All about Roofs & Roof Trusses

What is a roof?

Yeah, I get that you know what a roof most likely is, but do you really know all the terminology and different sorts that are around? After all, a roof is a very large design aspect of any house. And lets face it, some roofs are amazing while others can be a real eye sore. So especially if you’re building your home from scratch, it’s really important to understand how different roofing styles can impact the overall design of your home‘s exterior.

A roof is a structure found on the upper of buildings. It’s shape can vary, from a steep V shaped gable, to flat, to semi-spherical to abstract. The most common roofs found worldwide, however, are gabled, as they are the cheapest to build and most effective at repelling rain.

Roofs are one of the most important constructions know to human beings. They protect us (and our possessions) from wind, rain, snow and hail, and keep heat in our houses when it’s cold outside. They have been used and built for millenia by humans (and indeed some animals) all over the world.

Roofs often have three layers: the innermost layer is the frame, commonly constructed from wood or metal. This provides support for the surface of the roof. Next is an insulation layer, commonly of waterproof material, to act as a seal between the inner and outer layers of a roof (although some older building may not have this layer). Finally, the outer layer is the layer to which the elements are exposed, common materials for this include slate, tiles, sheet metal (commonly lead, corrugated iron or copper) or, in older buildings, thatch.

Styles of roofs

Roofs can be found worldwide in many different styles, some of which are listed here…

Gabled Roofs:

The classic upside-down V shaped roof, found on many buildings worldwide. In more complicated forms, gabled roofs can have more gables protruding out of the main gable, commonly with a window on them. The Dutch gable is also a famous piece of architecture, where a protruding gable has an ornate shape around it. A crow-stepped gable featues the “stairs” up the side of each gable found commonly in northern Europe. Gabled roofs are cheap and easy to build, structurally reliable, and are great for shedding rain and weather. Gabled roofs also use the simplest roof trusses.

Outshot and Lean-to Roofs:

A lean to roof is the roof of an “extension” style roof sloping down from the main building on to a protruding sub room. If the roof slopes directly from the roof of a main building onto the lean-to roof, it can be described as having a “catslide”.

Hip Roofs:

Hip roofs are commonly found on bungalows or other small structures, and are extremely common in America as part of the classic “4-square” style.. They are similar to simple gabled roofs except that the two would-be vertical sides of the building are tilted inwards. On square buildings, they are tilted inwards so far that the roofs represents a four-sided pyramid, sometimes referred to as a pyramidal roof. Hip roofs have great advantage over gabled roofs as they require much less bracing against the wind, they are in fact self bracing. The fact that they are far more streamlined only enhances this effect. A downside of a hip roof is the restricted attic space.

Mansard Roofs:

Of French origin, a Mansard roof has two gradients on it: an initial shallow gradient, and then an immediate change to a steeper gradient towards the end of the roof. However, a Mansard roof may sometimes have a flat top as the first gradient, then a steep gradient around the edges, resulting in an upside-down tray shape to the roof. The mansard style was popularized in France in the 1600s, and then gained extreme popularity in America, with many iconic houses and buildings boasting a mansard roof. These sorts of roofs are perfect for a roof restoration as they are expensive to build and are not often found in newer homes.

Gambrel Roofs:

As a gabled roof, but with the two longest sides in a mansard style.

Flat Roofs:

The distinctive flat roofs found in warmer, dryer areas of the world, where the need to shed rain is at a minimum. Classic flat Roofed cities include Jerusalem. Flat roofed homes can, however, become extremely hot in sunny weather, some methods to induce cooling of the house include covering with thin sheets of asbestos, and pouring water over the roof. Special sun-reflective paints are also available, roofs coated with such are known as ‘cool roofs’.

Roof Truss Design

The shape of the roof is most houses all depends on the shape and style of the Roof Truss Design. A roof truss provides support and stability to the roof and evenly distributes the weight of the roof away from the exterior walls.

A Roof Truss is generally made of wood for residential use and steel in commercial use. They are generally triangular in shape because this provides the best stability and support. There is no other shape that can withstand the same amount of tension or compression load.

If you are building your home from scratch and are in the process of deciding what style of roof to have, you should take careful consideration in your decision. A Roof Truss should definitely not be chosen on looks alone as there are more important factors that need to be considered such as; the stresses that the building may encounter, the size of the open plan and weather conditions.

The majority of home builders order roof trusses from Roof Truss Manufacturers because is very labor intensive, so it is generally a lot cheaper and more time consuming to order prefabricated roof trusses. Sometimes the roof truss may have to be built on site if delivery is a problem or the design is a specific type or size that is not readily available.

Creating a Roof Truss Design

The start of a Roof Truss Design starts with a sketch which in normally done by an architect. The sketch of the ceiling is drafted first then the roof truss is drawn in showing how the truss will support the walls and roof of the structure that is to be supported.

Feature Roof Trusses

Feature trusses also referred to as Oak Trusses or Bolted Trusses can add a beautiful feature to any room. They are generally hand crafted and add an outstanding centerpiece to new or existing homes. They are extremely aesthetically pleasing and can create open and spacious feeling to any room and they can be designed to suit architectural character of the property.

So there you have it, a quick introduction to the different style roofs. So which one is your favorite?

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Can I just get a bid for blinds in my house?

