Helpful Hints for Serious Furniture Shopping

Hi, Everyone:

I maybe deviating from my usual subjects, but this is a topic that I would like to talk about.

People will be starting to shop for the Holidays and wanting their homes to look spectacular for the coming months.

Furniture shopping can be fun or it can be very exasperating and stressful to some people. I know because I have been on the other side, as a designer on the floor in the furniture store, trying to help people make decisions. Some customers are very nice, while others can be very trying. As I’m sure they would say the same thing about the furniture salesperson.

My first suggestion is to decide what pieces you are wanting to purchase or replace. Make a list.

Second,  with todays’ electronics, it is very easy to take a picture of the area you want to discuss with your salesperson or designer. Many designers are available for advice on the showroom floor at no additional charge. It would be good to take advantage of that when you can. Pictures can show where the windows and openings are, approximately how large or small the area is and how much lighting the room gets.

These are all very valuable to  establishing a floor plan.20151023_121153

Third, if you can, draw a quick diagram of the area , measuring the walls, windows, and openings. By measuring the areas at home, it saves you from coming in the store, walking around for quite some time, and then telling your designer or salesperson that you need to go home “and measure”. Wouldn’t that have been a good idea to do before you came shopping? Some people call that a stall tactic, but I hear it all the time.

This saves valuable time in the showroom. We can narrow down the items we want to look at on the floor.

Fourth, if you have pictures of items you like, colors you absolutely love and want in the room, bring those with you. Any fabrics of existing pieces that you are keeping that we need to work with are extremely helpful.

Fifth, perhaps a “bad word” to some customers, is a budget , or a figure that you have in mind that you would like to stay with. There are great examples of quality furniture is different price ranges. Your salesperson will know which brands will be best suited for your budget. This should not be an embarrassing subject. Most everyone has budgets they like to stay within. I know I do.

Sixth, try and be considerate of your salesperson while in the store. They are really not there to “hound” you, or harass you. They are there to answer any questions you may have. I know there is a new breed of salespeople out there that are supposed to follow your every step and stay as close as they can. That would make me very uncomfortable as well, and I would probably walk out. I try to treat my customers and clients as I would want to be treated in a store or showroom. Everyone wants “breathing space” and that is what I try to provide to my customers.

Which brings me to several types of customers that can be very exasperating.. There is ” Cindy Cell Phone”, who is constantly on her cellphone from the time she enters the store until she leaves. If you have a store that is 100,000 sq. feet, that is a long time not to acknowledge your salesperson, who was assigned to “greet you” and help you in any way she or he can. These people usually work on straight commission and dedicated to helping you with your home. How would they like it if you were on your cell phone the whole time they needed to be of assistance to you. Something to think about.

The other customer is the one who walks in the store,  holds his outthrust palm in your face and basically says, ” Stay away, we’re just looking!. We’ll find you when we need you!”. Wow! That really helps the atmosphere of trying to help someone! All of these things happen. I think we all need to be a little more considerate of each other in the workplace and in the world of furniture shopping.

All of these steps will help you have a more pleasant furniture shopping experience for both you and your designer/salesperson.

Next time, we’ll see what was new at the Fall Furniture Market so you can be well informed.


Sandra Bockman







Posted in Design Tips, Furniture, Sandra Bockman Designs Tagged with: , , , ,

Helpful Hints for Hanging Art and Pictures

Hello, Everyone:

I can’t believe Fall is here already!. My, how time does fly!.

So, perhaps now is the time to tackle one of your designing projects. The kids are off to school and you may have a few extra hours in the day to do a little “interior decorating”.

I did have a customer come into the store the other day shopping for artwork for her home. Now , this is can be a very complicated subject if you let it be one. I, for one, do not believe in just hanging a picture or a piece of artwork just to fill an empty wall or space above a sofa, etc. I would rather the area stay bare until I found the exact piece of artwork or sculpture that would enhance the area. Not all people feel that way.

You should really love or have some feeling for the art that you are purchasing. You can always find a place for it if you dearly love it.

So, if you’re new at this , here are a few suggestions for placing artwork in your home.

