The ever-increasing sophistication of digital imaging technology is allowing RTA furniture maker Sauder Woodworking Co. to go more deeply into the category of “whole home”collections that include dining, bedroom, kitchen and occasional as well as home office and entertainment.

In these furniture collections seen at the Spring High Point Market, imported wood pieces are paired with domestically produced laminate furniture, and often, it’s almost impossible to tell which is which.

Just as the laminate flooring industry is creating textured surfaces that mimic stone and wood, so Sauder is creating laminate furniture that feels like wood to the touch. The “grain” even creates shadows when viewed sideways.

Creators of the laminate covering are getting much better at matching the texture to the visual design, says Marketing Director Mike Lambright.

Pieces with this level of sophistication cost more than standard RTA, but, he says, they’re still much less expensive than wood.

Coordination – not matching – is the right word for the mix of laminates and wood, says Lambright as he shows off new collections and new additions to existing collections at the current High Point Market. “Matchy-matchy is not the trend.”

A black and white color trend seen elsewhere at the market is evidenced in faux leather and cloth upholstered dining chairs. They surround glass and faux marble tabletops in the contemporary Shoal Creek collection. Nickel-finish hardware dramatically sets off the collection’s dark finish.

In several collections, the addition of a SofaCon, Sauder’s cloth-upholstered take on a futon frame, turns a group of occasional pieces into a den.

Entertainment is still a big category with Sauder, with one tiered showroom display illustrating the sizes of entertainment centers available in the Carson Forge collection. On the bottom is the latest, a credenza to go with a 70-inch screen. Two more, graduating down in size, complete the pyramid.

In home office, Sauder is hedging its bets. Though many customers have gone to laptops and iPads and no longer need computer desks with storage capacity, there are others who still want them, Lambright says.

The company still provides desk and deck combinations for these, but it’s also making writing tables and what may be the smallest home office yet, a coffee table with a lift top that can be pulled up and out to support books, laptops and the like.

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