This is the archive page description

Eight Hotel Upholstery and Furniture Trends to Look Out For

Nowadays it takes more than just a good price, clean sheets, and room service to make a hotel a memorable destination. Hotels all over the world are embracing up-and-coming design trends to make their decor stand out from the rest. 

From art deco elements to spa-like bathrooms, here are eight hotel upholstery and furniture trends that can transform a space from rest stop to stylish zen vacation.

Booths and Banquettes

Nothing says comfort and luxury like a high-backed booth. Hotel restaurants can benefit from adding comfortable, stylish leather booths to their decor to instantly create a sophisticated atmosphere. Booths and banquettes are easily customizable with several different tufting options, such as diamond tufting, biscuit tufting, and button-back styles.

Sustainable Materials

Sustainability is not just a trend — it’s a way of living that we should all be more aware of. Let’s hope we see more eco-friendly upholstery and sustainable design in the future. 

You can find “green” hotels such as Starhotels Echo that use natural furnishings and environmentally certified fabric, low-consumption lighting, low-water consumption taps, and thermo-insulated walls.

[Related: Settling the Debate Between Restaurant Tables and Booths]

Bold Patterns and Wallpaper

Gone are the days of boring beige hotel rooms. In the next few years, expect to see splashes of bold color, wild prints, bright linens, and Instagram-worthy wallpaper.

Retro Style

Hotels know that combining the modern comforts of today with the lavish decor of yesteryear is the key to a memorable experience. 

One interior design trend for modern hotels is embracing an art deco look. Retro light fixtures, tufted back leather bar stools, and lush green and gold colors make the bar at The Norman in Tel Aviv a five-star design.

[Related: Materials Used in Custom Commercial Furniture]

Multi-Use Spaces

As the world around us evolves, more and more people are setting up an office at home or traveling across the country for work. Multi-use spaces, such as rooftop lounges and open-space lobbies, include Wi-Fi, efficient lighting, comfortable couches and chairs, as well as laptop-level tables and desks so that you can get your work done and relax at the same time.

Spa Bathrooms

The bathroom shouldn’t be an exception to carefully thought out details and designs. Hotel bathrooms can be calming oases — a zen space where you can wind down after a long day. Oversized modern tubs, large mirrors and chandeliers contrasted with wicker and wood elements create a wonderful spa-like environment.

Peaceful Outdoor Areas

A hotel courtyard is a great place for social gatherings and outdoor dining, and can even serve as an escape from your room to read a book or enjoy a cup of coffee. 

Weather-durable couches and armchairs, steel tables, and bistro lights can create a romantic atmosphere while also being easy to rearrange and clean.

Extreme Coziness

Trends come and go, but when it comes to hotels, one thing is always true: a good hotel room should feel like a home away from home. 

Comfort is essential, and cozy throw pillows, soft lighting, big armchairs, and fireplaces are all timeless elements of an ultra homey hotel that will keep visitors coming back time and time again.

Does your hotel need a makeover? Queen Anne Group can help. Our team of experts have worked with a variety of industries, from hotels to office spaces and everything in between. We have years of experience custom-designing commercial furniture, creating custom booths and banquettes, and refinishing and re-upholstering original furnishings

We’ll work with you every step of the way, from concept to execution. Contact us today to see what we can do for your hotel.

Booths vs. Banquettes: What’s the Difference?

If you’re considering opening up a dining establishment, or if you’re a current restaurant or cafe owner looking to renovate your area, one of the most important things to consider is maximizing your space. The last thing a business needs is for people to leave your restaurant because the wait is too long, or the space is too tight and crowded. 

Customers need to feel comfortable and happy, and happy customers help keep businesses profitable. Implementing booth and banquette seating is a great option for a wide variety of dining establishments – from casual diners to upscale restaurants.

Banquettes

Banquettes are a section of an upholstered bench, often put together to create booths, or configured along (or built into) walls. 

Banquette seating for restaurants is often paired with pedestal tables and chairs. Pedestal tables can then be pushed together or moved apart in order to accommodate different sized groups, and to improve the space used on the floor. 

Banquette seating is one of the most versatile seating arrangements since they can be configured into almost any shape and require minimal space to provide the maximum number of seats.

[Related: Settling the Debate Between Restaurant Tables and Booths]

Booths

Restaurant booths are different from banquettes in that they are made up of one or more banquette seats formed into a U-shape, horseshoe shape, or face-to-face. Booth seating creates a comfortable, intimate, and semi-enclosed “room within a room” for friends and family, and is typically arranged back-to-back in a restaurant setting. 

Custom booth seating is perfect for cafes and smaller restaurants since it maximizes the space and allows customers to enjoy a social environment while at the same time being able to sit in close quarters with their dining partners. Booths can also provide a quiet place in busy establishments such as bars and nightclubs.

