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Autumn Newsletter

Autumn leaves

Autumn Newsletter Memory of the Month: Tales of a Futoneer

The Futon Expert likes to give a bit of historical reference so that’s an aim of this Autumn Newsletter. Here in the UK during the late 1960’s and early 70’s there was a trend for sculptured foam furniture. These adaptable pieces of upholstered foam were different shapes and sizes and could be connected to form all sorts of seating arrangements suitable for different areas in the home.

The concept passed into oblivion, but many of those shops turned into futon stores. As an importer/distributor in those long gone days I got to know some of the people involved and was impressed by how they were using their shops to make futon mattresses in their basements and back rooms. Futon demand was growing and by the end of the ’70’s another skill set evolved and ended up creating more sophisticated wooden futon frames made from a variety of timbers including Oak, Birch and Beech. Image below.

Scandinavia and Canada had mastered “steam bending” Beech wood, so arms on frames were giving a glimpse of the style and elegance to come in the following decade. At this point there was a mood across Europe and North America for 3 seat futon frames. In the space of about 15 years “futons” had transitioned from a homemade bed and part time sofa into a trendy sofa bed that found a foothold worldwide, from Riga in Latvia to Perth Australia.

Like most products that start as a great idea and end in the mainstream. the journey is usually full of compromises. However steady improvements were the order of the day but global demand at a time when China was mass producing steel, brought about the 3 seat metal futon frame, image below. The unit price fell but so did people’s expectations. The Autumn Newsletter helps to explain the value that was easy to see for so long suddenly evaporated, if Argos or Ikea dominate the market, quality suffers and the futon “industry” was no different. A metal 3 seat futon frame with a skinny futon mattress is light years away from the crafted, unique comfy sofa bed that was the original idea.

Over the course of the past 4 decades or so the futon world has risen from obscurity to become part of the furniture mainstream. The situation today as explained in the Autumn Newsletter is that the negative fall out after the Banking Crisis 9 years ago put a brake on demand. Going back 12 -15 years my business used to import worldwide and supply at least 10 independent futon stores in North London alone. The multiple chain stores all ran futon lines but the massive shake out has left just one independent store in that massive area.

trinity-wsteam-bent-arms                    nordic-3seat-sofa

Autumn Newsletter: Sleep Benefits

The diverse stresses of daily life can cause reactions which in turn have a direct impact on our ability to relax and get the sleep that our body needs to revive and restore itself into some sort of equilibrium.

Busy lifestyle, financial concerns, work issues or family stresses all cause our sleep patterns to become disturbed. Fractured sleep can lead to constant tiredness, lack of concentration and onset of depression. Recent research shows that our health can be deeply affected by a lack of quality sleep, leading to long term physical problems and draining the joy from life. I think it’s fair to say we all spend time lying awake mentally creating to-do lists, rehashing disagreements or trying to find ways to resolve work problems, the answer may be in teaching yourself a simple relaxation technique.

Lets face it, it’s a challenge at any age learning and developing techniques that will help you let go of anxiety and focus on calm, restful thoughts. But if we try there will be benefits that will help and hopefully become an important part of making sure your sleep is good quality and restorative, preparing you for the next day. The practice of mindful meditation teaches a routine of calming the mind by focusing on the moment and being fully present in that space and time. The essential core sensation encourages relaxation by encompassing everything in that moment, free from the distractions of past and present.

The way to start is concentrate on breathing and recognise the sounds and sensations around those breaths. By focusing fully on awareness of self at the time, you will find a way to block other anxieties, and with repetition they will slowly recede. Twenty minutes of mindful meditation a day can help alleviate insomnia, fatigue, depression and pain symptoms. Practicing the technique creates a calming relaxation reflex that can then be tapped into at night when those pressures we mentioned earlier keep us awake. To get started with mindful meditation, try these simple rules:-

* Try the technique away from your bed. It’s important this form of relaxation doesn’t become associated with your insomnia before it can be used to combat it, so learn the habit at another quiet point of your day.

* When meditating, explore the experience of being in your body as it lives in the world. Allow your mind to hear, feel and fully sense your surroundings, gradually build a sequence of events.

* It’s important to do the meditation while sitting up and so avoid accidentally falling asleep and losing the moment.

* If you find you become distracted, gently pull your mind back to the meditation. Be patient with yourself, it’s not any kind of ‘failure’ but learning about your mind and emotions.

* A gentle repeated noise such as “omm” or hum may help you to concentrate on your meditation.

