Interiors Monthly December 2021

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Retail Family values

Design Colour story

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Goodbye 2021, hi ‘normal-ish’ As a very complicated year draws to an end, the interiors retail sector has withstood plenty of challenges The end of this month will draw to a close a year that has to be one of the most complicated in this sector’s history: stores closed for months under lockdown at the start; a boom in sales that saw lead times go through the roof; soaring shipping costs and continuing supply chain disruption; the switch online of a whole swathe of sales, forcing even the most reticent to develop (or start) their omnichannel approach; frequent price rises as suppliers struggled to deal with raw material cost increases, discovering that delivery drivers deserved a proper salary and working conditions (although there’s still a long way to go before the latter is fixed), ongoing Brexit complications and how to operate in the midst of a pandemic. The thing is though, that the sector got through the year in far better shape than many would have thought possible as 2020 became 2021. Furniture and lighting sales for January to October this year were less than 0.5% down on 2019 and flooring sales were more than 10% higher. Considering all the issues – and even allowing for price rises – that is an outstanding performance. While it was a year that saw online make huge advances, it also showed the vulnerability of IT and the reputational damage that can follow. How would your business cope if all your systems were down and you had to rely on pen and paper? It’s a scenario worth playing. Lieven Van den Heede, Brussels Furniture Fair general manager makes a good point when he says that disruption and higher costs in China are seeing companies at least examine bringing production back to Europe. It would certainly fit with consumers’ concerns about the environment and buying local (in a global sense). A merry Christmas, a happy New Year and a prosperous winter sale to all of you. Thanks for all the support, comments and friendship you’ve shared over the year. Let’s do it all again in 2022.



Sales outperform past performance Profits leap at Stokers Victoria looks to seize further deal

FEATURES 12 18 20

New products Service Experiences Quality matters


Sustainability Recycling and cutting water usage


Retail Family matters


Design The importance of colour


Rugs Investing, signature


Beds and bedroom Why stores matter, looking to January


Preview January Furniture Show


Review Brussels Furniture Fair


Buyers’ guide Need to know


Lighting 11, 21, 31

Editor: Andrew Kidd

T: 01273 930 029 E:


Furniture advertising (South): Tim Boden

M: 07976 122 150 E: Retail Family values

Design Colour story

Think Design, Think Style, Think Rugs. Visit:

Furniture advertising (North): Jarrod Bird T: 01565 631 397 E:

Carpet, flooring advertising: Joanne Paull M: 07817 624 922 E:

Representative in India: Amarjeet Singh Gianni T: 0091 98390 35458 E:

Published by Interiors Media Limited Minerva House, Kinnings Row, Bordyke, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1NP E: Registered in England no. 6397722 Print: Knockout Print Design by Truprint Media © Interiors Media Limited ISSN 1756-2236



Monthly sales slip but still ahead of past performance Furniture, lighting and flooring sales dropped in October, but were still significantly ahead of historical levels. According to the Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) first estimate of October’s retail sales, the furniture and lighting sector in England, Wales and Scotland saw sales drop 5.99% compared with September. This compared with a monthly fall of 6.47% in September. Average weekly sales were £1,293,054,000. Compared with October 2020, sales were down 6.7% and compared with October 2019 sales were 0.09% lower. To put the monthly performance into perspective, October was the 22nd best month (of 430) since January 1986. Since then, weekly sales have averaged £859,678,000.

Domotex cancelled January’s planned edition of flooring exhibition Domotex has been cancelled, just weeks after the organiser said it hoped to hold a slimmed down show in Hannover. ‘We have been fighting for Domotex together with the exhibiting companies until the very end, and have been in daily communication with the industry for months. Domotex is particularly affected by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic as the majority of exhibitors and attendees come from abroad. However, given the current pandemic situation, international business travel is not expected to recover

in the short term,’ says Sonia Wedell-Castellano, Domotex global director. Last month Deutsche Messe said it would use three halls in the southern part of the exhibition centre – the show is traditionally centred around halls at the northern end – as a relaunch event. ‘What was considered a realistic and promising re-start scenario a month ago, and was also well received by the market, has proven to be no longer feasible in recent days,’ says Wedell-Castellano. The organiser is looking into the possibility of holding the show later in 2022.

The exhibition is ‘no longer feasible’ for January, said the organiser


Interiors Monthly December 2021

The flooring sector saw sales fall by 9% compared with September, fall by 9.4% compared with October 2020 and be 20.1% higher than October 2019. Average weekly sales were £168,636,000. October was the 242nd best month since January 1986. Since January 1986 average weekly sales have averaged £175,358,000. For the year to date (January to October), furniture and lighting sales were 14.96% higher than 2020 but 0.46% lower than 2019. For the year to date (January to October), flooring sales were 14.98% higher than 2020 and 11.4% higher than 2019. The latest figures are subject to revision by ONS.

New format for show The INDX Furniture exhibition in January will have a revamped format compared with its predecessor. The previous AIS Furniture Show had two days of members-only INDX Furniture replaces the AIS show entry and two days open to all retailers. This has been replaced with three days open to all, from 23-25 January. Free parking and complimentary refreshments will again be available at the Cranmore Park, Solihull venue, with registration online. The previous AIS Bed Show will be replaced by INDX Beds & Bedroom from 26-27 April.

Furniture inflation tops 10% again as flooring rise slows Retail furniture inflation increased again in October, while price rises for flooring slowed. The annual inflation rate for household furniture rose from 10.5% to 11.3% in October, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In October 2020 the rate was just 1.5%. The rate for flooring fell

from 9.6% to 7.3%. In October 2020 the rate was 2.3%. The rate for garden furniture increased from 5.1% to 5.6%, while the rate for lighting rose from 4.2% to 4.6%. ONS figures show that while the overall cost of living is 13.4% higher than in 2015, the cost of household goods has only risen by 10.5%.



23-25 JANUARY 2022 Discover leading brands and ranges specifically curated by AIS for independent retailers. We look forward to welcoming you to the INDX Furniture Show.

Register now:

Where the industry unites For exhibitor enquiries visit or email Cranmore Park Conference and Event Centre,Cranmore Avenue, Shirley, Solihull, B90 4LF


Brexit impact warning after Stokers sees profits leap Stokers saw pre-tax profits more than double in the past financial year. Pre-tax profits jumped from £2.528m to £5.6m in the year to 30 April 2021. The four-store interiors group saw sales increase from £41.6m to £47m, helped by the opening of its £12m 80,000sqft Lucas Furniture store in Aylesbury. ‘During the year the company was forced to close all of its stores on several occasions due to the pandemic. lt was apparent when we re-opened after each imposed closure that there was significant pent-up demand, and trade for these periods was significantly above what we would normally expect for those times of the year. This trend has continued as consumers continue to release savings built up during the past 12 months and divert spending away from other expenditure such as overseas holidays. The boom in the housing market and the switch in spending habits to home refurbishments has helped to fuel this trend,’ it says.

‘The company is however aware that when overseas travel restrictions begin to lift there is likely to be a shift in this consumer spending away from consumer goods to reflect the pent-up demand for holidays and overseas travel. The company is also aware of the uncertain economic outlook. In addition to the issues in the labour market caused by Brexit, the worldwide boom has caused significant issues with supply chains. There are huge supply-side pressures, with increased costs in wages, shipping and direct input costs. All these will contribute to significant inflationary pressures, which will increase prices and dampen consumer demand. ‘The risks of Brexit have still not gone away. lt is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit staff to fill jobs in the operational side of the business and this in part is hindered by the intransigence of the government to allow EU workers to fill these positions.’

van Dam issues Ikea price warning

Viccarbe’s Ears

Steelcase snaps up Vicacarbe Steelcase has bought furniture manufacturer Viccarbe in a deal that could be worth €49m. Twenty-one years after Victor Carrasco and Daniel Benedito founded the company in Valencia, it will become part of the US$2.6bn Michigan-based group. Steelcase is paying €30m upfront (less an adjustment for working capital), with a further €19m payable over five years based on performance targets, milestones and continued employment. Viccarbe had sales of €14.5m in the year to September.


Ikea’s parent company has warned that profits will fall unless it increases prices. Inter Ikea saw profits fall 17% to €1.4bn in the year to the end of August despite a 6% increase in sales to a record €41.9bn. ‘For the 2022 financial year, we’re looking at supply disruptions still, we’re looking at raw material increases still, we’re looking at energy

Interiors Monthly December 2021

increases still,’ says Martin van Dam, Inter Ikea cfo. ‘It will be more difficult… it eats away our margins in a massive way.’ The group has not increased prices since 2019, but van Dam indicated increases were unavoidable. He says shoppers may not feel the full increases depending on how much franchisees absorb.

‘We really want to stay as low-priced as possible. We can’t let this period of time make us different. We want to absorb as much as possible these price increases. But there comes a moment that it becomes impossible for us to hold it back any more. It’s something we don’t like,’ he says. Limited stock was letting down customers, he adds.

renu to the rescue Interfloor supplied 286 rolls of its renu underlay for the COP26 climate conference, which will be returned to the company’s Haslingden, Lancashire site to be re-granulated and made into new rolls of renu. ‘As a company we are all rightly concerned about how we treat our planet, and we are proud to be supplying COP26 with a product that meets not only the values of the conference but our own ideals too,’ says John Cooper, Interfloor ceo.


Russell Rule Best of British will be on show next month at the NEC as JFS returns ‘Synonymous with quality, style, outstanding design and craftsmanship, British furniture is held in high esteem throughout the world, says Russell Rule, January Furniture Show event director. ‘The mix of designs and inventiveness on show from British companies at the January Furniture Show is second to none. We have a full mix of prestigious British companies in upholstery, beds, cabinet and accessories showing and we are proud to provide the optimum arena for them to display their ingenuity, creativity and desirable furniture. ‘Regular exhibitor Tetrad has huge expertise in making traditional British designs look brand new with its Heritage, Harris Tweed and Signature collections. ‘For more than 50 years it has pushed the boundaries with form and fabric choices. Equally at ease with producing traditional shapes dressed in tweed it also produces ultramodern styles in vibrant colours as they smoothly blend textures and materials. ‘Sherborne Upholstery has nearly 90 years of British furniture manufacturing tradition behind it. Its considerable collection of cleverly engineered, practical seating and beds designed with relaxation in mind will be presented. ‘Recliner chairs, settees, fireside chairs and stylish adjustable beds will all be on show. ‘Furmanac has a 50-year history and a passion for creating high quality beds and chairs designed to provide superior levels of comfort. ‘The UK’s largest adjustable bed manufacturer and an industry leader in lift and recline chairs, Furmanac is another destination stand where visitors will see the latest models in its Hestia, MiChair and MiBed collections.’ January Furniture Show 2022 runs from 23-26 January and is the UK’s largest furniture and interiors trade event. Online registration is now live at

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Sofas & Stuff beats Eco Pledge Upholstery chain Sofas & Stuff has beaten its Eco Pledge on preventing plastic bottles entering the seas. The retailer says it has surpassed its target of stopping 1million bottles reaching the oceans this year and has prevented 2,808,000 bottles polluting seas since October 2020. The Eco Pledge offers customers the option of Quallofil Blue cushions made from recycled ocean-bound plastic – it is estimated that 50% of every cushion is made from 200 plastic bottles that would otherwise end up in the world’s seas. Working in partnership with Plastic Bank and Advansa, the aim of this part of the pledge is to reduce plastic pollution and help support marine habitats, oceans and the communities who live on their shores. Plastic Bank encourages coastal communities to collect plastic waste in exchange for a source of income. Once collected, the plastic is washed, dried and crushed, before being manufactured by Advansa and turned into Quallofil Blue eco filling fibres.

JYSK set for 25 JYSK will open its 25th UK store this month, on the Marshall’s Yard Retail Park, Gainsborough on 9 December. It will be the fourth UK opening of 2021 for the Danish interiors chain. ‘It’s fantastic to be ending what has been a very successful and prosperous 12 months for JYSK with our landmark 25th UK store, and I am enormously proud to be bringing the brand to Gainsborough,’ says Luke Naughton, JYSK district manager. ‘Gainsborough is a really up-andcoming market town at the cusp of exciting new investment and regeneration plans, so we see great potential for the new store.’ The store will create 12 jobs in the Lincolnshire town.


Interiors Monthly December 2021

Victoria looks to add to deal amid record sales Victoria Group has confirmed it wants to buy part – but not all– of Balta after making another ceramic flooring acquisition and enjoying record first-half sales. It says it is in talks about buying a ‘profitable, growing part of Balta that possesses good synergy opportunities’, but ruled out a deal for the group. One deal that has been agreed is the £40.8m purchase of Turkish mid-market ceramic flooring manufacturer Graniser. Its 807,000sqft production facility close to Izmir port has an annual production capacity of 20.8million sqm, which is not fully utilised, with the opportunity to expand output considerably with limited capital expenditure. By comparison, Victoria’s existing ceramic tile operations have an annual production capacity of 52million sqm. Graniser had sales of £52.8m in 2020 and Victoria says production investment is expected to deliver a 75% increase in earnings over the next three years. Graniser and Victoria Ceramics will benefit from exposure to each other’s commercial markets. The group saw record first-half sales in the six months to 2 October, up 29.8% on a non-acquisition basis to £489m, and up 9.2% on the same period in 2020. A pre-tax loss of £4.7m became a profit of £2.9m. The UK and European carpet, underlay, artificial grass and Alliance Logistics divisions saw sales jump 69.8% to £214m, and by 48% on a like-for-like basis. Underlying margin grew from 15.2% to 18%. The group revealed that its driver wage bill has increased by £1m a year. ‘High savings rates – particularly of consumers that form Victoria’s target market – are underpinning the demand for flooring and consequently, despite selling price increases, consumers are continuing to prioritise redecorating their homes. The integration of the acquisitions we have made this year is still at an early stage but progressing well, and so the synergy gains that are expected as this integration work proceeds will drive further earnings and margin gains, helping to offset some of the inflationary pressures being experienced,’ says Geoff Wilding, Victoria Group executive chairman.

Future vision Visionnaire has become the latest overseas brand to open a London showroom. The Italian company has opened the space, dubbed the Embassy, at Chelsea Harbour Design Centre, reflecting the design of its flagship stores. The space has five roomsets on display, from bedroom to home office and living room.




