Is it Time to Update Your Home Furnishings?

Learn the latest home furnishing trends and find out how simple details can add a new sense of style and comfort to your home.

As the transitional style roots itself firmly in our homes, buyers are moving away from “matchy-matchy” living room sets. These days, buyers are more likely to select one piece at a time, or they’re buying pieces that look different but still coordinate. (Benson Stone Co. photo)

After a long and busy day, it’s only natural to relax on your couch and put up your feet.

So, what do you do when, as you sit down, you instantly sink into your couch so much that you’re nearly sitting on the floor?

If it’s time to update your well-worn or outdated furniture and give your home a much-needed facelift, it’s easy to find comfort, fresh style and extra function all in the same place.

A new, more comfortable couch; stylish living room pieces; a high-tech, cozy bed; a clean and plush rug that provides both comfort and a tying theme – it’s possible to find what your home needs to look fresh and up-to-date.

Transitional Living Room Style

Furniture, like fashion, seems to always change like the weather, and the go-to style these days is the transitional look that blends together modern and traditional elements. It’s a look that emphasizes calm, yet simple color schemes, and the best part is they’re easy to match with your existing furniture, so nothing has to look out of place.

“A transitional piece of furniture can go with modern, urban or traditional furniture,” says Jaimie Stone, a furniture consultant with Benson Stone Co., 1100 11th St., Rockford. “Transitional just means you can put it in any setting and it’ll change the way your living room looks, based on what’s around it. People are wanting furniture that can transition from one phase to another.”

Since transitional furniture works with such a variety of styles, gone are the days of buying entire sets together and “matchy-matchy” living rooms. It’s no longer taboo, for example, to combine a light-colored couch with a dark-colored recliner.

The flexibility of transitional styles to blend with old and new furniture is widely appealing to buyers, says Stone. People want something that has its own style but still coordinates with their existing furniture, which they’re updating in phases, rather than all at once.

“It’s pretty rare that someone comes in and wants an entire living room set anymore,” Stone says.

The same goes for the more-formal living room, as well. More often, people want it to be less formal and more inviting.

“People started salvaging pieces and bringing in antiques or eclectic pieces,” Stone says. “People will say they want a sofa and an accent chair with different types of tables.”

Regardless of which room you’re updating, neutral colors are a fan favorite, particularly brown, tan and similar earthy tones. They’re easy to work with and can tie a room together. Gray colors, which have been a go-to choice the past several years, are slowly losing their appeal.

“Gray is a very difficult color to work with,” Stone says. “It’s OK in small doses, like in a one-piece, but if you have all gray furniture in your room, it’s just kind of cold. So, I think people are starting to go back to earth tones, and they’re using gray as an accent.”

While styles often change, one thing that doesn’t change is buying habits. Stone finds the biggest mistake consumers will make is purchasing a piece of furniture without doing the proper research. It may result in buying cheaper furniture to get a desired look. Ultimately, you get what you pay for, Stone says.

“People should invest in their core pieces of furniture and just add little accent pieces throughout their living room,” she says.

Perhaps the most important accents are cocktail ottomans and cocktail tables.

“People are getting less-expensive cocktail tables and more-expensive upholstery pieces, because if you go with the transitional look, you can switch out your cocktail table in three years and add a whole new look to your room,” she says.

Since the living room is a focal point in any home, and the location where families and their visitors spend the majority of their time, it’s important to make a true investment there, says Stone.

“Everyone wants what people think will look good in their living rooms, so that’s what we sell the most,” Stone says. “You’re sleeping on your bed and you’re just putting clothes in your dresser, but you’re using your living room pieces all the time, especially if you have a family.”

Investing in the Bedroom

The older you get, the more you realize how important sleep is. That’s why Mitch Johnson, of Gustafson’s Furniture and Mattress, 6551 E. State St., in Rockford, recommends taking your time before purchasing a mattress.

