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May 10, 2016

Taking the "ouch" out of buying a couch.

You thought it was Spring season, but it's actually Furniture Buying Season! New furniture designs debut in spring, so retailers are clearing out old styles to make room.", says Dan Butler, vice president of retail operations at the National Retail Federation. If you're in the market, now is a good time to buy! But don't just buy anything! Buying a couch or upholstered chairs is an investment. Make sure you're getting good quality and exactly what you want!

The old adage is true, "You get what you pay for." That's certainly the case when it comes to furniture.  Since this is a major investment you should know the facts! There are many important things to consider before you purchase your new piece of furniture. The quality of the construction should be one of them.

So how do you know if it's good quality or not? Start by testing the frame. Lift the item by one of the legs. By the time you've raised it 6 inches, the other leg should have followed. If not, then the frame is too weak. Look for frames made of kiln-dried wood, such as maple, poplar or oak as they will be more durable. Be sure the legs are held on by screws or dowels, not glue.

Next up is cushions! There's much you should know, besides look and comfort, before you buy. Your designer may throw out terms that you've never heard of, but that are important to know. Ever heard of the term eight way hand tied? Me neither until I got into the design industry. Simply put, eight way hand tied means quality. It's a construction method where a series of coils are each tied from front to back, side to side, and diagonally, eight times all by hand! It's quality is built to last!

While eight way hand tied cushions will provide proper support, what about the squishy stuff? This may be a matter of preference. Do you like a firm cushion, soft or super soft, (which may result in endless fluffing)? My favorite is somewhere in between...a down wrapped cushion gives you the best of both worlds!

Here's a good furniture testing tip: Feel the springs through the upholstery. They should be close together and firm. Sofas with no springs, just webbing or mesh, will be flimsy and uncomfortable.

I love a good "cheat sheet". Here's one I found on Wayfair. It's a good explanation of your furniture innards.

Keep in mind that your cushions may feel a bit stiff when your piece arrives at your home. Don't fret! They just need to be worn in a bit. In time, they will loosen up and feel great.

I have had lots of clients who think they know what they want in a sofa or chair, but then look like a deer in headlights when I start asking a few questions like, how many cushions do you like? What type of arm do you prefer? Do you want the cushions attached or loose? Surprisingly, there's lots to think of, isn't there?

Consider how you use your current sofa. Or perhaps think about what you don't like about it. For example, if you are the kind of person who likes to throw a pillow at the end of the sofa for that impromptu nap, then I'd suggest a low profile arm style such as an English roll arm or track arm.

Choosing how many cushions you like can be perplexing too! Two cushions on a large sofa can mean that someone has to sit in the crack, a position everyone in my family often fights about (no one wants it)! My favorite is a bench seat, as it eliminates that problem all together!

Then of course, there's the age old question...sectional or no sectional? Two sofas or one sofa with two chairs? I find that families who still have kids at home gravitate toward sectionals, as they are great for snuggling, especially if you claim the corner spot, and they can accommodate lots of people. I've also learned that sectionals aren't as appealing for the older set (think or grandma stuck in the corner seat...feet not touching the ground!).

Here we used a nice big comfy sectional in this renovated 1850's barn. Our vision was that it would be littered with kids at any time of day or night. Our theory proved true! Thank goodness for lots of comfy seating!

This was a beach cottage we designed knowing that much of the day would be spent outside enjoying the weather and that this cottage would welcome visitors often. A couch and two chairs offers up some nice seating options for when you entertain or have guests. It's perfect for conversation, but also versatile enough to use every day for tv watching, reading or napping.

Always consider who will be using the couch and how it will get used. That will help you determine what style is best for you and your family.  I always choose a high quality, stain resistant upholstery because let's face it, no matter what your age is, spills happen!

Come back to our blog next week and we will help you pick the best furniture placement for your needs.

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Clients who have experienced the transformative power of healthy interior design

Renee possesses a rare combination of artistic creativity and intuitive design. Her warmth and compassion extended beyond working with us to understanding the style and feel of our home and how we live in it. We felt fortunate to work with and get to know Renee and absolutely love the updates she made to our home- from windows and walls to artwork and furniture!

Jim P.

Renee is an absolutely wonderful designer. Very talented and easy to work with! She will transform your room or outdoor space into exactly what you want, only better!

Karen S.

Talented, creative, dedicated, great communicator. Renee is such a special person.

Marla W.

We have worked with Renee Carman at this company for almost 2 years. Renee is professional, personable, and a pleasure to know. She is very helpful and will go the extra mile to please her clients. Renee has excellent expertise and knowledge of interior design. We have a beautiful home and highly recommend her.

Lisa W.

Renee possesses a rare combination of artistic creativity and intuitive design.  Her warmth and compassion extended beyond working with us to understanding the style and feel of our home and how we live in it.  We felt fortunate to work with and get to know Renee and absolutely love the updates she made to our home- from windows and walls to artwork and furniture!

Kate S.

Renee was a pleasure to work with and has great vision. We were doing a total rehab of a recently purchased property and she was able to look at a gutted out '50s cottage and turn it into a beautiful mid-century modern home. She understood our budget and timeline and was good about narrowing all our options down to just a few choices. This expedited the process, made it less difficult and more enjoyable. Once the rehab is done, we look forward to working with her again and finish the rest of the rooms.

Bill H.

Renee at Mandeville Canyon Interior Design was simply wonderful to work with. She was able to understand what we were looking for in terms of color, function and design from the moment we first spoke. She's easy to work with, goes above and beyond and delivers an outstanding design.

I highly recommend Renee and Mandeville Canyon Interior Design. I don't think I will attempt to decorate another room in my house without the help of Renee!

Pam O.

Love working with Renee and Mandeville Canyon Interior Design ! I had the opportunity to collaborate on a large scale design project recently and the results were fantastic! Creative, resourceful and one of kind design ideas made this design opportunity with Renee "one of a kind" Have a large or small project? You won't be disappointed!!

Mary S.

Renee not only has an amazingly creative eye, she also directed a massive renovation for us this past year that included the challenges of operating during the pandemic. She put together a team that had an incredible work ethic and brought the project in on-time and on-budget. She's a great listener. When we threw ideas at her, she was never dismissive; quite the contrary, she made them better. Her patience, attention to detail combined with her whacky sense of humor meant we were all able to smile while producing a home that we love. A great talent and a great lady.

Ann R.

Rene is amazing!  Great customer care and wonderful attention to detail.

Holly M.