APRIL 2012

the real deal!
pillow talk
from couture to cozy...

genuine leather makes a comeback

spring it on

welcome spring inside your home

the real
Above: Palmer - Walnut Sectional

Rivergate - Stone Low Leg Recliner

Genuine leather is making a big comeback… and at better values than ever before! There’s nothing quite like genuine leather. The aroma, the buttery feel, the warmth. But in a market saturated with faux leathers, bonded leathers and other lower-priced alternatives, it may seem surprising that more of us are opting for the real thing. That’s especially true considering many of these lower-cost alternatives offer some of the attributes of real leather, including its sleek look and soft hand. So what’s causing the surging popularity in genuine leather? A realization that there really is a difference in comfort and character? A desire to make an investment for the long haul? A pent-up desire to upgrade our living spaces? Yes, all that… and one thing more. Genuine leather is the luxury choice, but it’s no longer out of reach. A roster of new sofa styles at Ashley Furniture HomeStores is making genuine leather more affordable! Now more than ever before, it’s easier to step up to the real deal!

what’s hot in leather!
Lighter colors. Black, brown and rich mahogany hues will always be popular. But the new leather fashion colors look light and airy. Look for steel grays, whites and creamy whites. Texture! Home fashion trends in Europe are leading to more interest in unique finishes, including deep cobblestone effects and contrast stitching. Protected finishes. Already an ideal choice for families and pets, extra surface protection is reducing scratch marks and makes cleaning even easier.



bewildered by bonded leathers?
A long-standing favorite for shoes, wallets and book covers, bonded or DuraBlend began showing up in furniture stores in 2007. DuraBlend furniture looks much like genuine leather, but instead of being covered with a hide, it’s covered with a material made by combining scraps of leather with synthetic fibers. DuraBlend’s foray into furniture was welcomed by budget-weary consumers who wanted the look of leather without its higher price. It was instantly popular, though even years later, it continues to create confusion over what it is… and what it isn’t!
Precision DuraBlend TM - Desert Sofa †Durablendtm upholstery features a Polyurethane/Leather blend (57% Polyurethane, 26% Polycotton, 17% Leather) in the seating areas with skillfully matched Polyurethane everywhere else.

Ledger DuraBlend TM - Scarlett Reclining Sofa

which one is genuine leather?

can you tell?

Rivergate Stone Sofa

Natural Reclining Sofa

Answer on page 10!

April 2012 TrendWatch


Precision DuraBlend Desert Chair & Ottoman

compare bonded
Bonded Leather
Look of leather Lowest price

& genuine leather
Axiom - Walnut Oversized Chair

Genuine Leather
No need to wonder… it is real leather! Arguably higher-priced, but typically considered the better value for its investment quality and durability. Not recycled, though hides are largely a by-product of the food industry.

Surprisingly similar to leather in look and feel. The winner here… can be up the 35% less than genuine leather. Gets points for mulching leftover leather scraps from factories and tanneries with synthetic materials. Easy to clean with a damp cloth. More resistant to stains and pet hair than fabric. More like vinyl – not as supple and not able to adjust to your body temperature.

Recycled content


Easy to clean with a damp cloth. More resistant to stains and pet hair than fabric. Warmer to the touch. Contains natural pores that breathe… adapting to your body temperature and creating deeper, more resilient seating. Improves with age, developing more patina and suppleness over time. (Old leathers have even more character than new leathers.) Plus there’s that leather aroma! Very durable surface – not easy to puncture. Wear and tear is less likely to show, and becomes part of leather’s character. Scratches may show, but they’re accepted as part of the natural look of leather.



Lacks the unique animal markings or distinctive characteristics of leather, including its aroma.


Easier to puncture. Over time, more prone to cracking or showing wear.


Not easy to repair.



Pillows Top - Bottom: Lanza - White Pillow Penelope - Peridot Pillow Sophie - Gold Pillow Marion - Spa Pillow

pillow talk
From couture to cozy, toss pillows are the perfect way to express your style… and personality! The perfect scarf or bracelet can turn an ordinary outfit into an extraordinary one. In the same way, the perfect combination of toss pillows can turn an ordinary room into a showstopper! Much more than an accent color, pillows have come into their own as one of the least expensive and most cost-effective ways to personalize your furniture and change your décor. With more open floor plans today— and fewer walls to hang art on—they can also be conversation starters! Look for exciting new pillow trends… from couture, nubby and boldly patterned pillow choices to a bolder mix of pillow styles together.