When you are beginning to furnish your home or condo, you usually have some sort of theme in mind, traditional, eclectic, which is a combination of different styles that go well together, contemporary. You may have a love of the tropical if you are in Florida or the islands. Usually, you have chosen some colors that are working well together. From that you can begin to see what pictures would be suited to that area… but only, if you love them and feel something for them. Otherwise, let them be…

You may purchase just one picture and have a special place for it. Hang it and live with it for awhile. It’s OK to admit later  that that may not be the right place for it. Things are not written in stone in the Design business. Make it fun. Enjoy experimenting!

Sometimes groups of pictures, with the same theme are great on a wall. If you have a certain love of sports, dolls, flowers, etc., these can be arranged on a wall with some care as to having them look uniform. They don’t all have to be framed the same, but should be arranged so that the bottom of the frames are aligned to give a unified appearance.

I have seen collections of platters arranged on a bueatiful kitchen wall. A man arranged his collection oof antique pipes on a wall in his study.

These arrangements are best laid out on the floor first, so you can see how much space you will need. This way you can also see how the they will look on the wall before you go and place a lot of nail holes in the wall that don’t need to be there.

Some challenging areas are hanging pictures going up a stairway. Usually, this is a great area for family pictures. It would be helpful to draw a light pencil line following the railing or the baseboard aobut waist high or where you want to start your gallery of family pictures and framed mementoes so that thee is somewhat of flow and bottom line to the pictures. It will give all the pictures a somewhat structured look.

So, my advice is have fun with your artwork. Experiment and move things around. Add and take away after awhile. Keep it fresh.

Remember, not all pictures  have to be framed. A lot of art is now on canvases and don’t require framing. Several paintings are done in threes and and are meant to be hung together.

Also, walls that are papered or have murals, do not require a lot of picures. These are alternatives to pictures.

And in closing, please don’t hang your pictures and artwork too high! Usually, every home I go in, the art work is way above the sofa, mantel, ledge, etc. Not all pictures need to be at your eye level if you’re six feet , four inches.  They look so much better about five to six inches above the sofa or whatever. Now, if there is a floral arrangement or something on the buffet , please start from that point.

Well, I hope this helps a little. Remember, it’s not rocket science, so have fun and experiement.


Sandra Bockman, Allied ASID member







Posted in Art Work, Design Tips, Interior Design

Tips of Buying Upholstery

Hello, everyone!

Now that summer is underway, it’s a great time to look around your home and see what really is upsetting you . We all have a room or area that needs improving. Before the rush to do that “makeover” before the Holidays like everyone else, now would be the time to put that plan into action and beat everyone to the punch. Being a designer, I see it happen every year. Everyone puts it off until right before the Thanksgiving rush and wants it all done in two weeks. Making over a room usually can’t be done that quickly.

So here are some things to think about before diving in to that project.

After you have decided which area needs the change, decide what needs to be replaced. Upholstery is usually the BIG item and can cost the most. Decide how you use the room. Does it get most of the wear and tear from the family and guests? How many people are usually using the furniture?

If you’re on a budget, get the best quality construction for your money. Let a knowledgeable designer show you which brands are the best for each price range. Some smaller companies that don’t advertise a lot, but have these same great construction as the “high priced” companies, are great for families who budget their purchases. But top quality construction is the key for long lasting furniture that can be kept for years and recovered. Hardwood frames, kiln dried, glued joints, not nailed are features to ask for. See if the cushions are supported by springs. How much wrapping and foam cover the frame. Do you want a firm seat, or one with down filled cushions that give a softer feel and less support?   Then by only one or two pieces at a time. Your money is hard earned. Don’t keep throwing it away on “replacement furniture”. Ninety percent of your price is in the construction underneath the fabric on the outside.

Always ask what the fiber content is for the fabric you selected. You wouldn’t put silk fabric on a sectional in the family room that is going to get lots of wear. The new fabrics we have today are great for “hardworking” areas.  “Sunbrella” is now finding its way inside the home as well as on your patio furniture.

Good fabrics, if taken care of properly, will last a long time.

Before you venture out into that “daunting task” of furniture shopping, it’s always good to measure your existing pieces. How long is the sofa you have now? How may chairs will you need? I always hear my customer say, after looking at many, many sofas and chairs, that ” Thank you,  but I need to go home and measure”. Surely, you  have some idea about what you want to replace. If you can, have a sketch of the  room you’re working on. How many openings are there? How many windows and where are they placed.

