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Caring for your furniture

Buying furniture is an investment, so it’s only right that you’d want to look after your most valuable and loved pieces. After all, many of them can last a lifetime when cared for correctly!

While most quality items sold today will come with a set of care instructions, many of us may have inherited or acquired our most treasured antiques and heirlooms sans guidebook, and we’re left unsure about how to give them the care they deserve.

By following a few simple instructions, however, you can give your items the TLC it deserves without the risk of damaging it. Here’s how to ensure a happy, prolonged life for your most treasured items. 

Upholding Your Upholstery


Over time fabrics will wear, fade and lose their charming looks, but follow these tips to keep it looking as good for as long as possible…

  • Gently vacuum your upholstery regularly using a brush attachment, as accumulated dirt will accelerate fabric wear. Vacuuming Chenille and Velvet fabrics in the same way also helps to avoid it from looking ‘flat’.
  • Hard as it may be, keeping pets off your furniture will keep it looking better for longer. (Why not get your kitty or pooch their own pet furniture, instead?!)
  • Plump up feather, soft back, and seat cushions regularly to rid them of dust and keep them plush.
  • Keep all furniture out of direct sunlight to minimise fading to the fabric.
  • Clean up any accidental spills as soon as possible – the sooner you do so, the less likely it is to stain. When spot cleaning a cleaner or stain remover, always test in a small area, which isn’t visible, to avoid damage. 

 Keeping Your Woodwork Worthy


It’s important with intricate woodwork to follow some simple pointers and to use the correct products to maintain its beauty.

  • Keep your furniture away from heat sources such as radiators, fireplaces, and direct sunlight - these can all affect the colour and dry out the wood.
  • Dust once a week with a soft cloth.
  • To clean more thoroughly: use slightly damp paper towels, being careful not to wet the wood too much.  Dry using a soft cloth or paper towels.
  • Avoid using silicone based polishes as they can damage the surface over time.  Instead, try using more natural options such as beeswax, and keep in mind that it’s always best to use a small amount.  This only needs to be done maybe once or twice a year.

Looking After Loose Covers


If you have a sofa or chair with a loose cover, cleaning and drying them may seem a little daunting.  No need to fret -

  • Look for the care instruction label (it’s most likely sewn into your loose covers) and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • As a rough guide: most loose cover fabrics can be machine or hand washed at 30 degrees.
  • If there are no care instruction labels, or you’re unsure of what to do, we would suggest contacting a dry cleaners who should be able to advise.
  • If you feel that the time has come to replace your loose covers, we’d suggest contacting an experienced company such as Plumbs. We can advise on the type of fabric and design that would best suit your piece of furniture.


Taking the time and care to maintain your furniture can pay off as the life of your items are prolonged.  If you’re unsure of how best to look after aspects of your furniture, especially if it’s worth sentimental or monetary value, it’s always best to contact an expert for advice.


Pet Palaces & Pampered Pooches

Published by Joanna Whitworth in beds, furniture, pets, sofa

Just like family and friends, our pets are a very important part of our lives.  We nurture them from babies into loving and loyal companions, so it’s no surprise that many of us wish to spoil our furry friends as much as we can.

Pampered or not, every pet needs a comfortable place to sit and sleep, and so the market for personalised and extravagant beds pet has grown.  Think diamanté, designer fabrics and out the box designs…


The bright fuchsia fabric gives this doggy day bed a fun and feminine feel.  The bolster cushions with contrast piping add a touch of sophistication and comfort.


Bold lime green and aubergine colours create a real statement with this four-poster cat bed.  This design can be recreated by simply turning an old side table upside down and adding a piece of upholstered foam to the centre.  Turning the draw upside down means you can store any toys out of view.


Grey velvet and chevron pattern gives this pet sofa a modern and luxurious look. This simple style and classic shape of this piece of furniture means it won’t stick out next to most suites.  By using scatter cushions on the sofa in a matching fabric, you can really co-ordinate the whole look.


This fuzzy ‘cat bun’ is great fun and any cat is sure to enjoy sleeping the hours away in this warm and cosy design.  Felines love to snuggle and burrow so the cocoon shape of this bed makes it also great for play.


This upcycling project is a great way of reusing old suitcases.  However, if your DIY skills aren’t great we’d suggest not stacking the beds on top of each other!

When we think about how much time we spend carefully choosing wallpapers, fabrics and furniture for our homes, it’s understandable that many people also want their pets’ furniture to match their individual tastes.  Your pet may not notice that the pink piping on its bed matches the scatter cushions on your sofa, but if it’s comfortable that’s all that matters.


5 imaginative Pinterest finds!

We’ve scoured Pinterest for some of the most unique and different furniture designs we could find…

These chunky knit designs will create a very plush stool to sit on.  We love the bight primary colours contrasted with simple wooden legs in a natural finish.



