Put A Cork In It

When it comes to flooring, there are hundreds of options to choose from. We wanted to share one option that offers many benefits – Cork. We recently had a representative from US Floors come to our store to share a presentation and we wanted to pass that information on to you!

What It Is:
Cork flooring is made from cork bark from the Quercus Suber oak tree found primarily in the Mediterranean basin. These trees have an average lifespan of 120 years, but it is not uncommon for 200 year old trees to continue to produce the cork bark. What is unique about these trees is that they can be harvested every 9 to 11 years up to 20 times without harming the tree. The type of cork used in flooring is actually a by-product from the cork used in bottler stoppers (wine, anyone?) so nothing is wasted in production. Not only is cork renewal and  resourceful, but it also sustainable. Cork forests survive with any chemicals or fertilizers and harvesting cork leaves the habitat undisturbed.

Why You Will Love It:
The cork bark is made up of millions of small prism-shaped air pockets which provides the material with its main beneficial features: thermal insulation, sound absorption, comfort, and resiliency. This is what that means for you:

  • These floors are durable, yet comfortable to walk on – like walking on air!
  • Cork is naturally resistant to insects, so you won’t ever have to worry about pesky bugs like termites.
  • It is an inherent fire inhibitor, and will not spread flames.
  • Thermal insulation keeps your home warm when it is cold outside, and cool when it is hot outside. It is also an acoustic insulator, which will keep your home much quieter.

If you need some help on your next cork flooring project, we can help you. Our in-store designers are certified to sell cork flooring and will be happy to assist you!

Made In America

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Here at the store, we often have customers come in and ask “Do you carry products made in America?” We are proud to answer, “Yes, we do!” With Independence Day coming up, we wanted to feature our “Made In America” products. When you purchase American-made furniture, it not only benefits the economy, but it also benefits you, the customer! Here is why:

  1. Selection: When companies outsource their production overseas, the product blueprints must be very simple with only a few options available, thus greatly limiting the selection and customization options. Ask yourself:
     Is the style of the product I buy important? Does it matter what color it is? Would I prefer one pattern over another? Do I want nail head trim or not? Does it have to fit in a certain space? 
    If you answered “Yes” to any of those questions, then you will appreciate the selection options that American-made manufacturers can offer.
  2. Quality: Having a state-side production team allows American manufacturers to have more control over the finished product. When production is outsourced, it can be difficult to ensure that quality standards are being upheld.
  3. Speed: All of our custom orders can take up to 12 weeks to arrive at the store. However, when a product is made in America, the shipping time can be greatly reduced when it is only coming from a few states away, rather than a few oceans away!
  4. Customer Service: Along with quality, customer service is something that American-made companies can have better control of. These employees are answering your questions from their desks somewhere in the USA and often are empowered to make service related decisions.
  5. Environmental Safety: When a product is made in America, it must adhere to strict environmental standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These guidelines limit pollutants and emissions and many popular outsourcing locations, such as India and China, are damaging the environment with their large carbon footprints.
  6. Pride: After September 11, 2001, there was a big demand for “Made In America” products. There was an overwhelming sense of patriotism and buying products made in the USA was a way for Americans to show their pride. When you buy something that supports your own country, it leaves you with a feeling that you are giving back and contributing to the growth of the economy.

 

We have a couple special manufacturers in the store that still believe in the importance of “Made In America”. Check out this video from one of our favorites – Smith Brothers of Berne. We hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July!

 

The Most Important Meal Of The Day

We have all heard the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. The focus has always been on what you eat (a well-balanced breakfast), but what about where you eat? If breakfast is the most important meal, then the dining table is the most important piece of furniture.

If your family has a special dining place in your home, then you know the magic that can happen there. The dining room table is a place where families can grow and take shape. On the most basic level, it is a place to enjoy a meal, but there is so much more to love about your dining table. Think back to all the memories created around that table: all the conversations you have shared, the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners celebrated, the game nights with friends and family, the problems solved, the good news announced, and everything in between. It was the place where  kids sat and ate breakfast, did homework, and told you how their day went, until the day they moved out and had kids of their own.

When you think about everything you and your table have been through together, you can see why we think it is a very important piece of furniture. That is why we want to share some tips and tricks for giving your dining room table a long life.

