Dining Rooms for More Than Just Dinner

Newer homes have moved away from floor plans with a formal dining room. Most people want homes with rooms that they can live in every day, not a cordoned off dining space that is only occupied on major holidays. The good news is that today there are many options for multi-functional dining furniture that easily shift a room from a homework or crafting area to an elegant dining space.

Daniel's Amish Server                                              If you’re looking for versatility, a server is a great flexible piece to include in your dining room. Living up to its name, the server acts as an extension of the kitchen, offering additional countertop space and a place to set serving dishes at crowded meals. Servers typically include drawers, doors, or combinations of the two. These can be used to store dishes and linens, or tuck away office supplies and crafting materials. Some manufacturers equip their servers with electrical outlets for a convenient way to keep crock pots hot or coffee brewing nearby.

If you need more storage or would like to show off dishware, you might consider a buffet with a hutch. This will allow you to store your dishes and keep them easily accessible, but it will show off your best pieces when not in use.

If you only take out the family’s best china for holidays, but would like to enjoy it year-round, a more formal china cabinet may fit the bill. The closed case keeps glassware free from dust, protects valuables, and shows off art objects. perspectives

Broyhill Perspectives                          Extras to look for:

  • Lined silverware drawers that keep silverware from tarnishing and serving pieces organized
  • Integrated wine racks and wine glass storage
  • Granite or stone tops that are hot-dish friendly
  • Pullout shelves that expand the countertop, or to use as a work surface or laptop desk
  • Touch lighting in hutches and display cabinets that allows you to highlight the contents without disturbing them to turn on the light

Whether you have a small space or a large space, dining tables with shelves and drawers – even built-in wine storage – can help your dining space multi-task. Tables with shelves in the base can store board games or hold organizing baskets so your kids can keep track of homework. Tables with drawers in the apron allow you to keep silverware and table linens handy, or tuck away laptop computers when its time to eat. Tables with leaves conveniently adapt your table top to different sizes, whether you need to seat a party of eight or work on a large project. Butterfly leaves have the added advantage storing within the table itself. storage table

Broyhill Perspectives Storage Table                                      Here is a glossary of terms to refer to when choosing the dining room piece that is right for your home:

A cupboard or “dresser” used in a dining room to hold platters and serving dishes. Occasionally paired with a china cabinet hutch on top.

China Cabinet:
Often used in dining rooms, china cabinets generally consist of an upper portion with glass-doored display case, and lower enclosed cabinet for storage.

A buffet, sideboard or bookcase, typically with a functional top surface near table height.

Curio Cabinet:
A display case with a glass front and sides, and without enclosed cabinet space. Most modern curio cabinets incorporate interior lighting, glass shelves, and a mirrored back.

Originally an outdoor piece of furniture, huntboards were designed to give hunters on horseback a surface to drop their game on without dismounting. Now used indoors, they are serving and storage pieces that are taller than conventional servers.

An upper cabinet with open shelves or doors that is placed atop a buffet or desk.

A table and storage piece, used in dining rooms, that is relatively shallow and intended to be used against a wall. Traditionally, food is stored on top prior to being brought to the table. Drawers may be used to store silverware, linens, or other dining room necessities.

The Right Pillow for You

The Right Pillow for You

Pure Latex Bliss                                    Finding the right support for your body has everything to do with getting a good night’s sleep. This includes finding the perfect pillow! A comfortable and supportive pillow can help you rest more peacefully and keep you from waking up with neck pain or headaches. Here’s what to consider when choosing your new pillow:

Fill Material

  • Polyester – Hypoallergenic and machine-washable, polyester fiber holds its shape well and is the most budget-friendly filling.
  • Down/feather – Down pillows do a good job of conforming to your head, shoulders, and neck for springy support. It’s a long-lasting and breathable natural material.
  • Memory foam – These pillows are good for neck support, molding to your shape as you move. A new foam pillow may initially have an unpleasant odor, but leave it out to air and it will fade.
  • Latex – Resistant to bacteria and dust mites, latex is a good choice if you have allergies.

