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What to Expect Series: Session 10: Planning Your Decorating Project {Part 2}

Updated: Feb 16, 2022

As designers, we strive to make each home as unique as our clients. This task is not so easy if we always resorted to retail and big box stores which is why we LOVE doing custom furniture. Not only can our clients decide on fabric type, pattern, and colour, but they can also often customize things like arm height on a sofa, seat depth, or leg height. We can also create other custom pieces, such as coffee tables that lift up to a game table; or have space underneath to store ottomans underneath for extra seating.  If you’re tired of seeing the same furniture in your friends’, neighbors’ and family’s homes, it may be time to consider going custom with your furniture choices.


Good things take time. And when you are customizing, these things can take even longer.  There are a variety of different custom options you can go with, from simply changing the fabric, to completely re-designing a piece of furniture.

Designing and ordering custom furniture is not for anyone in a rush, as at a minimum it usually takes 8-12 weeks from order to installation. If the company is located in Europe, that timeline can jump to 3-6 months. They will often ship once they have a full freight load, so we are often at the mercy of this when waiting for custom products to arrive.

*Post-Covid has made these timelines extended even farther than we previously imagined. See our post The Waiting Game: How The Pandemic Has Affected The World Of Furniture Production. *

Did you know that in North America , factories have mandatory shutdowns? These often take place at some point over the summer (or even the whole summer in some cases) and at Christmas time. During this time, they perform maintenance and quality checks to their machines and equipment and they do not produce any products. Keep this in mind when ordering.

blue velvet couch in modern eclectic living room with local artwork

We can customize soft goods like chairs, sofas, and cushions, but  have also worked with some local woodworkers for case goods like coffee tables, dressers, hutches etc. Our harsh Alberta winters can be tough on wood case goods, so it’s helpful to work with someone local who understands our climate and the special wood joinery and species which work best. More information on custom wood pieces to come in next week’s blog post!

European design is typically more classic aesthetically,  but you pay for the quality and design that goes into it. If you are looking for furniture that will last a few lifetimes and become a family heirloom, we suggest going with European design. 


When we design custom soft furnishings, we almost always use performance fabric like Crypton. This magical fabric resists most types of stains and beads liquids for quick clean up without soaking into the fabric fibres. The fabric looks and feels as soft as any other fabric, but clean up becomes a breeze. In addition to customizing the outer fabric, we can also customize the inner workings of upholstered furniture! We had a client that liked the softness of one seat but preferred a more structured back cushion, so we were able to mix and match both so they had softness and firmness where they need each.

 Another awesome customization you can make is ensuring that the seat depth and height match your body type so you can sit comfortably. The higher quality foam in custom pieces also lasts much longer and does not off gas in your home like some cheaper options.

A designer can help you choose what kind of seating may be appropriate for the space you are putting it in. You would likely want a sectional you can sink into in a theatre room, but perhaps you would look at  a more formal and shallow sofa for your living room.

PRO TIP: If you want to customize, but don’t have the budget to do it all, focus on the furniture you will be sitting on often as this is where you will get the most bang for your buck!


In the world of area rugs, sizing is king. If you do not have the right sized rug, it can look awkward, overwhelming, or as if it is floating off in no man’s land. Once you have figured out the right sized area rug for your space, there are endless options for colour, pattern, and style. Area rugs can be functional, like a runner in the mudroom catching dirt or a plush area rug providing extra softness when getting out of bed, or it can be a piece of artwork to adorn your floors with – or it can be both!

Some materials such as viscose (contained in most rugs from local big box stores) do not allow for cleaning, whereas a wool rug, which is a natural product, is an easy clean. Area rugs can also be treated for stain resistance when we order them for that extra level of kid (and red wine) protection.

PRO TIP: Don’t skimp out on the underlay! It is important that you choose a good quality underlay as many of the cheaper ones can ruin your floors by turning to glue over time!


We create furniture plans for our clients for a number of reasons and the first one is that we want to make sure everything will fit! This also helps us to determine lighting development and where we may need task lighting versus ambient or overall lighting. Electrical outlet locations also become key for a TV or lamp location behind a floating sofa.


When we are putting together the whole space, we often mix in pieces the client already owns. This is because our clients have things that still work in the space and/or are sentimental – we all do – and its important that those things are included in our homes in a way that makes us happy and/or proud to show them off.

We will always look at what our clients have and want to keep and incorporate it into the plan. We also love to mix old and new furniture and frequently support local nonprofits like FIND to discover good quality products that perhaps just need reupholstering. We love taking something old and outdated and making it new and functional again – plus, it helps keep these items out of our landfills!


Next week we are discussing custom millwork! Not just for wainscotting – this includes furniture, barn doors, and wall features!


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