Upholstery covers the bases furniture today gas after eating pasta

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With new home construction sizes trending a bit down and big markets in urban areas, meeting the needs of consumers furnishing smaller spaces was a priority for a lot of exhibitors such as La-Z-Boy’s Urban Attitudes, Universal with its new “Spaces” program and Bradington-Young, for example.

Accent chairs in space-friendly scales were front-and-center in Jofran’s showroom, where the category is growing fast, accounting for around 10% of sales after the company’s initial introduction six years ago. Jofran introduced six new accent chairs in a variety of colors.

Full-line manufacturers are doing more to coordinate upholstery with case goods, although not in a “matchy-matchy” way. Flexsteel is now developing upholstery tied to case goods, and Palliser was coordinating the categories in showroom merchandising designed to give retailers ideas for flooring product. And while they don’t tie upholstery directly to case goods introductions, vendors such as Hooker and Universal are keeping wood finishes and styles in mind when developing fabrics and frames for upholstery.

Two companies joined forces in High Point to offer a more well-rounded presentation to retailers. Upholstery vendor Miles Talbott began showing with occasional, dining and metal bed manufacturer Charleston Forge at the January Vegas Market, and the two have combined forces in a shared High Point showroom. The merchandising possibilities benefit both companies by showing their respective goods in complete room settings.

Color is a great way to catch the eye at retail or online, but a lot of upholstery vendors were toning it down at April market, where neutral, soft pastel tones predominated in upholstery base cloths, with splashes of bolder color seen in accent pillows. Texture variety in fabrics and embossing in leather, in such cases, helped achieve visual as well as tactile interest.

The main reason given was that such palettes are easier to mix and match with case goods and occasional. Visual interest in such cases relied on textural fabrics such as menswear-style coverings or shearling, which was seen in many showrooms.

“We started our move toward urban modern this market, and our direction next market is to bring that to case goods,” said Laurie Phillips, vice president of upholstery. “With Michael Amini–Jane Seymour Living, we have sleek, elegant upholstery that’s glamorous but not glitzy.”

The ever-increasing style variety and quality of performance fabrics are big across price points. For example, such fabrics have become “huge” at high-end custom upholstery manufacturer Taylor King, according to Del Starnes, president and COO. The company debuted 17 new performance fabrics at market.

“We got into performance fabrics before most, and we’ve partnered with three mills for a lot of different options,” Chief Creative Officer Dixon Bartlett said. “Performance on sofas is where it shows up most by far. Out of our top 25 fabrics for sofas, 40% of them are performance. Two years ago, we’d have been flabbergasted to see it at 10%.”

“The promotional market had been inundated with flat microfibers, and now all these great textures are coming across,” said Kevin Creede, who represents Affordable on the East Coast. “A few years ago all we had (for performance fabrics) were microfibers, and we’re now finding a lot of soft, textured fabrics that are bulletproof.”

“In the past two years in particular, we’ve stepped up our looks to be cleaner contemporary in style with better base cloths and better-looking accent pillows,” said President Randy Spak. “For the value we offer, we feel there are few manufacturers who can replicated it.”

Several vendors, including Najarian, are stepping up their activity in stationary upholstery. And while motion might get a lot of attention these days, and Behold Home has a big presence there, the promotional manufacturer keeps extending its reach into stationary.

“We’re not de-emphasizing motion, but there’s been increasing opportunity in stationary lately,” said CEO Lyle Harris. “It’s our construction. We shipped customers motion product, and it’s been problem-free, so they trusted us to execute in stationary.”