, and LEDs are definitely one of the newest options, all of which are available in exciting and innovative designs. Here are four popular lighting strategies Liz uses when designing an interior space with a client.

Accent

When Liz wants to highlight certain features in a living room, like a fireplace, textured walls or a painting, she'll use adjustable lights directed to points of interest or decorative lights on a surface to highlights selected objects or spaces. "Lighting adds a pleasing variation of brightness by drawing attention and putting more light on an architectural feature." The rule she employs to properly draw attention to an area, is to supply about five times as much light on the focal point as the surrounding general light.

Ambient

Stylish chandeliers, ceiling lights, wall-mounted fixtures or table lamps can provide wonderful ambiance by casting a warm glow in your living room. Controlling illumination in the room will make it feel comfortable and inviting. “As a designer, when I control the ambient light I control the emotions generated in that room” says Liz, who likes to use ambient light to illuminate surfaces, textures and colors in the room.

Decorative

When you want to create interest and add sparkle to your living room, table lamps, hanging pendants and chandeliers can provide the decorative light that adds coziness and intimacy. "It completely personalizes a space," says Liz, by creating areas of interest that reflect the owners tastes and personality. An experienced designer will use light much like a painter uses color. Light is emotion.

Liz Werner

Tips For Setting Up Your Home Office

A home office is a good addition to every house, even for people whose workplace is outside their homes. You will appreciate this quiet and functional corner every time you need to revise your work, or to continue dealing with a project off-schedule.

The big question is: how to make a functional home office? It means you need a place which serves your needs, but looks pleasant and comfortable at the same time, and that’s not so easy to achieve.

Once you start planning how to setup a home office, you will face all possible challenges (from space and location to proper furnishing), just the way you did in all other rooms. In order to make the process painless, we’ve gathered a list of most important tips for setting up your home office:

Placement:

The first critical decision is placement. Even if you can afford to choose between various rooms, you need to make sure you’ve picked the right one to complement the productivity of your work.

We recommend a place that is very quiet, ideally far from your children’s playrooms or the living room. Outlets are an awesome idea because they will make your office accessible for clients to come over.

For people who are working like this full-time, the office is just as important as any other room in the house. They will be spending plenty of time inside, which is why they should devote it proper attention, rather than treating it as second-class accommodation.

The office will also preserve valuable materials and work information, and you have to keep it locked while you’re not using it. What you certainly don’t want is for your children to make paper planes with your annual reports.

Ergonomic offices:

Being aware of the hours you’re about to spend in your office (including the ones following ‘official’ working day), you mustn’t let comfort slip away from your attention.

Proper ergonomics will help you prevent usual physical problems, and stay safe from repetitive injuries such as posture, back pain, carpal tunnel syndromes, or eye fatigue.

The first thing you need to bring inside is a comfortable chair. Choose one that will not stiffen your body after few hours, and will let the back lean pleasantly and the feet rest solidly on the floor while seated. Armrests are also a great idea.

Remember that the chair has a decisive say on the consequences work could have on your body, so don’t hesitate to purchase the best one (skipping it will save you an arm-and-a-leg price, but buying it will save your entire body!).

The best ergonomic chairs are supposed to be padded, large, with a compulsory backrest and an adjustable height mechanism.

Proper lighting:

If possible, situate the office close to a source of rich natural light. Bright working spaces are the best in terms of productivity, which is why you have to do everything possible to let light come inside (enlarge the windows, remove the curtains, etc).

On the other hand, rooms that have limited or no access to daylight at all should be reinforced with strong overhead lights, desk or floor lamps that illuminate particular work areas.

The position of your computer screen is also important, and you have to turn it in a way that will prevent glares from occurring. Light has to be balanced all the time, because this is the only way to ensure you’re doing the best you can to preserve your sight and your health overall.

Professional organization:

Let’s make one point clear from now: A cluttered office is not a functional office! The place has to stay airy and clean all the time, and you must know where every object is stored so that you won’t lose precious time trying to find it.

Assuming that your workload doesn’t allow constant organization of files, you can dedicate 10 minutes after-work time to clean the office on a daily basis.

Storage is critical to every home office-you need to keep the place well-organized, packed with drawer cabinets or large shelves to help you accommodate and display all important files.

Still, there are those among us who love their chaos, and that makes even shelves behind doors sound like excellent ideas.

Stay stylish:

Full-time home workers know exactly how important their office’s style is: they use it over 40 hours per week, which basically means they are in the office much more often than any other room back home.

This makes the office a top personalization priority, and should motivate you to make it beautiful, entertaining, and inspiring.

Obviously, décor can go all the way from repurposing old pieces to buying expensive sets of modern ones, it all depends on your budget. The truth is that you don’t have to spend top dollars in order to make it beautiful: chevron wallpapers and mid-century antiques are not compulsory!

In order to make a decision, think of the things that inspire you the most. If its books, get a cute bookcase and paint it the way you deem suitable.

If you’re a movie fan, purchase a collection of avant-garde posters and hang them in modern white frames. If your passion is to work in a ‘coastal’ environment decorate with shells and beige cushions with sandy textures. See? Everything goes! You just have to keep it personal!

Don’t forget greenery:

There is no cheaper solution to keep brain cells steady than bringing plants inside your office. Greenery refreshes the air with more oxygen, and it makes people relaxed and happy by only looking at it. If you think you have no time to take care of plants, you can choose such that require little attention to look marvelous and fresh.

Dedicate a phone line to your business:

Yes, you’re working at home and that’s awesome because you don’t have to worry about dealing with huge teams, traffic jams, or break schedules.

However, having an office at home means you’re sharing your workspace with the entire family, and that involves busy phone lines, slow connections, or even serious distractions that can’t wait.

While you’ll certainly struggle to make children understand you have no time to play, there is one thing you can actually do to make life easier-you can install a legitimate business line.

Doing this will do miracles for your work: you won’t be afraid that somebody is occupying the line while you’re waiting for an important call, and you’ll inspire clients to trust you which is not that probable with a normal home line.

No one will have access to your voice mail, and customers will never be confused as to why they had to arrange an appointment with your five-year old son. If this is not an option to make your business credible, we recommend a cell phone or an internet-based one (VoIP).

Comfort matters: 

That’s true; you need an office to work, rather than to relax. But did it cross your mind that you need a place to read, or simply to lean on while taking a break?

This is why every office can make use of comfy chairs, especially those with feet ottomans and cute coffee tables nearby. Colorful throws and rich-pattern pillows are great to enhance creativity, and you will certainly look forward to every second you have available to use them.

Being surrounded by colors will definitely help you think and come up with innovative solutions-don’t you think that best ideas come when they’re least expected? Make your office comfy and give this theory a try!

Functionality is your main concern:

Let the office be what it actually is: an office! The same way people with insomnia are recommended to avoid bedrooms when not sleeping, you’re advised to use the home office to work and nothing other than that.

Define the place properly, and it will function: even a small desk in the kitchen can be a lovely office if you are not disturbed while working.

All it takes is to choose a corner and to repurpose it with nothing but a tall bookcase or a file cabinet that will help you to stay focused on your work.

Another thing to be taken into account is getting rid of clutter. Most people are not aware of the negative effect cluttered desks have on their productivity.

Therefore, keep it clean: remove all unnecessary papers, pencils, chargers, and candy wrappers; and start all over again. Keep the place properly lighted, because this can also sharpen your focus and effectiveness.