Fabrics for High-Traffic Commercial Spaces

No Comments

by Diana Delaney

Designers face unique challenges when choosing fabrics for commercial spaces. These high traffic areas not only tend to experience a lot of wear and tear but they also have to appeal to a broader audience while still creating a distinctive style statement.

So how do we determine the right balance between style and practicality, comfort and durability? When selecting products and material for a commercial design, there are several key considerations that I immediately take into account, as they may affect the rest of my decisions. It can be quite different from my approach to residential projects.

Commercial buildings often have special requirements in order for a project to meet building codes and various regulations. In terms of fabric selections, consideration must be given to abrasion resistance, lightfastness, fire-retardancy and antibacterial or antimicrobial requirements (most often required in healthcare settings). While we may occasionally use these standards as a guiding principle, they are not often a defining requirement in a residential setting.

_D3_9844Once we have established the general rules, objectives, and budget for the project, the next step is determining what type of furniture components are needed and how they will be used. Most clients have specific requirements for the life cycle of products they are purchasing, so my job is to ensure that the pieces we specify and fabrics we use meet the expected life expectancy, and this is notwithstanding any guarantees and warranties.  After all, once a project is installed and completed, the last thing anyone wants is the hassle of repairs or replacements.

Usage scenarios for each piece also helps us to determine how durable the fabrics need to be, whether they need to be spill and stain resistant or fade resistant. For example, consideration for things such as much natural light enters the space and whether it will be coming into direct contact with the fabric; where will window treatments be used and whether they need blackout options or adjustable shades. If we are putting an ottoman in a seating area, will people actually be sitting on it, or is it perhaps more likely food and drinks will be placed on it like a coffee table?  All of these things come into play as we move forward in the design process.

For contract furniture specifically, I like using faux and bonded leathers for sofas, then perhaps throwing in a bold or playful fabric on any accent pieces or in the accessories. Bonded leathers look great, are easy to clean and can be found at reasonable price points. Wearability is paramount here again due to the fact that they will inevitably be abused through daily wear and tear.

_D3_9833

For commercial bedding, I am a fan of clean, white linens. They can be washed at high heat and with bleach so it is a simple and classic option that never goes out of style and will be relatively easy to maintain. You can always update the look with various weaves and patterns that are still white-on-white. I recommend bed-ends or darker quilts to protect the linens, as one of the first things people do when they enter a new bedroom or hotel room with a freshly-made bed is jump on it and put up their shoe-clad feet!  Coming up with creative methods to meet practical requirements while maintaining the integrity of your design is sometimes a challenge, but is certainly a welcome one for both the designer as well as the clients and those who eventually end up enjoying the space.

Although the design process is often built upon inspiration, the project parameters and fabric application ultimately determine the final selections. You work backwards from the point of that inspiration; meaning, you may find a fabulous colour, piece of artwork or fabric that originally inspires you and although it is not practical to apply that fabric to a high-traffic hotel lobby chair (for example, that custom silk you fall in love with), you may still use the pattern or colour which may lead your design in a direction that is indeed suitable for that space and that project.

The universe never falls short on inspiration; it is simply keeping your eyes (and mind) open enough to receive it.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————
Diana’s work with Custom Home Interiors over the past five years has largely involved creating design concepts for model homes, condos and lobbies, as well as developing corporate housing programs for our sister company Corporate Housing Interiors Ltd.
 
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Custom Home Interiors works with industry professional to provide leading edge furniture, appliances, home automation, fireplaces, window treatments and fittings for commercial and residential projects.

We publish a quarterly newsletter containing links to bi-monthly blog posts & other relevant industry news. Subscribe to our quarterly newsletter.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Why Using a Professional to Design Common Areas is Just Common Sense

No Comments

A building’s lobby is a welcoming area for visitors, potentials buyers and renters. It often serves as an introduction to the interior esthetic of the property and should reflect the quality of the units. As such, a lobby and other common areas like party rooms or lounges can add value to a property or detract from it depending on its overall appearance and how well it is maintained.
_D3_9831
As the expression goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Think about the last time you checked into a hotel or visited a friend’s condo. It is likely that you formed your opinion of the suite and the service as soon as you walked in the front entrance. Businesses that take the opportunity to put their best foot forward on common space design are at a clear advantage over their competitors.

Common areas usually serve a specific purpose, whether it is to check in with concierge, wait for a friend or colleague, grab a coffee and read the paper, watch a movie, or host a family gathering. With a clear goal for the space in mind, identifying furnishing and décor elements that are functional and durable while also being modern and à la mode is key.

High traffic areas can pose unique challenges because elements like chair fabrics, wall paint and area rugs may wear long before a table, lamp or wall art go out of fashion. This is where the help of a professional interior designer can help you to make strategic decisions that will help extend the life of certain purchases and update others so that you can maximize your budget while always delivering a fresh and inviting feel to your common spaces.

Whether you are looking to completely redesign your hotel lobby or breakfast bar, or update a condo party room or retirement home respite suite, Custom Home Interiors has the people, the products, and the solutions to deliver a vision that will make a positive and lasting impression on guests and tenants.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Custom Home Interiors works with industry professional to provide leading edge furniture, appliances, home automation, fireplaces, window treatments and fittings for commercial and residential projects.

We publish a quarterly newsletter containing links to bi-monthly blog posts & other relevant industry news. Subscribe to our quarterly newsletter.

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Benefits of High Quality Home Furnishings

No Comments

The home furnishing industry has started trending towards high-end, locally-made furnishings once again. Over the past several years, free trade agreements with low-wage markets and big-box stores have created a speedy shift towards fast furnishings at lower prices. Although these products and partners still have a role to play in the overall mix of interior design, Canadian businesses and customers have learned that the initial investment in high-quality furnishings really pays off in the long term.

skyline_wandcord_livingroom_3Custom Home Interiors has always purchased our core items from local manufacturers. High-quality upholstery, furniture, appliances, and accessories from great Canadian manufacturers like Trica, Huppé, JLM Furniture, and Superstyle help us to deliver the quality that our clients and partners have come to expect, all while offering competitive pricing.
 
Frankly, for us supporting other Canadian companies is just good business. We believe that offering superior, locally-made products gives our business and our clients’ a competitive advantage. We are able to maintain quality control that just isn’t possible with suppliers overseas, ensuring the best in modern design, materials, as well as adherence to national building requirements and standards.

Well-made products also last longer, which is more cost effective than replacing cheap ones every couple of years and sending the used ones to landfills. Purchasing locally-made, quality furnishings also has another environment benefit in that the distance the final product has to travel is dramatically reduced thereby decreasing its carbon footprint.

All of this enables our clients to deliver a consistently superior experience with furnishings that actually increase the appeal of the space, and clearly demonstrate that they value their customers, which is the key to turning them into repeat business and referral sources.

To find out more about our leading edge furniture, appliances, home automation and fittings for commercial and residential projects, contact our team. Whether you are working on a restaurant, a commercial lobby, a retirement home or building a neighbourhood of custom homes, we can provide innovative solutions and award-winning customer service that will exceed your expectations.
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Custom Home Interiors works with industry professional to provide leading edge furniture, appliances, home automation, fireplaces, window treatments and fittings for commercial and residential projects.

We publish a quarterly newsletter containing links to bi-monthly blog posts & other relevant industry news. Subscribe to our quarterly newsletter.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,