Advantages of Both Booths and Banquettes

Both banquettes and booths provide great advantages for restaurant, bar, and cafe owners, such as:

  • They efficiently use the space, and can be moved around and manipulated to allow for more aisle clearances and extra seating.
  • They can strategically add seats in untraditional spaces such as corners, alcoves, and small areas.
  • Booths and banquettes are customizable, and can be upholstered and styled to match your establishment’s interior design.
  • They’re also not limited to one type of space, and can work just as well inside high-end restaurants as divey neighborhood bars.

Best Materials for Booths and Banquettes

Booths and banquets are typically upholstered using materials such as vinyl, leather, pleather, or linen, among other fabrics. Vinyl, leather, and pleather materials are an ideal choice in upholstery since they can be easily wiped down and cleaned between patrons. “Softer” fabrics such as linen can also look nice, but may be more difficult to clean or treat stains.

Custom-Design a Booth or Banquette for Your Business

Established in 1936, QA Group has decades of experience with commercial refinishing, reupholstery, and custom commercial furniture for a variety of industries. If you’re looking for more information on restaurant banquettes, custom restaurant booths, or other options for your dining establishment, contact us today.

Settling the Debate Between Restaurant Tables and Booths

A photo of spaced out dining tables in a restaurant with white table cloths and empty glasses.

While building your restaurant business, you’ve likely put a lot of thought into the type of food you’ll serve and the atmosphere you’ll create. However, an important factor that you might not have considered is the type of seating to add to your establishment. Seating plays a major role in the overall environment of your restaurant and directly impacts the comfort level of your customers.

To ensure that you make the best decision for your business, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the key differences between custom restaurant booths and tables. Here’s everything you need to know about whether customers prefer booths or tables and which choice you should make for your restaurant.

Dining Room Traffic

An important factor to consider is the level of traffic in your restaurant and how your seating impacts it. 

Booths, for example, generate far less traffic than tables. This is because booths are typically tucked into a corner of the restaurant or against a wall, where diners can enjoy their meals in a quieter environment. Because of this limited traffic, many patrons prefer to eat at a custom restaurant booth rather than a table.

Noise Level

Patrons may become frustrated if they can’t hear the person they’re speaking to while dining. While the energy of a restaurant scene is vital to the dining experience, your patrons should still be able to have a conversation without too many distractions. 

Booths tend to cut down on the noise level in your dining environment while providing patrons with the privacy they need.

[Related: Guide to Commercial Upholstery Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting]

Adequate Space

Having enough space to feel comfortable and freely move around is also crucial to the satisfaction of your customers

This factor typically depends on the size of the party attending your establishment. A large party may feel crammed inside a booth, while a party of two will likely prefer the quiet and intimacy of a booth over a table. 

Be sure to consider the needs of all types of diners before you choose between restaurant tables and booths.

[Related: Materials Used in Custom Commercial Furniture]

Overall Comfort

The overall comfort level of your patrons directly impacts their experience at your restaurant, whether they’re sitting at custom restaurant booths or tables. 

Because everyone’s preferences are different, it’s crucial to do your best to accommodate different types of customers. For example, some people might prefer to be in the center of all the excitement at a table, while others may opt to enjoy their privacy at restaurant furniture booths.

[Related: How to Choose the Right Foam: Understanding Different Foam Qualities]

Custom Restaurant Booths vs. Tables: Making the Right Choice

Both commercial restaurant booths and tables offer unique benefits to patrons. 

To make the best decision for your needs, be sure to weigh each of these factors. Carefully considering your options will help ensure that your patrons are as comfortable as possible while spending time at your establishment. 

Whether you ultimately choose booths or tables, QA Group can ensure that you meet all of your goals. We’ve been creating both custom booths and banquettes and custom restaurant tables since 1936 and can work with you directly to design the exact commercial restaurant seating that meets your needs. Contact us today to get started!

Guide to Commercial Upholstery Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting

Image via Unsplash

Routinely cleaning around the house isn’t anyone’s picnic — but we all know it needs to be done to keep things looking nice and feeling healthy. So it makes sense that your workplace should need the same sort of attention — especially since you’re opening the doors to more than just your immediate family. 

From curtains and carpet to leather chairs and microfiber couches, the following is a helpful guide to cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting commercial upholstery.

Why Should You Routinely Clean?

Frequently deep cleaning and sanitizing your office, shop, school, or restaurant will not only create a healthier environment, but will also protect your investment and keep these areas looking as professional as they should be. Since an increasing number of individuals are headed back to work after an extended period at home because of the coronavirus, assessing your work environment using CDC guidelines is an essential component to keeping everyone safe.

Eliminating dirt and dust from upholstered fabrics gets rid of the pollutants and allergens that negatively impact your air quality, allowing individuals to breathe easier while they’re working, learning, or shopping. Properly sanitizing and disinfecting common areas helps stop the spread of germs and viruses between individuals who come into contact with the same surfaces.