Mindful meditation reportedly assists people in feeling a better sense of mental well being and can be used to clear the mind of worries at night time. If you find yourself awake at night, try putting your newly learned ‘relaxation technique’ into action.

The Newsletter that Tries NOT to be as DRY as DUST

Cubed Deluxe 140 with Arm

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Why a Futon is the perfect bed arrangement for a teenager

Teenage bedroom mess

One minute they are children, with princesses and pirates on the wall and the next minute, there is a house full of hormone driven teenagers; they retreat to their bedrooms and start covering the mural you had lovingly painted on the wall with posters of pop stars. When it is time to redecorate the bedroom to accommodate this new version of emerging young adult, finding the perfect mix of practical, affordable and ‘teenage approved’ style can be difficult.

Continue reading Why a Futon is the perfect bed arrangement for a teenager

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Why Futons are no longer the uncomfortable convertible sofas of the olden days

Puzzle Wood side on

A night on a futon at a friend’s house may conjure up the spectre of an uncomfortable night of sleep and a sinking sensation of waking up stiff and unrested. Fortunately, this is no longer the case. Continue reading Why Futons are no longer the uncomfortable convertible sofas of the olden days

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Toddlers and Napping

Mother and toddler

Any mother or father can tell you that the oasis of midday respite – the baby and toddler nap – is a parental right they only give up with considerable kicking and screaming. Once the home has a baby in it, keeping up with the household jobs and staying on top of the mess becomes a full time job in itself. That short space of time in the middle of the day is necessary for catching up and squeezing in some work or a much needed sanity check with a hot cup of tea and a good book. Curling up on the sofa and taking time out is vital for parents and everyone benefits if nap time can be used in a guilt free, positive way to recharge batteries and relax.

Continue reading Toddlers and Napping

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Keeping Your Futon Cover in Good Shape.

Duck Egg Tibetan Fabric

If your futon is a main part of your living room furniture, taking some extra precautions to keep the cover in good condition is a great idea. The basic mattress cover is non-removal on most futons and adding a casing is the perfect way to add longevity. A futon casing can be coloured or patterned or in a number of speciality fabrics such a chenille or suede, making it an ideal way to further personalise your futon with a colour and feel that makes it unique to your room design.

Continue reading Keeping Your Futon Cover in Good Shape.

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Using a futon bed as your main sleeping option

Akino oak double Sofa bed in sofa position

Having a futon bed for your main sleeping option may sometimes be from necessity rather than design. Space, finances and perhaps having to move rented accommodation regularly can mean that a bed which takes up relatively little space, is multi-purpose and is easy and light to move or reassemble is important. Eventually you will find yourself settling down in your new home with a loved piece of furniture that still has plenty of life left in it, but has become a permanent fixture in a room.

Continue reading Using a futon bed as your main sleeping option

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Refresh Your Room with a Revamp – Part 2.

All-you-need-Sofa-Bed- w _storage

Giving a room a spring refresh is a great way to lift your spirits and focus on a fresh start for your home. Last week we looked at replacing and repurposing furniture that no long fits the purpose of a room in your home by upgrading to a contemporary wooden bed frame with a more comfortable mattress. Using room dividers to use space creatively while hiding unwelcome clutter from view also greatly improves the look and functionality of a room as well as being a fabulous interior décor accessory.

Continue reading Refresh Your Room with a Revamp – Part 2.

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Why napping, forty winks is a great idea.

Napping

There has been plenty of talk of the importance of sleep in the media in recent months. From the importance of a dark room for proper healthy sleep that allows your body to recharge mentally, to the stark warnings about the effect of sleep deprivation on our physical wellbeing, sleep is very much in the news. Our bodies need time to experience all the stages of sleep in order to produce melatonin, a hormone essential for our brain and body functions.

Continue reading Why napping, forty winks is a great idea.

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The Art of Single Room Living

The last 20 years has seen a dramatic change in the conventional living space model, from young professionals living alone to blended families trying to make the best use of space in a home. Also there’s the modern phenomenon of older adults living in the family dwelling and when these factors come into play there’s a requirement for greater flexibility than ever before. Single room living really takes on a new meaning.

Continue reading The Art of Single Room Living

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Futon Mattresses and Flame Retardants

Futon Mattresses and Flame Retardants

Current legislation regarding all sorts of products but including Futon Mattresses, Pyjamas and Flame Retardants (FR) became law in 1988 as a result of amongst other things, fires in commercial furniture warehouses and cigarettes causing  fire’s  in  domestic  situations  i.e. people’s homes. Continue reading Futon Mattresses and Flame Retardants