This particular question opens up a huge can of worms for professionals in the industry and their clients. What many salesman want to say is, “YES! How quickly would you like them installed and will you be paying with Cash or Credit Card?” But, in all honesty, rarely are people ever that upfront about how they view your business. Here is where we often see a huge difference in expectations from the perspectives of the consumer versus the mindset of the retailer or Window Coverings Professional.

The Consumer mindset –

I just moved into my new house. I finally closed the loan, the real estate agent is calling me seven times a day, I have to think about landscaping, remodeling that downstairs bathroom, work is hectic and, realistically, about a hundred other things are pressing down on me. On top of this, I really don’t want to walk around my house and let the neighbors possibly see me naked; I NEED WINDOW COVERINGS.

At least this shouldn’t be a big deal. I’ll check out the “big box” home improvement stores, and maybe a low cost window covering specialty store as well and see if I can find some cordless top down bottom up cellular shades on discount. I want to get a fair price so I’ll call at least two places, and maybe three. I will tell them I need some blinds, and let them take care of it from there. If the installation costs aren’t too much I might even have the store install them for me.

For consumers, the bottom line is often being too busy and unsure of the best way to get window coverings.

The Retailer mindset –

I REALLY NEED TO MAKE SOME SALES. The store has been slow lately and I have mouths to feed, I hope we get calls and the opportunity to get some people a quote. When people call, I know they are usually price shopping so I have to give them the lowest possible price and outbid my competition.

I wish I had better training on all the options available to customers, but my boss keeps pushing these one particular blinds because, as he says, this product provides the customer with a good price and it is one of the best profit margins in the store. OK, I need to review what it is I’m supposed to say…Hmmm, ”I can get you a quote on some blinds right away. Please give me your sizes and I’ll have a quote ready for you in a day or two.” I just have to send the measuring guy over there and he will hopefully get those numbers to me soon so that I will have time to do the bid. It might be nice to actually meet a customer someday.

For retailers, everything is usually sales driven as volume is the key to their pricing (and their business).

 

The Window Coverings Industry Professional mindset –

“I know the woman who left me a message this morning is very busy but I want to make sure that I help her get exactly what she really needs. I’ll return her phone call and discuss a little about what she’s looking for and set up an appointment to see the areas in which she’s having problems. I know the woman said she wants blinds but so often customers ask for a particular window treatment solution and change their minds when I can explain to them and show them that what they’re asking for won’t do the things that they want.

It’s important for me to give everyone a personal consultation and ensure I help my customers get solutions to their problems, not just a product with the most features or benefits. After all, what good are all those features and benefits if the product doesn’t do what the customer wants? I enjoy helping people, and I hope this woman lets me do what I enjoy. She may feel overwhelmed, but I know I’ve been trained well, I’ve worked in this industry for many years and with just a brief initial visit I will be able to provide her with the perfect solutions for her specific problems. If only people knew that we can provide superior service along with great quality products at very competitive prices they would be shocked!”

For industry professionals, the bottom Line is relationships, and personal service is the key.

Summary –

In a perfect world, we all try to come together with other people and relationships to make sure that we get what we need.

Take a good marriage for example. Both sides need to listen to the others opinion and work hard to satisfy the other’s needs.

Usually when a person feels valued, they are willing to do the same for you. In business, it is no different. A professional should only be thinking about how to make the customer happy. There needs to be a great deal of communication about your specific desires and needs for your home. They will, in turn, find the products and solutions that are best “married” to you. Remember, the industry professional hopes to have you for a client for many years, and hopes that you will refer him or her to your friends. So, think long term and hire a professional to assist you with your project. It may take a little more time but you are sure to have a better experience and your choices will give you the exact solutions you were looking for.

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Before You Buy Furniture

Before you buy fine furniture, take the time to do some research.

Consider the space that you have available in the rooms you are furnishing. Have a tape measure handy and a list of the measurements that you want for each piece of furniture while you’re shopping. In addition, think about doorways, stairwells, the availability of elevators and balconies for moving furniture into your home. An oversized mattress box spring might need to be “split,” or cut in half, by the store. An oversized couch may not be an option unless you have an oversized door!

If you’re buying for a home office, look for fine furniture that’s well-built, ergonomically designed and suited to your work needs. If you’re buying furniture for your home, look for comfort, durability and solid construction. Make sure to ask about available days and times for delivery before you make your purchase; you might get your furniture delivered more quickly you include it in the deal. And, find out how long it will take to complete customized design or alterations. Many companies will customize orders from swatches or even photographs.

Before You Buy Fine Furniture: Comparing Furniture Prices and Alternatives

Before you buy fine furniture, there are a few things that you should consider. Keep in mind that furniture financing options may make a difference in how much you spend. You may have a year or more to pay off a large piece of real wood furniture or a furniture set. But stick to your furniture budget regardless of available financing options. It’s all too easy to fall in love when you’re buying fine furniture and very easy to fall for “no payments for 5 years” rhetoric; in the end, you always pay, either through higher prices or higher interest rates. Set your emotions aside and don’t overextend yourself. Even if you’ve found the “perfect” furniture set, comparing prices at other stores or websites may yield a better deal or at least grant you leverage in negotiations.

