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Occasional vendors bring adventurous product to market

Bold colors, materials, combinations win

 -- Furniture Today, January 29, 2014

AT THE MARKET — Suppliers of occasional furniture here report great success with bold colors, adventurous materials in surfaces and ambitious combinations of wood and mirrors.

Pieces that can be used for more than one purpose are also doing particularly well, as are those that can complement a casual dining collection.

In Butler Specialty Co.'s showroom, Dan Sumner, executive vice president of sales, is bullish on bones - the human ones, that is. These make up the basic materials of many a chest that has sold well, attracting retailers with intricate resin-painted decorations inlaid in the bones.
Sumner also reports that a trunk-like piece is generating interest because it can become either an attractive cocktail table or a storage bin or both. And he's certain a demilune console will sell well because it places mirror siding amid beautifully finished wood features, including drawers and cabriole legs.

Credenza pieces are selling very well at Coast to Coast Accents, albeit in more contemporary and colorful styles. The credenzas "have multiple uses," from hallway decorative items to home entertainment pieces, said Andy Stein, CEO of Coast to Coast.

 These two cube-like pieces are part of Bassett’s Axis line. They provide colorful pop as a cocktail table when combined or as two end tables when separated.These two cube-like pieces are part of Bassett’s Axis line. They provide colorful pop as a cocktail table when combined or as two end tables when separated.
 Stein World’s zinc-top cocktail table comes with coasters, drawers and slatted shelves.Stein World’s zinc-top cocktail table comes with coasters, drawers and slatted shelves.

Another winner this market is a steel table whose surface "compass" motif has been etched with acid, he said.

In the Bassett showroom, Renee Loper, vice president of independent retail business, development and marketing, said retailers are responding well to occasional pieces with bright colors.

These pieces, part of a bestselling Axis line, come in multiple colors. They include cube-like structures of rubberwood that can be joined together to create a cocktail table or separated to create end tables placed at both ends of a sofa. In the showroom, the bright turquoise cubes (retailing at $600 for the pair) are placed in front of a white sofa.

"It brings a pop of color to a retail floor," Loper said. "It's a way for the consumer to bring color into their furniture as well."

In the Jofran showroom, occasional pieces of reclaimed pine in the Slater Mill collection are having great success, complementing casual dining in the same collection. The occasional pieces include a hall tree, which offers a place to hang coats and backpacks and store various and sundry items in shelves below.

"We want people to pick our furniture for many different rooms," said Rachel O'Neill, marketing manager at Jofran.

Stein World reports that cocktail tables with "unique" surfaces such as zinc, cork and slate are selling well.

"It's on trend," said Donnie Lesley, vice president of merchandising and marketing. "They're also very useful."

Lesley is particularly pleased with the zinc-top table (retailing for $299). The surface is stain- and water-resistant and its acid treatment has given it a pleasing copper undertone, while the table also has popular features like slatted shelves, drawers and coasters.

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