Sleep Position
Bedgear align pillows                                                The best support comes when your head rests in neutral alignment – that is, keeping your head squarely in line with your shoulders so your spine isn’t bent.

  • Side – Side sleepers need firmer pillows to support the neck and head to keep them in alignment with the spine.
  • Back – A medium-support pillow will give you comfortable cushioning that’s not too high.
  • Stomach – Soft pillows are best so they don’t place undue strain on the neck or lower back. You may not even need a pillow for your head, but tucking a thin one under your hips can help avoid lower back strain.

You may find you need more than one type of pillow, or a pillow designed for multiple-position sleepers. They’re also sold in a variety of sizes. Standard pillows are 20 x 26 inches, but depending on your body frame, you may find you’re more comfortable with a narrower or longer pillow.

If your pillow has gone flat, it’s no longer giving you any support and it’s time to be replaced. Old pillows also tend to contain skin cells, dust mites, or mold and mildew. Wash pillows (or the pillow protector in the case of memory foam pillows) regularly to increase their life. After 2 years, it’s time to toss them.

Your pillow is responsible for 20% of your spinal alignment. With the right support you’ll notice the benefits of quality, healthful rest.

Pull a Room Together with a Great Area Rug

Pull a Room Together with a Great Area Rug

Surya Area Rug                  Many people think of area rugs as a “finishing touch” for a room, but a rug is a great way to begin decorating since it can give you a good color palette to start from. Area rugs can define a conversation area in the living room, a seating area in an office, or an eating area in the kitchen or dining room. They can separate rooms that have no defining wall and mark off areas by placing them on wall-to-wall carpeting. Throw rugs and area rugs provide an additional visual layer, making it easy to transform a room from cold and dreary to warm and colorful.

Select a size

  • Smaller-sized rugs can highlight furnishings. A 5′ x 8′ or 6′ x 9′ rug generally works well under a coffee table. All four legs should fit on the rug, which should be about the same length and width of the furnishings within the space.
  • An 8′ x 10′ or 9′ x 12′ area rug works for most dining rooms. The chair legs should not fall off the rug when people are seated or when pulling chairs away from the table, so measure the length and width of the table and add at least four feet to each measurement to get a good size estimate.
  • To determine the proper dimensions of a room-size rug, subtract three feet from the length and width of the room. Runners should be four inches narrower than your hallway and 18 to 24 inches shorter.

Select a style
Whether you prefer contemporary, traditional, Victorian, or something in between, you can find area rugs to accentuate your style. If you have rather eclectic tastes and your furnishings are from several style groups in the same room, area rugs can offer a binding effect.

Consider the rug as a piece of artwork. You don’t have to be married to the decision forever, but you should certainly like the colors and patterns of the rug you choose! Many people choose neutral colors/patterns for their large sofas and chairs because they don’t want them to become outdated. Use the rug as a bolder statement to add color or patterns to the room. However, if you do have a bold pattern or color scheme in your furniture, choose a more subtle rug that won’t compete with it.

Consider the materials and construction
Think of how different yarns used in the various rug constructions contribute to the “mood” of the room. Natural fibers such as jute, sisal, and hemp used in a flatweave construction add a casual feel. The hand-knotted construction with historic patterns and colors is made with high quality wool, washed until it shines, and is usually found in traditional settings. If it’s a contemporary or modern style you’re looking for, shags or large scale patterns in a tufted construction work well.

Jaipur Fusion

Color and pattern options
  • Light colored rugs will make a room look more spacious while a darker color scheme can add coziness to a bigger space.
  • A rug with a bold overall pattern can be the focal point of a room, with a sofa and chair in solid or subdued patterns. Consider using round, oval, octagonal or other shapes.
  • Ask yourself what effect you want the room to have – a warm, cozy room rich with bold colors and textures, or a calming, uncluttered space with softer hues and simple patterns?
  • Use the colors in your rug to select small accent pieces for your room. This will help tie the room together into one cohesive space.

