You know your client’s home needs new rugs. Your client knows their home needs new rugs. The question becomes: Which factors are the most important for helping you and your clients choose the perfect rug for every space in their home?Below we offer some basics for buying rugs – not because we think designers don’t know them but, as a reminder that most of your design clients will NOT know them – and it’s in your interest to keep these things in mind when trying to close the deal with them.Area Rug Basics – Carpet PileCarpet Pile is the thickness of the carpet that erects from the foundation to the infinite number of free ends of threads. In case of loop pile carpet, the loops are uncut. Whereas cut pile exhibits the similar loops but cut. Cutting is done either on the loom or mechanically after the carpet is woven.The density from the ground structure of the cloth until the free ends of warp forms the carpet pile. The factors behind constituting the pile of a carpet are the length of the carpet threads and the kind of fiber used in weaving a carpet. In addition, it also depends on particular carpet designs. For instance, from a flat weave to a long shag pile, the lush feel of the thread is a marked difference.The production cost of a carpet depends mostly on the amount of the carpet fiber used. Various forms of organic and synthetic fibers are practiced in the carpet industry. Natural fibers comprise of wool, silk, jute, etc. On the other hand, synthetic ones favor olefin, nylon, and polyester serving as common options for durable carpets. Due to demand, natural fiber woven carpets are more expensive than carpets made from artificial ones. However, substances such as nylon and olefin are defiant to wear and tear, help in maintaining a carpet pile which is crush-resistant.Area Rug Basics – Carpet BackingJust as the name suggests, Carpet Backing is the flipside of a carpet. Though often overlooked, this is an extremely important part of an area rug. This side of the carpet is responsible for its structural stability, as well as providing shape and protection to the carpet it supports.The underside material used can be either one of cotton, carpet rayon, Kraft cord, or jute. For area rugs, the primary backing gives a structural element to the carpet; literally holding the yarns in place and enabling them to maintain structural integrity.Padding, on the other hand, is quite different, whether a carpet pad or a pad used beneath an area rug for additional comfort. (Thanks to our friends at JaipurLiving.com)REMINDER: We mentioned this above but it cannot be overemphasized… It’s human nature that we take certain things for granted. The more knowledge and expertise we gather about a particular subject, we tend to forget that others may not even have a grasp of basic facts that we acquired long ago. Never forget that your clients are most likely novices in the area of interior design and they may need your guidance in the most basic facts.That is why we offer posts like this and will continue to do so. Stay tuned for more rug basics in future posts.Looking for more new design trends, marketing tips, and ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.
In a previous post, Interior Design Tips – Helping Clients Focus on High-value Improvements, we offered advice on how to help your design clients choose the perfect rug for any room in their home. Here is the advice we offered:“As we all know, it can take “forever” to find the perfect rug and, when you do, it usually isn't cheap. It’s always helpful to remember that your client may not have the knowledge to make a good decision and that you are the expert here. Take the time to explain that the cost of a rug will vary depending on the age, weaving technique, fiber content, and dye method. Also, hand-loomed rugs wear well and have added character and charm while minor repairs do not affect the value of the rug as long as they have been done well.”(Is it OK to quote ourselves? 😉)Of course, when choosing a rug, the overriding factor will be the figuring out what is best for a specific installation. The rug you choose for a toddler’s room will be very different than the rug you choose for a formal dining or living room.With a bit of help from our friends at Wayfair.com, we offer some guidance on how to choose the perfect rug:Wool rugs – Wool rugs offer the best combination of durability and softness. The fibers are incredibly resilient and stand up well to high traffic, especially soft, tufted or hooked styles. They naturally repel stains and water but will absorb moisture and can fade in sunlight. With a mid-range cost to a serious investment, they are most cost-effective when used in living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms.Silk & Viscose rugs – Silk is unrivaled for softness, making it the ultimate choice for a luxurious rug. Viscose provides the softness and sheen of Silk at a substantially lower price point. Because silk and viscose are sensitive to wear and moisture, it is best used in low-traffic areas. Silk and Viscose may also be woven with another material to