This helps the designer draw up a workable floor plan for the area that would include the amount of seating you will need for your type of lifestyle. Then, the fun can begin with selecting the pieces and fabrics that will look great in this room. Of course, budget must be discussed, so we’re both on the same page.

Each person has specific likes and dislikes when it comes to upholstery. Some the simple lines, more contemporary. Some people are more traditional and like the looks from the History books. I happen to appreciate the best of both looks. Some people love blues, some people “hate” greens and wouldn’t have that in their home. Others are into the new wild , bright colors. But, putting them together can be a balancing act in itself. This is where you can get advice from a designer. We do not bite. We are here to help you with sorting out what would look best with what. This can save you time and money, really. We are privy to all the new fabrics, colors, and styles that come along every Spring and Fall.

I have included a picture of a chair that came on the showroom floor this week. It’s not for everyone, but 20150724_204328-1_resizeddoes show how vibrant the colors are becoming. At first, I thought,  “This is really quite a busy print”. But when I saw it with the loveseat that it went with, and the area rug, it was coordinating very nicely. Now, it would not be for everyone, but for the people wanting to experiment with new colors, it would be great. (Sorry, the picture is blurry.)

Just remember, a little print can go a long way! This chair should be used with a solid sofa. And I don’t think you would use this print on a large sofa, unless the room was tremendous! Just my thought.

So, as  last  thought, this time, select the best possible upholstery for your area. These pieces will get the most wear. The rest of the design will be centered around these very important elements in your design project.

I’m here to help in any way I can.

Sandra Bockman, Allied ASID



Posted in Design Tips, Furniture, Interior Design, Spring Decorating Tagged with:

Spring Furniture Market News

mediasmall.gray1Spring Furniture Market always  is an exciting event. Designers get to preview all the news looks in furniture and accessories. Everything you desire for your home or office or your second home.

I’ll tell you some of the things that seem to stand out to me from this year’s market. You can see what best fits into your decorating plans for the coming year. You will know what styles and looks that you will love. Some won’t be for you, but for someone else. Here  we go!

Upholstery- Yea! Furniture manufacturers have finally seen the light and have started making some smaller scale furniture for those people who are downsizing or not living in a twenty room mansion. This is good news, folks! This can be done in the Traditional style or the very Contemporary.   You are going to see more nail heads on pieces and tufting is making a comeback. Tufting is when you see the buttons in the backs of sofas and chairs. I love this look!. It gives the piece some texture and relieves your eyes from all the straight  angles . It  make the chair or sofa stand out a little from everything else in your room.  This is not for everyone. Neither are nail heads. I see my customers either really liking the nail head look or  don’t want to have anything to do with them! I’m glad we are all different in our likes. Otherwise , each home would all look the same!

Style- The styles of  furniture that stood out to me went from the “cozy chalet” look to the “modern Trad” look. The cozy chalet look is one of fireplaces, warm tones of woods, and warm colors.

thick rugs, lots of texture in the furniture. The Modern Trad look shows furniture that is usually traditional, taking on cleaner lines, maybe with a tufted back on a long sleek sofa with a metal frame. Wing chairs a little pared down and put in some exciting geometric print.  Soft contemporary has been in for some time, but is really a strong look right now. Also, acrylic furniture is making a strong comeback! What a look with glass and polished brass!. Dark mahogany wood top for a desk with an acrylic base!. They are experimenting with different woods and materials that would add interest to any room! So, from all of these I’m sure you can pick a few things that would add new interest to your home.

Fabrics- Fabrics for furniture will go from the neutrals and warm tones on one side of the spectrum to the brilliant and bold colors on the other side.  The whipped cream and coffee colors, with browns add warmth and good looks to that Urban look and the Loft look for those apartments and condos that everyone loves. The minimum look. The navy’s and the emerald greens can add richness to the more traditional rooms. These are also beautiful with rattan and “beach” furniture. You will see the oriental influence returning in the Chinoiserie design on fabrics . Also, the bamboo and fret work is showing a presence again. I love this look. It never really goes out of style!

