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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The Futon Expert likes to give a bit of historical reference so that’s an aim of this Autumn Newsletter.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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Newsletter- Our Very First

Summer

Summer Newsletter

The What/Why of Our Newsletter

Since 1980 Mirthglen Ltd. t/a futonsonline.co.uk has been a specialised business offering stylish, space saving sofa beds, mattresses, beds and  bedding. As an environmentally aware company we realise timber and some of the other materials we use are scarce resources and therefore we make every effort to find suppliers that think like us and use renewable resources. Writing a monthly Newsletter we hope will keep you aware of the issue we find important.

So, please note this Newsletter isn’t going to thousands of people, more like 300. Intriguingly you all have one thing in common, you are my customers, that means all of you have bought from me over the past 2 years since my website was re vamped. You’ve knowingly or perhaps unknowingly “opted in” for the promise of this monthly gig.

Please bear with me as I find my way to reward you not only with bits of fun, quizzes, useless information (a speciality of mine) but useful offers. Our 35+ years experience enables us to offer well designed eco friendly products that are versatile, healthy and affordable.

Some of you have been receiving emails from a campaign that started late last year and there were reward points on offer for taking part in a little survey, referring a friend or perhaps a stranger and Social Media engagement. The rewards were worth £5.00 for each task and as much as £25.00/£30.00 could be had within about a fortnight for doing, well not much at all. So please stay on board and as time passes I’ll be offering lots of ways you can be rewarded for joining in what I will try and make fun.

Memory of the Month: Tales of a Futoneer

Futon year zero occurred in the late ’60. This was a time when travel overland or by public transport was cheap and very cheerful. Asia was the destination for most people who had an adventurous nature. When they arrived in Turkey if coming from Europe or Malaysia from across the Pacific they found beds with mattresses that were filled with natural fibres. These fillings included coir derived from coconuts, horse hair and cotton for instance. Although not very thick they did the job and were only what was on offer.

Sooner or later these adventurous pathfinders went home and some decided to emulate what they had found on their travels, such as sleeping closer to the ground on low level beds and mattresses filled with natural comfy fibres.

The very first memories of the word futon for me are associated with U.S. West Coast magazines that covered subjects such as Macrobiotics and things Organic. A cottage industry had developed in California, Colorado and New Mexico with people making basic “A” frames and futon mattresses filled with cotton.

The futon frames were rudimentary affairs, and there was only a double size in the early days 4’6″x6’3″, one of the few things the UK has in common with the USA. The slats were screwed but the clever thing was the evolution of the design from very basic to a neat assembly of 3 decks that folded easily into a bed from its sofa position. Those initial designs were improved upon at a time when woodworking machinery was becoming accessible to people with the skills to make small runs in their garages or small scale industrial units.

Another development centred on different sizes. Double size was the initial norm but the needs of children and family mobility played their part in the advent of Single and King sizes. These frames could be stacked for easy transportation by removing just x4 bolts and put on a roof rack or in a van. As for the mattresses, they could be rolled up, put in a bag and moved very easily. Another major change was instead of having just one colour for the mattress cover, those covers took on a design element and became part of a new trend for brighter colours, shapes and symbols.

This cottage industry could only last as long as futon furniture was only a fad or just for those in the know. When there’s a new dynamic there has to be a different approach and in the case of futons it was the death of the waterbed industry.

Cassius-sofa-bed-arms-puff-563-twist-charcoal-2      Pangkor 2 seat double w drawer

 

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Sleep like a genius

Sleeping genius

Sleep like a genius. Everyone knows that getting enough sleep is important to make sure you are on top of your game. Restorative sleep helps being fit for working and thinking when you most need to be alert. There are plenty of articles explaining how poor quality sleep  can severely impact our mental and physical well-being. The side effects can make us anxious or depressed, dangerous drivers or unfocused workers. A good night’s sleep is essential for recharging our body and mind. This in turn makes us able to face each new day with a sense of excitement and freshness.

Continue reading Sleep like a genius

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Meditation and Sleeping

meditation

The stresses of daily life can cause a plethora of reactions which impact on our ability to relax and get the sleep that our body needs to revive itself. A busy lifestyle, money concerns, work issues or family worries can all cause our sleep to become disturbed, exacerbating tiredness, lack of concentration and 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.

Your bedding and a natural cover on a not too hard pillow can also be a beneficial aid.
Continue reading Meditation and Sleeping

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The secret living space in British homes

loft

In recent years new builds in the UK have started to take advantage of a most underused space– the loft. Flat packed or Ready To Assemble furniture can easily be taken into an attic or loft so it’s easier to transform and integrate that kind of area to living space. In conventional, older style homes many people intentionally raise one floor higher, accommodating extra bedrooms in areas that were once insulation filled voids.

Continue reading The secret living space in British homes

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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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Create the perfect bedroom with Feng Shui

feng shui

The bedroom is arguably the room in your home which has to fulfil the most diverse roles. Therefore arranging it in a way that satisfies the various functions can be quite challenging. It’s a room in which we sleep, recuperate, relax and wake up, then on top of those things this same space needs to be a place of passion and sensuality for most people.

Continue reading Create the perfect bedroom with Feng Shui

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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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Refresh or Revamp Your Room Think Screen – Part 1.

Matsu Natural 4 panel Room Divider

Spring is a fabulous time to give a room a makeover, and refreshing the feel of your living space or bedroom is extremely rewarding. As the days start to get lighter and we emerge from hibernation, a fresh start can become the focus of our lifestyle. An easy win might be had by using a screen as part of the revamp.

Continue reading Refresh or Revamp Your Room Think Screen – Part 1.