1 With planks measuring 30cm x 2.4m, there’s no doubt that Grand Majestic is a floor for those that like to think big. In fact, the planks are the widest and longest ever produced by BerryAlloc. Grand Majestic has a lifetime residential and 10-year commercial warranty. Visit: 2 Stainfree Indulgence is Abingdon Flooring’s heaviest weight carpet at 3,260g per sqm and creates a haven of relaxation. It is available in 15 colours,


Interiors Monthly December 2021




from greys to soft browns (pictured is Cappuccino) to dusky pink and denim blue and in 2m, 4m and 5m widths. Visit: 3 Fritz Hansen has updated Pouf, now available in buff leather and twill weave and an expanded range of colours. Visit: 4 Ethimo’s Rotin uses picked teak and nautical rope to create the structure of its outdoor lounge collection, drawing

on techniques normally seen in the production of rattan furniture. Visit: 5 Night Moove is an evolved version of Zanette’s Moove collection, of which it picks up the clean-cut, geometric language and the fine woodworking details. It comprises two different types of bedside units, a drawer unit and a narrow drawer chest, easily customised from a selection of finishes and arrangements.  Visit:


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6 Inspired by the Japanese ceramic repair method kintsugi, Jan Kath’s East collection highlights broken fibres with gold or platinum powder, and ‘gaps’ in the design are filled with brilliant silk. Visit:


7 Quick-Step is to begin recycling the high-density fibreboard in its laminate flooring. Until now it was unable to industrially filter the glue that binds the HDF. Now technology developed by Quick-Step’s parent company Unilin Group sees the fibres moistened and loosened so they can be reused. Visit: 8 Midgard has added a silk-grey colour option to its Anyo floor and table lamp. Using carbon fibre it does away with the need for counterweights, spring balancers and ball, swivel and tilt joints. Visit: 9 For the first time, Louis de Poortere has captured its expertise in the pages of Wilton Jacquard & Plain. The 84-page brochure documents its programme of carpets, rugs and runners and reveals how its digitised triple-shot manufacturing is making the traditional technique more accessible than ever. Visit: 10 Floorwise is to reintroduce its Rewards loyalty programme from 4 January, with retailers, installers and contractors collecting points on purchases of Floorwise branded products. These can be redeemed for items including wine, smartphones and tablets, gift vouchers and hot tubs. Visit:


Interiors Monthly December 2021




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Richard Renouf

A revealing incident I wish I’d been Father Christmas The Christmas rush had already begun. Mrs Yates, on her fortnightly visit, wanted to know if that table she’d been looking at for weeks could be ordered to arrive in time for the big day, so I was in the office speaking to Chris, our buyer, when Miss Taylor walked in. She owned the department store where I was nothing more than a fresh-faced Saturday boy. I doubt she knew my name and I’m not even sure she noticed me in the office that morning. ‘Chris, we have decided to have a special Christmas event for our account holders and we need someone to play Father Christmas to give out presents for the children. I thought you would be just the person.’ Chris reddened. ‘Of course,’ he said. ‘When is it?’ I had to suppress the laughter that wanted to burst out at that moment. I couldn’t make a noise, but the shaking must have been visible. As soon as she had issued her instructions, Miss Taylor left the office and we waited for her elegant footsteps to fade away as she headed for the ‘main shop’ a short distance down the road. ‘Obviously the perfect candidate,’ I said. Chris scowled. ‘Your time will come.’ Chris excelled on the day. He was a natural in both shape and character, and the false beard hid his identity and gave him confidence to enter into the part with gusto. Christmas was soon over, but not before Mrs Yates had received her table and I’d had the commission added to my monthly pay packet. Spring sprung and we were spending a morning creating a summery window display with deckchairs and other garden furniture. I had made some large fluffy clouds and was hanging them and some colourful kites to finish it all off when Miss Taylor came through the doors. ‘My, that’s wonderful, it looks fabulous


Interiors Monthly December 2021

Posed by a model…

from outside, Richard. Can I have a word?’ I stepped off the ladder and followed her footsteps towards the back office. Chris was at his desk as she turned towards me. ‘We’re having another special evening for our account holders. I need you to model some of our men’s fashions,’ she said. I reddened. Chris was silent, but I could see his shoulders shaking. ‘Of course,’ I had to say. ‘When is it?’ The dress rehearsal was open to members of staff and their relatives. Our fitted wardrobe displays had been turned into the changing room, but as a special gesture to this young innocent, I’d been given somewhere where I could change in private. All the other models were women, and they were modelling everything from wedding dresses to swimsuits. I was fine about the white tuxedo, and not too embarrassed at playing the pretend groom of one of the most attractive members of the perfume

department. I was almost okay with the lemon Bermuda shorts and navy polo shirt, but it wasn’t my style and it made me very self-conscious. The next day Miss Taylor came in for another ‘word’, this time with Chris. He called me in afterwards and tried to tell me very gently that I had what I now know to be a ‘VPL’ – my pants could be seen through the lemon shorts. Miss Taylor had suggested I go commando for the real thing but she was too proper to say such a thing to me directly. The big night came. There were two fashion shows in close succession. Protocol and dignity went out of the window as I passed through the ladies’ changing room to get to my own. I fastened enough bras that night to last a lifetime! The ladies were more desperate to get themselves ready than to protect their modesty. I was still keen to do my changing as discreetly as possible, especially when putting on the Bermuda shorts. I was glad when it was all over. I was given a gift by Miss Taylor to thank me for being willing to take part. It was then that she told me she’d asked three other men from the main shop, but all of them had made excuses and that was why I had been on my own. George, our delivery driver, came into the canteen when I was taking my tea break the following morning. ‘Ere, my missus saw you last night. She said you was very good.’ ‘Thanks’. ‘Yeah, but those shorts – she said they was nearly see-through. You wasn’t wearing any pants, was you?’ That was the moment when I wished I had been Father Christmas instead. Visit: Richard Renouf is an independent furnishings consultant


The month for fireworks? November started with a bang, with product quality more important than lead times for shoppers who are also keen on ‘buying local’, says our correspondent THE RETAILER Fludes Carpets Well, November started with a bang and then slowed towards the end of the month. We were still trading well, and certainly ahead of this time last year, but that is not really a fair comparison as trading was curtailed due to the Covid restrictions. Suppliers also seem to find business quieter this year, which could be a blessing as it allows them to get more deliveries out and more stock in. Customers are not so worried about lead times on carpets and flooring, but are more concerned about product quality and are keen to ‘buy local’. When I was asked to do a monthly column on how our stores were affected by the pandemic, I wasn’t sure how business would go – so the first thing to note is that despite the fragmented opening arrangements at the start of the first lockdown, we still took a reasonable number of sales. Over the past nine months business has been very steady and at a higher level than two years ago.


Interiors Monthly December 2021

Our finances were in good shape, due mainly to government support, a reduction in some of our rents and the suspension of business rates. This certainly helped to avoid sleepless nights. In recent months, we have seen more stable sales, which have pushed up the strength of our cash flow, albeit at the cost of a reduction in the gross profit line. This has encouraged us to make improvements in infrastructure. We have painted two stores and will re-merchandise another in the next three months. Taking on more commercial work and large projects has put pressure on residential work. In many of the Facebook forums I follow, there are adverts for fitters to fulfil large jobs, with pretty substantial rates being quoted. This, combined with the uplift in fitting rates at Carpetright, Tapi and John Lewis means that independent retail will need to look to increase rates in keeping, or face the possibility of losing fitters. Remember, though, that it is

customers who pay the fitting rate and not the carpet and flooring stores. On the topic of rising prices, we have all seen the regular and fairly steep rises in the cost of flooring products. It’s hard to keep up, and could be costly for any retailer who fails to spot them. Ultimately, an increase in prices ultimately means an increase in turnover. Customers do not buy flooring every month, or even year; the only way they are aware of pricing is if they shop around, and if all stores have similar pricing, service and fitting increase in importance. These changes are pointing us to the new normal: stronger trading for retailers; higher prices from suppliers; competition from the commercial side of the industry, possibly causing a shortage of fitters; uncertain delivery reliability and longer lead times; and customers looking for good quality product from reliable businesses. Have a good Christmas. Andy Laird, Fludes Carpets md

SUSTAINABILITY Sabi is designed by Louise Sigvardt


Mizmaze is designed by Sylvain Willenz

Kvadrat’s latest collection is designed to use recycled materials and cut water consumption According to Danish textile producer Kvadrat, of the 95% of global textiles that can be recycled only a quarter actually are – and its latest designs attempt to tackle this. The Braid rug is made from 88% postconsumer recycled polyester. Designed by Karin An Rijlaarsdam, the rug is inspired by the braiding techniques, crafts and landscapes of Grand-Bassam, on the Ivory Coast, where she is based. It is the first design in the Kvadrat rug collection to include recycled polyester. The making of Braid results in minimal production waste due to its stitching technique. Available in eight colourways and rectangle and circle options, Braid is made from braided ropes, one thick, one thin. The slimmer rope is stitched in a wavy curve onto the thick rope, offering an irregularity to the design. It is then arranged as a spiral (for the round rugs) or in rows (for the rectangular design), before being stitched into place. To finish, a separate fine rope is sewn around the rug and the border is refined with a 10cm wrapping detail on the lower right edge or corner, giving it a strong and durable feel. Its Re-Wool upholstery fabric uses 45% recycled wool, from spinner


Interiors Monthly December 2021

Wooltex, and the new Sabi fabric makes use of it as well. One of the coloured yarns for Sabi is made of virgin wool, while the other is recycled wool dyed in darker tones. This approach ensures the textile’s dynamic colour palette, which features a classic dobby weave construction. The recycled wool comes from re-using scraps that otherwise would have been waste material. It blends contemporary colours with notes from the 1970s and 1980s, balancing sharp, powerful colours with pure, toned-down neutral tones. The primary colour inspirations for the design are Mellow Butter, Acid Green, Camel Brown, Sour Lavender and Prima Magenta. The knitted upholstery textile Mizmaze is the product of a manufacturing process that significantly reduces the use of water. Like all doubleknitted upholstery textiles from Kvadrat it offers a soft, padded volume and elasticity. It unites a top woollen layer with a polyester backing: this construction is necessary to achieve the desired volume. The textile derives its excellent longevity, durability and abrasion resistance from

blending polyamide with the wool. In the development of Mizmaze, the focus was to meet the company’s ambition to continuously optimise its processes and push innovation. By substituting conventional washing with a soaking-only process, water usage is reduced by 80%-95%. This technique is scalable and is to be explored across future developments. Visit:

Braid is the first Kvadrat rug to include recycled polyester

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Lenleys’ Canterbury store

Family matters Lavinia Watts, Lenleys partner on generational moves, brand values and accelerating change It is the final day at work for Lavinia Watts, Lenleys partner before she starts maternity leave. ‘I will still very much be in touch in the background, I’ll just allow myself a bit of time to step away and adjust to a new home life. That’ll probably be quite difficult,’ she laughs. ‘I’m a control freak in what I think is a good way: I like to be involved and have my finger on lots of different things, in my life as well as business. Adjusting to that, not being involved in every single element might take a while, but hopefully with a newborn baby I won’t have time to worry about it.’ Watts, 32, is the third generation of the Watts family to run the Canterbury furniture and flooring store and its Clarkes store in Maidstone. Combined they have sales of about £8m and employ 50 staff. Her grandfather Leonard Watts founded the company with Stanley Adsett in 1936, with the two men tossing a coin to decide which


Interiors Monthly December 2021

blend of their names – Lenleys or Stannards – they would give to the store. Len won. ‘It’s probably rare these days as we are a partnership and all the partners are members of the family: my father Jonathan, me and my aunt Janine, who has never been involved in the day-today running of the business. Alan Smart is the equivalent of our ceo – we aren’t a limited company, but he has the authority to make decisions on our behalf. I work closely with him; we run the business together. My cousin Oliver Greenfield joined us about 18 months ago and will become a partner, and that will mean we remain a family partnership. He and I are a similar age and are looking to take the business forward.’ A blog by Watts on the company’s website tells of her playing with computers on display as a child. ‘I was involved from the very beginning so I’ve always been here. I used to work in the cafe when I was still at school, helping

with the dishwasher and taking food to tables. I remember way, way back when home office equipment and desktop computers were much more substantial than they are now. We had one on display and I used to run around 

Lavinia Watts


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pretending the shopfloor was my office, which must have wound everyone up. Now I think about it as an adult… oh my! ‘I’ve grown up in the business, very much so. Even after I left home, it was often easier to come here to see my dad than go to the house. When I joined the business in 2015, that was the start of the journey of my future being here.’ Was there ever a chance she wouldn’t end up working at Lenleys? ‘You know what, I did think about it,’ she laughs. ‘I think I’m quite lucky… lucky isn’t the right word, it’s my parents and who they are: I’ve always known it was here as a possibility. My father in particular, and my aunt, never put any pressure on us to come into the business. It was always known they’d like us to, because of course you want a family business to stay with the family. But none of us would be doing it if we didn’t want to. It was always, only if it’s right for you and you’re going to be happy doing it.’ Rather than join the company straight from school, Watts achieved a first-class

degree in fashion buying at Manchester Metropolitan University, including a year working for fashion label Irwin & Jordan. Further experience was gained with two and a half years as trainee and deputy store manager at Toys “R” Us. ‘If anything, I had to have a bit of a conversation with Dad to say: “Do you want me to come in? Is it an option?” I think he was almost over-cautious not to put pressure on me or my sister or cousins, and that has worked out for the best as it means we have joined at the right time for us and we love it to pieces. I’m so happy that I have done it. It’s definitely a job that gives me stresses and strains, but that’s part of it and in the main I enjoy every element of it.’ Fashion was Watts’ first passion, but it failed to provide the enjoyment she wanted. ‘It was more of a head office function, what I had trained to do, and I wanted to be on the retail side of things. With homewares and furniture you still get to be creative and be a part of that fashion side. It’s driven by

aesthetics and that’s what I love. ‘Still being a family-run business gives us more flexibility – we can react a bit quicker and are a slightly softer business to work for: more friendly and open. I like to think I’m very approachable and my father is too, although he doesn’t get overly involved now since he’s almost retired. ‘It’s exciting to think that people work here because they like working here, not just because they need a job. I like knowing the team are here because they want to be and they feel it is a benefit to them as well as to us – rather than being a number and working for someone you never really see. We value them, and if we do well they should experience some of that as well. ‘We’re all people. Here, I’m Lavinia, my father is Jonathan and Alan Smart is Alan. The only time that changes is when there are tricky situations and it’s difficult – that needs some separation. But when everything is going well and it’s a weekend and we’re all in to 

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Interiors Monthly December 2021

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help with a big event, then we’re all doing the same job, we’re there for the same reason.’ Is Watts’ management style different to her father’s? ‘I don’t think there is one particular thing I can pull out that I’m doing differently, mainly because my father is a great retailer. The more I’ve been involved in the business, the more I’m in awe of him, and what he’s been through in the time he’s run the business. ‘Where I have differences… I think I’m slightly more buying driven. Product is really where I am more interested. Most of it is, what did he do well and do I want to continue? He’s been successful – it’s a successful business. Sometimes you don’t want to overly change something because it’s working as it is. ‘That’s not to say there aren’t things we can do better. We’re working on a new website, for example. I am looking to make changes, and that’s hugely driven by needing to be better online. But that’s only because of the timing – the world is a very different place now. We have a way to go, but we are invested in making sure we do it properly.