create a blended rug that's more durable or has a varied texture. The incredible softness and luster of silk and viscose rugs make them ideal for bedrooms, especially the master suite.Cotton rugs – Cotton is commonly used to make flat or woven style rugs and are durable and easy to clean. While not designed as “heirloom” pieces, cotton rugs are affordable, stand up well to high traffic, soft without feeling too plush, and are often machine washable. Best use for cotton rugs would be in family rooms and children’s rooms, bath mats, and hallway runners.Natural fiber rugs – Jute, sisal, and other renewable fiber rugs are remarkably versatile in use and style. While the fibers are very strong and durable, they do stain easily, making them most appropriate for use in dry areas and living rooms. They may also feel somewhat coarse but can be beautifully textured with a woven or braided construction. The cost of natural fiber rugs can run from affordable to mid-range and they are definitely the go-to base when layering rugs.Synthetic Rugs – Synthetics are extremely durable and affordable, often being used to make indoor/outdoor rugs. Flatweaves are great in high traffic areas but can have an artificial feel. They can easily be treated to repel stains and water and will stand up well to moisture and sun exposure. Best use would be in entryways, hallways, mudrooms, and patios.In future posts designed to help you choose the perfect rug for your design clients, we will share our insights into choosing the best size rug for a room, and whether you should design the space around the rug or use it to accent the choices you’ve made.Looking for more new design trends, tips, and ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.
A recent series of articles at Houzz.com offers some interesting insights into where homeowners might be willing to spend a bit more on remodeling and decorating their homes. Although the site is definitely geared toward helping end-users make better choices, the expert advice they share can also be a great source of interior design tips and trends for anyone in the industry.For example, in an article titled 7 Home Purchases Worth the Splurge, designer Erika Wood offers her advice on where homeowners should be willing to invest a bit more money if they hope to avoid “buyer’s remorse” by compromising on quality versus value (or price).While many homeowners will focus on things that add value to their home, hoping to increase the resale price, Ms. Wood is focused on making the home comfortable for the current occupants of the home. Although both are important to an interior designer, it may be true that focusing on comfort will make your design project more acceptable to your clients. With this in mind, she offers seven “guilt-free” purchases for the savvy homeowner – making these areas of emphasis for the equally sharp interior designer, as well.
- Quality Window Coverings – To the uninitiated, it can seem like their options are endless when it comes to window coverings. Yet, as any designer knows, window placement, frame construction, and other external factors help narrow your client’s choices. Your expert advice will be critical for the client who is confused about which option is best for their home. There's generally no way around custom window treatments when there are unusually tall windows or odd placements. A conservative choice will tend to be a good investment in their home when it's time to sell. (Image from HouseBeautiful.com)
- Upholstered Furniture – While many homeowners will think, “It’s just a sofa”, you know that purchasing a quality sofa or other piece of upholstered furniture that stands up to the demands of your client’s lifestyle is always a good idea. Remind them that quality construction and cotton blends that have a high percentage of polyester provide optimal stain resistance and long-term wear.
- Granite Countertops – Yes, granite remains the first choice in countertops: “When a homeowner contacted Houzz for advice on kitchen upgrades, fellow contributor Rebekah Zaveloff responded with helpful advice. In regard to replacing the homeowner's old laminate countertops with classic honed granite counters, Zaveloff advised, ‘Black and white never goes out of style. If you want a classic black and white kitchen, go ahead and change out those countertops’."
- Room-sized Rugs – As we all know, it can take “forever” to find the perfect rug and, when you do, it usually isn't cheap. It’s always helpful to remember that your client may not have the knowledge to make a good decision and that you are the expert here. Take the time to explain that the cost of a rug will vary depending on the age, weaving technique, fiber content, and dye method. Also, hand-loomed rugs wear well and have added character and charm while minor repairs do not affect the value of the rug as long as they have been done well. (Image from MyRugStore.co.uk)
- Original Artwork – “A one-of-a-kind piece by its nature has special value. In addition to adding beauty and interest to the home, fine art gains extrinsic value as time passes.”
