Practical purchases at home

Is this both affordable and multipurpose?

In recent years, the simple living room went out of style. Homeowners traded in entertainment centers with TV consoles for flat screens and bought sectionals with power outlets to charge laptops. The most popular trend was to turn modest common areas into modern media spaces. And then we hit the economic plunge, and everyone’s aims changed.

Now, furniture buyers “are more conscientious and looking for a great value,” said Leigh Siegel, the marketing director for Mealey’s Furniture. “They want to buy quality furniture that’s in stock and affordable.”

For example, people are ditching the traditional dining sets in favor of informal pub sets. These units stand at an average of 42 inches high, and they’re considered a bargain because they can be used for more than just eating meals.

“With today’s hectic lifestyle, these tables are used for cooking, catching up on mail and kids finishing homework,” said Mealy’s vice president of merchandisisng, Bill Levine.

But that doesn’t mean buyers want to sacrifice style, so those in-demand practical pieces also need to be affordably on-trend.

Eileen Kelly, Mealey’s head designer, revealed what’s hot this upcoming season. “Industrial revolution has really taken hold, and it has evolved to something more off-the-factory-floor than Victoriana,” Kelly said, also noting big trends involving baseball stitching, chunky knits, Greek chic, plush fabrics and tie dye.


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