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One Room Challenge Fall 2021—Week Five

I'm Erika Ward

Over a decade ago, I exchanged my corporate life in building construction for an opportunity to enhance your personal home via decoration and renovation.  My mission? To help busy professionals make their homes their sanctuaries.

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It goes without saying that working in the home furnishings industry during a pandemic has presented monumental challenges. Have you tried ordering a sofa? If so, then you’ve probably been quoted incomprehensible lead times. Six months is the new norm.

Crazy, I know!

I’ll admit I did contemplate twice—or maybe three times my acceptance in the participation of the One Room Challenge. Originally thinking I would decorate one room, instead I went against popular opinion and decided to furnish 2.5 rooms. We’ll consider the entry as the “half room.”

So how will I make this happen before our Week 8 deadline?

Glad you asked!

Today I’m spilling my seven tips for furnishing a home during a pandemic.

Tip #1 Reconsider Your Outdoor Furniture

Call me crazy for furnishing my great room with an outdoor sofa, but trust me when I say outdoor furniture has come a mighty long way. If the sofa is constructed from wood, then it has an even better chance at “passing” as indoor furniture. Our new Shelter Island Sofa by Lillian August even boasts cushions in a grey performance fabric. In our busy household, I imagine I will stress less about stains and overall wear and tear. If our outdoor sofa can withstand Mother Nature, then it can certainly handle The Ward Children.

Prior to the pandemic I’ve also used garden stools and wood stumps, traditionally used outdoors, as accent tables in living spaces. Don’t overlook these small, but mighty pieces.

Tip #2 Get Thrifty

One of my best discoveries as a designer has been Scott Antique Market. The show opens at the Atlanta Exposition Center the second weekend of each month starting on Thursday-Sunday. There you can find new, gently used, and antique home furnishings, accessories, and artwork! I’ve purchase several furniture pieces from Scott’s for my own home including this teak wood console table!

This is also an excellent place to grab oversized area rugs. I’ve even called my husband over to help me. When my truck is to capacity, I’ll load his up too. If you don’t own a truck let one of the porters know and they will connect you with local movers who can help get the goods to your home.

Tip #3 Shop Antiques Stores

As a child I could never understand why someone would want old furniture. As an adult I have a much greater appreciation for antiques and have slower acquired them in my own home. The turning point for me was when my client inherited a great deal of antique furniture when her mother passed away. I was hired to come up with fresh ideas for incorporating it into her home with young children. View the Clifton Road project in our portfolio.

For the One Room Challenge, antiques will show up in the form of accessories. I’m styling my rooms with antique ginger jars, glassware, and tabletop tschotskes.

Tip #4 Support Small Businesses aka Mom and Pop Furniture Showrooms

If you want it and want it now, then purchase an upholstered piece off the sales floor and have it recovered in the fabric of your choice by a local upholstery shop. This is a no brainer if the style of the sofa fits your aesthetic and the frame is good.

Tip #5 Reupholster What You Have

“Buy Right, Cry Once” When you invest in a quality piece of furniture, though expensive, you can recover it many times over. This tired pair of Spanish armchairs had seen better days. However by reupholstering it with this refreshing black and white cabana striped fabric, it received a new life.

Tip #6 Shop Showroom Sample Sales

Your local design center has quarterly sample sales in participating showrooms. These sales may be available to the trade only however I believe the rules may be different based on your locality. Call your local design center to inquire whether or not they sell samples to the public. You may be surprised by their response.

Tip #7 Browse Online Retailers for Immediate Delivery

Purchasing a $3000 sofa online can be risky as a game of Russian roulette but you can hedge your bets by reading customer reviews and taking a closer look at the product description. As a design professional, I sometimes read the product specifications and still have questions. When I do, I email the online retailer my questions about anything from construction, color, and lead times and wait for an answer before I purchase.

Please continue to follow along each week as I take you along my design process from concept to completion. Look out for tips and tricks to use in your own home!

Be sure to check in with design comrades as they share their plans for upcoming projects.

Media BH&G | TM ORC

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Over a decade ago, I exchanged my corporate life in building construction for an opportunity to enhance your personal home via decoration and renovation. My mission? To help busy professionals make their homes their sanctuaries.

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