Price Points: Extending dining tables

Three extending dining tables | H is for Home

What are your plans for Christmas? Do you normally visit family or do they come to you? If you’ll be playing host during the upcoming festive season you’re probably already beginning to plan for it.

The food cupboards and drinks cabinet need to be replenished – now’s the time to start thinking about making your Christmas cake and sloe gin. Make sure you have ample cutlery, crockery and pots & pans. Who likes eating their Christmas dinner with a plastic knife & fork from a paper plate? Potatoes for a dozen people take up lots of saucepan space when boiling.

Having lots of friends and family round will mean that you’ll also need to provide extra furniture; more beds, more chairs and more table space to accommodate all that festive fayre and the people who want to eat it!

You won’t need the excess furniture all year round, especially if space is tight. So where do you store it all when not in use? Collapsible items such as inflatable mattresses, camp beds and fold up chairs are easier to pack away. The simplest and most practical way of gaining the necessary extra Christmas dinner space is having extending dining tables. There’s a suitable version available whatever your room dimensions, party size or budget.

  1. MADE Essentials Mino folding dining table, white: £129.00, MADE.com
  2. SUKI 2-6 seat white folding dining table: £247.50, Habitat
  3. Amarna 140cm extending dining table: £679.00, Fishpools

Thinking outside the box to market your online furniture store

Thinking outside the box to market your online furniture store

If you want conventional results, think conventionally and you’ll get them. However, if you want exceptional results, you’re going to have to explore nonconformity. In other words, if you’re trying to stand out in the world of e-commerce home furnishings, thinking outside the box to market your online furniture store will get you there. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

homeware & property internet icons

Zag when everyone else zigs

Of course, all of the players in your space have websites, but how many of them have a branded app to automate some aspect of the home décor process? Better still, how many of them are thinking of logically alternative places in which to advertise the existence of said application? Sure, they all advertise on decorating websites and home lifestyle websites. But when you think about it, people buying homes and moving into new apartments are the ones most likely to need new or additional furnishings.

Advertise your app as a home decorating tool on real estate sites and apartment rental sites. Partner with estate agents and leasing agents to offer new home-owners and tenants an exclusive discount when they use your application. In other words, look for logical places to be, where your competition isn’t going. When everyone else zigs… zag. This moves you beyond the cluttered spaces in which everyone in your business is trying to garner attention.

Online trading

Put your own twist on a successful concept

Rather than sticking with the tried & tested methods endemic to the furniture business, look around at what marketers in other industries are doing to see what you might be able to apply to yours. For example, Marshalls looked at the boards of its Pinterest followers then had YouTube and social influencers deliver items from their lists to their homes. The company captured the reactions of the recipients, posted them to social media and it became the marketing campaign known as ‘Marshalls Pin Pals’. Think of ways your business can tweak and apply this type of idea.

Shopping online with a smartphone

Seek new solutions to traditional problems

As you’re considering how to start a furniture store, finding new solutions to the drawbacks of selling furniture online and basing your marketing around them will set you apart from your competitors. An outstanding example of this in the furniture business is the ‘mattress in a box’ concept. One of the most difficult pieces of furniture to ship, the sheer size of a mattress makes it real burden. Companies now offer compression machines capable of drawing all of the air out of a mattress, which reduces the size and makes it less costly to ship. The air seeps back when the mattress is removed from the box, returning it to its original size. This will also work for comforters, pillows and other bulky air-filled items. Ideas like this one will give you a unique selling position to exploit.

Yellow sofa on an online shop

Think outer space

Treat every idea like a good idea when you’re thinking outside the box to market your online furniture store. Write every thought down and give each one serious consideration. What might at first seem to be the most ridiculous notion could well turn out to be the best idea you’ve ever had. Go beyond the norm when brainstorming – think in ‘outer space’. After all, if you aim for the cosmos and fall short you could land on a cloud of your very own. If your dreams are ‘grounded’ in reality, you’ll always be on the ground – with everybody else.

Designer Desire: Kerstin Hörlin-Holmquist

Mosaic of Kerstin Hörlin-Holmquist furniture designs | H is for Home

We’re back in Scandinavia for this week’s Designer Desire subject matter. Kerstin Hörlin-Holmquist (1925-1997) was a Swedish furniture designer and architect.

Arguably, many of her furniture designs have a distinct, feminine feel with their organic, curvaceous silhouettes. For example, her Paradiset range that she produced in the 1950s for department store, Nordiska Kompaniet (NK). The line consisted of Little Eva, Big Eve, Small Adam, Great Adam, Uncle Adam, The Sofa, The Purple Paradise, the Lustgården chaise longue and Fikonlövet footstool.

In the 1960s, she designed the Charlotte dining set for Finnish design firm, Asko and the Skrindan range for OPE Möbler.

A small selection of her work is sold new on the Clippings website and via specialist vintage design sites such as Bukowski’s and 1st Dibs.

Portrait of Kerstin Hörlin-Holmquistcredit

Additional image credits:

1st Dibs | Artnet | Bukowskis

How to create a home office where you’d want to work

Home office

In the 21st century, more and more of us are becoming self-employed – and employers themselves are becoming more flexible about remote working. That means that many people now operate from home. Living and working in the same place can be hard to do – there are so many distractions; domestic chores, family, knocks at the door. To make a success of it, you might need to create a home office where you’d want to work and enjoy spending time. We’ve come up with a few ways that can help you attain this…

Home office desk and chair

Furniture

The first place you’ll want to start is with your office furniture. If you’re going to be spending an entire working day in a room, comfort is paramount. Office chairs should be ergonomic and supportive; sitting for hours at a time can wreak havoc with the shoulders, back and spine.

