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Fashion dictates fabric choices. For a formal space, try damask or silk velvet. For a private room, a print or heavyweight woven is more practical. Modern interior design rooms are multifunctional. You need a range of sofas and chairs to suit different needs. That upholstery on steroids look from the 1980s? Even that’s starting to be part of living room inspiration and ideas.
Like a house, a well-built piece of furniture starts with the foundation. Put your hand on the bottom of the frame of a chair, between the legs, and tap. You can hear if it has been made with webbing and coil springs. Run your hand along the platform underneath to ensure that the springs haven’t popped. Test the arm: You should not be able to feel the wood, just the upholstery. Don’t worry so much about the cushions. They are easily replaced.
When Michael S. Smith needed sofas for the Obama Oval Office, he turned to Steven Jonas, the president of a firm dating from the 1920s. For generations, Jonas has artfully made handcrafted custom sofas, chairs and curtains that are the definition of exquisite quality, classic beauty and originality. Jonas is committed to maintaining traditional old world manufacturing standards and methods of the 19th century, producing fine objects of style and comfort that clients cherish for a lifetime.
When a makeover estimate is higher than what you paid for the piece, throw it out. Or slipcover it. A well-made vintage piece is a good investment.
A contemporary but soft approach looks fresh—such as a modern sofa with down cushions. People are requesting rectilinear shapes like the tuxedo, a square-armed seat where the arms are the same height as the back. Free-form shapes are popular, including a curved sofa first designed for Elsa Schiaparelli.
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