Compare Furniture Prices Before You Buy

Compare prices for furniture online and in stores before you buy. And, ask friends, family members and business colleagues for their recommendations about where to buy furniture. Questions to ask might include: Do you feel like you got the best deal when you bought your real wood furniture? Where the retailers service-minded or did they forget about you after you wrote the check? Did you compare prices for similar pieces of furniture with other retailers? You might unearth some issues that you hadn’t contemplated that will help you make a more informed furniture purchase.

More Ways to Get the Best Prices on Furniture

June and July are traditionally the months when indoor furniture goes on sale. Conversely, compare prices for patio furniture in the summer and winter and you’ll quickly find that costs are cut in the winter months. You can avoid middlemen when you buy furniture directly from a manufacturer, such as www.firstathome.com. You’ll get the benefit of the manufacturer’s low overhead costs and the highest quality furniture at rock bottom prices. Buying unfinished wood furniture is also another alternative to saving money for a quality piece. You’ll have to seal, stain or paint the wood yourself but sweat equity costs nothing.

Alternatives to Consider When Comparing Furniture Prices

Consider the pros and cons of buying used furniture made of real wood. You may get a better deal by buying used furniture as long as you can live without a warranty. Outlet malls sometimes have great deals on real wood furniture, especially in January and July. Be aware that the furniture for sale in an outlet mall may have been returned, so carefully check it over for any defects and ask the salespeople if they know the history of the piece.

Wheeling and Dealing Your Way to Better Prices on Real Wood Furniture

Don’t be afraid to ask for a better price when you’re thinking about spending a lot of money on real wood furniture in one store. Furniture stores often offer on-the-spot discounts, especially at the end of the month when they need to make their sales quotas. Make sure to clarify that you still want to finance the furniture for same as cash or zero percent financing regardless of the deal.
If you buy furniture online, ask about financing options before you make your purchase. Make sure that you understand and agree with all shipping and handling costs, including costs to return the furniture if necessary.

When You’re Ready to Buy Fine Furniture: Finding the Right Retailer

Make sure you find a reputable furniture retailer when you’re ready to buy. Find a furniture company that produces each piece of real wood furniture in their own factory warehouse. They’re very knowledgeable about the furniture they create, they use superior craftsmanship in their designs and they can offer great deals by selling directly to you.
You should only work with furniture companies that provide top-notch customer service. You’ll get a feel for this quickly when you call to compare prices on furniture. Look for furniture retailers who employ helpful, friendly, informed salespeople and customer service representatives.

Research Your Furniture Retailer to Find Out More

Research a furniture retailer’s reputation before you buy. Check the Better Business Bureau to see if any reports have been filed against the company. Online message boards, customer testimonials and recommendations from friends and family can also tell you a lot about a company’s reputation. And if you’re buying real wood furniture online, look for indications that the website is secure. This should be clearly indicated on the furniture company’s website.

Furniture Return Policies, Warranties and Guarantees

Find out what sort of warranties and guarantee a furniture company offers before you buy. Make sure the furniture warranty and the guarantee suit your specific needs and address your unique concerns. You should be able to return furniture or get a replacement if it arrives with any sort of defect. Look for lenient return policies that allow you to return the furniture if it wasn’t what you wanted. Note that custom made pieces and sale items may not be returnable. Finally, keep all of your receipts from your furniture purchase; you may need them in the event of a return or for the warranty.

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Living Room and Kitchen Design Quick Tips

Much like a bedroom redesign, a living room redesign instantly updates the look of the room giving it a better sense of being.

In other words, it reflects you and the lifestyle you want. Moreover, your living room, apart from a large functional kitchen, is probably used most often for entertaining.

Furniture stores make it easy by selling entire furniture “suites,” or living room furniture sets whose pieces complement each other while providing you with functional seating. This is especially helpful if you’re having a hard time making redesign decisions for your living room. Eclecticism, mixing and matching different pieces of furniture in different upholstery fabrics, beautifully expresses your casual but elegant sense of style. Buying pieces for an eclectic style takes time to put together, so it may not be the best choice for a quick living room redesign.

Refresh Your Living Room with an Inexpensive Redesign

Redesigning your living room is a pretty big undertaking. It’s often easiest, and a lot less expensive, to start by updating living room design accents like pillows, side tables and lamps before you tackle the big pieces of furniture. Painting your living room instantly refreshes the look of the space, and a dramatic change in wall color- from eggshell to red, for example, can give all of your old furniture new life.

Consider using beautiful vintage or vintage-inspired upholstered fabrics to instantly update the seats on your wooden accent chairs.

You only need a staple gun- and a steady hand- to completely change the look of your seating. Fabric slipcovers made of beautiful upholstery are more readily available today, and you can find inexpensive slipcovers online or in discount department stores. Slipcovers for sofas, loveseats and chairs are easy to remove and clean and instantly redesign your living room for very little expense.

Some popular living room design ideas to consider:

  • Functional and family-friendly: if the dining room is larger than the living room, switch them! More space, less chaos. Consider two-tone colors on the walls. If painted horizontally, use the darkest color on the bottom to ground the living space. Add a storage cabinet or ottoman to bring daily order;
  • Merging styles – comfort vs. sophisticated: Neutral color palettes, bring furniture closer in toward the middle of the room for more cozy feel. Remove TV from being focal point upon entering room. Dark furniture, brown neutral paints makes for soft, inviting conversation away from pressures of the day.