Accessories- You are going to see accessories shown in natural minerals and stones. You will see lots of pieces that have an “antler” design. You will see this in lamps, tables, fabrics, etc. The use of synthetic horn will be in lots of pieces such as boxes and bowls. Decorative wall pieces will have lots of gold accents.

So, you can see there is a lot to choose from for your home. You only need to add one or two items. You may want to purchase a new chair or recover one.

Experiment with these new ideas and looks your going to see coming in stores. Have fun!

I’ll talk more about these areas in future posts.


Posted in Colors, Furniture, Interior Design, Sandra Bockman Designs, Spring Decorating, Uncategorized

Spring Decorating, Part 2

blog pictureIt seems Spring is everywhere you look these days. People are coming at you from every angle to buy something. Flowers for your lawn, new outdoor  furniture for your patio, new flooring for your home. It goes on and on.

Well, the same is true in Interior Decorating . All  the new design colors are out. All the furniture companies are introducing new groups at the Spring Market. The fabric houses are showing their new lines of great prints and textures for draperies and upholstery.

You can become very overwhelmed by this if you’re not focused.

So, to stay focused, you need to remember which area of your home you wanted to concentrate on and stay there.

This is a wonderful opportunity to purchase that “unique” chest you have been wanting to place in the foyer or your study. Because  all the furniture stores and galleries are having great sales to get rid of merchandise at great prices to make room for all the new items they purchased at the High Point, North Carolina market. All sorts of accessories are also reduced. What a great time to add those items for much less money! But, only if they’re going to work! Nothing is ever a bargain if it doesn’t add to the look  that you are trying to achieve. Please remember that. Years later you’ll be wondering why that piece was there.

Color is dominant thing this Spring. I can tell from all the trade magazines. But, on the opposite spectrum is the ” neutral” theme. This is based on a lot of beiges, off whites, taupes, and browns. These seem to used in the “loft” look, with contemporary furnishings.

Your more colorful schemes are being used with contemporary also, but can transcend into the “cottage” style or the ” beach” look.

I do like the fact that Navy blue is making a comeback. It can be used with any style. Navy, cream, and burgundy were big colors used with “colonial” design awhile back. To me, it never goes out of style.

So, put on your walking shoes and visit your local stores and see what is on sale. See what will look fabulous in your home. Remember to keep focused and buy only what you think will work. There are always going to be sales, but you want your home to look just right “for you” !



Posted in Colors, Design Tips, Furniture, Interior Design, News Updates Tagged with:

Spring Decorating

When the weather starts getting warm and sunny and the flowers start blooming, people get more energetic and want to do things. Well, this is a good time to just take a look around your home or apartment and see what would could look different.

This can be a fun thing, nothing serious….and it doesn’t have to be expensive! It may be something you’ve been putting off or it may be something that you just want to try. A new painted wall in your bedroom  that ties in with your  duvet cover. Perhaps,  that is what is needed… a new cover for your bed, with new pillows.

The idea is to see which room needs a touch of something new.

I just recently had my dining room chairs seats recovered. The chairs were in need of repair as they are old and needed gluing. So, I found a fabric that had the colors of my sofa and pillows and recovered the seats. They look terrific!. Now these chairs are about 80 years old that I bought an estate sale many years ago, along with the drop leaf table. I still like the set, so I don’t see any reason in getting all new chairs. But, that’s just me.

So, see which room could use a little sprucing up. What do you want the focal point to be in that room?  The view of the ocean?  The beautiful   watercolor painting over the sofa?  Or maybe that is what is needed over the sofa. It doesn’t have to be a painting. It could be a collection of things you find fascinating. A group of smaller items, perhaps.

I am also a firm believer in letting a wall stay bare until I find the right thing to go there. There is nothing wrong with that!

Your home should reflect your tastes and likes, not someone else’s!

If you have selected a color scheme of some sort, you probably have one color that you are using more than another. This would be called your accent color. You could pick out a color you like for the wall and completely change the appearance of that room. Paint in one of the least expensive ways to redecorate. Your selection also depends on how much light comes into the room.

Light colors make a room appear larger, dark colors bring the walls in closer and make the room “look” smaller. Smaller can be good. This  can create a “cozy” atmosphere.