Choosing the right methods of cleaning and sanitizing can also reduce the amount of times you have to deep clean in the future, and will decrease the amount of money you or your business spends on things such as reupholstering or buying new furniture altogether.

[Related: Materials Used in Commercial Furniture]

The Difference Between Cleaning and Sanitizing

Although you may feel inclined to group them all together, the terms “cleaning,” “sanitizing,” and “disinfecting” actually have different meanings, and in best practice should be done in a specific order. 

Cleaning

Cleaning involves the removal of dirt, dust, and debris from a surface, through methods such as dusting, sweeping, and washing. Cleaning is always the first step. 

Cleaning solutions are typically made from some sort of soap and water, and while cleaning doesn’t kill germs and bacteria, it helps to remove them and therefore remove some of the risk of transmission. Cleaning is also the most “visible” of the three cleaning methods, since it involves the physical action of removing obvious debris and impurities.

Sanitizing

Sanitizing should be done after cleaning, and can be interchanged with disinfecting. 

The goal of sanitizing is to decrease the amount of germs and bacteria down to a safe level as judged by public health standards. Most of the time when we clean with a store-bought cleaning solution, we are sanitizing.

Disinfecting

Disinfecting can be seen as the most “heavy-duty” method of cleaning, and actively destroys bacteria and germs through the use of specific chemicals. Instead of removing bacteria on the surface, it kills it, lowering the risk of spreading infection between people coming into contact with the same surface. 

In order to know if your cleaning solution is also a disinfectant, see if your product says “EPA-approved” anywhere on the packaging material. It should include a registered number, which you can look up and find out more information and instructions for best use. 

If a solution is EPA-approved or registered, it has been proven in a lab to be able to kill viruses, and is an effective disinfectant. 

According to the EPA, no disinfectant can claim to disinfect soft, porous surfaces, like upholstered furniture, carpets, or curtains. However, soft surfaces don’t transmit pathogens as easily as hard surfaces, so careful cleaning and sanitizing of upholstered materials should be enough to create a safe, healthy environment.

[Related: Making Sustainable Furniture Choices For Your Business]

Methods of Cleaning and Sanitizing Upholstery

Cleaning the upholstery in your office, shop, or workspace can be done using a variety of methods. Finding a safe and effective method to clean materials effectively without ruining them is important, especially since you’re dealing with soft, porous surfaces that are more prone to damage via cleaning than nonporous furniture.

Vacuuming

Even if you can’t see visible dirt and grime on your curtains, in your carpet, or between your couch cushions, you can guarantee it’s there. Vacuuming reduces the level of allergens and assists with the general upkeep of your upholstered furniture — helping them look good for  longer.

In order to keep high-traffic areas as clean as possible, such as the rug by your work’s main entrance, the carpet in your conference room, or the curtains in your classroom, frequently vacuum, and also make sure to utilize the attachments on your vacuum

Upholstery attachments are wide, sometimes come with a lint trapping material strip, and are perfect for getting rid of dust on couches, sofas, and smaller area rugs. Vacuums can also come with a dusting brush, featuring bristles perfect for dusting blinds, curtains, and windowsills. Crevice attachments, which are small and angled, are great for sucking up dirt and debris from between couch and chair cushions.

Spot and Stain Cleaning

If your furniture is being frequently used, it will eventually need a spot or stain treatment. This means instead of deep cleaning the entire upholstery, you’ll focus on only the area that is stained. 

After vacuuming the stain, read any care labels or cleaning tags that may be attached. These care labels will let you know which cleaning solvents are safe to use, or if you need to clean only through dry methods such as vacuuming. 

W: Distilled water-based cleaning agents may be used

S: Mild, water-free cleaning solvents may be used, but no water

S/W: Either of the above may be used

X: Clean only by vacuuming or light brushing; no water, foam, or liquid cleaning agents

When treating the stain with a cleaning solution, be sure to blot and not rub to avoid weakening and pilling the fabric.

Steam Heat Extraction Cleaning

Sometimes the only answer when it comes to deep cleaning rugs, couches, and carpets is to use a steam and hot water extraction technique: 

  • First, the area to be treated is thoroughly vacuumed.
  • Then, water is heated up and mixed with a cleaning solution.
  • The mixture is then injected onto the upholstered fabric with a special hot water extraction cleaning machine or steam machine.
  • The machine then extracts the water and solution out of the porous material, much like a vacuum, so it can dry quickly.

[Related: Upholstered Essentials Checklists and Tips for Your Industry]

How to Clean and Sanitize Specific Materials

The steps for cleaning commercial upholstered surfaces aren’t the same for every piece of furniture. Different materials require different considerations — the leather sofa in your lobby can’t be cleaned the exact same way you cleaned the linen curtains in the front window. 

Here’s what to know about cleaning a few of these materials.