Dr. Brett Ferdinand Makes the Most of Kitchen Design Trends

Over the years, kitchen design trends have adapted to the changing needs of working families. Dining rooms are less and less evident in new homes and have been replaced with larger functional kitchens and entertainment rooms, comments Dr. Ferdinand. A kitchen design trend that seems to be sticking is the return of the kitchen dining table and the breakfast nook. Building seating into a nook or creating an area in the kitchen for a table has become a desirable floor plan for families on the go which allows for the transformation of the real dining room into an entertainment room.

An enduring and practical kitchen design trend, antique butcher blocks and new kitchen islands provide additional counter and storage space, too. In recent years, the trend has been to design built-in kitchen islands to complement counters and cabinets, instead of matching them. A dark wood kitchen island in the middle of a kitchen with all-white cabinets really pops! Whatever you decide to do, don’t be a slave to kitchen design trends; read about them, soak in everything you can, and then choose what’s right for you and your family.

Some popular kitchen design ideas to consider:

  • Stuck in the 70’s and can’t get out: Replace funky colored cabinets with natural wood cabinets (maple wood?), stainless steel appliances (modern). If home is small, consider eliminating the wall between the kitchen and living room to create more visual space. A custom island with a breakfast bar creates warmth and invitation;
  • Cramped kitchens: Think function and fashion but how to do it? Natural wood cabinetry, neutral colored countertops (limestone?) stainless steel appliances, tile floors and a breakfast bar that connects the kitchen with the living room (consolidates space).
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Room by Room Design Ideas

Is your home in need of a makeover?

TIna4homedesign is not just about furniture but about how to use that furniture to create leisurely, airy, non-chaotic, casual or even extravagant interior designs for each room of your home. Our room by room design ideas will feature the bedroom, living room and kitchen. But, before you buy furniture to decorate that particular room, first understand the differences in furniture quality.

It will save you thousands of dollars and years of discomfort and headache.

Learn about the latest bedroom design ideas, plan your bedroom makeover, and find yourself the best mattress with help from Darrin Gleeman of New York, New York. And Kelly Walsh of Santa Fe, New Mexico offers great ideas for living room redesign and discusses the kitchen design trends to pay attention to.

Bedroom Design Ideas Brighten Your Days and Nights

While searching for bedroom design ideas, there are a host of resources to access. Entire TV shows are dedicated to bedroom makeovers, providing us with helpful tips and design trends. Your bedroom design ideas should reflect your style and personality, your unique sleeping and living needs. Most likely, once you makeover your bedroom, your living room or kitchen, you won’t re-do it again for several years. So take your time discovering what you like, and what you can live with, before you start buying furniture.

Popular Bedroom Design Ideas have Distinctive Characteristics

Traditional, contemporary and country furniture are the most popular types of furniture today. Together, they incorporate a host of universal design traditions. Traditional bedroom design ideas use yards of beautiful upholstery fabric draped on everything from the bed to the windows, and usually feature dark wood furniture of classic design. Contemporary bedroom makeovers focus on form, and often have a minimalist feel with punches of bright color. Country furniture often uses beautiful plaid upholstery fabrics for emphasis and furniture that’s sturdy and somewhat chunky in design.

In addition to TV, there are thousands of magazines and books that provide furniture design ideas for bedroom makeovers. Start at your local library, where you can check out decorating books, DVDs and sometimes magazines for free, to start gathering some new ideas.

Visit designer furniture showrooms to see how they arrange their bedroom displays. Put all of your ideas for bedroom makeovers into a journal, taking photos or clipping articles of designs that you love. Give yourself time to make a decision. You’ll live with your redesigned bedroom for a long time, and it should be a harmonious, comfortable and beautiful place to be.

Some popular bedroom design ideas to consider:

  • Bold yet Subtle: Blue bedrooms with blue shades on the wall and tan furniture complements create a bold yet serene sleeping space.
  • Calm havens: tone on tone color schemes with matching furniture.
  • Combining the masculine with the feminine: one light blue wall and one cream colored wall with traditionally dark furniture. Use lamps and lampshades to emphasize both masculine and feminine angles.
  • The Traditional Master Bedroom: eliminate colors that signify chaos and choose colors emphasizing calm, serenity and reconnection. Try cream, fawn, tan and wheat on bed duvet, walls and carpet – all neutral colors that are inviting. Incorporate subtle floral patterned fabrics on the drapes and upholstery. Divide a large bedroom into two areas: one the bedroom, the other a sitting area.
  • Zen thinking: Incorporate taupe and robin’s egg blue on the walls and bedroom furniture to create a soft, high frequency energy. Hanging curtains as a sort of canopy is a smart way to absorb outside noise.

A Note about the Best Bed Mattresses

The best bed mattresses come in a variety of styles, encasing you in comfort while you sleep. Plush top bed mattresses are soft, and provide an added layer of comfort to your sleeping experience. The best pillow top mattresses have even more softness due to the large pillow that rests on top of the mattress. It’s hard to say which mattress is the best, but a Tempur-Pedic® mattress is definitely the ultimate in luxurious comfort. The Tempur-Pedic mattresses adjust to your body weight and temperature, molding to your body’s natural contours for a really good night’s sleep.