  1. Buy a table with a catalyzed finish. This finish essentially seals off the wood and creates a barrier from spills and stains. Although it is not 100% bomb-proof, it will protect against everyday household “oops” and buy you some time to clean up before any damage becomes permanent. One of our favorite brands, Canadel, is made from solid birch and finished with a catalyzed finish with UV protection. Not even bleach is a match for these tables! The UV protection does a great job guarding against sun fading – think of it like your table is always wearing sunscreen!
  2. Learn how to properly clean your table. Even with a catalyzed finish, there are some products that you will not want to clean with – the big one being ammonia. Just say NO to ammonia and dining tables! Ammonia will attack and eat away at the lacquer finish. Depending on the spill level, you can either dry dust the table, or use a damp cloth (you can add a little bit of Dawn dish soap if need be). Unless directly specified, do not apply any waxes or polishes (especially nothing silicon based), as these can leave an unwanted residue that can be tricky to remove.
  3. Invest in a set of placemats. Heat and abrasion are the two biggest damage-causing enemies to your table. Placemats, trivets, and tablecloths will help avoid scratches, dings, and dents.
  4. Heat is not your friend. When setting a casserole dish or something hot out of the oven on your table for serving, always use a hot pad or trivet to keep the heat off the table. Pizza boxes are also a big no-no, as they contain both heat and moisture, which can settle under the finish and into the wood, creating an ugly effect.
  5. Lastly, spend as much time around your table with your family and friends. Furniture is for uniting your loved ones. Whether you are sharing a meal, or just gathering together, there is a good chance that someday you will look back on these memories made around your table and smile.
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Rudy approves! She is waiting for everyone to sit down and have dinner.

Spring Cleaning Playlist

Spring is in the air in western Pennsylvania. If you have driven past our store lately, then you may have seen the crew working on the outside of our building. That’s right, Furniture Galleries is getting an outdoor makeover. We love supporting local businesses and the team from Clair Boring has been here doing a great job power-washing and painting.

However you choose to spring clean, there is one thing that is a must: Music.
Listening to music while you clean will make even the biggest dust bunnies run for the hills. When you’re singing and dancing along to a good song, cleaning doesn’t feel like such a chore.

Check out our top 10 spring cleaning songs!
WARNING: Listening to these songs may result in brooms & mops being used as microphones.

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“Old Time Rock & Roll” – Bob Seger
Feel free to dance like Tom Cruise in Risky Business.

 

“Another One Bites The Dust” – Queen
Make those dust bunnies pay for invading your home!

 

“You’re The One That I Want” – Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta
This should be the only grease in the house after you’re done. Also, this is the perfect duet if you can convince your significant other to clean with you.

“Hand Clap” – Fitz & The Tantrums
Go ahead, clap your hands and dance around your living room with a vacuum, we won’t tell.

 

“Aint No Mountain High Enough” – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
No laundry mountain can stop you, you spring cleaning machine!

“Don’t Stop me Now” – Queen
Yes, we know we already included one Queen song, but if you ever needed a song to motivate you to keep going, this is it.

 

“Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars
This one is sure to get your dusters dancing and your mops moving!

“ABC” – The Jackson 5
We’re going to teach you how to clean your home and have fun.

“Hard Day’s Night” – The Beatles
After scrubbing floors and polishing furniture, you will probably be able to relate to this song.

“Girls Just Want To Have Fun” – Cyndi Lauper
At the end of the day, we all just want to have fun!

 

 

 

BONUS SONG!
And once you are finished cleaning inside, you can always move outside to the driveway…

 

Get the playlist on Spotify!

Behind the Scenes

Swatches, and sofas, and selections… oh my!
When deciding which pieces to feature on display in our showrooms, there are thousands of combinations to choose from. So just how do we decide?

Let us take you behind the scenes of the selection process. A lot of thought and customization goes into each piece before it arrives at our store.

Every year the High Point Market (the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world) is held in April and October. If you are a player in the industry, this is the place to be! After the event, representatives from manufacturers visit stores like us to review all the new fabric and design options available to customers. These visits are always fun for us, as we get just as excited about new products as our customers do.