April 2012 TrendWatch


mastering mix

If you’re still defaulting to the pillows that came with the sofa, use this simple formula to mix things up a little! First, make sure each pillow contains (at least) one color in common with another pillow, then mix patterned, plain and pile pillows!

Camille - Spice Pillow Leila - Floral Pillow

Penelope - Scarlett Pillow

Plain pillows modify busier pillows… and can diversify or reinforce the color scheme. Choose plain pillows (velvet, satin, faux suede, wool, tweed, cotton, leather, etc.) that suit the sofa’s style.

Patterned pillows usually contain the sofa color and inspire the color/character of the other pillows. Choose patterned pillow motifs (wavy, floral, exotic, etc.) that suit the sofa’s style.

Pile pillows layer on texture with their light-and-shadow effects. Choose pile pillows (nubby, furry, frizzy, covered in origami-like folds, etc.) that suit the sofa’s style.

1 sofa, 2 ways
Martin - Oyster Sofa Danielle - Eggplant Sofa

Pillows: Leila - Floral & Viviana - Burgundy

Pillows: Viviana - Spa & Nessa - Earth

Pillows: Sindon - Multi & Penelope - Eggplant

Pillows: Penelope - Scarlett Viviana - Navy & Sunburst - Chocolate



toss pillows do’s…
DO match the mood of your pillows to the mood of your sofa. Choose pillows the same way you chose your sofa— based on your lifestyle and tastes. Use dressy pillows with a dressy sofa; casual pillows with a casual sofa. DO use pillows in a similar style. For an elegant look, stick with satiny or faux-fur fabrics. For a global look, stick with earthy or exotic fabrics. For a modern look, stick with bright or geometric fabrics. DO use pillows with related colors. Don’t worry about fancy color theories. Simply choose pillow colors with something in common, such as hues all inspired by a country landscape or a summer fruit salad. DO mix patterns and textures. Choose pillows that look like they came from the same place or era, then mix nubby with smooth. To mix patterns, simply repeat the colors in each pillow, while differeing the pattern’s motif or scale.

toss pillow don’ts…
DON’T use cheap-looking pillows! Nothing cheapens a good-looking sofa more than dated or poor quality pillows… while nothing transforms an inexpensive sofa more than high-quality, fashion-forward ones! DON’T use pillows too big (or too small) for the sofa. Large throw pillows on a small sofa will make it look even smaller. Small pillows (or too few of them) on a large sofa will look dwarfed. DON’T go too safe! Be bold with memorable colors or textures! DON’T feel compelled to use the pillows that came with your sofa. Factory pillow choices are intended to appeal to as many people as possible rather than to personal tastes. Be different! DON’T use pillows duller... or too much lighter than the sofa. There’s an exception to every rule, but decorators agree that pillows look best when they’re darker, brighter or bolder than the sofa.

Allendale - Oyster Sofa

Zia - Spa Sofa

Pillows: Viviana - Taupe Serendipity - Twinkle & Paja - White

Pillows: Lilette - Beige & Meki - Grey

Pillows: Marion - Spa & Camille - Celadon

Pillows: Paja - Silver & Florence - Multi

April 2012 TrendWatch


spring it on!
It’s time to unearth the open-toed shoes and take that first deep breath of fresh air. But what are you doing to welcome spring inside your home this year? (… no, spring cleaning doesn’t count!) Besides the view outside our window, spring has so much to offer our homes, including simple ways to celebrate it— from facing furniture toward the light, placing a favorite armchair near a pretty outdoor view or opening curtains wide to make nature’s biggest spectacle part of the decor. But we’ve got a few other ideas to help banish winter doldrums and to usher in the warm weather! Check out these ways to bring spring’s new life inside your home, no matter what your home’s style!