It’s best for your sleeping “health,” and your back, to flip your mattress every few months or so to ensure that it wears evenly. And, use a mattress pad on top of your mattress to help protect it from stains and general wear.

You might be wondering why there’s so much fuss about goose down. Down featherbeds, which lie on top of the mattress but under the sheets, and down comforters and duvets used as bedspreads provide extra softness and warmth. They last for ages, and the newest versions have covers which can easily be removed and cleaned. They add an extra layer of comfort to even the best mattress, making them a highly desirable addition to any bedroom.

We thank our contributors:
Darrin Gleeman of New York, New York

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Furniture Construction

Things to Look For Before You Buy Upholstered or Leather Furniture

Before you buy furniture like upholstered or leather sofas, loveseats, dining room or bedroom sets, make sure you are first familiar with the basics of high quality wood furniture construction. Get to know the difference between solid wood furniture and average furniture of lesser quality. Look for furniture made of fine wood, like oak or mahogany. Closely examine furniture tags or websites to learn more about the construction of the furniture you want to buy. You might (no, you will!) pay more for high quality wood furniture, but it’s worth

it in the long run- the furniture’s strength, durability and comfort ensures it will last for decades.

Learn more about what you need to know before you buy furniture with help from Stuff about Furniture’s contributors.

Darrin Gleeman of New York, New York tells us about buying furniture with high quality frames and Catherine Woods of Mobulls in West Plains, Missouri provides helpful information on how to find the best upholstered wood furniture and more.

High Quality Wood Furniture Frames

“We’ve spent a lot of time and money redecorating our home over the last several years. And we learned some valuable tips that helped us to find high quality wood furniture that’s durable, well-made and built to last,” says Darrin Gleeman.

When you shop for furniture, take the time to conduct a close inspection of what you want to buy. Shake and move the furniture frames whether it’s a sofa, loveseat, chair or bed. Listen for creaking or movement of any kind when you sit or lie on the furniture. Pick up one end of the furniture piece and move it back and forth in the showroom. Does it feel like heavy, solid wood furniture or does it feel lightweight? Look under the furniture too. Are the legs separate pieces or are they firmly connected to the frame?

High quality wood furniture has a frame made with kiln-dried hardwoods like alder, oak, mahogany birch or maple woods. Kiln-dried furniture heats the wood, removing excess sap and moisture which can warp or shrink the wood. Once a frame loses its original shape, it loosens the joints and fastenings. Over time, that piece of solid wood furniture piece becomes unsteady and unsafe. Look for wood frames constructed of the finest kiln-dried solid wood and built with interlocking wood components, glue and screws that match industry standards for high quality furniture. And frames should be double-doweled or interlocked and fitted with wood blocks that are glued and screwed into place.

After you buy your furniture, place it in an area that isn’t subjected to wide temperature swings. Keep furniture away from windows, heating systems, air conditioners and vents.

Finally, if you’re buying furniture online, call or email the company and ask them about its durability, weight, and measurements as well as the company’s furniture shipping policy. Does the company deliver the furniture themselves or use a respected furniture delivery company? And will the furniture deliverer unpackage the furniture and warranty any transportation damage? Find out what sort of wood they use, and ask about wood frame construction. A reputable seller of high quality furniture will be able to answer your questions and put your mind at ease before you buy.

Upholstered Wood Furniture Basics by Catherine Woods of Mobulls in West Plains, Missouri

There’s more to buying furniture than just finding something that you like, or that fits into a room in your home. High quality upholstered wood furniture has specific elements of design that are always evident in construction. Look for a sturdy deck, well-made springs and durable cushions and slipcovers in couches and loveseats. And consider a sleeper sofa, loveseat or chair or leather furniture for a long-term investment the whole family will love.

Upholstered Wood Furniture Construction

Upholstered wood furniture features a deck, the area underneath the sitting cushions that looks and feels like a mattress box spring. The deck is the foundation for sitting support and comfort. High quality furniture decks are made of springs. The highest quality deck springs are made of 8-way, hand tied springs or S-shaped sinuous springs. Without this support, your furniture will cause discomfort and long-term back and joint pain.

Eight-way, hand tied springs have polypropylene sheets stapled to webbing on the bottom of the solid wood furniture. The springs are tied with twine at the top to prevent shifting and collapsing. Sinuous S-shaped steel springs in your upholstered wood furniture indicate expert and quality craftsmanship. S-shaped sinuous springs are two-dimensional S-shaped steel wires that stretch from the front to the back of the furniture. The S-shaped sinuous springs make seats softer and are often used in low-slung contemporary upholstered furniture.

Lesser quality average furniture decks are pieced together with tacked or stapled straps. If you look inside or underneath your furniture, you might see helical springs attaching the deck to the frame. To determine if the sofa or loveseat you like is made with good quality springs, sit down on the furniture or rock it back and forth in the showroom. Listen for a thumping or a knocking noise indicating that the springs may be rubbing against the frame. If you’re buying furniture online, contact the company and ask them about how the deck is made.

Cushions for Upholstered Wood Furniture

Furniture cushions on upholstered wood furniture are typically made of cotton or polyester fiber, polyester foam or polyester down. Look for furniture that’s constructed with durable, heavy high-density polyurethane foam cushions. Polyurethane foam cushions are wrapped in Dacron batting, making the cushions more luxurious and providing you with not just added plush comfort but comfort that will not diminish for years.