Interiors Monthly December 2021

‘One of the main things we’ve always been known for is carrying things that people can’t find locally, and that is getting harder and harder to do with the Internet. I want us still to be a place that someone will come and say: “I haven’t seen that anywhere else, that’s amazing,” even if they don’t like it. That impactful, statement part of the business is important. It’s why you would travel to visit us and be invested in our brands. ‘I think we do that in the most part quite well, and it’s very much about the store environment – ensuring that we stay a destination that people want to come to, not just because we have furniture on display and you can sit on it, but because of the experience you will have while you are here: getting good advice, speaking to nice friendly people, being in an environment that is comfortable and welcoming. Then you will feel you are making decisions for the right reasons and supporting a business that wants to help you find what’s right for you, rather than just making a purchase from us. Obviously we are here to make money, I’m not downplaying

that, but it needs to be because we have the right things that people want. ‘More and more, what we are doing is making sure the store environment is better. What’s going to keep the high street and retail bricks-and-mortar stores going is the experience – it’s not all about the product and the price, the experience of shopping is just as important. Before the pandemic, I was trying to push us that way and to think that way. Our customers typically weren’t quite as savvy online and maybe didn’t see the need to be – they’re probably a slightly older demographic. But Covid-19 really accelerated that move, because you couldn’t do anything any other way. And that has meant we’ve had to up our game quite a lot sooner than we might have. Online is a great tool, but it doesn’t mean that people won’t want to come in person to shop, and see and sit and feel and experience – and that’s what we have to remember. ‘Next year will see the new website launched, which will move the branding on a little bit – setting out who we are. Then there's a new flooring 

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department, which – I know I'm biased but it looks incredible. It’s very modern and not something you’ll see anywhere else. It’s not your traditional carpet and hard flooring visual representation.’ The move will make room for a new ‘trendy’ furniture section, which Watts hopes will attract new customers. ‘It’s something not available in this area yet, so that’s hugely exciting. As for the past 18 months? ‘It’s been tough, and if anyone says otherwise, they’re lying. The hardest part was at the start of the pandemic, when no-one really knew what was going to happen. I think we coped well with that, and with realising that we needed more than ever to invest in the business and make sure we’d be ready once we could open again. Ready to get going quickly and be on the front foot. So while the stores were closed, we continued to work on a new business system. We recognised that was something we needed, to allow us to bring in the new website next year. If we hadn’t done that, we’d still be two years away from the website and all the changes that are very much needed now. ‘As an industry we’ve been fortunate. There was a peak in demand when people were able to get back out and about and go shopping. They were at home – you couldn’t go on holiday – and they wanted to update their homes and invest back into them. But we still had to work hard to make sure they came to us and not somebody else. ‘In some ways it has been an incredible 18 months as business has been very, very good. The tougher bits


Interiors Monthly December 2021

have been supply chain issues and pricing, but that’s nothing that can’t be overcome and we’re all in the same boat. Covid-19 did a good job of levelling the playing field. We’ve all had the same problems even if everyone coped with them differently. ‘I’m proud the business has been going for 85 years this year and I have no plans to be slowing that down! I very much aim to be here for the next 30 to 40 years while I make those changes, and hopefully we’ll have someone who wants to take it on past that. It’s important to me that I continue the legacy that my grandfather built, and my father built, and make sure I represent what this brand stands for.’ As a young woman in an industry that is heavily male dominated has she had any problems? ‘I see it as an asset rather than a challenge. The industry is sometimes a bit traditional, but it has changed a lot since I joined. I have seen a seismic change in that short period. There have been instances when I've been dismissed and an older male

colleague has been addressed as if he’s in charge. That’s just people making assumptions and I have no qualms about correcting them. ‘I’m fortunate that I have a team here and a family that are hugely supportive and encouraging. In this and other industries where senior management is quite male-dominated, I don’t think about it – it doesn’t cross my mind that it should make any difference. It’s not how I think of people when I interview them to employ them, or when I meet and talk to suppliers. The only thing is I can’t talk rubbish about football as much. ‘My dad has always been very encouraging that my sister and I can achieve as much as anyone else and I’ve always believed that. It makes the business a bit different to have a daughter come in and take things over. To me, that can only be a positive. Women make most of the buying decisions when it comes to the home, so if anything that is more of a reason for me to take the business forward.’ Visit:

MAJOR MAIDSTONE PLANS There are also big plans for the Clarkes store in Maidstone, which the Lenleys bought in 2007. Adsett and Watts were from Maidstone and would probably have opened their store in the town if the Clarke family hadn’t done so a couple of years before. ‘We have a large amount of investment going into there next year. It’s still under wraps, but people will be able to go there and experience something that isn’t in the town at all. That will be a very exciting change,’ says Watts. Since the acquisition, the Clarkes product selection has moved to follow that of Lenleys, and Watts wants to add elements of flooring, soft furnishings and a design service, space permitting. The two stores allow the company to target shoppers across Kent, parts of Sussex and south London.

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A colour journey Choices can have a profound impact on all manner of things – from how we feel to the environment we share ‘Colour is more than a finish option or a singular design choice. Colour – along with intuition, balance, light, play and family – has evolved to be one of our core values. Over the years, we have collaborated with designers and thinkers who have brought their own colour sensibility to our world,’ says Claudio Feltrin, Arper chairman. Colour is not a static, fixed point. It does not act alone. In fact, colour is just as much a reflection of our perception – cultural, historical and material – as it is a single hue. Colour is a mirror to everchanging cultural tastes. Modernism was almost afraid of colour, believing that white cubes, black clothing and ‘neutral’ palettes conveyed sophistication. By contrast, intense colours historically (and maybe even still) have been perceived as decorative or frivolous. But tastes change. The same colour that was considered fresh and exciting at one moment in time could be felt drab in another era. A colour that signifies calm in one context could be labelled depressing in another, seen through a different cultural lens. Colour itself doesn’t change, but we do. As much as culture and time affect how we perceive colour emotionally,


Interiors Monthly December 2021

colour also interacts with the personality of the object – its material, form, size, composition – and the changing conditions of its environment. The shine of silk, the deepness of velvet, the brilliance of enamel or the matte powder of pigment are always the same colour, but never the same effect. Above all: one colour is nothing. It never exists alone, independent from material, surrounding colours and historical and cultural signifiers. Like a piece of music, it is the combination of shades that creates an atmosphere. Colour is constantly revealing itself. In 2000, the design for Catifa brought Arper’s philosophy of colour into a new dimension. Created by Lievore Altherr Molina (LAM), the now iconic chair featured colour not just as a finishing element but as its central concept. The bi-colour design for Catifa was created with a new bi-injection technology that allowed for two colours to be juxtaposed on the same body. ‘The two-tone production creates a single visual identity between tables and chairs,’ says designer Jeannette Altherr of LAM. ‘Arranged around a light table, white chairs create a uniform

environment designed for conversation and exchange. The external colour shell supports and protects collaboration and internal communication.’ The colours of the first Catifa collection were intended to be an active part of the interior design. The designers also played with texture: a glossy exterior combined with a slightly textured, matte interior meant even a completely white shell remained connected to the rest of the collection through slight shifts in colour caused by different surfaces. ‘In linear compositions, the twocoloured chairs create a double effect: seen from the front, the rows convey serenity and clarity, as if sitting on a freshly laundered sheet. From behind, the coloured backs create a vibrant and multifaceted surface that captures the eye and the imagination,’ says Altherr. Additions to the collection saw Altherr take the bi-colour customisations to a new level of contrast and colour curation. Catifa 46 was released in fresh and playful colours, while Catifa 53 was enriched with warm finishes and leather versions, creating an elegant, refined look and more comfortable style. 



S TA ND 2 -E 4 0 21 -2 4 JA N

S TAND 7A3 0- B3 1 6 -9 FE B

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When we think of colour in architectural applications, we think of being enfolded in it in the same way nature can wrap around us: imagine the deep blue of the sea on a Greek island, the million shades of orange, red and yellow in an autumn forest, or the ruddy earth tones of Siena. Colour at this scale has potential to be fully immersive and imprint deeply on how we feel. When designing Arper’s modular collections that create or define space, like the panels of Paravan (LAM, 2018), colour was treated with an eye for the immersiveness of architecture rather than furniture. ‘Colour is hue, surface and its relation to shape, but it is also dimension and its relation to a light and build context,’ says Altherr. ‘It can seem easy to choose a colour, but it is much more difficult to combine it with the furniture and the elements that make up architecture. For example, what works on a small scale, such as on a chair, might be too much when applied on a wall.’ While colour in Paravan is enveloping, it can also function as an organisational Paravan


Interiors Monthly December 2021

element in in a room – a boundary to define the architecture of a space. With the configurations of Kiik, designed by Iwasaki Design Studio, or LAM’s modular sofa Loop, colour is used not like a field but more like a horizon – a navigation point to affirm structure. These applications of colour at scale have the power to impact greatly our environments and, in turn, how we feel. These human-centred, softer spaces support our needs intuitively with forms and materials that feel good and settings that awaken the senses. Environments that bring us together and put us at ease. To create this, colour is crucial. ‘Years ago, we were lucky enough to visit Luis Barragán’s homes in Mexico City. We were impressed by the emotional strength of the colours used for the walls – really unusual colours like pink, yellow, bright red, blue. Incredibly, due to the texture of the walls, they were perceived not as artificial but as natural. The fabric – the main material for a small architecture like Paravan – can offer the same material sensation: Kiik

structured, rich, warm,’ says Altherr. Colour is emotion made visible. It not only creates personality in an object, it has a personality all its own. When we think of pink or blue, certain connotations – and even emotions – arise. We understand the ties between colour and emotion so deeply that, at times, colour can even stand in for an emotion. Think of Picasso’s melancholic Blue Period, or of seeing life through an optimistic lens with rose-coloured glasses. We effortlessly link colour and emotion through language because colour so effortlessly makes us feel. ‘In the end, what matters is the action that colour exerts on us, what it does,’ says photographer Dominik Tarabanski, who has explored the emotional connection to colour. ‘If we are looking at a painting, an object or a chair, what impression does its colour have on us? Does it work or not? Does it make us feel something, does it give shape to an impression of what we are seeing? It is not my intention to rediscover colour, but to invite people to consider it more carefully.’ Writer and designer Ingrid Fetell Lee has a similar ambition in her work of asking her audience to be more in touch with the impact of their surroundings. ‘Emotional tenor affects a lot of the things we do. If these aesthetics really bring more joy, we become more open, more affectionate, more collaborative, creative, willing.’ Colour can impact not only our mood, but our sense of well-being too. Around 2014, the boundaries between life and work began to blur. A digital revolution was impacting every area of life, nowhere more so than in how and where we work. The office became not a static building  or location we travelled to, but

DESIGN Kinesit

rather, the digital tools we carry. The office was now anywhere our laptops or smartphones were: at home, an airport, a restaurant, or at the beach. Our offices were changing, too: more colourful, less functional, more intuitive and empathetic. For Arper, this shift was the genesis of soft tech: innovation and technology in the service of the body and mind, not technology purely for its own sake. It began to recognise that the quality of our spaces has an impact on everything – from health to productivity to creativity and collaboration. And that the quality of our spaces is defined not only by material and architecture, but by colour. This softer approach was inspiration for Kinesit. This palette explores and combines the nuances of primary colours situated in a bright, luminous space to foster a joyful but sophisticated mood. Designed for an environment that was traditionally dominated by grey and black, Kinesit offered a sensuous, soft and fresh palette alternative that was centred around well-being of both the body and mind. The interaction of body and mind was also the basis for Cila in 2017. Inspired by the image of layers of cloth enveloping the body, Cila’s silhouette of smooth lines retains a graphic character from its distinctive curve – the most essential symbol of shelter. Like being protected, being held. The colours of Cila’s plastic shell took inspiration in clay and skin colours: earthy, fluid, warm, organic. Cila’s palette was complemented by materials that retained their tactile qualities: natural leather, soft wool, plastic, cast iron and a muted black for


