By Kari Ruel
Wake County families are spending more time at home since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, forcing more people to work remotely and students to learn online. Spending more time at home has also encouraged people to rethink their living space. A social media survey asking people what they have done to their home while sequestered or sheltering in place brought endless ideas, from minor room adjustments to complete kitchen and bath makeovers. Repurposing the garage for a workout room, office or a man cave top the list, as well as landscaping the backyard to create an at-home oasis.
Tyler Singleton, owner of Furnish This, said his customers are focusing their energies on intimate spaces and home comforts. “Where are most families spending time at home right now?” Singleton asked. “Two places: the dining table and the sofa. People realize that their sofa just isn’t holding up anymore, has lumps, or isn’t comfortable in general. Now that the sofa is seeing more use, they realize how badly it needs replacing.”
The rising demand for sofas has put a strain on many stores’ inventory to keep up with the orders. Custom-made sofas can take up to 20 weeks, according to Singleton. “At Furnish This, one of our hottest commodities are sofas and sectionals that we sell off the floor and deliver to a home within 48 hours,” he said. “People don’t want to wait four to five months to get that new sofa, especially if they can take one home immediately, which is rare at the moment. Customers are also noticing the quality difference of sofas now—they’re noting how sturdy a frame feels or how the cushions keep their original shape over time. While you might still find some mass-produced sofas at other stores for $300, one soon realizes how quickly that sofa falls apart, and it needs replacing. Buying quality, North Carolina-made furniture for a little more (not a lot more) helps small businesses locally and is better for the consumer, too.”
If you are willing to wait for a custom sofa, Furnish This can produce a custom upholstery-made sofa in their factory in the North Carolina mountains in eight to 12 weeks that will last 20-plus years.
“Families are also sprucing up their dining rooms, as more family mealtimes are becoming priorities,” added Singleton. “An old table might be the wrong size or shape, it might be worn out or wobbly, or might not be big enough to serve as a desk/home office work area and eating space.”
To make a statement in a room, consider engineered hardwood floors or custom rugs or carpets. “We are seeing several stair-runner requests and orders this quarter. Customers are also ordering cut-to-fit custom rugs for family rooms and full first- and second-floor jobs that are turnkey projects,” said Julie Byers, sales consultant for Brentwood Flooring America. “We offer custom binding on rugs cut to fit rooms in several designer styles. Hall and stair-runners that coordinate with the rugs are also popular.”
Home improvement enthusiasts may also want to check out the offerings at Impressions Flooring Collection, which was designed to meet the needs and desires of today’s most selective and active homeowners. Impressions offers a wide range of products from solid to engineered, smooth-faced to hand-scraped in multiple widths and grades all in today’s most popular wood species and colors. All of their products are manufactured with the highest quality standards and are backed by a lifetime finish and structural warranty.
Working from home has created challenges to find a home office design that works. “A comfortable, well-designed home office can raise your mood and productivity,” said Nelle Carroll, co-owner of Whitley Furniture. “Having a designated area in your home that is separate from your living space enables you to improve your concentration and minimize distractions.”
Creating a well-designed home office is all about balancing form and function. With an abundance of beautifully designed office furniture on the market, you have options other than an office supply store for your needs. “Planning a home office is much more than choosing a desk and chair,” added Carroll. “You should create a space in which you enjoy spending time—one that is stylish, comfortable, and inspiring! At Whitley Furniture, we have a vast selection of home office furniture to fit your needs. Our knowledgeable design team can help guide you to the home office of your dreams.”
Another popular home improvement project is building a stylish entertainment space. With many movie theaters still closed, home entertainment is in high demand. An entertainment area is a fun-filled space that doesn’t have to be an eyesore. Whether you’re outfitting a living room, den, game room, bedroom or man cave, you want the ultimate entertainment experience that won’t take away from the overall design of your home. When choosing entertainment pieces, it’s important to consider storage and organization. You can easily maintain a stylish and clean area by hiding devices and cords with proper storage. Whitley Furniture carries beautiful entertainment centers, cabinets, consoles and other entertainment furniture to fit any style.
If you are looking for custom built-in shelving units and moveable space, consider consulting with the professionals at Closet Factory. “With less traveling and eating out, our clients are spending more time home, so the importance of organization is greater than ever to keep the stress down, and they have a little extra cash to do so,” said Closet Factory owner Sue Pail. “We are also seeing people using their garages for man caves, craft areas and entertaining at home.”
“We have professional design consultants who will meet with our clients either in their home or virtually. We only need to go into the home to measure and see the space,” said Pail. “After that, we can share design ideas and price virtually with our state-of-the-art digital technology.”
Don’t forget the window coverings when updating a room or adding new furniture. Budget Blinds has numerous ideas to make staying at home more enjoyable and quickly transform a space from a study hall to a movie night, all with a button tap. Automated shades are now more affordable and more reliable, and it is a trend that is growing in both residential and commercial settings.
“Automated shades are much more than using a motor and a remote control to make your shades go up and down or for use far beyond just high or hard to reach windows,” said Dan Parlin, owner of Budget Blinds. “Today’s automated shade systems allow our clients to control the light and privacy of any room. Yes, you can press one button and have all your shades in a room operate immediately and together. Still, with features such as schedules, scenes and third-party integration, you can schedule what time your shades operate, or tie it to sunrise and sunset every day.”
Parlin added this enables clients to protect their floors and furnishings from the sun whether they are home or not. You can also say, “Alexa, set movie time,” and all of the shades in your room will lower or raise to your desired pre-set level. All of this functionality can now be accomplished with Wi-Fi enabled apps and battery operation, so there is no need to have existing or expensive wiring to every window.
Which room do you want to start with??