Slipcovers for Upholstered Wood Furniture

Popular fabric selections for upholstered wood furniture include cotton, linen, chenille, velvet, suede and mohair. Choose the fabric covering that’s best for your needs. If you have children, sturdy cotton duck might be the best option for you. Fabric slipcovers are a marvelous option for covering your wood furniture. Look for slipcovers that can be machine washed or easily removed and dry cleaned. Sitting on a couch or loveseat with a freshly cleaned slipcover is heavenly; not worrying about daily spills and messes is divine.

Consider Buying A Sleeper Sofa, Loveseat or Chair

The sleeper sofas of today are a far cry from the ones produced 20 years ago. Comfortable, stylish and easy to open and close, a sleeper sofa gives you the flexibility of a couch combined with the authentic feel of a bed. In addition, pull-out sleeper furniture comes in loveseat and chair form. Today, you can find sleeper furniture in twin, full or queen bed sizes, so they can easily fit into any room in your home. Look for specs on sleeper sofas to include solid steel tubing, a polypropylene deck and a mattress that’s at least 5″ thick.

What to Look for Before You Buy Leather Furniture

High quality leather used for furniture is cut and tanned to retain its unique characteristics. Top grain leather has scratches, brand marks, and some wrinkles and stretch marks. These markings are natural and they don’t alter the strength, durability or the appearance of your leather furniture. Look for hand-cut leather when you buy furniture; it’s beautiful, durable and will improve with age.

We thank our contributors:
Darrin Gleeman, New York, New York
Catherine Woods, Mobulls, breeders of French and English bulldogs, West Plains, MO

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Stuff about Furniture Things to Know Before You Buy Furniture

Stuff about Furniture is your resource for buying furniture. Before you shop for or buy furniture, you have to consider the quality of that furniture piece(s) carefully.

Typically, once we outlay the money for a new bed, for example, we keep it longer than we keep a new house! The average time spent living in a home is seven years; we keep beds on average for at least 10 years- and most people keep their beds (and their mattresses) much longer than that.

Stuff about Furniture educates you on just about everything related to buying furniture in a store or online. So, before you buy, consult our pages for the most up-to-date furniture and how to discern quality furniture from bargain furniture. Learn more about furniture construction, the types of wood used to make furniture, bedroom as well as living room and kitchen design ideas, tips on comparing furniture prices and finding the right retailer for your furniture purchase.

Doug Melvin of Boise, Idaho, who knows a lot of stuff about furniture and a frequent website contributor, gives us a list of things to consider before you buy your new furniture set or piece:

Buying Furniture Tip #1:

Be Aware of Furniture Trends in Home Décor, and then Buy the Furniture That You Love

Styles change. Think back to your parent’s old shag carpeting if you’re not convinced. Furniture styles change also. Buy furniture that you can enjoy, be proud of and that suits your needs for years to come. The newest home design ideas feature simple lines, found on Mission style furniture, and eclecticism, like you’ll find in French Country décor (some variations are lately known as “shabby chic”). These decorating ideas can take you a long way in your quest to find the perfect set of furniture for your home.

Buying Furniture Tip #2:

Home Decorating Ideas That Can Freshen the Look of Your Home

Just like buying clothing, buying pieces of furniture that you can easily mix and match and integrate into your home décor will save you a lot of money in the long run. And, purchasing furniture here and there is more affordable short-term too, allowing you to obtain large pieces without financing. And finally, acquiring furniture piecemeal allows you to continue to freshen the look of your rooms with the newest home design ideas. Gradually implementing furniture design and home decorating ideas like adding an ottoman here, a new side table there, or by hanging a new clock, you’ll have guests convinced you’re a home decorating genius, at little cost to you.

Buying Furniture Tip #3:

Be Sure of Home Design and Decorating Ideas Before Buying New Furniture

Think about future modifications to your living space when you’re buying new furniture. Perhaps you live in an apartment today, but you plan on moving to a bigger apartment or to a home larger than your current space in the near future. You have a couple of options: You can wait until you are settled in your new home before you shop so that the home décor seamlessly matches the color scheme of your furniture and home accessories. Or you can buy your furniture while in your current space. If this is the case and you think you will have more space for home decorating in a newer home, buy your furniture in larger sizes or at least sizes commensurate with the imagined goal of that new space.

Durability and Strength Important Factors in Buying New Furniture

Durability is important when you’re buying new furniture. Look carefully at the underside of the furniture, and on the insides of the wood frame and cushions, too. Shake and move the furniture. Do you feel looseness in the wood frames, are the legs connected to the frame, do you see impressions in the cushions or fraying in the fabric? If you do, walk away from the furniture quickly. Furniture quality determines durability and comfort whether it’s a sofa couch, loveseat, upholstered chair, ottoman or bed.

We thank our contributors:
Doug Melvin, Boise Idaho

 

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Types of Wood Furniture

Find the best wooden furniture for your home with tips from Stuff about Furniture.

We have detailed information about some of the most popular types of wood used to make furniture, like oak, mahogany and maple, to help you find the right furniture to buy. The cost to buy wood furniture is not as costly as you might think- it’s sturdy, strong and doesn’t require too much maintenance. Wood furniture is very durable, and built to last a lot longer than furniture made with lesser materials.