Lots of  bright colors seem to be the trend right now. But you can use variations of a color. Remember, this is what YOU like!. Geometric designs are popular in pillows, drapes, etc. But, too much can make a room look too busy and create an “uneasy” feeling.

I remember when people looked at designers kind of funny when they put plaids with floral. It is done all the time, but you have to look at the scale of the different prints and see what works.

So, new ideas come and go. Some are good. Some just fade away if no one is attracted to the idea.

I see this in furniture industry a lot. The manufacturers get a great idea to use a new type of wood, a new lighter finish. They give the public about  twelve months, or less to see what sells. If it doesn’t sell fast and everyone liking it, they drop it, just when everyone may just be getting to used to the look.  But remember, it is what you like that counts.

I have added a picture of the new Pantone list of new colors. You can use them or any variations of them to see what you like. This is just to get your imagination going  so you can make some great design changes soon when Spring really gets here.

Posted in Interior Design, Spring Decorating Tagged with: ,

Casual Approach to Interior Design

I have wanted to do this for quite some time. I believe now is the time. I wanted to write about the field of Interior Design and Home Decor is a casual way.

But first, let me tell you a little about myself. I have been in the Interior Design and Furniture field for a while. I graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Interior Design. I studied design under a man by the name of Harold Wescott. He was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright.

He really taught me the basics of Interior Design and how to build on those principals. I find myself going back to those basics, time and again, especially with all the new trends that keep appearing. Some are good and inventive. Some are not so good.

This was before computers and I phones, so all my studying and drafting floor plans, color selections, etc, was all done by hand and many tedious hours over a drafting table.

I waited until after my boys were in school before delving into making a living in this field in Georgia.

My first real position was as a Design Assistant, for very little pay, here in Florida. But I learned a lot. I guess you could say I was there to handle all the small tasks for the Designers. It was very valuable experience.

I had to price the fabric books, place the sales tags on the pieces of furniture. I was always looking over the Owner’s shoulder at floor plans for their clients. I learned quite a lot.

From there, I was hired by an established furniture store and was surrounded by beautiful pieces from lines such as Drexel Heritage, Thomasville, Henredon. These were all top names in furniture then. They still are, but a lot has happened in the Furniture business in the past few years. It all changed when some companies had all their manufacturing moved to China and overseas. It really had a devastating impact on the states that made our furniture here. I think people are now realizing that it would have been best to keep areas associated with furniture here in the states.

I digressed. Back to me.

After several years of perfecting the art of selling furniture and, I decided to open a small, and I mean small, little shop in Indialantic, Fl. I had small pieces of furniture, lots of fabric sample books, and accessories. I was also trying to learn the computer. I knew nothing of the business end of the business.  I did have a person who would help with the “books”. It was a lot of work.

People have always thought of having a design shop as “so much fun.” Parts of design are fun, but there is a lot of work and planning that goes into each project. You have to be a business person first, designer, buyer, and also a psychologist….and keep up with all the new trends, colors, styles, etc.

From there, after a few years, I moved my shop out to Suntree. I was still learning about running a business.

So, I would like to explain to my readers, that there are all kinds of “Designers” out there. My approach is very casual. I guess that comes from living in the South most of my life. I love to help people with their homes, that one room that has them stumped, whatever their needs may be.

That is why I am excited about putting down my thoughts in this Design Blog. I am here to help you all with your homes, rooms, floor plans. I hope to add a humorous side to this business and keep you abreast of what is new and exciting. It doesn’t have to be expensive to have great design features.


Thank you.



Keep coming back!

Posted in Interior Design Tagged with: ,

Hunter Douglas Products

melbourne florida living room decoratingI am also proud to offer all Hunter Douglas products at competitive pricing. Hunter Douglas is known to be the top leader in window design products, featuring wooden blinds, verticals,and many more. Just call me for an in home consultation.

Posted in Featured Products Tagged with: ,

New Features

interior decorating melbourne floridaI am so glad to announce that I have added a beautiful line of art work that you can select from. You select the art, the frame, the mat. You can design your own! Of course, if you need help, I will be here.

I have added the WONDERFUL Normandy Shutters to my line of window treatments. These will add great beauty to your rooms. They are considered “Furniture for your windows”!

Posted in Art Work, Design Tips Tagged with: ,
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