This organic shaped wire creates a very pretty base for this table, making it the centre piece of any dining room.


These wooden semi-circular seats look very comfortable, although we can’t help thinking they might not the easiest to get up from!


This vanity area is a great way to use an old bike that would otherwise go to the tip.  The monochrome colour scheme, soft lighting, flowers and artwork gives this look a slight Parisian theme.


This chair seat is made up from fine pieces of wire which gives the illusion of no seat or back

From looking at sites such as Pinterest it’s easy to get your creativity flowing and hopefully inspire you to look for other interesting and unique furniture designs!


Just 2.5% of people who say they 'always recycle' have refurbished or renovated old furniture

In the UK we're now fairly good at recycling everyday items like cereal boxes, glass jars and plastic bottles, but it seems we could all work a bit harder when it comes to furniture.

Research from Kantar paints a really positive picture for general recycling in UK households:

  • Only 3.7% of people would throw something away instead of recycling it
  • A positive 50.2% of people would always recycle something instead of throwing it away

So over half of us try to recycle instead of heading straight for the bin – that’s great news. But things don’t look quite as rosy when we see that of the 50.2% of us who always recycle, just a lowly 2.5% of us have refurbished or renovated old furniture. Looking deeper into the research, we see that people in the UK love to do indoor DIY, they’re always looking to improve their homes and most think they’re good at fixing things.


But, the amount of people refurbishing or renovating furniture is low within those groups too:

  • 46.3% of people have done some kind of DIY inside their home
    • But only 4.7% of those people have refurbished or renovated old furniture
  • 47.9% of people consider themselves “good at fixing things”
    • Despite that, only 3.4% of these ‘fixers’ have attempted to refurbish or renovate old furniture
  • 31.1% of people are always looking for new ideas to improve their home
    • Just 0.5% of the people who ‘are always looking for new ideas to improve their home’ have refurbished or renovated old furniture.

So why are these numbers so low?

We know people in the UK love DIY – there are countless TV shows and magazines dedicated to the topic – so why do we seem to steer clear of reusing or renovating older furniture? Maybe it’s seen as a bigger job than wallpapering or painting? Something that requires a specialist set of skills or tools? That can certainly be the case with some of the reupholstery work we undertake – deep buttoning and rebuilding springs in an old sofa can be a lengthy job, but just like building a piece of new furniture, you can do it with the right instruction.


Refurbish and renovate more = throw away less

At Plumbs, we’d like to see more people have a go at skills like reupholstery and refurbishment; it means we can put less old furniture in landfill and make some really great pieces at the same time. Our team are putting a video together to show you the reupholstery process from start to finish and you can expect to see this live on our site very soon. We’ll link to it from this post as soon as it’s complete.

Together we can try and improve these figures, perhaps even taking the low, single figure percentages into double figures!


Fancy relaxing on a Breeze Block Sofa?

Published by Joanna Whitworth in furniture, sofa

Just when you thought we’d seen everything possible in furniture design.  Artist Sarah Lucas has created a breeze block sofa to rival all minimalist design.  Although the three and two piece appear quite simple and sophisticated we can’t help wondering just how comfortable they would be!

The sofas have even been co-ordinated with a matching wall and table.

I think we’ll stick to good old soft fabrics and comfy foam and leave breeze blocks on the buildings sites!



The Most Expensive Furniture Ever Sold At Auction

Published by Joanna Whitworth in furniture

Good quality furniture or a piece that has an impeccable provenance will always yield a high price at auction. In recent years there have been a number of desks, cabinets and tables that have commanded eye-watering prices from bidders and here are some of the most expensive to ever go under the hammer.

1. The Badminton Cabinet

This astoundingly ornate cabinet was sold by the descendants of the 3rd Duke of Beaufort for an incredible $36.7 million and currently sits in the Liechtenstein Museum. The cabinet was sold in 2004 and was constructed in Florence. Inlayed with precious stones, this is more a work of art than a functional piece of furniture.


2. The Dragon’s Chair


Showing that provenance and craftsmanship will always be popular, the Dragon’s Chair made spectators gasp at the price it garnered at a Christie’s auction.

This early 20th century chair was once the property of Yves St Laurent and when the iconic piece of furniture was auctioned in 2009, it fetched a stunning  £19.million. Art deco designer, Eileen Gray is responsible for the chair’s creation.


3. Goddard and Townsend Desk


If you wanted to invest in a real statement piece, then the Goddard and Townsend secretary desk might appeal. The desk was made in the 1760s and was sold at a Christie’s auction in 1989 for $11,480,675.

This is said to be the highest price ever paid for a piece of American furniture. Only 9 of the desks were ever made, which might be one of the reasons for the high auction price. 


