5 Home Furnishings Shopping Tips That Many People Don’t Know

Over the years, I have learned many home furnishings shopping tips. In this post, I will share a few. I hope you were able to find time to read my last post Decorate Responsibly, which was about the importance of knowing the business practices of the brands that you are purchasing. I also believe in patronizing local mom and pop stores, artists and artisans when possible. With that said, let’s get to the tips!

Home Furnishings Shopping Tips #1 of 5: Rugs

We all know that rugs are an important design element in a room. They set the stage for all that follows and can independently create the mood of the room. However, they are big, bulky, and challenging to cart home. It isn’t easy to try a few rugs in a room and keep only the one we like best in the space.

The good news is if you shop at a local mom and pop store, they usually provide a service in which they can bring a few rugs to your home for you to view in the space before you buy. They do all the carting, and heavy lifting, all you have to do is decide which one you like best. Most often there is a fee for this service, but it is well worth it.

If you are purchasing online or where this type of service is not available, buy a few of the rugs that you are considering in the smallest size possible. For example, if I am ordering a rug online, I look to purchase it in the 2″ x 3″ size first. Once I have determined I like the rug, I then purchase it in the larger size. Also, you can bring the small one with you when you are selecting fabrics and art to coordinate with it. If I don’t like the rug, I return it. It is much easier and less costly to return a small rug than a large one.

small rug
Purchase the rug you are considering in a small size first as a sample
The area rug in the large size can be purchased when you are sure you like it

Home Furnishings Shopping Tip #2 of 5: Sofas and Chairs

We all have preferred sitting depths. Usually, tall people find sofas and chairs with a deeper seat more comfortable. The reverse is true for people who are petite. A person who has shorter legs usually prefer to sit in a chair with a smaller cushion depth.

how to find depth of sofa cushion to make sofa shopping easier
Use a tape measure to find the depth of the cushion on a sofa you feel is comfortable

To find your preferred sitting depth simply measure the inside dimensions of a sofa or a chair that you find comfortable.

Once you know your preferred sitting depth, you can eliminate anything that does not meet your criteria and therefore save hours of shopping time. Paying attention to your preferred sitting depth is also a valuable tool when ordering custom furniture, which is impossible to try first.

Home Furnishings Shopping Tips #3 of 5: Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets

Before falling in love with a cabinet door style, make sure that the cabinet line has a wide selection of sizes and options available. This is especially important when space is limited. If the cabinet line has few options in sizes available, you end up wasting space because you have to add fillers to extend dimensions, rather than being able to change the size of the cabinet.

Look for cabinet lines that are KCMA Certified (Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturer’s Association). Cabinet lines with the KCMA Certification have passed the toughest durability test in today’s market. Additionally, cabinet lines that are KCMA ESP Certified have met criteria to be environmentally friendly.

If you are remodeling your kitchen visit my Interior Design Printables page for handy organizers to help you with your project.

Home Furnishings Shopping Tips #4 of 5: Mirrors

One of the home furnishings shopping tips for buying mirrors is to make sure you like the reflection and that it isn't distorted.
Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Not all mirrors are created equally. I am sure you have realized that you can look better or worse in different mirrors. Remember to consider this when purchasing a mirror. I think a mirror that can take off ten years and ten pounds is the one to buy! Great for the self-esteem.

Seriously, make sure the reflection is pleasing before purchasing, especially with very large mirrors. To get a perfect reflection, the surface of the mirror needs to be completely flat. This is almost impossible for large-sized mirrors. Some have distortions that are worse than others. So check it out before you take it home.

Home Furnishings Shopping Tips #5 of 5: Broadloom Carpeting

You don’t always get what you pay for. In fact, with broadloom carpeting, you also pay for what you don’t get. In other words, you pay for waste as well as what is used in your space.

Carpet is produced in three size rolls. The most common is 12 feet, but sometimes you will find a 13 1/2 or 15-foot roll. Depending on the size of the room you are choosing broadloom for, the carpet roll size can make a difference in price. If you have minimal waste, you can save money.