Interiors Monthly December 2021

Cila Go

the base, and black plastic. In Cila, colour and form translated into a consideration of well-being, expressed as a slow wrapping gesture, with a thick felt fabric, inspired by Joseph Beuys’ felt sculptures. Material is closely related to colour – and in some cases, colour is material. Colour is modulated by the qualities of material: its texture – matte, silky, shiny, rough, the natural colour of the base material, and how it changes over time. The subtle nuances are an endless source of inspiration. Arper began to explore inherent colour changes of materiality in 2012 with Saya, Arper’s first wooden chair, designed by LAM, and then with Aava, designed by Antti Kotilainen in 2013. Saya was created as an alternative to the long-living and unchanging synthetic plastics. The designers wanted to underline the living qualities of a natural material like wood; over time, its palette becomes an expression of life, ageing, and the patina acquired by time. ‘The Inspiration came from a visit to Japan, where I visited a manufacturer of tea containers in steel, copper and brass. The metal sheets are not sealed, therefore the touch of hands and use over a long time gives a unique oxidation patina. Wood has a similar, lively quality. It represents time,’ says Altherr. A palette of natural veneers with an open pore finish was chosen, fusing colour and materiality. ‘We chose colours in a gradient you can find naturally in wood, from a very pale, bleached tone, to toasted, up to a dark brown, almost black, like charcoal. We included three different shades of


red – a colour that suggests life, like wood, and is actually often used on wood in Japan. We imagine that one colour can interpret a singular piece; several colours together can create a rhythmic pattern,’ says Altherr. Where Arper’s wooden pieces allow the materiality to create natural colour over time, palette choices for architecturally inspired collections like Arcos and Stacy reinforced the qualities of material through colour selection. With Arcos, LAM combined a repeated classical form with modern finishes inspired by dramatic material presence: velvet in rich colours like black marble, deep green, ink, rust, and ochre. ‘Special care was dedicated to the colours. Inspired by Corberò’s house near Barcelona, we imagined the pieces in a monochrome finish like a shadow. We envisioned elegant, dark, velvet-like colours both in the upholstery and in the matte lacquer of the metal to suggest the idea that the piece is made of one single material. The rich palette forms a graphic yet suggestive contrast against white walls, further evoking our source of inspiration: the Corberò house and the powerful visual archetype of geometry.’ While Arcos uses colour to reinforce material choices, Arper also became interested in the materiality of colour itself through the work of collaborator Jennifer Brooke. Brooke is a design practitioner and researcher who studies, and creates with, natural pigments found in the earth. ‘When I started working with pigments as materials, and making watercolours or crayons or chalks, I came to 

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DESIGN discover that each pigment behaved differently: some are buttery and velvety and a joy to work with, others take more time to open up,’ she says. ‘They have bodies and personalities. Thinking back to Arper’s provocation that colour yields personality: colour is personality.” Brooke’s work raises questions about how designers and producers could come to think about the use of natural colours to aid in sustainability efforts in design. ‘Most people, when they talk about the colour of the earth, think of shades of brown. But earth tones have an incredible range of colour – from pinks to yellows to blues to greens. We are literally standing on a spinning ball of erotic, explosive colour.’ While Brooke’s work quite literally unearths colour in landscape, Arper began to be curious about colour and nature in a different way: the connection to the land through colour and materiality in design. With Adell, designed by Lievore + Altherr Désile Park in 2020, colour selection mirrors the commitment to the natural world through the intermingling of colour and material. ‘We could not have imagined this organic shape and this natural tactility together with artificial colours such as optical white or bright and technical colours,’ says Altherr. ‘We have developed a range of soft shades, inspired by natural materials such as wood and leaves. Even basic colours such as white and black are not purely graphic colours but a more delicate version of them: graphite black and ivory.’ For Arper, what is produced has always been as important as how it is produced. It is not enough for objects to be beautiful – they must also be made with consideration for their impact on the health of society and the environment. Sustainability in every aspect of design – from material sourcing to production practices, even to the use of colour – is not secondary but a central concern in the creation of every collection. ‘As companies, we have a social responsibility for sustainability that we simply cannot overlook,’ says Feltrin. ‘In 2005, we set up a special team focusing specifically on sustainability. As an organisation that produces, we focused on the aspects that have the greatest impact on the ecosystem, including the way we select materials, our production processes and how we handle the final


Interiors Monthly December 2021


stage of the product lifestyle. In time, these tools grew into guidelines and became a set part of our processes – a reflection of our belief that sustainability requires constant effort and attention over time.’ Arper’s circular perspective begins with the origin of materials. Can the designer’s vision be completed with a low-pesticide-use material like algae instead of water-and-pesticide-intensive cotton? Is it possible for the design to be created using recycled plastic? These questions extend to the consideration of colour. Most colour processes that alter the natural colour of a material have a profoundly negative effect on the environment. Textile colour treatments like bleaching and dyeing create 20% of all freshwater pollution. Natural plant dyes provide a safer alternative to chemical dyes in terms of pollutants, but do not provide sufficient colourfastness. ‘Design can explore ways of innovating and redefining aesthetic values to ensure that what is good for the environment and human beings is seen as beautiful and desirable,’ says Feltrin. Today, beyond offering customisable upholstery finishes in sustainably produced fabrics in myriad colours, Arper has begun to consider colour in new ways. With the 2021 Kata collection, Altherr Désile Park explored new strategies for sustainability. By creating a cushion produced by 3D knit and from post-consumer polyester, the overall textile waste was reduced by 30%-50%. The need for chemical dye processes was reduced by incorporating texture and pattern into the 3D knit, creating


two different patterns, which animate the surface with light and shadows created by a relief in graphic shapes. ‘On one hand we explored how to find strategies other than combining colours to animate a space,’ says Altherr. ‘For Kata, we developed four basic natural colours: charcoal and linen – which use no additional dye – and wheat and water. We felt there was less need for expressive colours when you have other ways to make an interesting surface. You can then use colours just in small doses, like on one cushion.’ Another possible design solution is to reconsider how we view patina and the impact of time on colour, to broaden the vocabulary of colour processes. ‘The patina of a well-worn pair of jeans adds an appeal that a new pair doesn’t have,’ says Altherr. ‘Collectors are particularly attracted to the patina of second-hand furniture. A scar of repair, like the kintsugi technique of repairing broken ceramics, or the restoration project undertaken by David Chipperfield at the Neue Museum in Berlin, can become something even more beautiful or unique. The question remains: in a world on the brink of a climate crisis, how can we change our aesthetic values to support our sustainability efforts?’ ‘Sustainable use of colour does not mean limiting our palettes, but rather opening our minds to the full spectrum of colours and possibilities that can arrive through design solutions. Only then will we be able fully to understand the true future of colour,’ says Feltrin. Visit:

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imm cologne from 17-23 January 2022, Cologne

The brands, creators and business of tomorrow Experience the major brands and creators with your own eyes, meet business partners, and prepare for the business of the future: in January 2022, imm cologne will be the first big in-person international event for the interiors industry to open its doors after the outbreak of the pandemic. And what better place could there be to finally see collections first-hand again, discover the issues of tomorrow and lay the foundations for the business of the future?

Time for an exchange The event’s motto “Time for an exchange”, sums up the essentials: it’s time to meet again and exchange ideas – and to create something new that still feels like imm cologne. The format we have developed combines the trade fair with digital ideas – and brings them together to create a unique concept.

The in-person event at the start of the year The trade fair’s centrepiece will continue to be the in-person event at the start of the year. Seeing new products with your own eyes, experiencing innovations first-hand, meeting face to face with established partners

and making new contacts – nothing in the future will be able to replace this. And Cologne will be the perfect place for it in 2022 yet again: 600 exhibitors are expected, with 74% travelling from outside Germany to appear. imm cologne will be the biggest interior design trade fair in Europe for the industry’s relaunch after the coronavirus crisis. The international industry gathering will naturally not only present fresh creative innovations and the latest ideas from the world of interior design. Cologne is also the place where the major brands and designers showcase their visions of tomorrow – together with trade fair visitors, they will set the stage for the key interior trends for the coming months.

Extending far beyond the trade fair The second, new aspect of the Interior Business Event: imm cologne 365. The combination of the ambista business network and the magazine by imm cologne content platform is unique in the industry. It offers interior professionals business and networking opportunities and a forum for exchanging inspiration that go far beyond the trade fair – now available 365 days a year. Visit:



Above left: Aspen in ivory grey Above: Royal Nomadic in navy


Think Rugs has invested in stock and new designs

‘In a world of uncertainty created by supply chain issues and inflation, let Think Rugs be your bastion of dependability and continuity. Currently with more stock than ever before, all available for dispatch within 48 hours, prices on more than 70% of products held since 2020 and the launch of over 450 new products in our 2022 brochure, we are happy to be able to offer an incredible level of service and reliability,’ says Sam Tippett, Think Rugs director. ‘Our 2022 brochure sees the launch of 10 ranges as well as many additions to our already incredibly popular ranges. New launches include Apollo, an abstract machine-made range, woven with a combination of polypropylene and polyester, creating a wonderful two-tone look and luxurious feel. ‘Other launches now available include new colourways and designs in our most popular Royal Nomadic and Boho ranges, as well as the new Aspen range. The popularity of these ranges continues to grow, with trends such as Recharged Wellness and Scandi Simplicity gaining more and more momentum and driving demand. ‘Our recently introduced Craft range has been greatly expanded to now include 14 options in a variety of sizes. Taking inspiration from trends such as Metal Meets Rock and Brutal Force, the Craft range consists of metallic


Interiors Monthly December 2021

designs overlaid on marble backgrounds. This is a range and style in its infancy that is already generating great impetus and driving forward to become one of our most popular ranges. ‘The new Sierra, with a focus on colour and texture, is influenced by the Solace colour palette. It includes 14 colourways each available in a fantastic high density, soft shaggy quality. Already very well received we believe it is set to become a staple for years to come.

Florence in beige gold

‘We are committed to the support of every one of our valued customers and will continue to strive to ensure that we provide the best possible service. We have committed to ensuring our stock levels are constantly kept at the highest possible level and that our lead times are as short as possible. ‘With Think Rugs you can be confident of a very high service level now and in the future.’ Tel: 01782 747 713



Above left: Mirabeau Above: Seseh

Abstract is Riviere Rugs’ latest collection Riviere Rugs’ latest collection, Abstract, reflects a contemporary yet classic style realised in its signature colour palette. Como is inspired by distressed wood panelling. The design is woven with subtle contrasting textures of wool and silk to create an abstract, painterly effect. Mirabeau is a bold pattern inspired by the organic lines of a meandering river. Woven with a sustainable pure Tibetan wool base and ecological botanic silk, it features a mix of cut pile and loop-knot details in shades of azure. Seseh is a natural organic pattern that draws on the textural layers of tertiary


bedrock exposed by receding tides on the volcanic sands of Bali’s west coast beaches. Featuring delicate low silk-loop details woven in silken tones of copper, graphite and quartz, juxtaposed with a natural hand-spun Tibetan wool and silk base, the design is available in a border version too. Caumont Border reimagines the original design as a versatile border, where the silken hues graduate into a pale centre, bringing to mind the faded edges of a piece of parchment. Chevron Blue Steel is the newest addition colourway for Riviere’s


extremely textural Chevron design. A subtle play of yarns and pile height creates the pattern on this classic geometric, where the key word is simply texture. Trevi X is inspired by crumbling plasterwork found on the wall of a Roman townhouse near the Fontana di Trevi. Woven with subtle neutral tones, warm earths, inky blues and charcoals with pale silver silken accents, it is overlaid with opulent, raised gold silk crosstitch trimmed using traditional Jamtse scissors. Visit:

Trevi X




Mattresses are on sale in more than 3,000 stores

Why physical stores matter In 2016, Emma The Sleep Company launched in the UK with an online-only approach. The mattress market here is one of the most Neil Robinson online-driven markets worldwide: every second mattress is purchased online. However, many UK shoppers are also looking for personal advice in-store. They want to see, feel, and experience the product before buying it. Since 2019, the company began to pursue an omnichannel strategy, offering products both online and offline, to ensure it met its customers wherever they need it. Currently, Emma has more than 200 retail partners worldwide and its products are available at more than 3,000 locations. ‘In consumer-facing work, we highlight the risk-free and convenient purchase that our customers can have online. For example, we offer a free trial so that


Interiors Monthly December 2021

customers feel comfortable ordering a mattress online because they can still return it for free. In trade-facing communication we don’t need to focus on this since customers are experiencing the product beforehand - even though we are still offering a 200 night trial regardless. Instead, we want to provide all information about the product they need in order to facilitate their decision. Furthermore, we differentiate our products by highlighting different USPs to make them easier to comprehend. This is supported by a system of different colours to highlight the distinctions,’ says Neil Robinson, Emma The Sleep Company sales director, retail UK & Ireland. ‘At Emma, we are convinced that there will always be a more advisory-oriented target group that wants to experience the product before buying it. The offline experience can never be fully replaced by online shops. After growing a lot in the online world, we are now investing more in trade, building a local retail team located in the UK, underlining the big growth potential we see. Prospectively, there will be new sleep products that might need even more

explanation because they are techy or offering new types of solutions. This is where the offline experience will be irreplaceable: we want to explain this to our customers. At the same time, the online share in UK is immense, and after buying a mattress online once, a lot of people won’t miss out on the convenience in their next purchase. As a result, we are convinced of the benefits of an omnichannel approach: both channels will be needed to offer everyone a perfect sleeping experience.’ Visit:

Models are colour coded to differentiate them

Sq M


On the up

The mattress was a runner-up at the Bed Industry Awards

More retailers are becoming stockists ahead of Veganuary ‘The Vegan stockist base is continuing to grow at Vogue Beds, with more stockists joining ready for Veganuary, when people pledge to go vegan for the month,’ says Tim Dow, Vogue Beds commercial manager. Almost 600,000 took part in 2021. ‘The Vegan mattress by Vogue Beds stockist program sees stockists supported with POS material along with targeted social media adverts. Customers are encouraged to try the mattresses with stockists when they visit the Vegan by Vogue website. The product is also promoted nationally in Vegan Life magazine, of the UK largest vegan publications. ‘We are seeing more enquiries for retailers wanting to join our Vegan stockist programme as January gets closer. This opportunity will give retailers an on-trend product with a great story for the January sale period. We feel the Vegan stockist program is


Interiors Monthly December 2021

truly revolutionary and I would encourage any retailers who are thinking about it to reach out now. We are definitely going to see a big

Vegan Helix

push on plant-based and vegan products throughout January in many different industries.’ Visit:

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Place of prominence


Plushness, bridging indoor and out and doing the right thing Home owners are seeking plush softness in an array of colours, but also something that can stand up to a variety of environments: once again carpet has a place of prominence in interiors. That’s why Balta is launching new collections to accommodate this trend. Each of the Satino carpets is a captivating work of art – dyed in vivid, nature-inspired hues, and featuring a distinctive satin finish that seems to shimmer. With springtime comes a time of cleansing revitalisation, a time to chase dreams. No better way to do so than with a Dolce carpet in shiny textiles, soft colour palettes, and subtle transparencies that will suffuse interior environments with something new. Lumina is now available with a refined colour palette that calls to mind a sense of end-of-summer sophistication. As the sun sinks lower in the sky and the colder months approach, a Lumina carpet in softer, curved motifs that evoke elegance and well-being offers a sense of contentment and reassurance for any inner sanctum. The new Estrella carpet, part of the Satino collection, offers a more pronounced matte look. This sophisticated cut-pile carpet is available in an array of warming colours, offset with grey undertones that provide a sense of implicit elegance. There are times when the design choice is to go all out, to elevate a space to something extraordinary, something fashioned to be impressive. Enter the Impress collection. Constructed of tufted


Interiors Monthly December 2021

polyamide, this collection consists of Castor and Mehari products, both of which offer discrete prints combined with matching shades, and which can readily be converted into rugs. This is a premium and distinct flooring solution. Balta’s Nature collection is designed for those that to seek to bridge their indoor and outdoor living spaces. This sisal-look woven collection captures the organic beauty of nature, bringing it right to your

Poppy and Castor

doorstep for either indoor or outdoor applications, such as Yukon. Constructed of a polypropylene flatweave, it offers highly versatile sandy undertones, with a wide array of eye-catching colour accents. The company’s new secondary backing, Looper, is constructed from 100% recycled polypropylene that would have otherwise gone to waste. Visit:

Innovations in cookware

Tableware décor and more


Indulge in the art of entertaining with essential kitchenware and inspirational dining ideas that brings everyone to the table.