Leather

Leather is a tricky material and involves a lot of care and attention when it comes to getting it clean and keeping it looking high-quality. 

Although leather isn’t as absorbent as other porous materials, it can still gather dust, dirt, pollutants, and allergies just like the rest of your furniture. Leather can also show wear and tear more easily, whether through fading or cracking. 

  • Use a leather-safe cleaner on a damp cloth to wipe down your piece of furniture and remove any residue and grime.
  • Before the leather has completely dried, apply a leather conditioner onto the surface. This step will help the material replenish its natural oils and avoid cracking.

Microfiber

Microfiber and polyester attract oils easily, which make them quick to get dirty. 

After thoroughly vacuuming, read the care tag instructions to determine what is the safest cleaning solution for your piece of furniture. Most microfiber materials can be spot-cleaned using a spray bottle full of warm water, rubbing alcohol, and a mild, clear dish soap.

Linen

You can spot treat most stains on linen with a cloth dampened with water or a bit of rubbing alcohol — just be sure to blot and not rub. Read the care label on your linen upholstered material, which may permit you to place it in the washing machine and dryer.

The upholstered furniture in your place of business should represent you in a professional and welcoming way. Keep your chairs and couches looking clean and new and smelling fresh by routinely deep cleaning and sanitizing them. Taking care of the upholstered material around your office will also save you money in the long-run by protecting your investment. 

If you have any questions about the best methods of cleaning commercial upholstered furniture, or if you decide you need to purchase some new pieces or get your existing pieces reupholstered or refinished, Queen Anne Group can help. Contact us today for a consultation!

Materials Used in Custom Commercial Furniture

Image via Unsplash

Custom-designing commercial furniture gives businesses the unique ability to choose specific materials that meet their aesthetic and functionality requirements. Explore some of the best materials for commercial booths and banquettes, tables, and outdoor furniture below, and then review more exhaustive material options for wood, glass, metal, and upholstered commercial furniture.

Best Materials for Custom Commercial Booths & Banquettes

Custom commercial booths and banquettes are usually made out of wood, laminate, and upholstery:

  • Wood booths: Wood booths are made up of a solid wood material. They are easy to clean and feature a traditional, natural, or rustic look.
  • Laminate booths: Laminate booths consist of a wood frame covered in trim, making them easy to clean. A neutral laminate color that matches your business’s existing decor is usually best.
  • Upholstery booths: Upholstery booths also use a wooden frame, but are covered in upholstered foam padding on the frame’s seat and back to make them more comfortable.

Upholstery options for commercial booths and banquettes include fabric, leather, and vinyl:

  • Fabric: Fabric is the most cost-effective option for commercial booth upholstery and comes in the largest variety of colors, patterns, and textures. Commercial fabrics are custom-designed for heavy-duty use to slow down wear.
  • Leather: The most expensive commercial booth upholstery option, leather has a long lifetime, ages well, and is very easy to clean.
  • Vinyl: Vinyl is cost-effective but also highly durable and low-maintenance, making it an ideal middle ground option. Vinyl also comes in a huge variety of styles and can mimic both the look of fabric and leather.

Best Materials for Custom Commercial Tables

Commercial tables are made up of two parts: the tabletop and the table base. These parts don’t necessarily need to be made of the same material.

Popular options for commercial tabletops include:

  • Wood tabletops: Wood is a common choice for commercial tabletops because of its affordability, durability, and natural aesthetic. Wood tabletops come in a variety of different wood species, stains, and edge style options and are usually finished with mineral oil or a varnish.
  • Metal tabletops: Metal is a great option for outdoor seating, such as on a restaurant patio or deck, because it is weather- and rust-resistant, functional, and lightweight. Stainless steel and aluminum are the most popular choices.
  • Granite tabletops: Higher-end commercial establishments often opt for granite tabletops for their more luxurious aesthetic and durability. Granite tabletops can be used both indoors and outdoors, require little maintenance, and are easy to clean.
  • Laminate tabletops: Laminate tabletops are a budget-friendly option that doesn’t limit you in terms of design. This practical tabletop material comes in a huge variety of size and style options, is very durable and low-maintenance, and is suited to all types of commercial settings.

While commercial wood tabletops are often paired with wood bases for a consistent aesthetic, metal is the most common choice for commercial table bases, including iron, aluminum, steel, and stainless steel. Table bases also come in different types (such as round, square, tripod, and X-shaped), heights, and finishes.

Best Materials for Custom Commercial Outdoor Furniture

While commercial outdoor furniture should fit into the overall aesthetic of your establishment, its most crucial requirement is weather resistance. More specifically, commercial outdoor furniture materials need to be moisture-, rust-, and fade-resistant and easy to clean and maintain. 