Quick Tips:

  • You need not reserve rugs for the floor; they can make equally impressive wall hangings!
  • To make a rug the focal point of a room, create contrast. Paint your walls a hue that echoes one of your rug’s accent colors.
  • Placing rugs on high traffic carpet areas is also a great way to extend the life of your carpeting.

Tips for Mixing Patterns

Tips for Mixing Patterns

Patterns add texture, visual interest, and a sense of style to a room, but many people are unsure about how to use them effectively. If you follow a few simple guidelines, you can make your home look effortlessly stylish.

Pick Your Foundation
Start with one item as your inspiration. It could be an existing piece of furniture, an area rug, a favorite painting or your favorite color. If you’re starting from scratch, you may have selected a fabric that appeals to you. This is where you will draw your color scheme from.

Better Homes and Gardens Sectional   Choose 3 Patterns
A good mix is made of different types of patterns, rather than three different floral prints, for instance. An easy combination to start with is a floral, plaid, and stripe. Plaid makes a good starting point because it usually contains several colors to tie together with the rest of the room. Plaids come in a variety of scales and they mix well with most other patterns.

Vary the Scale
The ideal mix includes a large-scale pattern, a medium-scale pattern, and a small-scale pattern. Stick to three patterns in a room, otherwise you risk making it look busy rather than balanced. For unity, be sure the patterns are spread throughout the room, rather than concentrated in one area.

Coordinating Colors
The three patterns will work well together if there is a common color shared somewhere in all of them. But there are other options for creating color schemes. Complementary colors – colors which are opposite each other on a color wheel – are a great choice for a dynamic palette. A touch of a common color found in a stripe of plaid can go a long way to making a piece pop and tying the room together.

Jaipur Anatolia                                              If multiple colors aren’t your style, select a few shades of the same color. You can be sure about matching if you use three shades of the same blue, for example. A black and white color scheme can be effective when rounded out with some versatile shades of gray.

White can be a valuable part of your color scheme. It separates the other colors and patterns and allows the eyes a place to rest. A piece with a plain solid color – such as a sofa or rug – can also provide the same grounding effect.

Special Effects
Patterns affect how the room feels. Bold, vibrant patterns enliven a space. Large-scale patterns can create or enhance a focal point in the room. Vertical stripes, such as those on wallpaper, direct the eye upward and create the illusion of height. Horizontal stripes widen a room.

On Trend
Tribal patterns are a hot trend in home furnishings, particularly in textiles. Often bright and colorful, these patterns can create an instant highlight in a room. Tribal designs with more muted color palettes or strong geometric patterns lend character to your décor.

Whether you’re redecorating or just looking to spruce up your home, creatively mixing patterns is within your reach.

Devising the Plan for a Fabulous Room

Devising the Plan for a Fabulous Room

Redesigning a room can be a daunting task for anyone. To help keep your angst levels at a minimum, here is a plan to transform your space quickly and easily.

Four Hands Bina

Focus on one room at a time. Transforming your whole house at once is normally not practical and will leave you feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. Remember how you eat an elephant – one bite at a time!

Define what the room will be used for. Once you clearly outline exactly what you want to take place in the space, all the pieces will align more easily. Is this a room for reading and relaxing, or is this a family room with a 70-inch flat screen where you need space for the nightly family Wii fest? When you define how the room will be used you will be able to quickly determine pieces that you may need to purchase or dispose of.

Take inventory of what you have. When you’ve owned something for a long time, you tend to forget just how beautiful or ugly it is. Now is a good time to take a step back and see what can be re purposed, transformed, moved to a new place, given away, or burned.