- Comfortable Mattresses – Quality sleep is essential for health and well-being – for the entire family. While the client is the true expert here, knowing what is comfortable to them, your guidance may make all the difference in whether they buy a quality product. If you have a relationship with a local sleep shop, all the better, as you can help them find a reputable dealer who will put their needs ahead of anything else.
- Linens and Towels – As Ms. Woods explains, “[You should] consider anything that touches your bare skin an investment in comfort.” Your client’s bed linens and towels should have a high thread count because they are softer, more durable, and will last longer than cheaper choices.
Even though it may seem that the last two items on the list may not be in your wheelhouse as a designer, offering guidance on making your client’s home as comfortable as possible is definitely has value as an area of focus.Looking for more new design trends, tips, and ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.
Protecting your design clients from poor quality products should be a priority for any interior designer. Whether we’re talking about cheap paint that will not last, inexpensive rugs that unravel, or furniture that does not meet acceptable standards, since you're the expert they’ve hired to improve their space, it’s up to you to ensure that quality matches the price.A recent article in the Washington Post, though largely intended for consumers, brings to light an array of problems with furniture labeling, along with tips on how to avoid being taken by mislabeled furnishings.Since the FTC rescinded its specific guidelines for the household furniture industry in 2002, there are four areas that are most often mislabeled:
- Misrepresented wood – The old FTC guideline said manufacturers should not use wood names on their labels unless the piece was made of “solid wood of the type named.” In other words, calling a piece of furniture “oak” because it was coated in oak-colored stain or clad in oak veneer was against the rules.
- Misrepresented leather – “Bonded leather” is the scourge of the upholstered furniture industry. Bonded leather consists of a thin plastic front, a fabric middle and ground up leather particles on the back. It’s been the subject of consumer lawsuits and industry hand-wringing for years but, it’s still out there.
- Misrepresented fabric – Real linen is made from fibers found in the flax plant. It’s prized because it’s natural, durable and breathable, so it stays cool in the summer. Unfortunately, other fabrics are often passed off as linen.
- Misrepresented foam – There’s been a backlash against polyurethane foam because it’s a petroleum product. Enter “soy foam.” It’s a feel-good label that eco-conscious consumers seem to like. Yet, most cushions labeled “soy foam” are hybrids and are almost certainly made from far less soy foam than they are polyurethane foam.
Again, while this article was obviously intended for consumers, as an interior designer it’s important to stay on top of any trends in home furnishings that can help – or harm – your business. After all, placing inferior products in the home of one of your clients could have lasting implications for your reputation and the future of your business.“Remember, furniture sellers used to have to put all the details of a piece’s construction on the sales tag. Today it’s important to check any additional information on brochures or websites to get the full story. Furniture made of solid wood stained to look like another wood is not a bad thing, as long as it’s disclosed. Veneers are not inherently bad, either, as long as you’re aware and don’t count on refinishing them someday.”So, stay on top of what’s happening in your market and be aware of any suppliers who may be cutting corners – corners you can’t afford to cut and still keep your design clients happy.Looking for more new design trends, tips, and ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.
