Start Afresh with the Right Furniture

Home is your shelter, so shouldn’t it actually feel relaxing? Here are a few secrets from our local experts on how to weave together colors, patterns and practicality in a way that screams cozy.

Your home is many things, but it is, first and foremost, your escape. No matter how much time you spend in the outside world, you deserve comfort and beauty when you enter your home.

If your escape isn’t everything it could be, one tried-and-true solution is to infuse some fresh style and comfort. Whether that means a complete transformation or integrating a few carefully curated pieces, a well-informed approach is your key to achieving a new look.

Local experts are standing by, ready to help. At locally owned furniture stores, experts bring a combination of high-quality, long-lasting products and helpful insights to pull everything together.

“We’re more than happy to help people, whether they buy from us or not,” says Cal Wescott, owner of Rite-Way Furniture & Appliance, 20 E. Stephenson St. in Freeport. “If they have a problem and I can’t help them, I can at least tell them where to go and get assistance.”

While there is plenty of help at the showroom, it’s a good idea to do some research before your visit. Many retailers offer an idea of their products, brands and specialties online. Photos and websites like Pinterest might also help you narrow down your preferences.

The Beloit Mattress Co., with locations at 1946 Liberty Ave. in Beloit and 6545 Lexus Dr. in Rockford, has a robust website that shows all of the possibilities with the company’s factory-direct products. Since 1929, the firm has been handcrafting its own mattresses right on site.

“We have a mattress matcher tool that asks questions about body type, age, how someone sleeps,” says Ryan Poppie, fourth-generation owner of Beloit Mattress. “This tool looks at different factors that determine what you need. It will give you a ranking of which models might be a good fit for you, so then you can walk into the Beloit or Rockford showroom and see from your researched list which one you like the best.”

While doing your due diligence, be prepared to talk about design elements with your salesperson. Consider your current color scheme – or, if you’re redecorating, your future color scheme – and how this furniture will fit. In most cases, you want your new furniture to match with your current decor or the rest of your house, says Wescott, of Rite-Way Furniture.

Remember, the right fit means more than just matching the wall color.

“When you’re looking at living room or family room upholstery, you must look at the current colors in the room, on the carpet, the walls and the drapes,” he adds. “Make sure you’re working with colors that complement what you already have.”

With more than three decades in the business, Wescott has seen many style and color trends come and go. Currently, he’s noticed an uptick in neutral, medium-tone colors that aren’t too light or dark, like lighter browns or grays.

Lighter tones work well in pillows, drapes and couches, Wescott says, but be mindful of using whites or beiges where there’s potential for stains.

“People aren’t using dark colors as much anymore,” says Wescott. “You don’t want to go too light though, in case someone is eating or drinking in a chair and spills. More people are buying neutral, medium tones rather than too light or too dark.”

Where buyers have the most fun is in selecting focal points for the room. These can include sofas, accent chairs or cushions – anything that sets a theme for the rest of the room. Done properly, this furniture focal point adds a splash of color and ties together touches like recliners, drapes or accent chairs.

If it seems a bit overwhelming, that’s OK. Good furniture salespeople know how to help a customer through the process.

“A lot of people might have the vision of what they want to do with their room – sometimes it’s a total makeover, sometimes it’s just changing a few pieces – but it all comes down to the focal pieces in the room that make the most impression and have the most dominance,” says Wescott. “You have to decide if you’re going to take that focal piece and work off of it.”

People who buy new furniture often bring it into a room with some existing decor or furniture pieces. Depending on your goal, it might be helpful to bring in a sample – maybe a cushion, a pillow, or a drapery fabric – to make sure everything works.

Know that there really can be too much of a good thing, so to avoid cluttering up a space or causing headaches for delivery, bring a few measurements to the showroom. In particular, know your dimensions in the room, your doorways and, if applicable, clearances on any stairwells.

“It’s essential to lay out the room ahead of time and measure so that when you buy, you know what size you need. That applies to furniture and mattresses,” says Wescott. “Knowing how to get an item into the home and whether or not they have the availability to take that item into the location is crucial.”

As important as size and aesthetics are, it’s also important to consider function when selecting furniture. Some materials may be better suited for infrequent use than for heavy daily use. And some products are ideally suited for certain purposes.

That’s certainly the case with adjustable mattresses, which have been a growing trend among several demographics.

“If you can raise the head and feet of the bed, instead of going to the living room after dinner to watch TV, you go right to bed, put it in a lounge position and watch it there,” says Poppie, of Beloit Mattress. “People working from home can use the power-adjust base and don’t have to get out of bed.”

Knowing how you’ll use your new furniture will also help you find an enduring product. High-quality, well-built products are designed to last in a way that cheap, mass-produced items aren’t. A good salesperson can help to explain the difference.

At Beloit Mattress, Poppie’s team takes a hands-on approach by testing everything they produce in-house. Because they make what they sell, they’re able to offer a higher level of warranties and guarantees. With any product, this is an important safeguard for the consumer.

“One of the most important factors homeowners should know when purchasing new furniture or a new mattress is that most stores have a comfort guarantee or satisfaction,” says Poppie. “It’s important to understand what the store’s policy is and the terms on the piece you’re buying. Understand those terms, understand how it’s built and take the time to lay on it to make sure you get the right mattress.”

Bring together the right color palettes, functional furnishings and thoughtful selections and you have a refreshed home that’s stylish, snug and special.

“You spend a lot of time in your living room or family room, and you want to make sure it’s fashionable and comfortable,” says Wescott. “Some people buy furniture just for show, and maybe they have a family room for more of a comfort area. No matter what, one room in your house has to be a comfortable room that you’re going to spend time in.”

So, why not make it the place you most enjoy?