4. The Harrington Commode

The superb 18th century English furniture craftsman, Thomas Chippendale, is always popular at auction. As the centuries progress, his work is more difficult to source and any piece which comes up at auction it’s sure to be snapped up.

Sotheby’s sold this Harrington Commode in 2010 at an impressive £3,793,250. The marquetry and design of the Commode is exquisite so it’s hardly surprising it attracted such attention.


5. George II Parcel Gilt Padouk Cabinet


Beautifully created furniture made by a respected designer can only increase in value. Christie’s recorded a price of £2,729,250 for the George II Parcel Gilt Padouk Cabinet when it sold in 2008, putting it firmly in our list of most expensive furniture sold at auction.

At the time of the sale, Christie’s Head of furniture, Henry House, said “the final price demonstrates true demand in the market for items of real quality.”


Mini at the Ideal Home Show

The Classic Mini is considered the British icon of the sixties, and is still one of the most popular cars today.  Born in the late fifties the Minis small size has influenced a generation of car makers, as well as appearing in films such as The Italian Job and Mr Bean.

Here at Plumbs we’ve been busy turning the front part of this classic piece of design into a unique seat. Here’s how we did it...

The Mini is stripped back to be cleaned and prepped for its transformation.

The bonnet has been removed to make way for the seat. 

We choose a classic red colour to complement the gold wheels. 

We have used beautiful red leather and a coordinating fabric by Swaffer to upholster the seat that now sits in the Mini.

The finished article! What a stunning transformation.  If you’re at The Ideal Home Show why come to stand 1G30 and see it for yourself!


16 Amazingly Unique Chairs, Sofas and Settees from Pinterest

In the world of furniture, not everything has to follow the rigid rules of design. Sometimes, you can find something that breaks the mould and stands out from the crowd – as these 16 amazingly unique chairs, sofas and settees from Pinterest show.

1. Figure 6 chair

These organic-looking figure 6 chairs appear to flow into themselves, providing a natural and beautiful addition to the home. 

Figure of 6 Unique Chair by Joseph Walsh courtesy of Deidra Brocké Wallace via Pinterest 

2. Wine glass chair

If you’re the sort of person who likes to relax with a drink at the end of the day, these wine-inspired chairs are the ideal place to enjoy a classic vintage.

Merlot chairs courtesy of Lea Eaton via Pinterest 

3.Teacup chairs

If tea is your drink of choice, maybe these teacup chairs would be more suitable.

Image courtesy of LaVeta Griego via Pinterest

4. Grass chairs

Enliven your garden with grass covered sofas to retain the ‘natural’ look in your outdoor space.

Unique Sofa Outdoor Fresh Grass courtesy of Misha Genesis via Pinterest

5. Half dollar sofa

Although money has long played an important part in high-end furniture design, this half dollar covered sofa takes it to a whole new level.

Sofa made entirely out of half dollar coins courtesy of Skylar's Home & Patio via Pinterest 

6. Geometric sofa

This bright, geometrically designed sofa would look great in a minimalist home or as the centrepiece of any design-conscious interior.

Playful Swiss Knife Couch courtesy of Helene Eskildsen via Pinterest 

7. Shopping trolley chair

If all you think about when you see a supermarket trolley is the weekly shop, this quirky chair design should make you think again. 

Shopping trolley chair courtesy of Karen Grant via Pinterest 

8. Vintage bath settee

Enjoy a relaxing soak like never before in this stunning vintage bath settee. 

Vintage bath courtesy of Nancy Lewis via Pinterest 

9. Suitcase chair

Old suitcases can often come in handy, and this great chair design shows just how interesting furniture made from reclaimed or recycled suitcases can be.

Image courtesy of Anakiwa-Mūla Anaka via Pinterest

10. Magic carpet sofa

Ever fancied going for a magic carpet ride? Well this curvy sofa design may not whisk you off into the night, but it will provide a great centrepiece for your living room. 

Image courtesy of Coby Nonamegiven via Pinterest 

11. Cactus sofa

Though this cactus-inspired sofa may not look like the most comfortable place to relax, it’s guaranteed to make your friends prickle with envy. 

Image courtesy of Wessel Wessels via Pinterest

12. Phone box sofa

This bright, colourful and fun phone box sofa would make an eye-catching addition to any British home.

Image courtesy of Russell Deasley via Pinterest 

13. Luggage chairs

Versatile enough to act as tables and chairs, luggage has never been more chic! 

Image courtesy of Alter Novum via Pinterest

14. High-heel chairs

If shoes are your raison d’etre, what could be better than a huge pair of high-heeled chairs in your front room?

Unusual shoe chair courtesy of Coleen Uyehara via Pinterest

15.  Ultimate lounge chair

This cosy chair is the perfect place for relaxing on a cold winter’s day. The zip up sleeping bag makes it easy to crawl inside when everything gets a bit too much. 