It’s also easier to touch up scratches or gouges on wood furniture; furniture made of synthetic materials requires more intricate repair work if they can be repaired at all.

Every type of wood has its own unique grain patterns, making certain types of wood furnishings more desirable. Oak wood is somewhat porous along the surface, and stains and finishes pool into the pores leaving darker marks that appeal to furniture collectors.Maple has natural patterns in the wood grain that appear like magic when the furniture is sanded and finished. It’s these kinds of unique characteristics that make wood furniture such an enduringly popular choice for furnishing the home.

Wood furniture is also very versatile. You can buy the best wooden furniture unfinished, finished, hand finished or even painted. Connoisseurs of wood furnishings typically refrain from buying painted wood grain furniture, but it can often be quite charming, especially in a child’s bedroom.

Anne Hansen of Rapid City, South Dakota discusses some of the less expensive types of wood used to make furniture and Anthony Pierpont tells Stuff about Furniture about some of the fine points of high-end woods used to build more expensive furniture.

Less Expensive Wood Furnishings Don’t Have to Look Cheap by Anne Hansen of Rapid City, South Dakota

Some of the best wooden furniture can be purchased inexpensively without sacrificing quality or durability. The less expensive woods on our list include soft woods and hardwoods. Soft woods are woods that come from coniferous trees, or trees that hold their needles all year long. Hardwoods come from deciduous trees that drop their leaves each year. Some soft woods are more durable than hardwoods, so don’t be fooled by these terms when you’re buying furniture.

Alder Wood Furniture Adds Affordable Style to Any Room

Alder is a hardwood that features unique knots, or naturally-caused imperfections, that often show through the finish. Alder does not handle moisture or damp weather well and is best kept indoors, in a cool and dry climate. Alder wood is usually less expensive than other types of wood furniture because it is a lesser quality hardwood. Alder is similar to cherry or maple in appearance and has a very smooth finish.

Maple Wood Furniture Makes Buying Furniture Inexpensive

Maple is a hardwood, and it’s more durable and heavier than most woods, especially alder. Maple is often used for bedroom furniture- and even bowling alley floors- because of its strength. Maple wood is moisture resistant, so it has a long life span. The rare burled (swirls and twists in wood grain that occur naturally) and birds eye (a small repeating pattern in the wood grain) maple woods were used to manufacture American furniture in the early 1900’s and are considered highly collectible antiques today. Maple wood’s natural pale color, like ash and birch woods, easily accepts any type of stain or paint.

The Simple Beauty of Pine Wood Furniture Perfectly Fits into Your Home

Pine is a soft wood which makes it a less durable wood than maple or alder. Pine is lightweight and furniture made of pine is easier to lift and move. Pine is inexpensive and durable, and resists swelling and shrinking. Eastern White, Ponderosa and Sugar Pine trees are often used to make wood furniture in the United States. Pine woods usually need a primer before painting or a sealant before applying stain to achieve a more even finish. Knotty pine is often used for country style furnishings.

High End Furniture Made from High Quality Hardwoods by Anthony Pierpont of St. Paul, Minnesota

If you’re going to buy wood grain furnishings or upholstered wood furniture, consider your purchase, even your furniture research, a smart investment of time and money. It may cost more to buy furniture made with the high end woods on our list, but they’ll last a lifetime- or longer. High quality wood furniture will become an heirloom that you can pass down from generation to generation.
When you buy cherry, mahogany or oak wood furniture, you often have options available to customize your purchase. Hand finished and handcrafted furniture give you more alternatives for colors and shading. This comes in handy if you need the piece to match your existing home decor. And, you can often have oak, mahogany and other types of wood furniture custom designed to suit your specific space needs. This can be especially helpful if you have a large room that needs oversized furnishings.

Cherry Wood Furniture Charms with Old World Splendor

Cherry wood is a hardwood, strong and built to last. A lot of the best antique wooden furniture is made of cherry wood and it looks as good today as it did 100 years ago. Cherry wood and cherry stains for wood furniture often have a warm red hue. Don’t be afraid to mix and match cherry furnishings with furniture made of different woods or with varying finishes. Cherry wood complements most woods, working well with other furniture pieces and décor in your home.

Mahogany Wood Furniture Looks Magnificent in Your Home

“We chose mahogany wood furniture for our home because it was less expensive than oak or cherry, but still durable and beautiful,” Anthony Pierpont remarks. Mahogany is a hardwood with a deep reddish brown color. Mahogany wood furniture is very resistant to insect infestation and it repels moisture. These two qualities mean that the wood will easily last for years and years. Some manufacturers specialize in designing and creating high quality antique reproduction furniture made of mahogany wood.

Oak Wood Furniture Gives Any Room Timeless Beauty

Oak is among the most popular hardwoods used to make furniture. Red Oak often has a red or pink tinge, and White Oak tends to be greener, though both take different colors of stain really well. The best wooden furniture made of oak tends to be more costly than other hardwoods, because of its enduring reputation for strength and beauty. Oak’s lovely open wood grain easily mixes with the other furnishings in your home.