Also choosing a size roll that fits the room better will make for a cleaner installation. For example, if your room is 15′ x 13′ and chose a broadloom carpet that comes on a 15′ roll, you can purchase just enough carpet and avoid having any seams in the room. However, if you buy a carpet that comes on a 12′ roll, you will have both waste and seams.

Decorate Responsibly and Feel Good About What You Put In Your Home

It is easy to get caught up in designing our perfect home and forget to decorate responsibly. When selecting our plush rugs, designer fabrics, and other home furnishings, we should be mindful of the business practices of the manufacturers and stores that we are patronizing.

Decorate responsibly buy buying goodweave certified rugs as shown in photo
Photo by Oliver Lechner on Pexels.com
Buy Rugs that are GoodWeave certified

Decorate responsibly by being an educated consumer

Fair trade Certified ™  and GoodWeave Certified ™  rugs are two great labels to look for when shopping. They often tip the scale for me when making decisions. When I see those labels on products, I know I can feel good purchasing them.

shoppers lined up with shopping bags
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Fair Trade Certified 

Fair trade is a global movement made up of a diverse network of producers, companies, shoppers, advocates, and organizations putting people and planet first.

quoted from https://www.fairtradecertified.org/why-fair-trade

One thing you can do to decorate responsibly is to shop Fair Trade Certified ™  products. Fair Trade ensures that companies pay workers fair wages, and that they have safe working conditions. In addition, Fair Trade means that the company is environmentally friendly. You can check out stores, brands, and products before you purchase from them by using this link. When you purchase a home product that is Fair Trade Certified ™ you can feel good about putting it in your home.

GoodWeave Certified  

When purchasing rugs, look for ones that are GoodWeave Certified. GoodWeave is an organization that is working towards ending forced and child labor globally. A business has to meet specific criteria in order to become GoodWeave Certified. Furthermore, GoodWeave makes regular surprise visits to all production facilities to verify the company’s compliance. I have noticed that Target sells GoodWeave Rugs. Knowing that their store is ethically aware, makes me more comfortable purchasing any product there, in addition to rugs.

look for goodweave  certified rugs to decorate responsibly
GoodWeave labels can be found on the bottom side of area rugs

If you read Design to be Happy, you know that this site is all about creating look-good and feel-good spaces. Now taking care to decorate responsibly we can also feel great about what we put into our homes.

Additional Resources To Learn More

I was first made aware of some of the unethical business practices that take place around the world by attending a Human Rights Lecture. Follow the link to view it. I had no idea that child labor, forced labor, and bonded labor still occurred. These labor practices are all considered a type of modern day slavery.

The sad truth is that slavery is in every industry, and we may be unknowingly supporting it. To learn more about this, go to slaveryfootprint.org. They have a survey that you can take, which asks you about your purchasing habits and in the end, will let you know your impact and slavery footprint.

Another good resource to help you buy slave free products can be found at http://www.endslaverynow.org/act/buy-slave-free . They have a product guide that can be downloaded. You will also find links to companies that produce products made from slave survivors. Supporting these companies will keep slave survivors employed and prevent them from becoming victims again.

The first thing you can do to help is to spread awareness. I believe many people have no idea about these issues. Use the social media buttons below to share this post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram because together we can make a difference.

5 Excellent Reasons to Reupholster your Furniture

If you are considering getting your furniture reupholstered but aren’t sure if it is a good idea, you are in the right place! When should you reupholster your furniture and when should you buy new? Here are 5 excellent reasons to reupholster your furniture that explain when it makes sense.


Reason 1: If the furniture piece can’t be replicated, choose to reupholster it.

Before and After of Antique Chair that was reupholstered in Blue Toile Fabric.
Antique chair reupholstered in a Kravet’s Toile Fabric

When a furniture piece can’t be replicated, reupholstering is an excellent choice. For example, it has sentimental value or is unique in some way. Furniture with sentimental value may have belonged to a loved one or was a gift from someone special. It may be unique because it is exceptionally comfortable, and nothing else can measure up. In other instances, it may be unique because it has unusual dimensions, that work in the space particularly well.