whiten up!
White is fresh, simulates natural daylight and offers an easy transition between indoors and out. With us since the beginning of time, white’s popularity surged the past decade with iPods and the movie Something’s Gotta Give. Welcome in spring by adding this simple hue to your home! Paint a room white. You’ll feel like you’re outside! (The whitest paint in the market is Sherwin Williams #7757 High Reflectance White.) Paint your kitchen cabinets white. White kitchens aren’t just white-hot; they’re cool and coastal-feeling. Choose cool whites for a modern feel; warmer antique whites for a classic, vintage or rustic feel. Add a creamy white slipcover over your dining room chair seats. Use crisp white sheets and towels. They feel cooler and fresher. Or use a white duvet cover to lighten up your bedroom. Place white tulips or Easter lilies in a glass vase or pitcher. Use the one-color-plus-white rule for toss pillows, table and bed linens. Choose patterns that pair white with another color for a light-and-airy effect.



go green!
Spring greens are uniquely cool and warm, on the border between warm yellow and cool blue. Even a hint of this breezy hue makes our rooms more open and airy, blurring boundaries between indoors and out. Welcome in spring by adding this fresh hue to your home! Open the curtains! There’s nothing fresher-feeling than making greening grass and first buds of spring part of the décor! Place limes in a sleek glass bowl or hurricane. The perfect centerpiece! Invest in a set of spring green napkins or placemats. Green is one of nature’s neutrals and works with almost any color! Use cleaning supplies with a fresh lemon or lime scent. Choose a leafy green pattern for toss pillows, bed or table linens. Grow grass indoors by seeding a long wooden tray; a favorite designer accent! Commit to doing more green things for the planet. Invest in an Energy-Star appliance, replace lamps with energy-efficient bulbs, take a shorter shower or turn off the tap while brushing your teeth...

make hay!
Sisal, straw, raffia, jute, coir, and seagrasses feel casual and coastal, recalling gardening hats and picnic baskets! As much a natural color as a natural texture, they put us in a pared-back, summery state of mind! Welcome in spring by adding nature’s favorite texture to your home! Place a sisal or jute rug under a table, seating group or bed. Or place a woven welcome mat at the front door, indoors and out. Add square or rectangular-shaped woven baskets on shelves or under the coffee table. Fill them with anything and everything to reduce clutter elsewhere! Add a wicker or rattan accent chair (or a pair or chairs) in the living room, next to a window in the bedroom. Or use straw-seated bar stool or dining chairs. Use jute or straw placemats. They add an outdoorsy texture to plate settings. Paint a room you’re remodeling the color of jute or straw. Tie a raffia ribbon around a stack of soap bars in the bathroom, or around sets of bed linens in a closet.

April 2012 TrendWatch


ask a designer

Q. A.

I’ve heard that some furniture finishes can be harmful to the environment? Is that true? I’m also interested to know more about Ashley Furniture’s position on environmental responsibility? Sandra, Salt Lake City, UT

Dear Sandra – Furniture manufacturers have worked hard to reduce environmental harm from finishes and adhesives. Ashley Furniture, in fact, has led in the use of water-based furniture finishes and more water-based adhesives to eliminate petroleum-based solvents. Here are some of those things: We reduced our waste stream...We use clean-burning natural gas for heat, and replaced 25 million cubic feet of natural gas by using wood as boiler fuel. We’ve also re-refined 12,500 gallons of old oil into new oil. We’re throwing less away… and recycled 65,000 tons of wood by-products, 300 tons of metal, 18 trailers of plastic film, 400 trailers of corrugated cardboard and 100 tons of high density Styrofoam. That’s not to mention 45 tons of office paper, 3,000 light bulbs and 7,000 pounds of computer equipment. We’re painting our factory interiors white… an initial cost of over $1 million that will translate into an estimated 40% savings on lighting energy every year.
Got a question you’d like answered in this column? Submit it at: DesignQA@AshleyFurniture.com

We’re planting trees… last year alone, over 800 in the community, over 1,000 around our Wisconsin factories, and tens of thousands given away on Arbor Day. We’re empowering the sun… and installed 350 solar light pipe devices for a little extra light. We also added anti-reflective material and more insulation to rooftops to reduce energy needed for heating and cooling. We’re driving away emissions and decreasing fuel consumption… with a fleet of trucks that use auxiliary power units, bio-diesel fuel when available, and equipment that’s EPA certified. Our 2008 motors can return cleaner air to the environment than what they intake.

which sofa was genuine leather?
If you guessed the sofa on the left, you’re correct! Genuine leather sofas include two types – all-leather, with leather on the seat, seat-back, arms, and outer frame… or leather-match (leather everywhere the body touches – on the seat, seat back and arms).

Rivergate Stone Sofa



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