As we’ve noted many times before, for most, the kitchen is the most popular room in the house, whether for the family or for entertaining. As we’ve also noted, however, millennials are the driving force in home sales today, and many of them are buying in urban areas where home are smaller – including the kitchen.Entertaining or congregating in such a small space can be problematic, which makes this article from Houzz.com so timely, 12 Ways to Make Your Kitchen Look and Feel Bigger.Long the universally accepted color for this space, white kitchens became a thing of the past some 25 years ago. Now though, white cabinets and walls can be used to add to the illusion of more space than exists.White kitchens seem larger (White Hamptons Style from BlogLovin.com)While cabinet depth is generally accepted as 24 inches, most manufacturers offer alternatives: 12” and 15” cabinetry. Especially in lower cabinets, this may be a great way to add a few square feet to the available space in an urban kitchen.Install shallow kitchen cabinetry (Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford)While many homeowners love to add fancy hardware to the cabinets in their home, for those who seek more space in their kitchen, removing the hardware altogether makes for fewer items to bump into or catch on clothing. Using cabinet doors with touch-activated latches or integrated reach-in pulls reinforces the clean lines of your new kitchen, which subtly helps it appear bigger.Try cabinets without the usual hardware (ThrivingHomeBlog.com)Double sinks in the kitchen have long been the standard. For those seeking more countertop space, however, installing a single sink makes a great deal of sense.Single sinks save counter space (TypesofKitchenSinks.com)Panel-ready appliances (usually fridges and dishwashers) are designed to be able to receive a door front of your choosing so they can blend into the look of your kitchen cabinets. The resulting look is more fluid, which creates an overall larger, airier appearance.Install panel appliances (DecorPad.com)Ironic as it may seem, the place where we store so many of our fattening favorites is available in a “Skinny” size. In fact, refrigerators are available in a stunning array of sizes and taking advantage of this fact when trying to save space in a kitchen is a great idea.Try a skinny fridge (BlogLovin.com)While these are but half of the ideas offered in the Houzz article, they should be enough to get you started thinking outside the box when it comes to trying to make your client’s small kitchen feel larger. If these are not enough, feel free to check out the article, using the link above.Looking for more new design trends, marketing tips, and ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.
A recent article at MansionGlobal.com, titled A Rug Can Pull a Room Together; Choose Wisely, caught our eye for its insight and approach to using a rug choice to complete a space.As an example of that insight, we have this statement, made by Melissa Lewis of LG Interiors in Chicago: “An area rug can make or break a room. It solidifies furniture layouts and adds a layer of depth and warmth that truly ties a space together.”And this, from Berlin-based designer Cäcilia Verweyen: “It’s a central design object in the room. Like a piece of art or a painting on the wall, it can change the whole atmosphere.”The Before or After Question“You should choose the rug either before decorating and base your furniture and window treatment selections around the colors of the rug or after to ensure the color dovetails perfectly with your furnishings. Never go rug shopping in the middle of the process.“Choosing the right sized rug for the space is key. You don’t want to overscale the rug so that it consumes the space. A rug that is too small always looks like a mistake.“Placement also has importance. In the living room, we like to center the rug; it creates a great base point for circulation and furnishings. In the bedroom, there is nothing better than stepping out of bed onto a luxurious rug, so it should be positioned underneath the bed but stop short of bedside tables to give the room some breathing space. In the dining room, the rug should be centered under the table and have enough space for the chairs to still sit on top of the rug when pulled out.” – Melissa Lewis of LG Interiors in ChicagoTexture… Texture… Texture“You’ll want to consider different types of textures for different rooms. For the bedroom, opt for a long pile weave, which tends to be softer. Woven or very short piles are better for high-traffic areas since these are more durable options.“Multiple rugs can be used in one space as well. For example, in a master bedroom, you might opt for one rug under the bed and another in the sitting area. They can be different textures, colors, or even shapes.“If you have a pet, don’t choose a shaggy or long pile rug, since these are difficult to clean. A woven, Berber, or cord pile rug is best for cleaning up mistakes.” — Los Angeles-based designer Elisabeth FogartyTone Determines Style“The rug anchors the furniture and defines the style. Fall in love with your carpet first and decorate around it. Sofas can always be reupholstered, throw pillows can be updated, but the carpet is a big commitment that may be passed down for generations.“Don’t be afraid of patterns. The carpet is one of the pieces in your home where you can be exceptionally eccentric, ornate, or playful. Somehow, a wildly patterned rug reads much more subdued when it is on the floor. So, be bold. It’s less risky than it may seem.“The shape depends on what space in the room you are looking to define and how you want to define it. Demarcating a round area creates an intimate, modern look that is great in some rooms, but doesn’t make much sense in others.” －Aelfie Oudghiri, founder and creative director of AELFIE rugsLooking for more new design trends, marketing tips, and ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall.
Kravet Inc., established in 1918, is the industry leader in the to the trade home furnishings industry. This fifth generation family business distributes fabrics, furniture, wall coverings, trimmings, carpets and accessories.Kravet is the leader in design, color and every product category across the design spectrum. Truly, the essential resource for every designer's library.