The toile chair shown in the picture above is a chair I had reupholstered. When renovating a bathroom, my client and I searched for a chair that would fit in the small space between the tub and vanity. It is difficult to find a petite chair in modern furniture. We opted to reupholster an antique chair because of its small size. The fabric was shirred around the wood frame giving it a new fresh look. The toile is a Kravet’s Fabric.


Reason 2: Reupholster if you wish to create a custom look in your home.

Before and After of a love seat that was reupholstered.

Reupholstering allows you more fabric options. You can easily coordinate the upholstered piece’s fabric with the colors and patterns already in the room. It also gives you the flexibility to repeat the fabric you are using on the furniture in other ways. An example of this would be to use it for window treatments, resulting in a high-end look.


Reason 3: Reupholster your furniture to add special details

Chair with damask fabric on back and velvet on the seat. Cording is added illustrating 1 of the 5 Excellent Reasons to Reupholster your Furniture, which is to add details.

When you reupholster a piece of furniture, you can customize its design. The chair featured above is an excellent example of that. Notice the back of the chair is a beautiful damask, while the seat, is a more durable velvet. The cording adds interest while finishing the piece nicely.


Reason 4: Reupholster to be able to control the quality of the fabric

Before picture of a leather sofa and after photo of it reupholstered in cream fabric.
Leather sofa reupholstered in high-performance fabric. Tufting was eliminated from cushion for an updated look

There are numerous ways to determine if a fabric you are considering is of good quality. Fabric manufacturers rate their fabrics’ durability in terms of “rubs.” When a fabric is rated over 30,000 rubs, it is considered to be heavy-duty. That means the fabric did not show signs of wear until it was “rubbed” 30,000 times. Some commercial fabrics have ratings of 100,000 rubs. Fabrics with this rating would be a great choice for a piece of furniture that receives a lot of use.

You also want to consider the fabric’s stain-resistance features. Some fabrics are treated by the manufacturer and will resist stains. If the fabric is labeled as a “performance fabric,” it is most likely treated. One way to tell for sure is to drop some water on it. If the water beads up, the fabric has been coated for stain resistance.

Working for a commercial establishment, I choose a “hospitality” grade, high-performance fabric for their sofa because it is in a high-traffic area near their bar. I wanted to make sure the upholstery was durable. For peace of mind, I tested the durability by spilling red wine on my fabric swatch to see if it stained. The red wine beaded up and was quickly blotted clean and therefore passed my test. The fabric used in the above photo was a Duralee Fabric.


Reason #5: Reupholster to own a piece that no one else has.

Fabric showrooms have endless choices of fabric types, patterns, and colors. Also, they have many different types of trims that can be used in your design. You are only limited by your imagination! To see some delicious trims that are available browse Duralee’s collection.


To save money is not 1 of the 5 Excellent Reasons to Reupholster Your Furniture

Many clients have asked about reupholstering their existing sofa because they think it will be less expensive than buying a new one. However, this is seldom the case. It may cost more. Are you surprised? When you break down the costs, it is easy to see how the price of reupholstering can add up.

First, consider the pick-up and delivery charge for the piece to be transported to and from the upholstery shop. Next, there is the labor to have the upholstery done. If the chair or sofa is old, it may need new foam cushions, which is a substantial cost. Last, there is the price of the fabric. Fabric prices can vary. If you are making an effort to reupholster a piece, you want to make sure that you have a high-quality upholstery fabric that will hold up. In general, fabrics of higher quality cost more, sometimes substantially more.

I hope you found 5 Amazing Reasons to Reupholster Your Furniture helpful and are now able to make a decision whether you should reupholster or buy new. For inspiration for a color scheme checkout Room Color Inspiration and Decorating. Also, don’t forget to Incorporate Good Mood Influencers into your Decor because it is all about designing to be happy.