Walnut Wood Furniture Will Beautify Your Home or Office

Walnut is another hardwood known for its strength and the beauty of its wood grain. Unlike maple, it isn’t terribly heavy, making it a lot easier to move around. It is typically finished in a dark brown color, but walnut colors range from white to brown shades. Walnut is often used for formal or office furnishings and has a straight wood grain that glows warmly with a satin finish.

We thank our contributors:

Anne Hansen of Rapid City, South Dakota
Anthony Pierpont of St. Paul, Minnesota

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How do I get my husband to go along with my decorating ideas?

One of the most common challenges that designers face is bringing differing opinions on design together in one space. A good designer will be able to take different opinions and make them come together so that both parties, or more, are satisfied with the solutions. Usually, but not always, couples will come to their positions from different perspectives.

Women:
As a rule, women are most concerned with the aesthetics of a room or home. They want it to have a certain “look” or “feeling”. They are also concerned with the function of the treatments, but the look is usually what is most important to them. They will often spend many hours searching for the “perfect” fabric or style, while other factors that might be more important to a man are usually reserved for the final discussions. These would include price, function, and a million other technical issues.

Men:
Again, as a rule, but not without exception, men are most often concerned with different issues than their spouses. What does it cost? What does it weigh? How long will it last? Are their any other options? Can it be motorized? Did you notice that these questions do not deal with the same type of concerns as their wives? There was not a question about style or color or “feeling”.

I write this not to accentuate stereotypes, but to show that men and women look at design concerns from different standpoints. The good news is that this falls into the “different sides of the same coin” scenario. Even though the man and woman are looking at the same “coin”, or in this case room, they are still looking at the same “coin.” One will see the “heads,” or style concerns, and the other is seeing the “tails,” or technical issues. But in the end, if you ask them if they both want the “coin” in question, the answer will be “Yes,” even if the view of the item is completely different.

The job of the designer is to find the solution, or “coin” that best suits each party’s needs. Usually this is doable. There are so many great options in design that are available these days. The point that you should take from this commentary is that two people looking at the same design issue from different places will have two different opinions. It will seem as though they can’t come to an agreement. It is the role of a good designer to be able to help parties chose a product fits the needs of all concerned.

One final caveat; men, if you don’t feel extraordinarily strongly about a certain idea in your home design project, let your partner have her way!!! Trust me, in time you won’t know the difference, and she will be happy. If you insist on your way, and it comes out wrong for any reason, you will never hear the end of it. Reflect on that before you make your final decision. When you use a designer, it’s their job to see the issue from both sides and make a STRONG recommendation as to which choices will accommodate both opinions.

Of course, if you just blindly accept your designer’s recommendation and you don’t like the way it turns out, then you can both blame the designer. Either way, the designer becomes an aid to your relationship. (Of course I’m kidding here, If your designer lets you do something “wrong” or made “ugly” choices you hired the wrong designer!)

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The overall state of interior design in America

I attended the World Market Center Furniture Mart and Design Show in Las Vegas recently, and wanted to share with you my observations about the status of the current interior design market.

The interior design market is adjusting to the current economic environment and parallels the housing market. For the last twenty years or so, people associated success with housing. Status was determined by zip-code and scale of housing. Some in the industry call the type of house that this time spawned the “McMansion.” Who could argue? We all have seen the huge houses in our neighborhoods or those down the streets. I don’t want to get into a discussion of why this period in American housing came crashing down, but, instead give a glimpse as to where the current interior design market is headed.

If the period of the “McMansion” has passed, what does that mean? Can you recall walking down the aisle of your local furniture store about three or four years ago? What you would have seen in most places were over-sized pieces of furniture. The reason for this was that many consumers don’t get a good a sense of the true scale of their room when shopping in big-box furniture stores and they figured they needed huge furniture to fill these huge spaces they were living in. The idea was that if they had four pieces of furniture in a room that was two-hundred square feet previously, then they should have four, much larger pieces of furniture for their new room which now measured six-hundred square feet.

We could spend time discussing the design flaws of that argument, but that is a different conversation for a different time. For now, we are trying to discuss how furniture and design are following the housing market. Since people are buying smaller homes, and the builders seem to be leading the charge in this regard, the scale of the furniture must follow suit in order to fit into the space that people are going to have. As I write this, I am thinking about an article I read this morning that Michael Jordan is building a home that is about 38,000 square feet (There’s always an exception to every rule).

So, what I picked up on at the show in Las Vegas is that the size of furniture for the common customer is scaling back a bit. I guess that is no surprise, but if you are waffling on whether to purchase a slighter sofa or chair, current design trends indicate that smaller is the way to go for the next several years.

Another major trend that reflects the country’s current housing market is a tendency for homeowners to select more neutral palates for their upholstered goods. People are a bit unsure what the future holds, and therefore they are a bit more conservative in their design and fashion choices. I don’t speak to clothing fashion, but based on the climate of the country, it would not surprise me if hemlines lower and necklines rise. Much of the palate that was shown in Las Vegas was based on tans and naturals. There is still a call for big color, but more often than not it was shown as accessories like throw-pillows and accent rugs.

If you are looking to build, remodel or redecorate your home and you are looking for assistance, make sure the design professional you hire understands the colors and textures you will be using may need to be the right ones for several years to come.

A good design professional will understand how the current trends can be reflected in your space and will help you make the right choices for your individual space and your preferences in style.

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