Popular materials for commercial outdoor furniture that meet these requirements include:

  • Wood outdoor furniture: Many different types of wood are used for commercial outdoor furniture, but teak is the most common because of its long lifetime (up to 50 years), extremely low maintenance, and easy care. Teak is easily cleaned with water and soap and is weather- and pest-resistant. The only drawback of teak outdoor furniture is that it generally costs more than other options.
  • Plastic outdoor furniture: Rain, mildew, and fade resistance and the ability to be cleaned with water and soap alone make plastic ideal for commercial outdoor furniture. Common plastic types include polypropylene, polyethylene, and high-density polyethylene, and recycled plastics are also available for businesses looking for more eco-friendly options. Plastic outdoor furniture may not be suitable for highly windy areas, however, as it is very lightweight and could be blown away.
  • Metal outdoor furniture: Metal is often used for outdoor furniture because it can withstand moisture and is low-maintenance. Downsides of metal are that it retains heat when placed in direct sunlight and may corrode at areas where different furniture pieces are joined with fasteners and bolts.
  • Wicker outdoor furniture: While natural wicker materials can be damaged by moisture and humidity, synthetic wicker is water-resistant and easy to clean, making it ideal for the outdoors. Synthetic wicker outdoor furniture is also low-maintenance, lightweight, and eco-friendly, benefits that unfortunately make it slightly more expensive than other outdoor furniture material options.
  • Glass outdoor furniture: Tempered glass is 100% weather-, pest-, and stain-resistant and thus commonly used for commercial outdoor tabletops. Keep in mind that tempered glass is quite heavy, so it’s not a good option for outdoor tables that need to be moved frequently. 

Types of Custom Commercial Furniture Materials

Of course, the primary benefit of custom-designing commercial furniture is that you get the freedom to choose the materials that are used. Below are some of the wood, glass, metal, upholstery, and hardware options businesses can choose from.

Wood Options for Custom Commercial Furniture

When designing commercial wood furniture, you get to decide between hardwood and softwood:

  • Hardwoods: Hardwood grows more slowly than softwood, making it more expensive. However, hardwood is also more durable, fire-resistant, and stylistically versatile. Types of hardwood include:
    • Walnut
    • Ash
    • Mahogany
    • Birch
    • Teak
    • Red oakMaple
    • Cherry
    • East Indian rosewood
    • Beech
  • Softwoods: Softwood is more lightweight, lighter in color, and less expensive than hardwood. However, it has poorer fire resistance. Types of softwood include:
    • Lodgepole pine
    • Parana pine (also known as Brazilian pine)
    • Eastern white pine
    • Pitch pine
    • Longleaf pine
    • Scots pine
    • Fir
    • White spruce
    • Larch
    • Western hemlock
    • Red cedar (also known as aromatic red cedar)
    • Yew (also known as European yew)

Glass Options for Custom Commercial Furniture

Types of glass for custom commercial furniture include:

  • Standard clear glass
  • Ultra clear low-iron glass
  • Gray glass
  • Smokey gray glass
  • Warm brown glass
  • Bronze glass
  • Acid-etched glass
  • Laminated glass
  • Frosted glass
  • Patterned glass
  • Back-painted glass
  • Tinted glass
  • Tempered glass

Glass for applications such as glass tabletops can also be cut into the shape of your choice, including rectangles, circles, squares, and ovals. The edges of the glass may be flat-polished, pencil-polished, beveled, or seamed.

Metal Options for Custom Commercial Furniture

Metal is a popular choice for commercial furniture frames, furniture rests, and table legs and is often paired with other materials. Types of metal for commercial furniture include:

  • Steel
  • Stainless steel 
  • Iron
  • Aluminum 
  • Brass
  • Copper
  • Wrought iron 
  • Alloys 

Keep in mind that numerous metal finishes are also available to give your commercial furniture a unique aesthetic, including antique, brushed, hammered, polished, and satin.

Upholstery Options for Custom Commercial Furniture

A lot of custom commercial furniture is upholstered. Upholstery options for custom commercial furniture include:

  • Fabrics:
    • Natural fibers:
      • Linen
      • Cotton
      • Wool
      • Silk
      • Rayon
    • Synthetic fibers:
      • Polyester
      • Nyon
      • Acrylic
      • Olefin
      • Polypropylene
  • Leather
  • Vinyl

Hardware Options for Custom Commercial Furniture

Hardware helps hold your custom commercial furniture together, makes it functional, and adds to the overall style. Types of hardware for custom commercial furniture include:

  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Fasteners
  • Tracks
  • Face frame and frameless hinges
  • Drawer pulls
  • Finger pulls
  • Locks
  • Handles
  • Cabinet knobs
  • Hooks
  • Cabinet bumpers
  • Timber plates
  • Casters

Many of these hardware options come in different styles, such as classic, modern, rustic, and farmhouse.

