One of the most common questions I get from clients is how to select furniture that fits their space and blends well with their decor. There are thousands of options out there today so how do you start? Here are some things to consider when selecting furniture pieces for your home or office.
It’s important to look for furniture that is made well from good quality materials. The furniture should feel solidly constructed. You don’t want furniture that will fall apart after a few months of usage even if it looks great. Solid wood construction with dovetail joints are structurally the best and will last much longer than particleboard or light aluminum. So, if you are looking for a sofa or accent chair, find how the frame was constructed. Feel the frame and sit on the furniture to see if it’s comfortable for you. For example, check how the cushion was manufactured. An eight-way hand-tied coil spring is high on quality and comfort. Ask about the density of the foam and whether it’s wrapped in cotton, dacron, or down. If you are in the market for dressers, check to see if the drawers glide smoothly and if they are self closing.
Purchasing good quality furniture is an investment and it’s important that you select furniture you love that harmonizes and flows with your space. The shape of a piece of furniture also reflects you. If you have a boxy room and you notice that you have quite a few existing rectangular or square shaped items, break it up with a round coffee table in your living room for example or teardrop table lamps in your bedroom. If you have a rectangular dining table, select chairs with curvilinear legs or hang a quatrefoil mirror in the entryway.
If all your furniture is made out of wood or has the same wood finish, consider a different stain or finish. You don’t want your pieces to look matchy-matchy or have it look like it came out of a Pottery Barn catalog. Mix up your space with different finishes. Try a glass console with a metal frame in your entryway or bar stools with brass legs for your kitchen island or peninsula. If you have a dark finish in your living room like an espresso finish, introduce different stains such as gray, cherry, or pine to break up the dark espresso that can seem heavy in the space.
Do you like leather, cotton, velvet, suede, microfiber? There are endless options for materials and more and more furniture stores are offering fabric in solid colors or in patterns so that consumers can create custom pieces for their space. However, it’s not just about picking fabric based on how it looks, but also on durability, how it feels, how you live, and who will use the furniture. If you have kids and pets, try a faux suede for your lounge chair or consider Sunbrella indoor-outdoor fabric for your sofa or drapes. If you have a busy household, stay away from delicate or textured options, like silk, which could be hard to clean if it is stained and snags easily. Also, think about how the material will age over time. How will it look in a few years? If you have a leather couch, are you ok as it darkens with age and develops a patina?
Do you want furniture that serves multiple functions? Perhaps you don’t have a lot of space in your home or office and you are looking for space saving furniture. Consider multifunctional furniture like an ottoman that can be used as additional seating but also provides storage space. How about a wall mounted drop leaf table that functions as a desk when fully opened and also serves as a wall shelf when closed? Or a leaning shelf bookcase that also functions as a computer desk in a small home office? There are many multifunctional furniture pieces out there that can work well in your space.
Another important thing to take into consideration when selecting furniture is the maintenance required. Is it easy to clean? Think about whether you want furniture that is easy to clean or will require repeated maintenance. If you have a leather accent chair it might be harder to clean than a upholstered fabric sofa. Avoid placing furniture in the sun as it can cause the material to fade and even fray.
Selecting the right furniture pieces can take some time, especially one that you love and want to fit perfectly into your space and interior decor. Take it one step at a time and create a checklist. Keep in mind the 6 tips above and most importantly think about how you live, how you want the furniture to function and feel, who will use the furniture, how it ages over time, how easy or hard it is to maintain, and also how it looks. It’s a lot to think about and if you need help selecting furniture and/or arranging furniture, contact an interior designer to help you save time and money.