Get rid of what you hate. We all have a tendency to hang on to things that have outlived their usefulness. Our possessions should serve us well and bring us joy. If they do not, it’s time for them to go make someone else happy.

room planner

Measure the room. That includes doorways, windows, fireplace width, the distance between the window or door from the ceiling, the wall or the next opening. Measure the pieces you intend to keep – length, width, height, and depth. You get it – make note of every dimension so you can make good editing choices. Not only do you need to know what size furniture the room can accommodate, you need to know if new pieces can pass through any doorways and staircases on the way in.

Plot the room to scale. This is very easy with the plethora of room planning programs available for free online. Using the planning software will allow you to start experimenting with placement and traffic flow so you can finalize what additional pieces you will need to add.

Look in your closet to choose your color palette. The colors you wear the most will make you the happiest to see day in and day out.

Build an idea board. Tear out magazine pages that show placement, color, shape, fabric use, or any design elements that appeal to you. You’ll be impressed with how quickly you can determine the room’s outcome by physically laying out some images. Sometimes it is just easier to have the visuals all together in front of you.

Don’t hem yourself in with the mindset that the room must be completely finalized at a set point. The best spaces evolve over time and have the benefit of several edits. Truly great rooms have layers; let those layers unfold to you. You may edit and re-edit many times before you find perfection, or you may be like Thomas Jefferson and spend a life time pursuing perfection. Either way – enjoy the process!

Psychology of color – Jeffrey Seyller

Do you ever notice how a powerful color can change the mood you’re in? There are clear relationships between colors and emotions, and today’s post is dedicated to this phenomenon (also known as color psychology). Whether you’re a fan of bold redssoothing bluessunny yellows or regal purples, understanding the relationship between color and mood can help you strategically select hues for your interior, especially if you’re trying to beat the winter blues.

From the basics of color psychology to the subtleties of radiant interior design, these tips and suggestions are meant to inspire and empower.  (And remember – different colors may effect people differently so some of these rules are okay to break…)  And don’t worry–even if you don’t have the freedom to paint your walls, there are plenty of ways you can strategically incorporate color into your home. Read on for more details…

Color Basics

Let’s start with the basics. There’s a reason why blue is such a popular color for interiors. It calms and soothes, ushering in a sense of tranquility. Blue evokes the color of the sea and the sky, and darker shades such as navy can create a relaxing nautical vibe.


While we know that blue can be a calming hue, remember that each color has a variety of shades, all of which can have very different effects. For example, electric blue is often more energizing than calming. While this shade may not be ideal for relaxing spaces such as the bedroom, it’s an unexpected yet perfect choice for dining rooms.

Bright shades such as vivid yellow and bold red have the power to energize (and even stimulate the appetite). No wonder they’re a popular choice restaurants, as well as residential dining rooms. (Orange has a similar stimulating effect)

red room

The same goes for yellow! Soft lemony shades are soothing, while richer, more saturated shades of yellow have an energizing effect.

Let’s talk neutrals. Often grounding and stabilizing, neutral hues such as cream and gray can also veer into dreary territory if they’re not accented with other cheerful colors.

Gray can also be calming–a perfect hue for uniting a range of decor choices in large and small spaces alike. Dependable and steady, this color can be kept from being boring with vibrant accents.

It’s All in the Shade

Now that we have a basic idea of the colors that energize the colors that calm and the colors that lay the groundwork for vibrant accents, let’s take a look at a very important subtlety – the shade of choice! It’s impossible to say that one color always has the same effect. For example, think of a taxicab yellow… Imagine an entire room painted in that hue… It would definitely be intense, and even upbeat. But yellow can also take on a soothing effect, especially when lemony shades are selected.

Green is another color that can have many effects. Typically seen as peaceful, healthy and happy, green also blends well with a variety of hues, from violet to orange. But a rich kelly green living room has a very different effect than the tranquility of a citrus-toned green…

green room

Would you paint your bedroom fire orange? A powerful choice, it may also be a bit too stirring to inspire sleep. But lighten the tone and you have coral… a soothing shade of red-orange that evokes the serenity of the beach.