Unusual lounge chair courtesy of Fine Home Decor 101 via Pinterest

16. Egg chairs

If you’re looking for a quirky and fun solution to your seating needs, these egg-cellent chairs could just be the answer. Great for kitchens and living rooms, they’d make a light-hearted addition to any home. 

Images courtesy of Cristina Prodigalidad via Pinterest 

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Famous Furniture of the Silver Screen

Have you ever been totally captivated by a film and felt transported to the time in which it’s set? No doubt you have, but it won’t just be high-calibre acting which has made this possible – the set and props will have played their part too.

While celebrities may be the ones winning the awards at the Oscars, they’re not the only cast members worthy of recognition. For those interested in famous furniture of the silver screen, here’s our rundown of some of the biggest stars from films through the ages.

Barcelona Chair from Casino Royale (2006)

Simple, elegant and stylish, the Barcelona chair has become synonymous with class over the years, making it the perfect addition to M’s flat in Casino Royale. The chair has been described as a cross between a folding chair and a throne – a good analogy of this practical, yet chic, piece of furniture.

                     Image courtesy of Memado Movie Blog 

Get the Look

Although the classic Barcelona chair is often upholstered in black or white leather, M’s chairs appear to be covered in a light brown suede material. Many people feel suede makes for a more homely, comfortable alterative to leather, but some feel using different fabrics can compromise the overall look. Regardless of what fabric type you go for, try and steer clear of patterns when attempting to recreate this look – it will take away from the simplicity of the design.

So there you have it – it’s not just the actors that are the starts of stage and screen. And with the wide range of reupholstery options and fabric choices out there, you can even recreate some of your favourite pieces of film furniture in your own home!


Tub style chair from The Great Gatsby (2013)

Full of pomp and flapper-generation glitz, The Great Gatsby was celebrated in cinema for its bold and beautiful portrayal of this classic novel set in the 1920s. Ornate furniture was a key feature and something you’ll see a lot of throughout the scenes. A particular favourite of ours is this striped tub style chair.

                      Image courtesy of Pure Inspiration

Get the look

To get the look yourself, chair reupholstery is a great option. Plumbs’ extensive choice of fabrics is sure to give you the look you crave with stripped patterns always a favourite.

For something as glamorous as the screen version, look for an ornately decorated chair with a wooden frame and decorative engravings.


Regal throne from Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Tim Burton’s take on this classic tale of fantasy and intrigue was a hit for many viewers and certainly paid close attention to costume and set. One of the standout triumphs of the film was this throne for the ruthless Queen of Hearts.

                                        Image courtesy of Alice in Wonderland on Deviant Art                         

Get the look

For this high-backed chair, you’ll need to reupholster existing furniture in a deep, red material. You’ll want something fairly thick with a soft and luxurious feel and may also want to consider a heart pattern to echo the heart-shaped back on the chair. Gold detailing is a must for any embroidery and can look particularly effective for accents such as piping.


New Creative Options for Leather Furniture

Leather upholstered furniture has been hugely popular over the last few years, particularly in the more trendy colours of chocolate and black and most commonly in 2 - 3 seater sofa styles. This plain leather look from all major furniture retailers has now been surpassed by a very stylish leather and luxury chenille combination giving real designer looks and sumptuous feel to cold and slippery leather.


Now Plumbs can offer you a complete transformation of your leather furniture into cutting edge looks of today with options of chenille back and seat cushions, arm covers and stunning scatter cushion combinations. A brand new look of opulence at a fraction of the cost of replacing your furniture in a similar styling.

Plumbs have combined with Wilman Interiors to offer the most up to the date featured designs of superb quality at real value for money prices. These creative option form part of the new "Dolce Vita" collection of furnishing fabrics. You can choose from the very latest metallic looks of Rossini, Carmela & Delanna in Black/Silver with Black Deco Chenille or Chocolate/Bronze coupled with Chocolate Deco Chenille. Or choose the cool contemporary looks of our Chocolate/Black Chenille Stripe and Polka Dot combinations. Finally we have the sheer elegance of our Black/Cream mini leaf and stripe options, whichever you choose, we guarantee the end result will be simply stunning.

Our double-sided and interlined "Super" throw using Deco Chenille on one side and anyone of our feature fabrics on the reverse complete with tassel trim is the ultimate in wrap around luxury.

Beautiful coordinating curtains are also available in almost all options to complete a superb new look for you and your home.

These are not just any furnishings, they are absolutely sumptuous and gorgeous furnishings.

To get a look like this, request a visit from your local Plumbs consultant who can show you our full range of fabrics and give advice on your best options.  No hard-sell and no obligation to buy, only a local friendly service!

Request your visit here...

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