Ready for spring

Above left: AluZen Soft Above: Slim

Alias continues to reimagine indoor comfort outside With its latest outdoor collection Alias has continued to transform its indoor designs so they can be used outdoors. PearsonLloyd’s 2011 upholstery collection Eleven has been updated to become Ten System. In the outdoor version the back cushion becomes a single element that is attached to the rear legs of the sofa. This allows it to be unhooked, folded and stored in seasons when the sofa is not in use. The sofas are equipped with special covers to protect them in case of rain – the fabric prevents water from entering, allowing the cover to dry quickly – while the frame is made of treated metal for outdoor use. In addition to the upholstery, Ten System also includes

coffee tables that reflect the design of the legs. The tops are made of pressed and glazed ceramic material. Ludovica and Roberto Palomba have reinterpreted the rigorous, geometric lines of their AluZen modular sofa with a view to comfort and relaxation, giving life to AluZen Soft. The back, seat and arms of the sofa all coalesce into a single enveloping shape that appears to reach down to the floor but in fact never reaches it. New coffee tables feature tops made from heat-treated ash slats, with drainage channels for water, or in the Laminan ceramic material. PearsonLloyd’s polypropylene and fibreglass Slim chair also has an outdoor version, with the metal frame treated Baem

Ten System


Interiors Monthly December 2021

for outdoor use and powder-coated, adding to the wide range of finishes and colours that make up the family. An exception to the purely outdoor designs is the Baem table, created by Andrea Sanguineti, Alias design director. Baem is made of a single piece of cedar wood, supported by a metal frame and four inclined legs which fold back on themselves to support the ends of the 3m top; and by a central vertebra with ribs providing support in between. A circular version of the table has five legs connected to rings that support various segments of wood that form the design of the round top, leaving a central empty space. Visit:


HALL 5-C65



January Furniture Show, 23-26 January, NEC




The return

Baker Furniture (above left) and Staut (above) will be among the exhibitors

JFS will be back at the NEC next month Firmly established as the largest furniture and interiors event in the UK calendar, the January Furniture Show will return to the NEC in January. As the show’s first live return after more than a year, JFS promises to reconnect the industry and provide a much needed buying opportunity. More than 400 exhibitors will occupy halls 1, 2, 4 and 5. ‘Our main focus is to unite brands and buyers, and we cannot wait to be back at the NEC in January to do just that. We’re working hard behind the scenes to bring the best version of January Furniture Show to date, where a new look and updated layout will be just part of the improvements,’ says Russell Rule, January Furniture Show event director. ‘The 2022 show promises thousands of new launches, catering to every style and budget – this is an event that really cannot be missed.’ More than 50 international brands will be taking part including Akante, ALF, Alrank, AIMMP, B4 Living, Babi, Bambi Industria, Camel Group, Conciaria, EgoItaliano, FIMA, Forte, Furninova, Gala, Genesis Fine Arts, Grafu Baldai, Incanto italia/Digio’ Leather by Sofitalia, Jaipur Living, Kuka Home, Mini Divani, New Trend Concepts, San Martino, SITS, Staud, Stone Italia, Tajoma, VIDA and UAB Lyra Group. ‘Not to forget our homegrown favourites. As a proud British event the superb British quality cannot be left out. JFS is the UK’s premier furniture and interiors event and is the best place to see the greatest concentration of the

Interiors Monthly December 2021

best of British. A full mix of prestigious British companies in upholstery, beds, cabinet and accessories will be showing at JFS in 2022 and we are proud to provide the optimum arena for them to display their ingenuity, creativity and desirable furniture,’ says Rule. ‘Breasley UK, Buoyant Upholstery, Devonshire Living, Parker Knoll, Tetrad, Westbridge Furniture Designs, Whitemeadow and lots more key British names will be on show, alongside new brands to discover to keep your product offer fresh and exciting for your customers. ‘The show continues to develop and caters for retail buyers, interior designers and specifiers wishing to purchase at volume, mid and high-end levels of the market. Not only bringing the whole

UK furniture and interiors industry together, it also gives buyers an unequalled opportunity to see incoming furnishing trends and select the best of the new. We are introducing some exciting new ideas for 2022: attendees will have access to the latest trend insights and expert advice, with practical business advice for small businesses from a host of keynote presentations, masterclasses, panel discussions and case studies in a seminar programme launching in January. ‘With an exhibitor list of more than 400, JFS is a one-stop shop for all the latest collections in furniture and accessories. And with the introduction of seminar content and panels to enhance the experience, it is not to be missed.’ Visit:

The show will return to the NEC

January 23-26 Jan 2022 Furniture Show returns to the NEC 23-26 January 2022! We look forward to welcoming you back to the NEC after all this time for an amazing line up of brands, old industry favourites and some new names to add to the mix.

Find leading brands in the following sectors LIVING | DINING | UPHOLSTERY | CABINET | BEDS | INTERIORS | SOFT FURNISHINGS | FLOORING | FABRICS | ACCESSORIES | CONTRACT SECTOR | SUPPORT SERVICES Visit to find out more and register for your FREE TICKET

January Furniture Show, 23-26 January, NEC



Winning hand

The bestselling Monaco

New models and updates to the bestselling range will be on show Award-winning German bedroom manufacturer Wiemann is to unveil new ranges and present the latest updates to its bestselling collections at the show. Visitors will be the first to see the additions to the Wiemann catalogue. The company will also exhibit its leading premium range, Monaco, which has proved a hit during 2021, plus other collections. All Wiemann products are known for their excellent design, quality and value and are backed with its five-star customer support service. ‘Our JFS display will demonstrate how Wiemann offers a total bedroom solution for all. As well as our new products, which we are hugely excited about launching at the NEC, buyers will be able to see for themselves why our Monaco range has continued to top our bestseller lists,’ says Simon Hewitt, md of Litmus Furniture, Wiemann’s sole agent for the UK and Ireland. The 2022 version of Monaco promises more of the same popular features, with tweaks to ensure the range stays up to date. ‘We are, of course, delighted with the ongoing success of our Monaco range in the UK and Ireland. Our customers love Monaco, particularly the choice of options within the range, from door and drawer combinations to full bedroom accessories. The signature clever corner storage is better than ever. Monaco

Interiors Monthly December 2021

looks amazing, it’s practical and offers intelligent use of any space,’ says Kai Schwenke, Wiemann export sales manager for the UK and Ireland. Monaco is available in four collections: Monaco 1000, Monaco 2000, Monaco 3000 and Monaco 4000. All feature a range of doors and carcases, with a new finish due to be revealed at the JFS. Door options include the original bifold range (now 2000), plus hinged (1000) and sliding (3000) doors, with all the

variations including Monaco’s walk-in corner units. Meanwhile, the list of complementary furniture has been greatly expanded under the 4000 label to include bookcases, furniture chests, beds and bedsides. ‘We can’t wait to be back at the NEC in January and we wish the show every success. We are looking forward to welcoming everyone on the stand,’ says Hewitt. Visit:

Wiemann offers a total bedroom solution for all Ensuring your bedrooms are a breeze with the right designs, prices, quality and support


Come and see us at the January Furniture Show, NEC, Birmingham, January 23-26 2022 in Hall 4, Stand C50

made in germany |

January Furniture Show, 23-26 January, NEC




Forging ahead

Montero table and Hadid chairs

Julian Bowen has reaped the benefits of an aggressive investment programme 2021 has seen an acceleration in growth for Julian Bowen. The East Midlandsbased company, multiple winner of Interiors Monthly Awards for Best Furniture Wholesaler and Best Customer Service, has reaped the benefits of an aggressive investment programme focused upon delivering an everimproving customer proposition and experience which has seen extensive investment with a 28,000sqft warehouse adding 20% more storage capacity with an even greater addition in the amount of stock held to ensure high levels of availability. In addition to its focus on product, Julian Bowen is keen to improve every aspect of its customers’ experience. It is the company’s aim to provide the best quality furniture at the best possible prices. This is supported by a heavily invested supply chain incorporating an experienced in-house buying and design team, domestic and international quality control teams who work in close partnership with a select group of leading manufacturers. Together they have forged an impressive new product development capability in recent years which has created a platform for significant growth in the business. The firm’s current development pipeline is the largest ever with exciting new products to be launched across all key categories of children’s furniture, bedroom, living and dining and upholstery. Julian Bowen intends to make a big impact at the January Furniture Show 2022 showcasing a diverse range of new furniture developed by the company’s

Interiors Monthly December 2021

design team. This will build upon established strengths in dining and bedroom with new ranges of oak with a rattan feature panel, painted furniture and an extensive selection of contemporary dining and occasional ranges. Brushed gold, smoked glass and soft sumptuous velvet dining chairs in a wide range of colours will be a key feature of the show. The company is an acknowledged leader in children’s furniture and this remains a key focus with some innovative, modern and highly functional new designs including the Mars bunk bed which combines multiple storage options while the Maine bunk bed in Dove Grey, Anthracite, and Surf White coordinates with the hugely successful Maine bedroom collection. The Jake Slide bed, a clever contemporary children’s low sleeper with feature slide, is a practical but fun addition to its extensive children’s collections. The new fabric beds are designed to stand-out and include the recently launched Wilton, featuring a deep buttoned headboard finished in a highly


tactile, high quality grey linen and including four storage drawers, and the Langham a beautiful example of a contemporary classic design that exudes luxuriousness with an exquisite, scalloped headboard featuring a plush teal velvet. ‘We continue to forge ahead with new product innovation, working more closely with our customers and this has resulted in much stronger business relationships building solid growth plans for the future. Customers can see that we aren’t resting on our laurels and are continually pushing ourselves to give them an ever-wider range to choose from with the quality and prices they are used to and value us for,’ says Emmett Lenaghan, Julian Bowen md. ‘I am really excited by our new product pipeline which we’re looking forward to showing to our customer base in the coming months. Across the whole business, the entire Julian Bowen team will keep challenging itself to improve in everything that we do.’ Visit:


WILTON BED Bentinck House, Park Lane Business Park, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Notts NG17 9LE tel: (01623) 727374 fax: (01623) 754555 email: web:

All Products are available for Direct Home Delivery

January Furniture Show, 23-26 January, NEC


Progressive Alpha Designs will follow up on 2021 success Alpha Designs is a progressive UK manufacturer at the forefront of design and fabric, which it once again will show by the presentation of new collections at the forthcoming JFS 2022. These new models are following the successful launch in Autumn 2021 of the now proven Audrey, Selsey, Ciara and Niamh models which were presented in new vibrant fabrics. These new 2022 ranges, which have been designed and developed with a leading furniture designer, will continue the growth of Alpha Designs in the marketplace – alongside its current successful commercial ranges – by offering a breadth of styles, with total flexibility on fabrics across all models, from a company with a ‘can do’ attitude, offering an enticing proposition. Tel: 01902 492 937


Interiors Monthly December 2021

Above: Niamh Below: Audrey

Elegant upholstery, handmade in the UK by a family company with passion, dedication and care

Audrey Chaise

ALPHA DESIGNS UPHOLSTERY LIMITED T: 01902 492937 F: 01902 493700 E: Unit 1, Stag Industrial Estate, Oxford Street, Bilston, Wolverhampton WV14 7HZ

January Furniture Show, 23-26 January, NEC



Invest in new ideas Mattress protectors can boost performance ‘Looking ahead to 2022, with the prospect of a full calendar year of trading, the January Furniture Show is the perfect time to invest into new ideas. Protect-A-Bed, the award-winning specialist in mattress protection, can help any retail store significantly grow sales. A visit to our show stand could pay dividends throughout the rest of 2022,’ says Paul Lake, Protect-A-Bed national sales manager. ‘We continuously build frameworks that are simple for retailers to implement in order to achieve extremely high sales within the category. Our in-store Platinum Club rewards programme has been designed to build, recognise and reward this success. Focus is key: lots of small improvements to the product range, the in-store selling approach or through a better in-store display, can compound to bring a significant improvement in performance. Which is how we know we can increase sales

Interiors Monthly December 2021

instantly for any retail partner within the mattress protector category. ‘The average person sweats up to a pint of fluid a night. With mattress fillings being highly absorbent, an unprotected mattress will absorb hundreds of pints of sweat in its first year of use alone. All of our mattress protectors use a Miracle Membrane, which is waterproof yet breathable and allows body heat to pass through easily. It also prevents any sweat entering the mattress. What’s more, the protectors are machine washable, meaning you can keep your sleep zone healthy and hygienic.’ Protect-A-Bed mattress protectors have a 10-15 year product guarantee and, when bought with a mattress, a 10-15 year anti-stain guarantee: Protect-A-Bed will have the mattress professionally cleaned to the customer’s satisfaction or buy the customer a new one if it fails and the mattress was bought with the protector.

