Homes & Gardens - - IDEAS - BEN NOR­RIS, CEO, George Smith, george­

We are wit­ness­ing a mood swing to­wards cosi­ness: the English coun­try house look is def­i­nitely in favour, with comfort be­ing key. We are also see­ing more in­for­mal ideas such as ban­quette seat­ing for din­ing ar­eas, which is per­fect when en­ter­tain­ing a crowd.

When it comes to pick­ing a sofa or arm­chair, the type of cush­ion fill is ex­tremely im­por­tant. Our stan­dard fill­ing is a mix of

80 per cent feather and 20 per cent down, but we can also of­fer 100 per cent down for ex­tra cloud-like soft­ness. What is pop­u­lar in busy ar­eas like fam­ily rooms is a Foam Core Feather Wrap – a piece of foam en­cased in an outer shell of feather and down. This means that you don’t have to plump the cush­ions but you still get the soft­ness and the feather ef­fect. For a very firm fin­ish, we can also of­fer foam, and for al­lergy suf­fer­ers we have hy­poal­ler­genic cush­ions.

When se­lect­ing a fabric, al­ways ask what the rub test is, which ba­si­cally means how many times the fabric can be rubbed be­fore it wears out. Fab­rics for res­i­den­tial projects should have a min­i­mum of 20,000 rubs and for com­mer­cial, 40,000 rubs.

Velvet is still a hugely pop­u­lar choice for up­hol­stery and looks es­pe­cially won­der­ful in jewel-like hues. Vel­vets that have a di­rec­tional pile – usu­ally vis­cose and silk – are tricky for up­hol­stery as they mark eas­ily. Cot­ton vel­vets are gen­er­ally fine, but we pre­fer vel­vets that have a di­rec­tion­less pile such as mo­hair vel­vets. Mo­hair has an in­cred­i­bly sturdy pile, which means that it’s very hard to crush, not to men­tion its stain-re­sis­tant na­ture, mak­ing it a per­fect choice for homes with chil­dren and dogs. George Smith’s mo­hair velvet has 80,000 rubs, which means it is in­cred­i­bly hard-wear­ing.

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