If you have the space, additional office seating such as an armchair or small sofa gives you more options for activities such as reading documents and having meetings etc. It also encourages you to step away and avoid staring at your computer screen for extended periods of time.

Office desks need to be the correct height in relationship to office chairs. Too high or too low and it will affect your posture which could cause discomfort and aches & pains.

home office desk with books and bowl of fresh fruit salad

Lighting

Natural light is the best for working. Have your desk face a window rather than away from it (glare from sunlight on a computer screen can strain your eyes). Besides, being in front of a window can be an effective distraction if the view is over a garden, landscape or cityscape. Staring out helps you think and come up with imaginative ideas!

If natural sunlight isn’t an option, your choice of electric lighting becomes even more important. A desk lamp is the next best thing. It can be positioned to shine in just the spot where it’s needed. If your desk space isn’t large enough to accommodate a lamp, an adjustable floor-standing lamp could be the answer. It is important to choose the correct wattage of bulb – nothing too dim or too bright – something around 50Watts.

Overhead fluorescent strip lights are not recommended as they can cause eye strain and lead to headaches.

Desk with box files

Environment

For you to work effectively, your home office needs to be well organised. As the saying goes, “a tidy desk leads to a tidy mind”. Move mess off your desk and into storage. Install shelves and drawers and put paper into filing trays & boxes. Use a noticeboard Uncluttered, ordered, distraction-free

Keeping your office environment tidy is just the start. Enhance the space with houseplants which purify the air. Keep healthy snacks, bottle of water, tea/coffee maker (just the smell of coffee can boost spirits) to hand.

Finally, you need to think about the ambient temperature. No one enjoys working somewhere where it’s too hot or too cold. There’s no recommended temperature – everyone’s different. However, a YouGov survey found that the average British person says their ideal temperature is 21ºC.

Home office with bright orange feature wall

Colour

There is a psychology of colour, it can subconsciously affect your mood. For instance, blue is associated with feelings of calm, green represents nature, growth and renewal, grey is sophisticated and practical, yellow is warm, energetic and uplifting. You can add colour to your working environment in many ways – a lick of paint, colourful furniture or pretty accessories.

Home office desk with inspiration wall

Inspiration & motivation

We all need inspiration and motivation at work sometimes; getting over the Wednesday hump or when Friday just seems to drag. There are visual and aural methods of improving your productivity – artworks, postcards, photos. Some people need complete silence to work, however, tuning into the radio, playing music or listing to recorded sounds from nature such as birdsong or rain showers can increase your work rate.

Hopefully, by following these tips, you’ll be able to create a home office space that makes you comfortable, productive, happy and healthy.

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Loving our new Frankie day bed

Frankie day bed | H is for Home

The kind people at Happy Beds sent us their Frankie day bed with single mattress to try out this week – and we’re loving it!

Frankie day bed components | H is for Home

It arrived in five well-packaged boxes, each containing the essential components ready for construction. The fact that it comes in pieces will certainly suit those people who live in flats – or have some tight corners or doorways to manoeuvre objects through and around.

Arched slats on the Frankie day bed | H is for Home

Putting the day bed together was really straightforward. We followed the enclosed instructions and it was up and ready to go in approximately 1½ hours. Adelle actually loves doing that kind of flat pack construction type thing! Don’t worry if you don’t have a tool box, it comes with its own double-headed (Phillips on one end and standard on the other) screwdriver for assembling.

Detail of the fabric on the Frankie day bed | H is for Home

It’s very solidly constructed and has arched, flexible wooden slats for extra comfort. The detailing and finish is very good too. We really like the fashionable, soft grey, Hessian-like textile. It sits very nicely against our slightly darker grey walls – and also works well as a backdrop for pops of brighter colour.

Frankie day bed with blanket | H is for Home Frankie day bed with fabric throw | H is for Home Frankie day bed with vintage tin side table | H is for Home

We’ve been experimenting with various accessories and soft furnishings to dress it. So far, bright yellow has been our favourite. The grey/yellow combo is a bit of a classic, and was the obvious starting point if you look at the huge painting which hangs on the wall above it.

Frankie day bed with drawer pulled out | H is for Home Frankie day bed with blankets stored in under-drawer | H is for Home

The Frankie day bed has another nice design feature too. The under-bed, pull-out drawer is the exact dimensions as the mattress above. This means that, if you decide to house a mattress in it, you can have two single beds at slightly different heights – a great option if you have people staying over and need to maximise sleeping berths. Alternatively, it makes for great storage. You can get absolutely loads of bedding, clothes or shoes tucked away neatly and out of sight.

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Price Points: Quilted seating

Selection of quilted seating options | H is for Home

Quilted homewares are nothing new. There have a long history of (mainly) women – around the world – getting together to sew, share and support each other as they create magnificent works of art.

Recently, we’ve been noticing a big resurgence in quilted soft furnishings; this time, it’s no longer confined to blankets, bedspreads and throws. Quilted seating is offering up a twist on the classics with all new patterns, colours and materials.

Quilted chairs and sofas are so tactile and inviting – sitting or reclining on one is like getting a big warm hug!

  1. Meritalia La Michetta modular sofa: £1,013.15 – £1,982.24 per unit
  2. Percy armchair: £1,190, Sofa.com (available end August 2017)
  3. Quilt armchair by Established & Sons: £4,131.00