‘It’s in both the store’s and the customer’s interest to purchase our mattress protectors. Our speciality is driving in-store performance, so linked mattress and mattress protector sales are extremely high. The customer benefits from a healthy and hygienic sleep zone while the store benefits from increased sales revenue. Every customer who walks through the door and buys a mattress, needs to buy a mattress protector. It’s in their interest to do so for many reasons,’ says Lake. ‘Our ability to upskill your team and increase your sales revenue by maximising every sales opportunity has been well documented. We can manage every step of the process for you and build a reward scheme through the Platinum Club. Visit our stand at the show to see our advanced Therapeutics range and TV display bays, and find out how we can significantly grow sales for your store.’ Visit:

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Back with a bang

Brussels Furniture Fair returned to visitor and exhibitor acclaim ‘Who’d have thought at the end of the Furniture Fair 2019 that we’d have to wait two years for the next edition? Over the four days, the patience of exhibitors, retailers and us as the organiser was finally rewarded. We can now look back with relief, and above all with pride, at an exceptionally successful edition. We of course knew in advance that there would be fewer visitors. Travelling is still not easy, and many visitors remain distrustful of events. But those who did attend were wildly enthusiastic about the result,’ says Lieven Van den Heede,


Interiors Monthly December 2021

Brussels Furniture Fair general manager. ‘No one was worrying about the fact that visitor numbers were down. No one found it a problem, in fact. The quality was there, and there was an exceptionally high number of orders. Almost all the large purchasing groups from abroad were present. We had a total of 16,171 visitors from 38 countries. This is 2,823 fewer, or 14.86% less, than in 2019.’ Some 146 UK and Irish buyers visited the show, down from 502. There were also noticeable drops in buyers from France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

‘Surprisingly enough, visitors from “other countries” increased. In this segment we saw an increase of 30%. Of course, these are chiefly visitors from the European Union, but we were also visited by a number of buyers from America, Africa and Asia. As a result, the share of overseas visitors held steady at 60.9%,’ says Van den Heede. ‘The offering at the Furniture Fair 2021 was less extensive than we are accustomed to, but still varied enough to be interesting for our international  trade visitors. Of course the



Dual Motor Riser Recliner Upholstered in a high-quality, soft-touch fabric, the Grantham offers exceptional comfort with its pillowy soft fibre filled cushions and split back design. A dual motor lift and rise action controls the backrest and footrest separately, helping you get to your feet with ease. A traditional scroll arm design, with a modern choice of upholstery.



FROST GREY & BARLEY FABRIC (Frost Grey shown in picture)


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reasons for this are well known, so no one held that against us. Also, it certainly did not give the impression of being a lesser edition. On the 2021 exhibitor list were 161 names from 11 different countries. That is 107 fewer than in 2019, or almost 40% fewer in total. In terms of surface area, after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic we were pleased to have rented out 76.1% of the same number of halls as in 2019, when the occupancy rate was 93%. Given that the number of visitors fell by almost 15%, the number of visitors per stand surface area ratio was still positive. This also partly explains the positive vibe and the sense that there were a lot of visitors. ‘Our main aim is to focus on a European offering for a west European market. As a result of the pandemic, this role chimes perfectly with the current mood. Disrupted supply routes, high transportation costs and rising wages in China are causing manufacturers to realise that it is perhaps time for them to bring their production back to Europe. ‘Literally every exhibitor was enthusiastic. This is almost unprecedented in recent years. Visitors came into the fair with a broad smile, absolutely delighted that they were able to attend a “normal” trade fair again. Reconnecting with business contacts – or should we say friends? – was clearly a real pleasure. ‘We can’t emphasise enough that this is precisely the point of a trade fair like ours. The lack of a 2020 edition, and all the other cancelled trade fairs, was more than compensated for here. Moreover, the rising number of coronavirus cases gave a feeling of “now or never”. Who knows how long this pandemic will last…? So the Furniture Fair was also a commercial success. The seeds have been sown for a successful spring.’


Interiors Monthly December 2021

BALTHAZARS 2021 A record number of companies entered the Balthazar awards. l BEST OF BELGIUM: Toon De Somer’s Ton sur Tooon divider (pictured below). ‘It’s astonishing how a single metal element can make a world of difference. How it adds new dimensions to the spatial architecture, multifunctionality and acoustics. The uprights have a rounded, L-shaped design. They offer an asymmetric picture, of open compartments on one side and closed surfaces on the other. Even the space inside the uprights offers a wealth of possibilities,’ says the judging panel. LAUREATES: Theuns’ Izola and Saunaco’s Cas collection. l LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT: Passe Partout’s Tulip (design Axel Enthoven). ‘The elegant, slim armrests are open like the petals of a tulip in bloom. It is exceptionally inviting and heartwarming. Come, take a seat. The cushions are both playful and comfortable. Take note of the detail in the finish. Tulip is an original, elegant interpretation of the omnipresent organic trend.’ LAUREATES: WR Inspired’s Mona and Moome’s Lala. l BEST INTERNATIONAL: EgoItaliano’s Bebop. ‘An archetypical and symbolic model, a metaphor for the post-coronavirus era. A re-design of the retro style, with Italian flair. The bi-stretch fabric provides a contemporary twist. The yin yang pouffe and the combination of black and red are a perfect reflection of the current times. Bebop marks the beginning of a new roaring Twenties.’ LAUREATES: Kluskens’ A-Table and Calia’s Milla. l INNOVATION: Revor’s Circular. ‘The time to act is now. The Circular is the perfect solution: a 100% circular pocket spring mattress. Composed of just two circular mono materials: steel and polyester. These can be completely separated and endlessly reused, with no loss of quality. Raw material waste is eliminated. A QR code facilitates the path to the circular future of your mattress.’ LAUREATES: LS Bedding’s Ergosleep Cocon 2.0 and Otium Care’s Hector.

So good, Jessica put her name on it


Four bar Hexham This variant to the established eight bar Hexham spindle aims to give a cleaner, more contemporary look yet remains also able to cross over into traditional. A winner with painters.

Hexham Eight bar Our highly popular eight bar back plain spindle back chair is where modern meets the best of Victorian simple. Equally at home in town or country dining settings. Available in beech or oak.

Hoop back

Windsor Hoop Carver

An enormously popular and stylish hoop back with elegant good looks and features, robust enough even for contract. This is a quality beech chair that fits many bills.

We have taken a classic Georgian style an adapted it for modern living. The ageless lines evoke their traditional background but also harness a more modern edge. Great as a stand-alone chair in its own right or a carver complement to our hoop or Hexham’s.


Feature Head size/colour to suit Standfirst style standfirst Most retailers agree that staff company name and development is critical to business success

Buyers’ guide



Not the same

Carpet performs best when you play to its strengths A carpet is a carpet, is a carpet, surely? No, there are many different types of carpet, all with different characteristics. Well over 90% of carpet is tufted, where yarn (man-made or natural) is inserted into the primary backing fabric to create loops or tufts, which may be left or cut. The underside is given a heavy adhesive coating to hold everything in place and a second backing is attached for extra strength. This can then be used to create a variety of carpet styles. Twist is the most common cut pile carpet, with the yarn tightly twisted and heat-set to retain the twist, producing a textured finish that’s very suitable for plain carpets. Saxony cut pile carpets also have heat-set twisted yarns but the tips are far more distinct for a sophisticated finish. Saxonies show vacuuming marks


Interiors Monthly December 2021

and footprints and have traditionally been recommended for rooms that receive less usage, although those with more texture variations are more versatile. Freize carpets are akin to Saxony but the yarns are even more tightly twisted, creating a dense, low pile surface with a coarser texture. Freize carpets are particularly suited to areas of high footfall thanks to their durability, and they tend not to show footprints or dirt. Velvet carpets are the glamour player of cut pile carpets, with a sheared pile to create a smooth finish. Unlike the three previous styles, the yarns in velvets have little twist so they blend together more, further enhancing its luxurious looks. The downside is that as the yarns lie in different directions they reflect light unevenly, creating the impression of shading.

Looped Berber carpets resemble the bulky, handmade wool carpets made by the tribes of North Africa that give them their name. The loops are made from thick yarn to provide comfort underfoot. Level loop carpets have loops of uniform height, to create a natural appearance and provide durability. The tight loop structure is good at hiding marks. Multi-level loop carpet scores well for high footfall areas, with the random loop heights adept at disguising stains. A combination of cut and loop pile, meanwhile, allows the creation of a variety of textures and patterns and excels at hiding marks and footprints, making it suitable for busy rooms. Shag pile carpet sees pile heights of up to 5cm (2in), with a loose and casual texture, although longer piles are prone to flattening.




Abingdon Flooring creates high-quality carpets for today’s homes. With brands that offer a huge choice of style, colour and suitability it believes everyone should be able to choose their flooring with looks and comfort in mind. That’s why it ensures that practical performance comes as standard, with its StainFree for Life guarantee. Abingdon has always committed to an ongoing testing cycle, which along with top quality materials means its carpets remain at the forefront of performance. Matched to investment in exemplary service, including track and trace logistics software, it’s with you every step of the way to more beautiful floors.

Carpet Recycling UK is an independent non-profit membership association working with the supply chain to reduce the volume of textile flooring waste going to landfill. Its network spans the carpet and textile flooring sector, supply chains and waste recovery sector, allowing its members to take advantage of recycling opportunities including sustainable raw materials for manufacture, reuse of products, take-back schemes and identifying outlets nationwide, or innovations in material processing. Core funding comes from carpet companies who are ahead of the game and taking voluntary producer responsibility: Balsan, Betap, Brintons, Cormar, DESSO, ege Carpets, Headlam Lifestyle Floors, Milliken, Shaw and Tarkett.





Since its founding in 1992, Condor Carpets has grown to become one of Europe’s largest carpet manufacturers, supplying wall-to-wall carpets for residential and contract applications. Condor Carpets is optimising its production process through continuous innovation, motivated by a drive to achieve the goal of operational excellence and the objective of offering the most sustainable product at the best price/ quality ratio in the market. With a broad and constantly developing product range, Condor Carpets ensures that its customers can respond to local trends quickly. Be sure to look out for its exciting new ranges in 2022.

Award-winning British carpet manufacturer Cormar Carpet Company expanded its Easy Clean collection with Primo Tweeds, a family-friendly carpet in a distinctive stippled design. Tufted on 10th-gauge machinery and made from 100% Excellon polypropylene for desirable stain-resisting and hardwearing properties, it comes with a 10-year stain and wear warranty. Available in 4m and 5m widths, it is offered in 14 shades, ranging from vibrant reds to dappled neutrals. As well as providing a new contemporary look to the collection, Primo Tweeds is displayed on Cormar’s new-look POS, communicating the range’s key benefits to consumers.







Hugh Mackay Carpets specialises in quality wool and Axminister carpets and has been at the forefront of the industry for more than 100 years. Both its stock ranges and custom options have been crafted with style and quality in mind. Its bespoke and custom designs are constructed using the ‘Design It’ creation studio, while the Visualise It application aims to ‘Change the way you choose’, taking customers on a journey in the comfort of their own home. The technology allows them to upload an image of their room and, in real time, install carpet products, meaning they can immediately see the transformation a Hugh Mackay carpet can make.

As one of the leading carpet producers in Europe, Lano has unrivalled manufacturing capabilities and flexibility: from bleach-cleanable carpets in the Essenz and Touchdown collections to the high-end X – A touch of luxury collection. Its unique SmartStrand Forever Clean fibre floorcovering is the world’s most forgiving carpet, and the only fibre that can back up its claims to high performance and the easiest cleanability alongside low environmental impact, due to the bulk content of the fibre being renewably sourced. For a quality carpet from a manufacturer that has a reputation built on high quality, high service and leading innovation choose a Lano carpet.





Penthouse Carpets, an employee owned company in Rochdale, Lancashire, has been setting the standard for superb woollen tufted carpets for almost 50 years, using traditional fibres to create beautiful fashion in floorcoverings while providing exceptional quality and service to its customers. It is passionate about using only the finest raw materials to create carpets of exceptional quality.

Victoria Carpets has spent the past 18 months refreshing its product ranges. Natureborn (wool and wool blends), Easicare (man-made) and Luxuria (unashamedly the best of the best) come together to provide any retailer with a robust carpet offer. Stylish, clever colour palettes are shown on bespoke POS, designed to make it easy for the consumer to shop.