How to Choose the Right Foam: Understanding Different Foam Qualities

Foam is one of the most important elements of an upholstery project, but most people lack the vocabulary — or rather, the correct understanding of the vocabulary — to properly describe the kind of foam they want. Even designers and architects may know that they need to consider the foam’s density, but have no idea how it relates to other characteristics, such as firmness and cell structure.

To help you choose the right kind of foam for your business’s or client’s next project, we’ve explained the different qualities of foam and the importance of each.

Density

Just like with other applications, foam density measures the mass or quantity of the material per a measurable volume or size.

However, density is measured differently depending on the material. For foam, the standard is to weigh a block measuring one foot on each side. A block that weighs 5 pounds would have a 5-pound density.

Foam’s density isn’t related to its firmness, but it is related to its durability and quality because more material is being compressed into a certain volume. This also means that denser materials will weigh more.

A density of 1 to 3 pounds is typical for most conventional foams, with lower-density foam being used for crafts, shipping foam, guest room mattress toppers, and other light-use products. High-density foams have densities ranging from 10 to 15 pounds and are ideal for applications that see heavy use, such as bedding, couch cushions, booth seating, or automobile seating.

Custom-made booths at the Seattle Center
High-density foam is ideal for heavy-use applications, such as booth seating.

Weight

Because density is measured by weighing a cubic foot of foam, people sometimes use the terms “weight” and “density” interchangeably. For this reason, you should be cautious of confusing foam’s density (or material) weight (the weight of a cubic foot sample) with its overall weight (the weight of the entire piece of foam).

Both figures are important, but each gives you different information.

Firmness

The firmness of foam describes how it feels and reacts to pressure and weight. It is measured through mechanical performance testing and expressed in a unit called indentation load deflection (ILD) or indentation force deflection (IFD).

The testing uses a foam sample 15” by 15” by 4” in size and measures the force in pounds that is required to compress the material 25% (one inch) with a 50-square-inch circular indenter.

For example, if 40 pounds of pressure is necessary to compress the material one inch, the foam’s ILD is 40.

Testing results will not be accurate if the sample does not have the appropriate dimensions, as the thickness of the material affects how much weight it can support.

Greater pressure is required to compress hard foams, and less to compress soft foams. ILD values between 8 and 70 are common for most foam materials, with values reaching 120 to 150 designating a very high firmness.

Remember that firmness doesn’t reflect foam’s quality — density does. Firmness illustrates how a material feels and gives you an idea of how it will support weight in a particular application.

In fact, firmness and density have no direct correlation. Foam has different kinds of chemical and structural compositions, so it’s possible for foam samples with lower densities to have a higher ILD (firmness) than samples with higher densities. Consider each metric separately to select foam that is your ideal in both density and firmness.

Custom-made booths at the Seattle Center
Choosing the right foam for your booth ensures that it functions as well as it looks.

Open-Cell vs. Closed-Cell Foam

Another characteristic of foam is related to its cell structure. Foam can be either open-cell or closed-cell.

Open-Cell Foam

In open-cell foam, the walls of the cells are broken, which allows air to enter the tiny pockets in the material. This gives open-cell foam a sponge-like look and soft, cushiony feel. Open-cell foam also tends to be less dense and weigh less than closed-cell foam.

One thing to keep in mind is that because of the porous quality of open-cell foam, water and water vapor can easily penetrate it. However, open-cell foam resists mold growth and won’t shrink, crack, or wear down with use.

Closed-Cell Foam

The cells in closed-cell foam are, as you might imagine, closed and not connected to one another, so no air can fill them. The gas bubbles that form when the foam is expanded and cured are then trapped within these cells, giving the foam excellent insulation capabilities.

Unlike open-cell foam, closed-cell foam is resistant to water and water vapor. This makes closed-cell foam a good choice for exterior applications; but most upholstery projects will want to utilize open-cell foam for its durability and softness.

Need Help Choosing the Right Foam?

If you’re still unsure of which foam to choose for your business’s or client’s upholstery project, give us a call. We’re happy to explain your options and make recommendations — for foam, fabric, and any other element of the upholstery process.

Making Sustainable Furniture Choices for Your Business

Making smart business decisions no longer means thinking only of yourself, your employees, and your customers or clients: Present-day commercial entities are challenged with making sustainable choices that are as environmentally friendly as possible. Part of this involves considering how your furniture upgrades impact the environment, and what you might do to lessen that impact.

Mass-Produced Furniture’s Environmental Impact

You’ve probably heard people lament that “they just don’t make things the way they used to.” Whoever first said this may have been speaking specifically about the furniture industry. Mass-producing is the norm today, manufacturing products that are cheaply made and won’t last. This creates a continual cycle of waste: People buy cheap furniture, throw it away once it no longer works or looks good, and then buy more cheap furniture to replace it.

As this cycle repeats itself, it perpetuates deforestation, climate change, and landfill waste.

