Smartphones, Smart Cars, and . . . Smart Beds?

Have you noticed that we are living in a time driven and consumed by technology? If not, then there’s a chance you are so consumed by this technology that you haven’t noticed the changing landscape around you. But don’t worry, I’m not here to convince you to assign all the problems of society to high tech nor to heap endless praise on the advancement of technology. I’m simply here to share a little about the incredible hype around high tech advancements for consumer goods.

Every year we are privy to a new round of the, what seems eternal, battle between Apple and Samsung for the best technological development to smartphones. We witness keynote speeches and creative marketing campaigns aimed to grab our attention & show us how the biggest and best next iPhone or Galaxy will change the world as we know it. phones.jpgThere’s a similar, but not as cyclical, hype around smart cars. The smart car revolution is led by the frontman that is Elon Musk of Tesla. Unlike the smartphone industry, our attention is pulled in many directions because there are a seemingly infinite number of players producing the disruptive technology in the automobile industry.
tesla.jpgWhile smart cars and smartphones are two rapidly advancing industries, what if I told you about an industry that has advanced much more quickly – as in 50 times more – while receiving next to no hype? It’s the mattress industry! I’m serious, Tempur-Pedic, Sealy and Stearns & Foster are pushing the technological advancement of the mattress industry at an impressive pace. And while their advancements might not be as sexy as a new smartphone, mattresses are in fact the latest high tech gadget.

Here’s some basic info: the most popular mattresses are still innerspring. What’s new is that consumers have a vast selection of substances to sleep on, ranging from foam (gel, latex, or memory) to simply air. Tempur Sealy has even developed hybrid mattresses that combine the comfort and pressure relief of foam with the support of coils. Additional options also include pillow-top, filling constructed of natural (organic and chemical-free) materials and orthopedic. mattress.jpgAlso, if you’re buying a frame to go with your bed, the standard box spring is old news. Adjustable bases are the growing trend for the younger generation as we work, read & watch more TV from our beds. An adjustable base will also help you rest in a more comfortable and pain-free position for your 6 to 8 hours. And what’s cool is whether your fine-tune your position for better entertainment or sleep you can adjust your base with your phone via Bluetooth! That’s so cool! adjustable.jpgIf you think that’s crazy, there are more advancements then first meet the eye. These smart beds can monitor your movements, recognize if you’re in pain, and respond by easing the pressure on the mattress. Additionally, if you suffer from insomnia, sleep apnea, reflux, back, neck or shoulder pain or snore, adjustable bases can be set for your particular needs so you rest at almost zero gravity alleviating many of these common problems. Beds are getting more comfortable, supportive and smarter!

After reading this short mattress update, the process of choosing your next mattress has become more exciting and customizable! If the endless options seem overwhelming, feel free to come in Virginia Furniture Market for a free sleep profile. You can rest assured that we will work to help you find the perfect bed to offer you a better night’s rest.

-Andy the Intern

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Spring will Soon have Sprung

It’s hard to believe that yesterday was the first day of spring. Seriously, right now I’m on the couch, drinking a warm cup of hot chocolate with little marshmallows, watching snow gracefully fall and pile up outside. On a day like today, spring dresses, pastel shorts, and Easter Sunday seem years away, but thankfully they will be here soon. But what can we do until spring actually starts to look and feel like spring? If you’re like me, you will daydream craving the joys winter weather cannot bring. And if you feel so inclined, join me as I visualize, in anticipation, a beautiful spring day.

Life will be in the air again. By life, I don’t mean pollen. The awful transition phase (or phases if you live in Virginia) from white snow to yellow dust is no more. Your eyes and throat are no longer as scratchy as a wool sweater and you don’t sneeze every other minute anymore. By life, I also don’t mean water. The time of year has passed where almost every day you feel like a massive bucket of water is being filled and then dumped on you over and over again like at your kid’s favorite water park.

By life, I mean all that is wonderful about springtime. It is the ideal temperature to wear your favorite outfit. Every sip of your favorite beverage is a perfect combination of cool and refreshing. Birds chirp in flawless harmony. Children laugh without a care in the world. Photographers relish the opportunity to go outside and capture a moment of this day and cling to it for an eternity.