Interiors Monthly December 2021



The right foundation

A comfy bed with the right mattress is the basis of a good night’s sleep Beds don’t last forever. A mattress’s life span is affected by the quality, care and amount it is used: for example, watching TV, reading and sleeping each night versus occasional use of a spare bed. Changes in lifestyle such as marriage or a new home, and in our bodies – losing or gaining weight or ageing, for example – can also necessitate a change of bed. There is no substitute for lying on mattresses when making a selection. Encourage customers to remove their coat and shoes and lie on the bed for as long as they like – and leave them to it, don’t hover. Encourage them to adopt their normal sleeping position and lie on their side as well as their back. If the bed is for two, make sure both are happy with the choice: individuals could have different needs. Correct support depends on weight, height, build and preferred sleeping position. Ideally the mattress should mould to the shape of the body while remaining supportive. When lying on your side your spine should be horizontal and you should be able to turn fairly easily. Comfort is very subjective. Some people like the sensation of being cocooned in a bed, while others prefer to lie on top. Back sleepers may like a firmer feel than those who sleep on their side. For partners of widely differing size and weight, different mattresses may be required. Some manufacturers make

double beds from two single mattresses zipped together, which can be of differing tension. Others combine different degrees of firmness in one mattress. Most manufacturers offer firm, medium and soft options. There is no industry-wide standard to compare firmness ratings so encourage shoppers to try them out. To check if a bed is too soft, too hard or just right, lie flat and slide your hand into the hollow of your back. If it slides in too easily, the bed may be too hard for you, leading to pressure on your hips and shoulders. If it’s a struggle to slide your hand under, the bed is probably too soft. If you can move your hand with just a little resistance, the bed may be just right. The majority of mattresses in the UK have spring interiors, which provide the core support. Changing the spring construction, thickness (gauge) of the wire, the number of coils, height of each spring and the quantity alters the tension, feel and weight distribution. They can also be zoned: across the middle to give extra support for heavier hips and shoulders; half and half, to provide different tensions on each side; or around the edge for extra rigidity. Open coil or open sprung mattresses (also known as Bonnell spring) are the most common. The springs are arranged in rows and connected, top and bottom, by a spiral helical wire, with an outer rod strengthening the perimeter. These are

most used in lower cost mattresses. Continuous spring units, priced in the mid-market, are made from a single length of wire shaped into a series of interwoven springs, which run up and down the bed and are linked vertically. The gauge of wires is softer and the size of the coils smaller than open coil, giving a higher spring count and a more responsive feel. Pocket spring mattress have small, softer springs that work independently, adjusting to body contours and helping to eliminate roll-together. Mini spring mattresses use small (under an inch) springs and offer an alternative to more traditional fillings in providing a highly resilient comfort layer. They can also be stacked to form a very soft mattress core. Of non-spring mattresses, latex foam is a premium quality material from the sap of the rubber tree. It has a distinctive, resilient feel, is very durable and has antimicrobial properties that benefit many allergy sufferers. Its natural elasticity means it recovers its shape immediately. Visco elastic/memory foam mattresses respond to shape and pressure, have good pressure-relieving properties and are offered a variety of qualities and densities, while polyurethane (PU) foam mattresses use a synthetic, petroleumbased foam, with performance and price varying according to density and quality. Visit:






Health and well-being brand Mammoth’s latest update to its award-winning Comfort collection for 2022 is the all-new Excel mattress. More Medical Grade foam, more depth and more pocket springs ensure that customers will be able to enjoy superior comfort, pressure relief and postural support for the ultimate night’s sleep. The brand’s health credentials include NHS Innovations awards, official partnership with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and close relationships with sleep centres at Oxford and Northumbria universities, and its Medical Grade foam mattress range represents the gold standard for rest and recovery. Visit:

There is no better protection than Mattressgard mattress protectors and pillow protectors, whether your requirement is for a luxury quilted mattress protector or a cooling mattress protector or a super-soft pillow protector. Mattressgard has the most comprehensive range of mattress protectors in the UK, providing consumers with the best protection for their mattress and retailers a great opportunity to offer the very best products to their customers. All its products meet very exacting production and quality standards and are guaranteed for 10 years. The team retains close contact with all suppliers to ensure quality is never an issue. Visit:



Protect-A-Bed is the global specialist in mattress protection. With state-of-the-art TV display bays, professional sales training, a 15-year guarantee programme and award-winning customer service, Protect-A-Bed is proven to increase sales and profits. The January Furniture Show is the perfect opportunity to add new ranges to your store’s offering. On display will be its innovative Therapeutics range, featuring wellness mattress protectors made with copper, charcoal and graphene. Additionally, exclusive show offers will be available through the Protect-A-Bed Platinum Club. To discuss sales growth opportunities, visit stand J45 in Hall 5. Visit:

Sealy is one of the world’s leading bed brands, with over 100 years of experience in creating premium, cutting-edge products. Sealy’s mission is to deliver orthopedically correct support through unique, superior and propriety technology. The January Furniture Show will be Sealy’s first opportunity to unveil the new UK product offering. The line-up will showcase the Sealy Posturepedic range. Backed by world-leading orthopedic research, it features exclusive technology that creates a different mattress feel and introduces a new aesthetic design. Ortho Plus, Advantage and Enhance will also be launched. Visit:

Interiors Monthly December 2021




Established in 1924, Sleepeezee has since grown into one of the most recognisable bed manufacturers in the world, crafting and supplying bespoke mattresses across retail and hospitality for both UK and international customers. As Royal Warrant holders marking the best of British, the company is renowned for manufacturing superior quality beds and mattresses, tailored to optimise any available space and help customers achieve a sound night’s sleep for years to come. Visit:

The Foam Company has a heritage of more than 30 years and is extremely proud to be a UK-based manufacturer. Only the highest quality component parts are used and product development is at the forefront for the coming year. Within the SleepShaper range, a wide selection of sizes and models are available for express delivery, from bunk-bed mattresses to a luxurious 2,000 pocket sprung model featuring wool, silk and cashmere. A space-saving retail display has resulted in huge demand for the mattress rack and bed bundle of six single-size mattresses, a single divan and mattress rack with full POS package. Visit:



It’s hard to fall asleep when you’re stressed, and even harder when you’re uncomfortable too. Sonlevo helps people float off to sleep. All its products are designed to offer a cooler night’s sleep, greater support and advanced pressure relief, helping to create the feeling of weightlessness in body and mind as you drift off. Recommended to its members by the Professional Footballers’ Association and Football Medicine and Performance Association, the range offers correct posture support and ultimate comfort, paramount in achieving the best sleep and, as a consequence, the best performance. Discover the revolutionary TrueGel range online. Visit:

New for 2021, Sweet Dreams has added stunning new upholstered frames and hybrid storage beds into its portfolio. Three styles of TV bed with standard or adjustable slat systems offer the ultimate in luxury. Also several frames offer a variety of styles along with ottoman storage options. All Sweet Dreams frames come in a choice of 10 luxury upholstery fabrics. Five styles of exciting new hybrid beds offering frame styling with matching head and foot ends, added to drawer and ottoman storage options, make a fantastic solution for practicality and style. Visit:



And relax…

Let technology take the strain

Keep track of your business anywhere There is little in an interiors retail store you can’t find a software package to handle, designed to make the task easier, quicker and more professional. Except perhaps dealing with customers in-store: computers cannot replace people here. Victoria Group recently highlighted the fleet management software used by Alliance Logistics to manage its 240-strong delivery fleet, enabling live traffic updates and live route planning. The group allows retailers live tracking of their orders, alongside real-time updates via email and text message. Not that long ago such facilities were the stuff of dreams for logistics managers and finance directors: giving high-level service, keeping costs down and stockists happy. Also in flooring, Headlam has introduced its transactional myheadlam app, allowing retailers to trade with all their Headlam accounts on their phone or tablet. Retailers can search for all products stocked by the group; check real-time availability and prices; place orders quickly; review order history and track live orders. The app also features a room visualiser, which can be used to show customers how any particular flooring would look in situ. The app is available for iOS and Android and users can personalise their settings to suit their preferences. But, of course it’s not just in flooring retail that software is playing its part. Furniture retailers can unite their accounts, warehousing, online and marketing to make life much simpler and more productive. Manufacturers have been passing on frequent price increases


Interiors Monthly December 2021

in recent months and woe betide a retailer who misses updating their new retail prices as a result. Let the software sort it for you, rather than manually change every price online. And to find out what is stopping a customer completing their online order, you’ll need software to track what happens to their baskets and then to

contact them to ask politely why they are still possible future customers, rather than already awaiting delivery of their new item. Every software package is likely to have features you won’t use or need, so do get the provider to explain fully what the benefits are and if you can upgrade later when you really do need the functionality. Keep on top of how your business is performing right now




Computers for Flooring’s team of software engineers and developers have decades of experience implementing software solutions for some of the biggest, most well-respected names in manufacturing and flooring. In retail, it offers big business solutions to single and multi-shop retailers; in contract/ commercial, it provides bespoke changes within the system framework; and in wholesale, it enables transparency of sales, stock and distribution, with intuitive warehousing app-driven solutions for pick, pack and post. Its Carman Companion app (for Android) offers ERP and enterprise users real-time stock visibility at every stage, from goods in through to dispatch.

FurniturePay uses its incredible buying power to negotiate rates and deals on furniture and bed retail essentials – credit card processing with Barclaycard and QuickBooks Online. Take advantage of all its offerings or pick what is right for you. Come see how FurniturePay’s partners Barclaycard and QuickBooks Online can benefit you and your retail business. Visit:




The award-winning RetailSystem EPOS: manage and control all aspects of your furniture and bed retail business. Optimised for furniture and bed retailers with specific tools and features that will help you to grow your business. Put the power of the award-winning RetailSystem EPOS to work, at a price that works for you.

WebSystem powered by Shopify: take a fully integrated website approach that gives customers a seamless experience across online and offline channels. The cloud-based, unified web solution ties directly into your RetailSystem EPOS, so you only need to manage one system across all your online and offline sales points.






Life’s luxuries

LVT is the flooring of choice for ease and comfort LVT flooring – luxury vinyl tiles – has rocketed in popularity in recent years because it offers an easy, long-term flooring solution with the appearance of a natural material. It’s perfect for busy family homes as it’s easy to clean, making it ideal for messy moments. It is more durable than most wood flooring, and much warmer underfoot than stone, making it the perfect half-way house for a modern home. Dryback and click LVT are the two most popular types. Dryback must be glued to the floor, while click is put together on the sub-floor using a mechanical joint system. Click LVT is extremely easy to lay and to maintain, as individual tiles or planks can be replaced without the need to take up


Interiors Monthly December 2021

the entire floor. The click systems follow the same principle but the exact system will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer (many manufacturers license a system from others). Self-adhesive LVT is pre-glued with a peel-off backing for sticking to the floor, while loose-lay LVT is laid straight onto the floor, relying on the high friction backing of the tiles or planks to keep them in place. It is only suitable for top quality sub-floors, unlike rigid core LVT which is much more tolerant of imperfections. LVT gets its durability from its multilayered structure which binds together six layers of high-density fibreglass, PVC and protective guard coating. This creates a thin, yet extremely dense

plank: a 4mm LVT plank is much stronger than an engineered wood plank of twice the thickness. The realistic design that imitates highend flooring is grained into the design layer at high pressure to get the most authentic finish. Another major benefit of LVT is its sound-absorbing qualities: it is almost silent to walk across and is often used in upper floors because of this reason. Surfaces may be embossed to give it a texture – registered embossed is the highest quality – and V-grooves between the planks further enhance the impression of wood flooring. Tiles can come with grouting inlay strips. Designs tend to be dominated by wood and stone.




Guided by trends and the latest technological improvements, BerryAlloc offers an impressive array of laminate, wood, HPF and LVT floors. Its design teams capture the very latest looks, drawing inspiration from the natural environment and home interior trends to create collections with diverse appeal. From country timbers and classic oaks through to terrazzo and concrete: it’s a collection that can deliver a stylish floor in any home. A strong shopping experience and visual language help to attract customers and deliver a quality feel. Alongside full shop-in-shop concepts, it has also introduced ‘brand corners’, letting retailers build a display perfect for any store.

Moduleo offers award-winning alternatives to natural wood and stone flooring, with designs inspired by nature. Moduleo LVT provides customers with an option to rival natural wood and stone, with added benefits such as being water resistant, durable, easy to clean and simple to install. This year saw the brand expand its award-winning LayRed collection to comprise 40 wood and eight stone styles. In addition to its existing collections – Impress, Transform, Select, Moods and Herringbone – this means the company has something to offer for every room of the home, from kitchens and living rooms to bathroom and bedrooms. Visit:




On the way to developing the next generation of a healthyliving and particularly water-resistant design floor, Parador has combined forward-looking materials, authentic surfaces and smart technology: Modular ONE Hydron was developed to achieve outstanding performance even in damp environments. The result is an innovative design floor that delivers a masterclass in terms of resistance to water and moisture. Modular ONE Hydron withstands all the demands of everyday life – and is also healthy for the home, particularly authentic and easy to clean. A wide range of contemporary wood and stone decors makes Modular ONE Hydron a visual highlight.

New for Victoria Design Floors is the introduction of a mid-sized herringbone product into the Universal 55 family. Available as both dryback and click, this 0.55mm product is available in six wood and two stone designs. It will be included in the range refresh that will be taking place from the New Year, incorporating a streamlined product offer, new easy-to-navigate board labels and a fresh new consumer-friendly approach to POS. Visit:




Coming together Buying group membership could be the final piece in your business jigsaw

The concept is a simple one that has evolved and expanded over the years: pool the buying power of independent retailers so they can secure better terms with suppliers to compete with their multiple rivals. The furniture sector has two main buying groups: AIS and Minerva, while the flooring sector has six: ACG, BRM, Flooring One, Greendale, Metro and SMG. Regardless of sector, the principle of pooling buying power is central. What varies from group to group is how this is achieved: through a simple discount on products or a rebate on certain sales levels. There is also variation on how rebates are paid: payment can be direct to the retailer from each supplier or combined from all suppliers the retailer deals with as part of its membership and paid via the group. Beyond this, what buying groups offer has grown over the years to include business and support services such as legal helplines, marketing, membership of trade associations, deals on utilities, insurance, credit card processing and training. All buying groups stress that they have no desire to control how an independent retailer runs their business. Many members highlight the benefits of being able to talk to other retailers about issues such as complaints, supplier relations, business problems and the state of trade without worrying that they will use such information to their advantage: retailers have set geographic areas and members do not see themselves as rivals. Groups hold regular regional events allowing retailers to meet and many host their own exhibitions. Each buying group will be stronger in some areas compared to others and in turn offer fewer benefits in other areas, so examine each group to see which one offers you the mix that maximises membership the most.


Interiors Monthly December 2021

Coming together to increase your strength

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT One area that groups are not renowned for is training. The National Institute of Carpet & Floorlayers and Contract Flooring Association founded the Flooring Industry Training Association to provide specialist training for the floorcovering industry. FITA is an independent, not-for-profit organisation – by industry, for industry. It has specialist training centres at Loughborough and Kirkcaldy with fully equipped practical and lecture areas. More than 20 courses are on offer to individuals at every level, from beginner to those with years of experience seeking to upskill. NICF members receive a 15% discount.




Greendale Carpets and Floorings is a 130-store, memberowned, not for profit co-operative based in Hereford, stocking 2,000 rolls of carpet from top British and Continental suppliers. It offers 200 ranges which are all own-labelled to colour level. Members have their own geographic areas and Greendale products are not sold online. This offer is complemented by savings on manufacturer-branded ranges, giving members enhanced margin. Other support includes a website, advertising and in-store ticketing plus membership of the British Independent Retail Association which offers a range of support services for members.