Deforestation

In the past ten years, we’ve cleared over 380.5 million acres of tropical forests, or three times the land area of France. This is a completely unsustainable practice that destroys the habitat of many plants and animals, causes water runoff that leads to flooding and landslides, and increases greenhouse gas emissions.

Deforestation

                                      Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Although paper production is the biggest driver of deforestation, furniture production is another major cause.

Climate Change

Greenhouse gas emissions don’t end with logging: As furniture manufacturers transport trees to sawmills, turn them into furniture, package the furniture, and transport the furniture to warehouses and, eventually, clients, they produce more and more carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change.

Smoke from a sawmill

                      Photo via Pixabay

Landfills

When people throw out old furniture they no longer want, it ends up in landfills. As it decomposes, this furniture produces a number of harmful glasses, such as carbon dioxide and methane, that further contribute to the greenhouse effect and, consequently, global warming.

Landfill

                                                          Photo via Pixabay

Sustainable Furniture Choices

Instead of buying mass-produced, low-quality furniture, try to reupholster or invest in durable furniture that will last.

Reupholster

If the furniture you’re looking to upgrade qualifies — for example, if it’s sturdy enough and isn’t damaged beyond repair — reupholstering is the most sustainable choice you can make. Reupholstering requires using fewer natural resources, since you’re not creating anything from scratch, and also contributes less to landfill waste.

Because the process of reupholstering requires much less production and transportation, it produces significantly less emissions. In fact, one organization found that refinishing the furniture in 100 hotel rooms produced just 1.245 tons of carbon dioxide, compared to 125.33 tons when replacing all the furniture. These numbers will vary depending on the type and quantity of furniture your business is renovating, but reupholstering will prove incredibly more environmentally friendly regardless of your industry.

Ecofriendly Materials

Reupholstering also gives you the opportunity to choose ecofriendly materials. For example, when selecting fabric for your upholstery, you can consider whether it is:

  • Sustainable: Fibers come from rapidly renewable resources that have growth and harvest cycles of five years or less.
  • Organic: No pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers are used to grow the fibers.
  • Recycled: Fibers come from postconsumer waste and postindustrial waste byproducts from the manufacturing process.

QA Group offers fabrics that meet all of these requirements. We’re happy to work with you to find a fabric that is both environmentally friendly and suitable for your business’ needs.

When Buying New, Consider Durability

If reupholstering isn’t an option, purchase higher-quality, durable furniture that will last to avoid contributing to the cycle of waste.

Buy Vintage

As the saying implies, furniture manufacturers really did have higher standards in the past. While this can make it hard to find quality new furniture, it makes buying vintage pieces a viable option. Even if it is significantly older, vintage and preowned furniture may last much longer than new mass-produced options, making for less landfill waste. These older options also require no additional resources to manufacture, so you’re not contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.  Plus, vintage items can add unique character to your business’ space.

In your search for the right furniture, you may find vintage pieces that need some work to be suitable for your commercial space. Don’t pass these by — they may just require reupholstery or refinishing to make them look brand new.

Buy High-Quality New Furniture

When you have to buy new furniture, make the sustainable choice of choosing a durable option — even if it means paying more. Buying well-made furniture could easily save you money in the long run and, like buying vintage furniture, lessens the waste that will end up in landfills.

If you’re not sure what makes a piece of furniture durable, work with someone who does. QA Group has a large variety of new products for sale for your business, and we’re also happy to answer any questions you have about furniture quality.  

Create Custom Pieces

If you can’t find vintage or new options that meet your needs, you can still be environmentally conscious by ordering custom furniture. This allows you to ensure that your furniture is as durable as possible, choose ecofriendly materials, buy local (thus reducing carbon emissions due to transportation), and customize the style to your commercial space.

QA Group offers custom design and builds for a variety of different types of furniture, including restaurant and bar seating, outdoor and patio seating, table tops and bases, guest room and common area furniture, and more.

Merrill Gardens Retirement Communities Conference Room Table Refinished

This conference table was completely refinished in our spray booth at our production facility with durable polyurethane finish for the corporate offices at Merrill Gardens Retirement Communities!

BEFORE

 

 

AFTER

Commercial and Residential Project Spotlight

Architectural upholstery for a private residential client

QA Group staff worked with the construction team at Neil Kelly Company to create a corner banquette, completely custom made to fit the client’s unique space and desired look.

The piece was upholstered in genuine leather from Seattle-based interior design and architectural wholesale resource Trammell-Gagne and features a channeled back and stainless steel Plastic-Laminate (P-LAM) toe kick with brushed horizontal grain.

The QA Group team safely hand-delivered and installed the finished product inside the client’s home in the Windermere neighborhood.