Similarly, purple is rich, mysterious and regal. Lighten it up a bit, and you have the chill yet elegant hue of lavender, another popular choice for bedrooms…

Many people stereotype gray as a cold, lifeless color. But if you choose a warm shade of gray, the hue becomes inviting rather than institutional!

Accents are powerfully subtle…

You’ve decided that you need calm, relaxing rooms to thrive, yet you can’t help but be drawn to bold colors… What’s a design enthusiast to do?! Don’t ever forcefully eliminate a color you love! Color psychology is helpful, but if you use it to separate you from intense, bright colors that naturally make you happy, it becomes counterproductive. So you’re an orange fanatic that is a bit overwhelmed by spaces entirely covered in this hue… Rather than covering your walls in fiery shades, liven up your living room with orange cushions and pillows! – accents make all the difference.

Accent shades are particularly helpful for renters. So you can’t paint the walls of your home… But maybe you can enliven the back of your shelves with contact paper that can be removed without pulling the paint from the surface. And if you DO own your home and you favor the clean look of white walls, don’t hesitate to paint an accent surface.

Understanding the effect of colors on our emotions can be crucial in helping us design spaces that lift our moods. While it’s important to pay attention to emotions associated with key colors, this information should never be used to exclude your favorite hues from your home. If you love a color, it likely uplifts you on some level! Finding ways to work this hue into your space can be as simple as going with a shade that is calming rather than stimulating, or incorporating a vivid, energizing color through accent pieces. Then again, certain rooms such as kitchen and dining areas are the perfect places to try out bold, intense shades.

If you are having a hard time incorporating color and would rather leave it to the professionals, come on in to see me.  Color selection – paint colors, accents, bold – subtle are my specialty.  I spent an entire semester at New York School for Interior Design mixing paints (almost every tone, shade, hue you can think of) and discussed how they may effect a person.  It can be daunting, but it is also a lot of fun.

Dorm Decor

More than a mere bedroom, a dorm room is a college student’s home, sanctuary, and study center. Living in a borrowed space doesn’t mean you can’t put your own stamp on it! Here are some dorm decorating tips to help a student feel at home, maximize every inch, and live comfortably.

Personalize it!
A few budget-friendly pieces can create a big effect. An area rug is a must-have item for a fast and effective transformation. It sets the style and performs the important service of protecting feet from cold floors or hiding drab carpeting. Curtains, too, bring instant color, pattern, and privacy. Let them hang all the way to the floor to emphasize vertical space. You don’t need to install elaborate hardware – a tension rod and hooks will do the trick.

Institutional overhead lighting is notoriously unflattering and probably inadequate. Bring along a lamp or two for warmer, more welcoming illumination. A lamp with a great shape and color makes a nice accent too!

Surround yourself with images that inspire you! Hang your favorite posters and photos high to give the impression of more height. Use safe adhesives that won’t damage the wall. To avoid the “dorm furniture” look, forget using stacked crates. A tall narrow set of shelves or storage drawers will look classier and capitalize on vertical space. A storage ottoman is a top choice multi-functional piece, providing a place to put your feet up, hidden storage, additional seating, and an extra tabletop surface.

Classic Home 5BED9Q Make a nest
It’s the relaxation zone, reading nook, guest seating…and place to sleep. The bed is the focal point of the room, so dress it up with a comforter that expresses your style and can stand up to wear and tear. Remember to take a mattress protector, and maybe a layer of memory foam in case that dorm-issued mattress isn’t as soft as you’re used to. Plenty of pillows will keep you propped up comfortably for late study sessions. In the daytime, toss a few accent pillows against the wall for a sofa effect. Raise the bed a few inches on risers, and slide a couple of accessible storage bins underneath.