“A lot of people are looking for a good night’s sleep and support,” he says. “If you have the wrong type of mattress, or if your mattress is just worn out, you can feel it when you wake up in the morning. You’ll probably be sore and you won’t feel well.”

These days, more consumers are looking beyond the traditional mattress and finding comfort in the hybrid bed, which combines the pressure relief of memory foam and the support of an inner-spring mattress. The bed also comes with materials such as a cooling gel, which is a low conductor of heat, and a pillow top, which offers both comfort and cushioning.

Johnson says this type of bed is so popular it’s becoming the top seller at Gustafson’s.

“If you lay on that bed, you’ll get plenty of feedback in support, comfort and cooling,” he says. “This is a big change that we’re seeing, and it’s only taken place in the past couple of years. These beds are hot right now.”
Almost as popular is the adjustable bed, which boasts mechanisms that raise and lower the mattress at the head and feet.

“People used to get them for grandma because she was very ill,” Johnson says. “Now, 30-year-olds buy them so they can use their laptops or read in bed.”

Johnson finds the beds can also provide health benefits.

“If you have sleep apnea, when you raise up the mattress, it’ll help you breathe better,” Johnson says. “By raising up the bed, you won’t snore as much, and it’ll help with acid reflux disease. If you have lower-back pain and you raise your feet a little bit, it’ll take that kink out of your back. These used to be $2,000, and now you can get one for as little as $400.”

As you buy a new mattress, it may also be time to freshen up the rest of the bedroom. These days, there’s a growing demand for more rustic-looking bedroom sets, complete with dressers and end tables.

“That barn wood, rustic look is big in bedroom furniture,” Johnson says. “It’s a look that people are seeing on television and they want it in their homes.”

Refreshing Area Rugs

As the popularity of hard-surface flooring has risen, so has the popularity of area rugs, including ones made with natural fibers.

Just like wall-to-wall carpet, an area rug sometimes needs professional cleaning to remove dirt and extend its life. But the best cleaning process for a rug is very different from carpet, says Brent Versendaal, owner of All Season Carpet Cleaning, 6813 Elm Ave., in Loves Park, Ill.

“Most people who have a very expensive area rug know they probably shouldn’t be cleaning it in their house using the same process used for wall-to-wall carpeting,” he explains.

For one thing, many expensive area rugs are hand made from natural fibers such as wool, cotton or silk.

“Today, about 98 percent of wall-to-wall carpet is made from a synthetic fiber like nylon or olefin,” he explains. “Wool holds a lot more water and can take a long time to dry. It also tends to stain. But it will clean up nicely if properly handled.”

Versendaal owns a facility that’s specially equipped with area rug cleaning equipment he ordered from Turkey.
“It’s the only one of its kind, locally,” he says.

He uses a giant, tube-shaped washer that spins 95 percent of the water from a rug by using centrifugal force.
“Then we place the rug on a dedicated table top that levitates it on a bed of air,” he explains.

“By using the right products and process, the area rug will come out clean and feel soft and plush as it was meant to be. A hand-made wool rug will last much longer and stay more valuable if it’s properly cleaned. We can guarantee removal of pet odors, even from natural fibers.”

Dirt is the enemy of any kind of carpet or rug.

“The No. 1 most important thing you can do to extend the life of your carpet is to vacuum often,” says Versendaal. “Sand and dirt make micro abrasions on the carpet fibers themselves. Over time they add up and result in wear patterns. By then, the fibers are not just dirty, they’re damaged.”

All Seasons prices carpet cleaning by the square foot, not the room, to avoid confusion.

Versendaal takes pride in properly training his technicians who use high-quality cleaning agents, hot water and truck-mounted equipment that extracts water effectively.

Founded in 1972 by his father, Gerrit Versendaal, the company today offers carpet cleaning and repair, tile and grout cleaning, whole structure odor removal (such as odors caused by fire or water damage), and specialty area rug cleaning.

Updating the furniture in your home is not as hard as you might think. If you have a plan and the right guidance, your home can look and feel more vibrant, refreshing and inviting.