Since the 1970s when Metro Group conceived the idea of pooling independent retailers’ buying power to compete against national chains, a lot has changed. No longer just looking for the best terms and prices, Metro has expanded to also assist members to sell the best performing products at a profit. Metro’s bespoke and unique marketing service allows it to support any marketing project its members may take on. From the smallest one-man operation to multipleoutlet businesses, retaining independence is important to Metro’s members, allowing them to select from all of the best benefits of membership while still being 100% in control of their business. Visit:




The National Institute of Carpet and Floorlayers (NICF) promotes excellence and ethical practice within the field of domestic flooring installation. It provides support to members with a range of benefits and services to make running their businesses as simple, profitable and stress-free as possible, and promotes assurance of quality of workmanship to the general public. Its online directory allows consumers to search for local floorlayers and leave reviews. Visit:

SMG is the UK’s largest independent flooring retail group. It guarantees members preferential pricing, substantial rebates and promotions, as well as the opportunity to buy from any of its suppliers without the need for a direct account. SMG supports members in promoting the leading industry brands or, if they prefer, the opportunity to ownbrand as little or as much as they would like with SMG’s exclusive Pure-branded ranges and unitary. Truly retaining independence but gaining the strength and buying power of numbers has meant that SMG has been the industry leader for the past 50 years. Visit:



What lies beneath The many benefits of underlay are something that consumers often need explaining to them. Having devoted time and attention to deciding on the type and colour of their new floor, underlay shouldn’t be an afterthought. Quality underlay can last 25 years and will extend the life of flooring, improve thermal insulation – saving your customer money – and boost sound insulation. And it will also provide you with improved margins on the sale. Polyurethane is the most popular underlay, made from recycled foam offcuts. Advantages include high levels of comfort and performance, and a multitude of thicknesses and densities to choose from, so you can find the right product for that floor and fitters will thank you for its light weight. Crumb rubber is the most durable underlay and well suited for high footfall areas, whereas sponge rubber will offer


Quality underlay works hard behind the scenes

more in the comfort/durability mix. Felt underlays are made from recycled fibres including wool and jute to produce a dense pad with high thermal insulation. If a customer has opted for a hard

floor, underlay is still as important, protecting it from subfloor imperfections and reducing noise. Most manufacturers offer specialist underlays for underfloor heating: check if the customer has this.



With recycled PU, rubber sponge, rubber crumb, wood and laminate, combination felt, acoustic, underfloor heating and LVT, Floorwise has one of the widest collections available today, giving retailers and installers a quality option for any work. It has worked hard to develop unique specifications that ensure great quality at every price point. Whether a budget recycled PU like Initio or a premium rubber crumb such as Champion, Floorwise underlays always deliver great performance. The collection has options to keep everyone happy, not only in terms of choice but also in long-term performance.

Interfloor is Europe’s largest manufacturer of underlay and flooring accessories and supplies to flooring retailers, distributors and flooring contractors in the UK and around the world. Its diverse range includes the three most popular forms of underlay: polyurethane foam, sponge rubber and crumb rubber. Its proudly British-manufactured brands include Tredaire underlays and hard-wearing Duralay, ideal for the contract market, which includes specialist underlays for use with underfloor heating, LVT and hard flooring. Its new acoustics brand Sonixx has a core range of specialist acoustic underlays to significantly reduce sound transmission.



Interiors Monthly December 2021


All-round success Vinyl is the great all-rounder of flooring, suitable for almost every room, not just kitchens and bathrooms where it is most commonly used. Vinyl is warm and soft to the touch so it’s ideal in bedrooms and living rooms. Its ease of laying and budget-friendly pricing makes it perfect for the fashion-conscious who may want to change their flooring more often. While LVT and laminate flooring is dominated by wood effects, vinyl offers a multitude of designs from patterns and abstracts to contemporary and rustic, along with wood and stone. Typically, vinyl has a top layer of polyurethane lacquer for scuff protection and ease of cleaning, a wear layer, a printed layer of the chosen design, a glass fibre layer, PVC layer and a foam or felt backing. In smaller rooms vinyl can be laid without adhesive, as long as no furniture will repeatedly move on it, such as chairs.



If you are looking for ‘The Ultimate in Luxury Vinyl Flooring’ the new Ultragrip Collection from Beauflor is hard to beat. Designed for contemporary interiors, both domestic and commercial, these designs are not just striking, they are practical and versatile too - Ultra water resistant, Ultra nonslip, Ultra durable and Ultra hygienic. In addition to some existing bestsellers, you will find three new ranges: Entice, which is inspired by period tiling motifs; Eminence, where XL plank sizes make this traditional wooden floor look even more authentic and Empress, where luxurious marble and concrete designs sit alongside traditional tile effects.

Leoline cushion vinyl flooring makes homes more beautiful, comfortable and an easier place to be. With faithful recreations of nature’s wonderful organic patterns as well as ceramic tiles, architectural finishes and abstract designs, Leoline is a great way to add unique style to any room. Add in comfort, warmth, great acoustics and an easy-to-care-for surface that’s hardwearing too, and it’s easy to see why Leoline floors are such a popular choice in homes across the land. Visit:




Pets claws and upholstery are not best friends

Taking care

Avoid exposure to sunlight

Timely advice may save both retailer and customer trouble Some complaints about upholstery are related not to a fault with the sofa or chair but how the customer looks after their purchase. Find out if the manufacturer provides care instructions and when delivery has been made check that your customer received them. If they didn’t, inform them of these tips. Avoid exposing furniture to direct sunlight and/or heat, whether direct or indirect, for long periods of time as this may result in fading or degradation. Lightly vacuum the upholstery on a weekly basis, although for feather-filled cushions this can be done less often. If the product has reversible cushions regularly turn them and interchange their positions. Fibre or feather cushions should be plumped often to get air into them so they retain their comfort and shape. Smooth out creases in the cushions to prevent them becoming permanent. A zip at the rear of a cushion cover


Interiors Monthly December 2021

does not necessarily mean that it can be removed for ease of cleaning. Pets’ claws, jewellery, buckles, zips and studs are all potential snagging hazards. Loose threads should be trimmed, not pulled out. Leather should only be cleaned in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. The use of cleaning products on items they are not intended for could damage the surface. Don’t put pressure on unsupported panels of upholstery such as outside arms and backs – and avoid sitting on the arms. If accidental spillage or damage occurs, take professional advice to ensure it is dealt with properly. Never wash or dry clean the fabric of your furniture unless the manufacturer’s instructions explicitly state that this can be done. If the fabric is a velvet its pile will move and catch the light in different

directions. The pile may look as if it is crushed when new: sweeping with a velvet or clothes brush will rectify this. Over time the pile will crush, but this is one of its natural characteristics.

Leather should only be cleaned in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions




Alpha Designs is a progressive UK manufacturer at the forefront of design and fabric, as it will again demonstrate next month with its 2022 collections. These new models follow the successful launch in Autumn 2021 of the now proven Audrey, Selsey, Ciara and Niamh models, presented in new vibrant fabrics. The 2022 ranges, which have been designed and developed with a leading furniture designer, will continue the growth of Alpha Designs – alongside its current successful ranges – by offering a breadth of styles, with total flexibility on fabrics across all models, from a company offering an extremely enticing proposition.

Gallery Direct’s extensive catalogue includes a wonderful selection of upholstered products which are hand-made in Wiltshire. The range offers made-to-order sofas, chairs, sofa beds, dining chairs, bar stools, bedsteads and headboards. All the made-to-order products are available in a choice of 80 fabrics, with the option of Crib 5. The catalogue also features the innovative Sofa in a Box collection. The collection offers six models to suit different styles, featuring sofas, chairs and a sofabed, which are supplied flat packed in a box to allow access to any room in any home. Assembly takes less than five minutes, with no tools required. Visit:

Tel: 01902 492 937



Lebus Upholstery is a market leader in the quality, commercial upholstered furniture market. Operating from a custom built 250,000sqft factory, this one site facility allows a dedicated workforce and a strong leadership team to devote all their talents and experience to design and construct a wide range of exciting models. Lebus creates and develops all its own exclusive designs, constantly monitoring and anticipating the latest trends in furnishing designs and fabrics. It looks forward to once again exhibiting at the January Furniture Show, welcoming customers old and new on to the stand to view the latest ranges.

Fabulous furniture made to order in its Burnley premises – Sweet Dreams can manufacture and deliver your upholstery orders to most parts of the UK within 20 days. Good-looking, well-designed upholstery that meets key price points and never strays from the comfort zone: this is the Sweet Dreams collection. Its own-made sofas, chairs and stools are designed and manufactured at its premises in Lancashire, providing employment to the local workforce and fabulous upholstery to stores up and down the country. Sweet Dreams can also offer two-man home delivery direct to your customers. Visit:



LIGHTING Sabi is designed by Louise Sigvardt

In the air tonight

A third Flock of Light size has been introduced

Flock of Light has an enlarged version First introduced in 2020 with 11 and 21 lights, Flock of Light by Studio Toer for Moooi has a larger addition: Flock of Light 31. Deriving from an imaginative art installation, the inspiration for Studio Toer’s suspended lamp came from nature: the glowing sparks of the


Interiors Monthly December 2021

fireflies that turn up at dusk. ‘We drew on that transient moment when a swarm of fireflies drifts. Inspired by nature and the way these little creatures move, we applied our knowledge of technology and ignited an idea. Together, we continued developing this concept, which with

freedom of play became the Flock of Light,’ says Studio Toer, founded by Castor Bours and Wouter Widdershoven. The design transforms from a light and airy artistic piece by day to a swarm of bright warm lights at night – a swarm captured in stillness. Visit:

J OIN T H E AS SOCIATED WEAVE RS TEA M RETAIL SA LES M ANAGER Associated Weavers - a leading, trailblazing carpet manufacturer at the forefront of broadloom carpets. Our strengths are our passion for flooring, in depth product knowledge, eye for great interior design and forward thinking innovation. Over the years we have built strong and lasting relationships with our partners nationwide. We have an opportunity for a Retail Sales Manager. South of the UK covering the following postcode areas – BA, BH, DT, GU, PO, SO, SP, RG & SN.

Job Description & Main Responsibilities - To maximise sales on your area with both roll & cut length customers. - To achieve monthly, quarterly and annual sales targets. - To sell point of sale display into new and existing customers. The ideal candidate will possess the following skills - Excellent communication, dedication, initiative and enthusiasm. - Self-motivation, good planning and organisational skills. - General IT awareness and a full driving licence. The Package Competitive salary, sales related bonus structure, pension scheme, company car, laptop & mobile phone.

Interested applicants should send their CV and covering letter to

Smart software for furniture retailers

Senior operations manager Fludes Carpets is looking to strengthen its senior management team as it begins to drive the business forward following the two years of Covid disruption. As an independent flooring retailer for over 90 years it is looking for someone who is sympathetic to the ethos of the business. The position will be based at Newhaven. The applicants should have experience of the retail flooring industry, preferably in a senior position, and have the following experience and skills in the following areas: • Good communication and management skills. • Motivational and able to manage people to help them achieve their goals. • A thorough knowledge of the carpet and flooring industry and with retail experience. • Leadership and organisation of sales teams working and supporting the sales director, and reporting to the managing director. • A strong personality with a good determination to succeed and achieve objectives. • Experience in the use of Excel, Word and Outlook. Fludes Carpets is offering this excellent progressive advancement opportunity and a competitive remuneration package will be offered to the successful candidate. Please send your CV and any other relevant information that supports your application to: Andrew Laird, Fludes Carpets, Newhaven, East Sussex BN9 9BB or email

Award-winning EPOS software


13 years running WOW!

It was amazing to be voted best software supplier to this wonderful industry back in 2009. 13X in a row and it still feels just as special. WHY?

Because, while we’re famous for the technology that set us apart, what really makes us tick is that we care deeply about what we do every day. Helping our Retailers!

Awarded ‘Best Software Supplier to the Furniture and Bed Industry’

D 5 -J 2 0 TA N N S 2 6 Jan 2 0 2 2 O w o 23COME SEE US e Sh i tu r at t h e J a n u a r y Fu



New Sales Territory

Riviera Home UK, a manufacturer of naturally luxurious carpets, are recruiting for an experienced sales representative/Agent for the West Midlands. Riviera Home UK has now been established in the UK for over 8 years and we have quickly become well known for our innovative and fashionable point of difference products in the high-end flooring market. Riviera Home has a significant manufacturing business in India and offers Axminster, Wilton, Tufted, Hand Loom and Flatwoven broadloom carpets as well as bathmats and rugs. Our vertically integrated manufacturing base enables us to control every aspect of our production and to create innovative styling and outstanding quality products. With an established network of Authorised Dealers across many parts of the UK, we are now looking to strengthen our sales team by recruiting either a salaried Area Sales Manager or commissioned Sales Agent in the West Midlands area, encompassing Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire, Staffordshire and South Wales, to help develop our business and move it to the next stage in our growth strategy.

Write in complete confidence with your CV and covering letter to: Richard Moore Sales & Marketing Director Riviera Home UK Limited Unit 12, Gemini House Stourport Road Kidderminster Worcestershire DY11 7QL Email

The ideal candidate needs to be an experienced sales professional who can sell luxury, fashionable, quality carpet and rugs to high-end specialist flooring retailers and Interior Designers. The successful candidate will be an excellent communicator, who is self-motivated, well organised and possesses good IT skills, including the use of social media platforms. The role will include calling and developing business with an existing customer base, as well as actively looking for new trading opportunities. Riviera Home will offer the Area Sales Manager a very competitive remuneration package or a self-employed Sales Agent an excellent commission structure. We have an active programme of exciting new range developments planned and this is an excellent opportunity to join our growing and successful company.

RECRUITMENT If you are looking to recruit staff for your furniture or flooring stores, looking for sales staff or reps for your manufacturing outlet, then INTERIORS MONTHLY offers a great package! Our online package is just £175. Your advert will appear in our jobs section on the website until the position is filled or you ask us to remove. Our weekly newsletter, which is mailed every Thursday to 7000 industry professionals, also includes a list of these latest jobs. If you have both online and quarter page recruitment advert in our magazine, the cost will only be £250! Costs for larger recruitment adverts are available upon request.

Please contact Jarrod on E: T: 01565 631 397


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