In the last issue of Bizness (February 2016) I established the merits of premium and custom upholstery. The principle was that greater comfort and durability requires greater investment than inexpensive furniture. Serious consumers know that they cannot afford to be cheap. (See Bizness March 2015, where I proved that expensive furniture is ultimately less expensive than cheap furniture, based on amortized value). What to expect from your investment in upscale upholstery?
What comfort means to you: Decide what firmness is good for you. A little study of ergonomics will go a long way to assure your satisfaction. Try out the various available foams and stuffing with the part of your body that will use them. Plan in what position you will be on the sofa, sitting or lying; if you expect that someone will sleep there, make sure the seat is deep and long enough. Pillows are not just decorative. When short people sit on deep sofas they need thick pillows so that their legs don’t dangle in mid-air.
The ancient Egyptians were slave drivers, but they knew how to get comfortable by inventing the first chair with an angled back that accommodates our posture. With cheap furniture, manufacturers do not usually apply ergonomic design. Even if they do, the shape does not hold up long due to cheap materials.
Modern vs. traditional – no longer a battle: The tension between these contrasting styles used to be intense, but has diminished, especially in Israel. Here, modern is popular, for various reasons (see Bizness May 2015 for my discussion of why). Sabras especially like to look to the future rather than cherish the “baggage of the past.” That may sound like hyperbole, but younger generations (throughout Europe and America, too) simply cannot relate to a classy camelback sofa like they can to a modern Lawson.
However, the pendulum is swinging back quickly as more people realize that modern may be practical, and sometimes comfortable, but traditional is essential, too. So many modern homes have traditional pieces: it reminds many of the nostalgia of grandparents; it infuses warmth into an otherwise cold and linear décor; and the craftsmanship and design give an impression of good taste and luxury.
Where to begin? You can start your custom upholstery indulgence on the practical side by making simpler projects: throw pillows, bench seats, window cushions. Ottomans are not just footstools, but versatile and space saving when used as coffee tables, kids’ toy bins, linen presses, and more. Headboards and\or banquettes (you don’t find many footboards these days) make an elegant statement that your bed is important.
Fiber Content, the factor beyond your control: Fabric manufacturers strive to make their products more durable, comfortable and economical. Regarding the quality of fabric, the adage ‘They don’t make them like they used to’ could not be more true. Natural fibers like wool, cotton and others are used less and less, because synthetic fibers have become higher quality.
However, sometimes manufacturers get it right. The most popular fibers on the market are polyester, polyamide and acrylic as microfibers in an ultra-suede fabric. Rather than relying on coatings to resist stains and dirt for a few years, the fabric is engineered to resist them itself. Even customers with fine antiques are choosing this more and more, because it’s similar to elegant velour and so practical. Amazing to think that these fibers were developed from the sludge leftover from refining petroleum!
Customizing your upholstery enables you to coordinate your décor in a way that could not be done with ready-made furniture. Restorno ensures quality material and design that will last for decades.
Project in focus
This custom-made sectional sofa was commissioned by a young couple whose small living space required very efficient planning. The first-time mother made the storage bin to accommodate baby paraphernalia, while the lower storage areas were used for linens and blankets for guests. So, the seats were made from premium mattress material and made deep enough to be beds. They chose a Teflon-coated fabric, because they like the look and feel of real fabric, and because it cleans easily. They plan to build a matching ottoman, when their budget allows. So, their investment in high-comfort, custom upholstery will last them for many years and many children to come.
Call or write to Restorno for estimates for your custom upholstery.