Before the reps even arrive, it is our task to decide what types of pieces we need and what we are missing so that we can be focused and organized when the rep visits.

Our Century Furniture rep arrived on a sunny Monday morning and, after some brief catching up chit-chat, presented us with fabrics galore. It is always refreshing to see new trends in fabrics, styles, and products, which we then pass on to our customers.

When selecting fabrics, it is important to infuse color for those special statement pieces, but still have a selection of neutrals that can work for almost any living space. Because our showroom is so big, we can showcase the universal neutrals, but still have room for a great selection of “wow” pieces. Not only do we have to make decisions concerning fabrics, but we also customize each part of the actual piece of furniture (arm styles, wood finishes, throw pillows, cushion firmness, etc.) Pretty much every item we have on display has our own personal touch on it. This selection process is pretty standard among all the manufacturers we sell.

We really enjoy being so involved with the  brands we carry. Satisfaction is our top priority and we are always open to new products that will please our customers.

For more behind the scenes at Furniture Galleries, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Photographing Your Home

Congratulations! Your new custom-designed sofa arrived today and you can’t wait to show it off. The delivery team placed it exactly where you wanted and it looks perfect in your living room. You grab your phone and start snapping pictures, perhaps you even picked out an Instagram filter that you think will enhance the image. In all of your excitement, did you happen to notice that the kids’ toys were scattered on the floor? Did you miss where the dog tracked mud on the area rug? You may not have realized it when you were snapping away, but all of these unwanted details will detract from your main subject – your stunning new piece of furniture.

Whether you are using the photos to enter a home design contest (Hello, HGTV!), or simply updating your social media followers that you have been upgrading, it is important to set yourself (and your subject) up for success.

It is okay if you are not a professional photographer, because luckily for you, we have some compiled some tips for getting that perfect shot:

Get the right equipment
Now would be the perfect time to dig out that camera you got for Christmas, read the owner’s manual, and take some higher quality photos. You do not need to have the most expensive camera to get nice quality images, but even an entry level DSLR will give you more tools to get an image you can be proud of. If all you have is your smart phone camera, have no fear, these camera phones have come a long way in recent years and you may still be able to produce an aesthetically pleasing image with the help of the remaining suggestions below.

Clean up clutter
Remember the toys and paw prints from the original scenario? This is the part where we tell you to look around and if anything looks like it would not be seen on the cover of a home décor magazine, then it needs to go (at least for the photo shoot, and then you are free to put them wherever you like). There is a difference between decorations and household clutter. Decorations add to a room, clutter detracts.

Natural light is your friendDSC_1325.JPG
Depending on the layout of your room, you may be set up for a big advantage by using natural light, perhaps from a large window, to highlight your subject. Any time you can use natural light, rather than harsh fluorescents, you will get much truer colors and a more elegant feel to the photo.

Accessorize!
Use decorations to your advantage, but do not over embellish the piece. A few decorative throw pillows and some artwork on the wall will do the trick. The space should look casual and livable, not random and thrown together. If there is a table in the photo, find some decorations that fit the scene like candles, vases, books, and plants to place on top. Avoid over-accessorizing and mixing too many prints. If it looks like a fabric store exploded in your living room, you might want to simplify.

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Do not stand tall over the furniture, but rather, view it from its own level or slightly above. This will require you to either kneel or sit of the floor if you have a low sofa, or short cocktail table. It is also recommended to photograph an object so that multiple sides are viewable. For example, do not shoot your dining room table straight on, but rather angle your camera so that you can see the top, side, and front of the piece.

 

Filter out filters
Forget the Instagram filters and fancy effects, after all, you custom ordered the piece that color for a reason. Why would you want to distort the beautiful new fabrics with a generic filter that makes your room look like a scene out of the 1970s? Don’t let vintage filters take your modern room back to another era. Although filters can be fun, you will want to leave them off to keep your furniture looking as life-like as possible when sharing online.

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If you are still unsatisfied after trying all these tips, it is time to call in the professionals. One of the benefits of being a Furniture Galleries customer is that we employ our own photographer who will visit your home (at no cost to you), photograph your special pieces, and feature your home on our social media feed.

 

If you found this article helpful, please follow us on Facebook for more tips and featured homes! Thank you.