• Tri City Furniture, Auburn

Designer Looks and Styles

Updated: Feb 9

If you have been looking for furniture lately, you have probably heard the phrase, "Designer Looks and Styles." What does that mean? Yes, we want your room to come together and look nice. Do you need a designer? Does that cost extra? Does "designer" furniture cost more than what I see on the showroom floor? We would all love for an HGTV star to come over and give us insight, but can I we do that locally? Lots of questions to ask on this topic. Talk to Kathy on the next Design Time @ 9am each Thursday on WNEM- TV5.


Let's start with...we have all been blessed with talents. Some of us are great with numbers vs the arts. Maybe you can sing or dance. Maybe you are an accountant vs an artist. We all have our gifts.

A designer should be someone who knowns the elements of space and function, therefore connects and extends those details within design concepts that fit a lifestyle and vision.

Designers hopefully see the bigger picture as they listen to the needs and wants of a forming space. There are many tricks of the trade that designers know how to use. Maybe the very first one would be to remove all clutter. Go back and watch HGTV. When they do the final room scan, do you see the pile of mail from the week? Do you see old catalogs or VHS tapes sitting out? I guarantee there are no old throws across the back of the sofa or recliner chair. Do you see mix matched frames of the family all over the place?


Designers give a space focus. We want the room to have an indefinable look and feel.

Some people may categorize this by "Traditional or "Modern" or newer verbiage could be "Industrial Farmhouse" or "BoHo" No matter what you call your look- it has rules within that look to follow. You know if a turned wooden leg on the chair will fit better within the space than a skinny tall chrome leg. You know if the fabric should be floral or geometric print.

This is what a designer should do when the details are ready to be looked at. They should be able to sort and align the design elements to fit together and blend within the space establishing the desired look.

When I see or hear the term "designer looks and styles" on commercials, I am normally disappointed. Often I find that they mean with this term- that the sofa they are highlighting has a distinctive look. The last one I saw was a blue velvet sofa with a contrasting white welt (piping around the cushion edge). That was it. You had no choice- but somewhere, some designer created this look.


What it should mean, is that you have CHOICE and you are informed about how choices will affect your design and vision.
  • It should mean that you can pick and choose the pieces. Do you want a sofa, loveseat, sectional, stationary chair or reclining furniture? Do you want a round dining room table vs square shape? Do you want to sit 6 or 16? Do you want carpet, rugs or hard floors?

  • It should mean that you have choice in seat depth- because we all like to sit differently. Do you like to sit up straight or do you like to lounge? Do you want a round corner for pillows and the grandkids or do you want a square corner to use as a chaise?

  • It should mean that you can pick the fabric color, design and material it is made from. You should have a choice of design details, such as a contrast welt or contrasting throw pillows.

  • You should be able to pick a firm cushion or a soft cushion or an extra, extra, extra firm back cushion.

  • You should be able to pick the arm shape, the leg shape and height. Do you want a pleated skirt? Do you want a waterfall skirt? Do you want to have a tufted back?

  • Do you need a stronger under carriage, meaning they are going to use stronger coils and springs within the frame. Come on, we all know that we may be slightly over our ideal BMI levels. Maybe you have bad knees and your body hits a certain height level where it has to drop vs sit kindly on the seat cushion. Instead of ignoring it, a designer should address it and plan accordingly.

These are what should come to your mind when you are working with a designer. They are going to talk with you first, listen and then talk to you about choices and outcomes. We want the room to be great. We want you to love it at 6 months and still at 6years. We want it to be what you expected. We want you to tell your friends so we could work with them as well and help solve their problems as well. It is what we do!


So, now that we have talked about what you should think when you hear the term "designer", you may now be wondering "Will it cost me more?" A simple answer is- Yes, because a designer sofa/ sectional that has choices will always be a better quality pieces tan a $699 sofa that comes one way and one way only. These designer companies care about your end goal, so they are willing to help you achieve it by changing elements.

A good designer though, can follow through on a design at any budget level. You may have to give and take a little within your choices, but you can still have the best look within your space and layout that matches the ultimate goal.

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