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Date published: May 05 2014

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Rick Petini celebrates the decline of the throw away furniture culture

The throw-away culture that has typified the market place in recent years is declining as buyers look for furniture that will stand the test of time.

The increase is in the wake of homeowners looking to invest in timeless quality that will last rather than spending on fashion led pieces which are not always as robust.

A bespoke sofa or chair will guarantee exacting preference or standards, ensuring that the customer will be able to enjoy a custom-fit sofa, safe in the knowledge that it carries them through the years.

Sofas are much more than just furniture – they are an expression of a customer’s individuality.

A sofa is an essential piece of furniture that should be an investment purchase – over the years we spend hundreds of hours sitting on them – so choosing a good quality frame is imperative.

Frames made from solid wood are more likely to last for years to come. In some cases we’ve had customers that have revisited us just to re-upholster their sofa – simply because they loved the shape and size and thought it unnecessary to throw away a perfectly good frame.

Savvy interior shoppers and interior designers are craving variation and excitement when they shop for furniture for the home or to fit in with a vision for a client’s home. There has definitely been a surge in the experimental shopper looking for statement pieces that will create a ‘wow’ factor in a room.

Oversized footstools, occasional chairs and chaise longues are proving extremely popular – especially with interior designers – who are looking for something that will add excitement to a scheme that they have designed for a client.

Smaller pieces can work well and can be easily moved around a room to refresh the look. Multi-functional furniture is on-trend, for example, extra-large footstools are being used as luxurious coffee tables and accessorised with dramatic gilded trays – very Parisian Chic.

Occasional chairs upholstered in fabulous statement prints are being selected to complement larger sofas – whether to add a pattern pop or to expertly clash with an alternative design – pattern is most definitely back in fashion. Mixing classic shapes with contemporary fabrics is one way that homeowners are ensuring a sofa will carry them through the years without looking dated.

We recently built a traditionally shaped occasional chair and upholstered it in a modern, limited edition Christian Lacroix butterfly print fabric and we have mixed an ultra-traditional Chesterfield style with an up-to-the-minute tartan.

Smaller statement chairs are often added to a scheme to add a focal point into a room. They are also being used to dress hallways, landings and larger bedrooms - chaise longues work well and are particularly striking in the bedroom, at the base of the bed, or placed in a large bay window.

British credentials and sourcing materials responsibly is a factor that more shoppers are looking for when purchasing furniture – especially since the recent fire regulations scandal that broke on BBC1’s Watchdog programme at the beginning of the year which exposed  a number of high profile retailers who were selling furniture that displayed the correct labelling but were not actually compliant.

Building a relationship with the customer is something that I’m passionate about. You’re responsible for guiding them through a selection process for something that will be incredibly prominent in the home – and sometimes there is just so much choice, so it’s important for you to help whittle their selection down by asking the right questions. It’s often beneficial for the buyer to bring in various accessories – paint or wallpaper swatches that will help determine the right fabric and style of sofa – modern, traditional or retro – it’s down to the customer!

Author: Rick Petini

Company: Delcor

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