Arboretum Dermatology waiting room project

For this project, our team collaborated with the client’s interior designer and architect along with the millwork shop at Interior Environments. We started with a series of mockups:

And eventually installed a customized, upholstered waiting room bench:

Heirloom chair overhaul in Anacortes

Queen Anne Upholstery’s client in Anacortes wanted to spruce up a prized Victorian dining room chair set passed down from her grandmother. The mahogany chairs originated in the 1860s and eventually shipped from England to Calgary by boat. They were then sold at an auction.

Each chair features a beautiful needlepoint seat and back made by the family’s great grandmother, grandmother, and mother. The elaborate design — which was done entirely by hand with no pattern — took a total of five years to complete throughout the early 1900s and the chairs were finished in 1934. We were honored to refinish these beautiful heirloom pieces so the family can continue to enjoy them for years to come!

Upholstered Essentials Checklists and Tips for Your Industry

When it comes to the upholstered furniture pieces commonly found in the following industry settings, condition is key, as they make up some of the most visible and frequently used areas that define your space’s ambience and comfort. Whether your pieces are showing signs of damage and in need of an upholstery overhaul or you simply want to update an existing piece’s style, make sure your space is outfitted with the following upholstered essentials. Just remember to regularly inspect each item for visible signs of wear and tear (such as broken springs, limbs, fading, etc.)… and reupholster when necessary to maintain that good-as-new quality without re-furnishing!

Offices

Whether you need to furnish a sprawling corporate campus, a multi-floor building, a small startup headquarters, or a single office for personal use, you’ll want to keep every piece looking new, clean, modern, and on brand. Beyond aesthetics, make sure seating remains as comfortable as possible for yourself, your employees, and your clients and other visitors. Don’t be embarrassed by deteriorating conference room chairs or a common area sofa with a broken spring (ouch!).

Upholstered essentials checklist:

  • Desk chairs
  • Lobby seating
  • Customer seating
  • Hallway benches
  • Common areas
  • Partition panels for cubicles
  • Sofas and/or armchairs

Hotels and restaurants

If you work in the hospitality industry, your success is dependent on each guest’s satisfaction. The stakes are high to deliver consistent comfort and customer care, and this means you and your staff must maintain attention to detail — right down to the seams of that lobby furniture and the backs on those cafe chairs. No hotel guest wants to check into a tattered guest room during their otherwise relaxing vacation, and no restaurant customer wants to plan a date at a location whose dining room is distastefully outdated or in shambles. Keep a close eye on the condition of the upholstered pieces in these key areas.

Upholstered essentials checklist (Hotels):

  • Lobby seating
  • Outdoor furniture for patios, courtyards, pool area, etc.
  • Reception and concierge desk
  • Staff offices
  • Hotel bar and restaurant
  • Guest rooms and suites
  • Ballroom or event space
  • Conference and meeting rooms
  • Fitness center
  • Corridors

Upholstered essentials checklist (Restaurants):

  • Dining room seating
  • Booths and banquettes
  • Bar
  • Entrance
  • Waiting area
  • Restroom lounge

Educational and governmental institutions

Big things are happening inside our nation’s legislative buildings. Meanwhile, future leaders are molded in our school system from preschool through college. Yet even seemingly small details and accommodations (yes, this includes furnishings!) matter in the governmental and educational setting. Don’t overlook the upholstered elements in the following areas.

Upholstered essentials checklist (Governmental: municipal buildings, courthouses, elected official offices, boardrooms, etc.):

  • Lobby and waiting rooms
  • Communal seating areas
  • Conference rooms and meeting spaces

Upholstered essentials checklist (Educational: preschool, K-8, high schools, universities, technical schools):

  • Staff and faculty offices
  • Lobby and waiting rooms
  • Communal seating areas
  • Dining areas
  • Lecture halls
  • Libraries and study areas
  • Dorm common areas

Additional industries and areas to consider:

Senior living communities

Upholstered essentials checklist:

  • Lobby and parlor
  • Dining room
  • Common areas
  • Media room
  • Game and activity rooms
  • Physical therapy center
  • Gym
  • Salon
  • Furnished residences

Healthcare facilities

Furnishings in healthcare settings require medical-grade materials and/or treated surfaces (hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, flame retardant, odor and fluid resistant).

Upholstered essentials checklist:

  • Hospitals
  • Medical, dental, and veterinary practices
  • Clinics
  • Urgent care
  • Holistic health practices
  • Inpatient facilities

Fitness centers

Upholstered essentials checklist:

  • Locker rooms
  • Child care centers
  • Strength machines
  • Weight benches
  • Membership offices

Yachts

Yacht furniture upholstery varies based on whether the piece will be housed in the interior or exterior. Outdoor fabric must be colorfast and water-resistant, durable, and resistant to wrinkles, fading from the sun, and mold and mildew from moisture. Popular options include materials with a high UV rating (often polyester, blends containing polyester, acrylic, canvas, or PVC-based fabrics).

Upholstered essentials checklist:

  • Interior and exterior seating
  • Mattresses
  • Sundeck cushions
  • Covers