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  • Cindy W. Hodnett

Sectionals the perfect furniture for cuddling, lounging

Seek slightly shorter, deeper sectional sizes

HIGH POINT — If judged by furniture styles, cuddling is a favorite recreational activity.
Numerous showrooms at the October High Point Market featured cuddle chairs - large, comfortable models perfect for snuggling in front of the television or while sharing reading time. Also referred to as a chair and a half, the cuddle chairs are made for leisurely lounging. (View sectional product slideshow.)
And the desire for good cuddle space doesn't stop there.

 AICO introduced the Sacramento sectional at the October High Point Market as part of the Studio collection. www.amini.comAICO introduced the Sacramento sectional at the October High Point Market as part of the Studio collection. www.amini.com

According to statistics from Furnituredealer.net, consumers want slightly shorter and deeper sectional sizes. From 2010 to 2013, length preferences decreased 5% and depth preferences increased 2%, allowing consumers to fit them into smaller spaces while also increasing seat depth. And while sectionals are the epitome of family-friendly furnishings, the diverse small, medium and large versions offer design flexibility that extends into nearly every common area of the home.
"Sectionals are popular because they offer flexibility and function," said Laurie Phillips of AICO. "They are adaptable to multiple room sizes and lifestyles and they allow families and friends to be together."
AICO introduced Sacramento, a modular sectional, at the High Point Market as part of its launch of Studio, a smaller-scale collection. The presentation included four armless chairs and two corner chairs for $4,999 retail.
"We offer 10 body fabrics and 20 pillow fabrics, and it delivers 40 days from order receipt," Phillips said. "We had an excellent response. There was a high level of excitement for the color impact and modular flexibility."
American Furniture Mfg. also introduced a new sectional in October. The 6800 series retails between $1,199 and $1,299 and offers a reversible chaise.

 The 6800 series by American Furniture Mfg. retails at $1,199 to $1,299. www.americanfurn.netThe 6800 series by American Furniture Mfg. retails at $1,199 to $1,299. www.americanfurn.net
 Flexsteel’s sectional from the That’s My Style collection offers several customization options. www.flexsteel.comFlexsteel’s sectional from the That’s My Style collection offers several customization options. www.flexsteel.com
 The Southern Shores sectional from Klaussner Home Furnishings’ Carolina Preserves collection is available in 600 fabrics. www.klaussner.comThe Southern Shores sectional from Klaussner Home Furnishings’ Carolina Preserves collection is available in 600 fabrics. www.klaussner.com

"We had a phenomenal response at market," said American's Randy Spak. "Based on the dealer commitments and reactions, this sectional will become one of our three top sellers.
"I believe sectionals have become popular because contemporary styling, which is the most popular style category by far, lends itself to sectionals. They offer great value compared to sofa/loveseat pricing, and in many cases, sectionals are available reversible and/or as a modular. Many also feature a chaise, which consumers find desirable."

To view more sectionals, click  here.
Customization options are also key selling points for sectionals. Flexsteel's version in the That's My Style collection offers four different arms, two back cushion styles, three nail head trim options, two tailoring options (welt vs. French seam), three leg or two skirt options, seven wood finishes and thousands of fabrics. The new Southern Shores sectional from Klaussner Home Furnishings' Carolina Preserves collection is offered in more than 600 fabrics and retails for $2,699.
"Sectionals are fun," said Klaussner's Len Burke. "Rooms come in different shapes and sizes, and sectionals allow you to create that perfect room for today's consumers. Sectionals are also the new home theater option, with the television being an important part of the room."
Younger Furniture's Tribeca sectional was also a strong placement with dealers attending market. Starting at $3,000 retail, Tribeca nods to European contemporary with thin track arms and low seating.
"Tribeca is available in 375 fabrics, plus five colors of leather," said Meredith Spell of Younger. "It ships in four to six weeks, and it was the hit of our market, the bestselling item in the showroom. There was a lot of buzz and excitement among our customers about this piece.
"The demand for sectionals continues to increase due to the versatility they provide," Spell said. "Customers can choose their size and the configuration that best fits their rooms and the needs of their families.
The options of corner sofas and chaises give sectionals a comfort option that provides a lounge effect."
A distinctive leather and fabric sectional from Massoud Furniture falls into the large size category. At 48 inches deep and 130 inches long, the sectional retails for $8,999 and is available in 800 fabrics and 100 leathers, including specialty leathers and hair on hide.
"This was definitely one of our best sold groups (in High Point)," said Massoud's Ronna Griest. "People loved the sophisticated color story, but at the same time how relaxed the sectional looked. There was a richness of detail along with the variety of fabrics and leathers on the frame.
"We have added a variety of frame styles to our mix of sectional possibilities," Griest said. "The more configurable pieces we have for a frame style, the more potential the store buyer sees - more custom orders, more turns, more money per square foot. Sectionals are easy - they are casual, family room and a great value for the consumer."
Another sectional that had a lot of marketgoers talking debuted in the Wesley Hall showroom. A tailored modular that retails for approximately $4,900 depending on fabric grade, the Trinity features tufting and neutral linen fabric for a look that transforms sectionals beyond family-room casual.
"This was our best-selling item at market - period," said Wesley Hall President Zack Taylor. "Each piece is 32 inches square, which allows for many configurations. The perfectly square pitch is critical to the configuration aspect.
"Sectionals reflect the way people live today," Taylor added. "No one wants to sacrifice style for comfort, especially as either relates to blended spaces. Any piece of furniture may be used for recreation one moment and business the next. What I adore about our Trinity series is that it speaks to comfort, sophistication and functionality. It can change to suit the mood of the moment and it can change to suit a new space. It can be split and used in different spaces. You marry all four together - comfort, sophistication, functionality and change - and you have it all."

To view more sectionals, click here.

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