Parks are no longer home to barren trees and covered with dead grass. They are revitalized with color and waiting for their beauty to be rediscovered and admired. Outdoor patio furniture is no longer just a decorative piece in your backyard. You can bring out the outdoor cushions and pillows and spend your evenings under the light of the stars curled up by the warmth of the fire.backyard 2Now if the mention of patio furniture interrupted your spring fantasy and sent you into a spiral of uncertainty as to whether you covered your wicker furniture or removed its cushions before the snow, I’m sorry to have startled you. I hope you came to the calming realization that your furniture is in fact fine. But if not, or if thinking about spring has you considering an upgrade of your outdoor furniture, you’re at the right place. At Virginia Furniture Market, we have the largest selection in the area at the very best prices on outdoor furniture. We also boast a knowledgeable sales staff who will work in concert with your vision to help construct your dream outdoor space.backyard 7So whether your dream spring day is spent sitting on a park bench watching your children’s imagination flourish, napping in your hammock as it sways in the gentle afternoon breeze, or having friends over to eat fresh fruit salad and a grilled entrée in your outdoor dining room, we would love to help make your beautiful springtime vision a reality.backyardHappy Spring,

Andy the Intern

Highlights of the Christmas Season

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A guy can hope to wake up to this, right?

Let’s say the white Christmas you have been dreaming of is a reality this year. After the presents are frantically opened and breakfast and coffee have been consumed, all the children beg to go play in the winter wonderland outside. Being the great parent, aunt, uncle or grandparent that you are you grant permission to go outside and you go with them, equally excited because you unashamedly love playing in the snow as much as they do! You spend hours pushing kids down a hill and then carrying them back up, you get low to the ground and work diligently to make the perfect snowman, not to mention the multiple snowball fights you start and the ones that catch you off guard. It is the time of your life, the highlight of the Christmas season for you. But as soon as you stamp the snow from your boots and hang up your sopping wet clothes there’s nothing more you want to do than collapse into the recliner by the fire. So you do because you’ve earned it. 

Maybe you’re not the winter wonderland explorer (either by choice or if you’re not guaranteed snow where you or your family lives). But you cannot wait for the conversations around the crowded, fully-extended dining room table. You’ve been rehearsing your funniest story with the hopes of delivering it in such a way that one of your siblings suddenly spit out the liquid they were drinking because they could not control their laughter. Yet you will most likely be outshined when Timmy asks an innocent question at the perfect moment, sending the whole room into a laugh-so-hard-you-cry frenzy. Or when grandpa, for the thousandth time, tells the story of how nervous he was on his first date with grandma. And you’re okay with your story being topped because you love being around the table with family. That is the highlight of the Christmas season for you.

Maybe you’re the competitive one (every family has one). You wait for the end of the day when the kids are in bed, the wine is uncorked, and the games begin. Whether Pictionary, charades or a newer game, you all file into the living room and plop down on the big sectional and get ready for the main event of the evening. Everyone recalls their version of the infamous whiteboard breaking of ’09. It’s true, the competition has gotten the best of you before, but you genuinely love playing games with family. It brings back fond memories of when you were growing up together. That’s another highlight of the Christmas season for you.

I know there are many more highlights of the Christmas season that I haven’t mentioned! Share with us in the comments what part of the Christmas season you’re most looking forward to or your favorite Christmas memory of all time. We’d love to hear from you!

Merry Christmas,

Andy the Intern

The Truth Behind Leather Furniture

Trust me I know furniture can be a scary purchase & when it comes to leather furniture it can be even scarier! In a world full of retailers who tout genuine leather furniture, only to send you home with something that peels & chips six months later (yikes) is unacceptable. That seems to be the norm in furniture, unfortunately. However, at Virginia Furniture Market we educate our customers. So I am here today to share a few real leather facts & how to spot real leather the next time you’re in a furniture store!

1) There are two main types of leather used in furniture; they are Split & Top Grain Leather.

Top grain leather comes from the epidermis layer of the hide, a.k.a. the rough outer part of the hide similar to the top layer of our skin. Split leather is the layer right below the epidermis layer on the hide. Split leather is a more cost-effective option but does not have the same strength as top grain leather. So make sure when shopping you ask what type of leather the piece is made of.

2) It can take up to 400 pounds of pressure to puncture leather!

Talk about something that is built to last. You’ll have to break out the power tools to pop a hole in a leather sofa.

3) If the price is too good to be true, it’s probably not real leather.

Leather is expensive; it costs more to produce a leather sofa. My father always told me “if you want quality you’re going to pay for it.” A leather sofa will cost a little more but remember a leather sofa typically outlasts a cloth sofa’s life by 3x.

4) Zippers are the key to telling if its real or fake leather!

Quality furniture has zippers!!! If you remember anything from this post remember that. Zippers give you the ability to re-stuff your furniture years down the line when things start to sag. But even more importantly, zippers give you the ability to look at the hide.

Which one of these chairs is leather if you had to guess?

If you guessed left you are correct! The way to tell this is by looking on the backside of the hide/fabric.

The real leather chair on the backside of the hide will feel & look natural along with a leather smell

If you look above fake leather will typically have a man-made material on the backside of the fake leather, which is a direct giveaway that it is not a genuine product. Always remember when shopping for furniture that it’s okay to get your hands a little dirty and inspect a product. In the end, it’s going to be in your home so make sure its right :)!

