Abigail Ahern on how to create a happy home with interiors

The article talks a bit about the pursuit of happiness. It seems to me that very many people are doing a lot of ‘pursuing’ and not a lot of ‘happiness’ing. I’m not so sure that interiors can make you happy can they? Maybe sometimes in a limited way. Generally, they give the facility/space/environment to be happy in.

How safe is your furniture

Article From HSTSS

On 13th January 2014 the BBC broadcast an episode of Fake Britain which focused on the sale of sofas and mattresses in the UK which were claimed to be non-compliant with the Furniture & Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988.


Woolworths Fire, Manchester 1979

The programme showed 10 sofas being purchased by Leicestershire Trading Standards from a number of well-known retailers and a number of memory-foam mattresses purchased by the programme makers themselves.

When these were tested by independent testing laboratories all of them failed to meet the current UK Regulations. The testing was shown alongside video footage of the fire at Woolworth’s in Manchester in 1979 in which 10 people lost their lives and which ultimately led to the development of the regulatory regime for upholstered furniture.

HSTTS are aware that most if not all retailers already demand that all such items falling under the Furniture Regulations are independently tested and evidence of compliance (usually in the form of test reports) submitted to the retailer to keep on file for reference. In some instances the retailer is also commissioning their own testing on goods actually delivered to the retailer as part of a due diligence program.

The BBC programme inferred that, based on their testing, there may be a significant proportion of non-compliant upholstered furniture and mattresses on the UK market. HSTTS does not know how true this inference is but how confident are you that the products you place on the market are compliant with the strict UK Regulations?

HSTTS is able to offer a range of fully UKAS-accredited flammability testing for upholstery fabrics and filling materials for furniture and mattresses including:

Crib test

Furniture & Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations:

  • Schedule 1 (foam fillings test)
  • Schedule 2 (Non-foam filling tests)
  • Schedule 3 (interliner test)
  • Schedule 4 (‘cigarette’ test)
  • Schedule 5 (‘match’ test)

The above tests are based on

BS 5852:Part 1:1979, BS 5852:Part 2:1982 and BS 6807:1986.

Other tests available include:

  • BS 7176 Ignitability of upholstered furniture
  • BS 7177 Ignitability of mattresses, divans and bed-bases
  • BS 5852:2006
  • EN 1021-1 and EN 1012-2
  • EN 597-1 and EN 597-2

and many more …

The UK’s current fire safety regulations for furniture have been estimated to save approximately 250 lives every year since their introduction in 1988. Changes in the supply chain market such as the admission of new countries to the EU and the movement of manufacturing offshore affects the potential for non-compliant product to be placed on the UK market and the retailer or importer must become ever more vigilent.

How well do you know your supply chain?

Do you have adequate records to show the traceability between test reports for the individual materials used in upholstered furniture and mattresses and the furniture/mattresses that you sell?

Not only can HSTTS provide testing services but our team of experts can provide consultancy and guidance on how to ensure that you have a robust system of traceability.

Don’t let yourselves get caught out – lives are at risk!

For more information and advice:

For more information and advice about flammability testing or compliance with the UK Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988, contact:

          Paul Neesam, Head of Fire Testing             pauln@hstts.co.uk

Interior design with textures in mind

Just as it is important to decorate the home with a pleasing blend of colors, it is equally important to add warmth and depth to a room by ensuring there are layers of texture. This could be as simple as laying a rug over a hardwood floor or lining walls with textured wallpaper.

Why do interiors need texture?

Textures bring a home to life; the absence of them kills a room stone dead. A living space needs to have gradations of color. Paint and decorate a room in simple, flat colors without any textural break and it will be sterile and boring. But add a few textures, and the room suddenly becomes a lot more appealing.

Textures for the walls

Walls can have a major impact on a room and help to set the tone for the rest of the interior design. Add texture to this wide area of space by papering with embossed or Anaglypta wallpaper. This can then be painted to the color of choice, yet still allowing the raised pattern to show through. Alternatively, hang a paper that is already colored and has a raised pattern, such as a thick woven effect or floral pattern. Extra care needs to be taken with this kind of wallpaper, as it can be easily damaged.

An alternative to wallpaper is to line the walls with wooden paneling. Wood has its own natural beauty, with each plank or panel, because of the distinctive wood grain, being entirely unique. Wood has the effect of immediately ‘cozying’ up a room, making a truly inviting space.

A more modern take on wall decoration is the lining of interior walls with a fake brick veneer. This can give a room a rustic and warm feel.

Textures for the windows

Windows provide an excellent opportunity to add textures. Curtains can be hung on their own or teamed with blinds, either roller, Venetian or Roman, to build up the layers. It is important, however, not to overdo the patterns. If the curtains are patterned, then the blinds should be plain, and vice versa.

An alternative, and very on-trend at the moment, is custom fitted shutters. These are a simple and streamlined way to dress the windows, yet due to their adjustable slats and hinged folds, they have layers of texture too.

Textures for the floors

Hardwood or laminate flooring has been a popular choice for many years now, but it can be a little cold. Add warmth and texture by laying down rugs. These will also help to break up the space and provide an opportunity to add accent colors.

Carpets are a traditional choice for the home, and are especially desirable in the more private areas of the home, such as the bedroom. A deep and soft carpet will add warmth and a sense of luxury to this room.


Once the shell of the room has been decorated, it is time to add the furniture. Choose seating that has different upholstery, with one sofa being covered in fabric and another in leather, and build up layers of texture on them with various types of cushions.