We asked three Lighting Showroom of the Year nominees for January’s 17th Annual ARTS Awards  to tell us into which accessories categories they’ve expanded and how well they’ve managed to weave them into their existing product mix.
Paige Ward, Buyer, Curtains and Area Rugs, Shades of Light , Richmond, VA.
Curtains are new to our company in the last year, and they’re doing fabulous. The category represents about 9 percent of total sales. Area rugs represent another 24 percent, and the rest is lighting and accessories.
Our thrust is to do classifications, but we also do lifestyle vignettes. We also have little partition walls, and that’s where most of the curtains are featured. They’re strategically placed throughout the store. We like to use lifestyle settings to feature a rug and curtains and all kinds of lighting, and the furniture helps marry the pieces.
Julie Fields, Lighting Consultant, Rensen House of Lights , Lenexa, KS
We have a large inventory of accessories, including permanent florals, pillows, throws and area rugs. We have some novelties, like the whimsical martini glasses from Bard Intl. , and we keep adding product every time we go to High Point.
Our newest category is area rugs. We don’t have a traditional rug rack, so it’s hard to merchandise them. But we’ve seen growth in the category in the last year and a half.
We display accessories using vignettes and a total floor-to-ceiling approach. We’ll have a dining room table, and we tell a story on the table. We’ll display some blown-glass vases and feature a Murano glass chandelier, so the client can see a total picture.
Carrie Arnold, Vice President, Phillips Lighting & Home , Modesto, CA
We’re so broad in accessories. We carry the novelty fragrance lamps from Lampe Berger , which have done well. We found a company that makes cute little computer mouse pads that look like area rugs. It’s good to have impulse items.
We have a large rug rack. We use vignettes, but we find we do better in any accessories category by devoting a department to it. That legitimizes the product in the customer’s mind.
We’ve had only limited success with throws and pillows, although we still carry them. Since we carry some dining room furniture, we carry dining room accessories—centerpieces and plates, wine glasses and wine racks—and we do a fine job with table runners. In permanent florals, we find we do well with trees 7 feet and higher—for the larger homes in our area.