5) If it adjusts to your body temperature quickly it’s probably leather!

Leather is a natural material meaning that it soaks up the oils in your skin as well as heat that your body gives off. So when in doubt sit it out! After about thirty seconds, you should be able to feel the leather change and adjust to your body temperature. If it’s still cold after you’ve been sitting for a couple of minutes…. its probably not leather.

If you’ve made it this far, I Ryan the Real, officially crown you a leather professional. In a world of imitation leathers, you will be guaranteed to spot the fakes like a pro. However, if you decide leather is right for you, visit Virginia Furniture Market and one of our professionals will be honest with you when it comes to this mysterious thing called leather. So next time, skip the research and make your way down to VFM and learn the benefits of real top grain leather!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Peace,

Ryan Real!

Six Surprising Facts About Mattresses

You spend more time in your bed than on all the other furniture in your house. But if you’re like me, you don’t give your mattress much thought unless there’s a problem. Allow me to change your focus for a moment. Here are 6 facts to help you get to know your mattress a little better.

1. Vegetables Were Used to Fill the First Mattresses.

The first mattresses were stuffed with pea pods?!

What are we supposed to do with that fact? Well, when you lay in bed next to your loved one, remember y’all are like peas in a pod.

2. It’s Illegal to Buy a Mattress on Sunday in Washington.

The weekend! Primetime for us to go mattress shopping! But for Washingtonians, that’s a no-go on Sunday. An old law in Washington state declares that it is illegal to purchase or sell a mattress on Sundays. Also banned for Sunday shoppers are televisions and meat!

The origin of the law is unknown, yet it was cited by multiple sites. However, it doesn’t appear to be strictly enforced so if you happen to be in Washington on a Sunday afternoon you shouldn’t have an issue.

3. We Sweat and Shed All Over Our Beds at Night!

We lose millions of skin cells per day, MILLIONS! We spend about one-third of each day on our mattress. Therefore, a significant portion of our skin cells winds up in bed with us. We also sweat while sleeping, with some sources estimating anywhere from several milliliters to one liter nightly. So on top of the dust mites that make mattresses their home, it’s also home to our lost skin cells, sweat, and other fluids.

So let’s do ourselves and our mattresses a favor by using a protective mattress cover. These will protect our beds from absorbing shed skin, sweat and spills and can be washed regularly to keep our bed in healthy condition.

4. Mattresses can be Recycled.

If you are like me, the last fact makes you want to get as far away from your mattress as possible. At this point, we are all wondering how quickly we can put our mattresses on a spaceship to Pluto. Sadly, even if we pool resources, it will not be a quick or cost-effective way to dispose of the dust mite and skinned filled mattresses (trust me, I Googled it). Realistically, we have two options, we can send it to a landfill where it will take up space for centuries, or we could recycle it

Recycling is a growing industry and many states and organizations are pushing for increased mattress recycling to reduce waste. The springs and metal can be repurposed, wood and fibers can become a fuel source, and foams and fabrics can be recycled for use in padding and other applications.

5. Tossing and Turning is a Sign to Move On.

We all know the obvious signs of a declining mattress. When our mattress has more hills and valleys than the Appalachian Trail, that is not good. When the ends of metal springs poke us in the back, that is not cool. And when stuffing is sliding out of what used to be a small hole, that is not a promising sign. In that stage of the mattress life cycle, sleep does not come easy and replacement is imminent.

But aesthetic problems are not the only reason for us to head to the store. If we spend countless nights tossing and turning and simply are not sleeping as well as we used to at home, it might be time to make an investment to end the frustration. Especially if we find we sleep better away from home.

6. Buying a New Mattress Might Zap Your Stress.

Time for a science experiment!

Not a stress-inducing science lab, actually the opposite. A small study was conducted in 2009, 59 healthy men and women slept for 28 consecutive nights on their regular mattresses, then another 28 nights on new, medium-firm mattresses. The participants were asked to evaluate their stress levels based on factors like worrying, racing thoughts, nervousness, irritability, headaches, trembling and more. Sleeping in the new beds resulted in “a significant decrease in stress,” according to the study, possibly because of the increase in sleep quality and a decrease in pain associated with the firmer setup.

Many of you just read this while lying in bed and don’t know what to do with the above facts. Feel free to sound smart and share the facts with your friends in book club, on Facebook, or come to Virginia Furniture Market and talk with me. I need an outlet for the absurd amount of mattress facts I now have. Whether you keep the above facts to yourself or share them, I hope one day you have the opportunity to use this knowledge to win a game show.


Here’s to a Great Night’s Sleep,

Andy the Intern