Get organized
Keeping organized means less clutter and a more spacious feel. A student’s workspace can easily become overwhelmed, so bins, baskets, or files may bring order to the chaos. A message board is a handy tool for notes to yourself and your roommate. Hang a dry-erase board on the back of the door, or customize a bulletin board surface with a fun piece of fabric.

Your college may have storage for some of the furniture that came with the room. If you can swap out their desk chair for your own, do it! Good support is important for long hours at the computer, and your chair may add style or color – or at least be less ordinary than your neighbors’.

Make a few changes, express yourself, and yours will be the hottest room on the floor.

Sharing Personal Style Preferences with Your Spouse

Sometimes it’s hard enough to agree on what to have for dinner, much less try to design a home with your significant other. Finding home furnishings that you both love can be a challenge, but with a little compromise and creativity, it is definitely possible to find stylistic harmony under the same roof!PIC 1

Here are a few ways to get past your differences and design a home that reflects both of your personalities and style preferences.


Is it comfort? Color? Shape? Fabric versus leather? Price? Sit down and discuss what you both want and why. If your color preferences are extremely different, pick a gender-neutral color for bigger upholstered furniture pieces or window treatments. A few bold color accessories can highlight personal preferences – males typically prefer the neutral leathers and hardwoods, and women can add their own style with throw pillows, linens, and other accent pieces. Try mixing rustic styles with sleek, sensual fabrics, or contemporary furnishings with earthy, soft colors and textiles.

Give your partner the respect of listening to his or her point of view, because he or she has to live there too! You should both feel comfortable and happy with the furnishings in your home. Thankfully, with the range of options available at every price point, couples can find furniture to combine both of their preferences.


If you’re just starting out and need to furnish you entire home, focus on one or two rooms at a time. This will help keep you both on the same page about what you need to shop for and help you see progress in your home more quickly. After you come to a consensus about the style of a certain piece, let your spouse do what he or she does best.


Women tend to enjoy doing some legwork at home, first by going through magazines and looking for ideas, searching for items online, comparing prices, and enjoying the shopping process in general. This helps men too, because they appreciate the more targeted approach to shopping and will be more helpful in making final decisions when you’re actually in the store.


There’s no rule that says all your furniture needs to be the same style – having an eclectic blend of home furnishings is perfectly acceptable. If you both like a particular item, buy it! Combining your styles will make your home a unique place that is a reflection of both of you.


Here at NC Furniture & Mattress, we offer such benefits as interior design consulting, room planning guides and product brochures. Working with a designer can help you coordinate new furniture with your existing pieces, or we can help you design your home from the ground up and find solutions that will please both of you.


Having a designer’s assistance not only can help you choose the right piece of furniture for your room, but he or she can help you and your spouse with space planning, traffic flow, color schemes, and coordinating fabrics. Designers also can help you find unique solutions to any unusual room layouts or space challenges you may be facing. They also have access to hundreds of catalogs of furnishings that are not on the store’s showroom floor, giving you options that you may never have considered otherwise.

In other words, we can take your home from looking like a mish-mash of items to a complete “look” that works together seamlessly.


Your home is the place where you should be able to relax, recharge, be yourself, and nurture each other. Furnishing a home that allows you to do those things together should be a fun and rewarding experience. Enjoy the process of creating a home that is uniquely you!




Photos courtesy of Stressless, Sam Moore and Google Images

Buying Furniture to Last Through the Destruction Years

When you decided to have children, you probably didn’t realize you were signing yourself up to test your furniture against fruit punch, food spills, scraped knees, painted fingers, crayons, markers and other contemptible accidents. Sure, our grandmothers may have made their sofas last a few generations by protecting them with plastic covers, but who really wants to curl up on that at the end of the day? So what’s a parent to do? Are you doomed to suffer the destruction years with unsightly furniture, or are there furniture options that can hold up against the unnecessary roughness? Fabrics have come a long way in the last several years, and it’s a good thing too, since upholstered furniture seems to take the brunt of kids’ growing years. Two things to consider before buying are the Fabric Wearability Code and the fabric’s cleanability code.

Fabric wearability
The Fabric Wearability Code is the government’s standard guide that indicates if a fabric is strong enough for your needs. You can find fabric wearability codes on manufacturers’ swatch samples at your furniture store. If you can’t find it, just ask a salesperson to help you. The standards for fabrics’ wearability are as follows:

  • Heavy Duty (HD) – If a fabric holds up to more than 15,000 double rubs it is classified as heavy duty. It will be stiffer and thicker than most fabrics, but there are some incredible new blends in this rating that seem to belie it because they are supple and soft enough. This would be a good choice for family room furniture.
  • Medium Duty (MD) – Medium duty fabric can withstand 9,000 to15,000 double rubs. The closer the fabrics get to 15,000 the stiffer they are. Medium duty fabrics are versatile and can be used for many purposes, and in family rooms as well as living rooms.
  • Light Duty (LD) – A fabric that can take anywhere between 3,000 to 9,000 double rubs, is classified as light duty fabric. These fabrics can withstand one to three years of regular use and are generally very delicate. They are suitable for pieces that get only occasional use, such as sofas that only get used when guests arrive, or an occasional chair that is used more for its looks than any function.
  • Delicate Duty (DD) – Delicate duty fabrics with 3,000 double should only be used on furniture that is purely decorative, or in pillows.

Fabric cleanability

Knowing the cleanability code for your fabric helps you make smart decisions by knowing how you are able to care for and clean your upholstered piece. You will either find the code on the manufacturer’s label, or you can ask for it when you are selecting fabric for your sofa. Obviously, if cleanability is a huge issue for you, then you’ll want a fabric that gives you the most options for getting out stains. These are the cleanability codes and their descriptions:

  • Code “W” – Fabrics should be cleaned only with water based cleaning agents or non-solvent cleaning products. Apply foam with a soft brush in a circular motion, and vacuum when dry.
  • Code “S” – Mild water-free cleaning solvent or dry cleaning product is appropriate. Make sure the room is well ventilated and there are no open flames, such as from a candle or cigarette lighter.
  • Code “W-S” – Fabrics that can be cleaned with either water- or solvent-based products. Use a mild solvent, an upholstery shampoo, or the foam from a mild detergent.
  • Code “X” – Clean this fabric by vacuuming or gently brushing only. Do not use cleaning agents at all on this fabric, as it may cause staining, shrinkage or distortion.

Think low-maintenance and well-made

Whatever decorating style you choose, low-maintenance is a must. But low-maintenance doesn’t have to look cheap – think well made, durable, and easy to clean. For upholstery, leather sometimes seems like a luxury, but it’s actually very durable – it wipes clean and ages beautifully (as long as no permanent markers are involved). For fabrics, you’ll want something that is soft, but also washable. Choose those with a flat weave, which will hold up better than lightweight or looped fabrics. Easy-care, practically stain-proof choices include vinyl, “pleather,” ultrasuede, twill, denim, velvet, wool, felt, and other natural fabrics with a touch of synthetic fiber woven in for added toughness.

10338562_957547687588779_4942320835709358207_oBe sure to buy the best furniture you can afford. It may seem paradoxical, but when you have children it makes sense to buy the best-made furniture you can afford because it will last longer. When purchasing upholstery, be sure to invest in the stain-resistant finish, or consider a sofa with washable slipcovers or zip-off cushion covers. And as a general maintenance rule, regularly clean your fabrics by vacuuming or light brushing. There’s no rule that says your style has to suffer just because you have kids. With today’s fabrics and leather options, it’s more than possible to put together roomfuls of furniture that can stand up to an active family life and still look fabulous!

Photos courtesy of Sunbrella.com and Norwalk Furniture