We appreciate that buying furniture can be testing. It's not easy to choose something that could be part of your life for decades.
With this in mind, we put together this little guide to help you purchase pieces that suit your home and your lifestyle. After all, we don’t want the process to break your brain.
The Basics of Choosing Furniture
You can go in to infinite detail when it comes to creating the perfect interior scheme for your home. However, if you don’t have the time or energy to be at that, we recommend sticking to the following basics:
- Choose furniture that matches your lifestyle. For example, if you have young kids, it’s probably a very sensible idea to stay away from light-coloured upholstery.
- Buy furniture that’s right for your home. Trying to find a way to fit a large sideboard into a small dining room just because you love it is a waste of time.
- If you don’t yet have your foot on the property ladder, we recommend keeping everything neutral. That way your furniture will looks as good in your next home as it does in your current abode.
- Don’t forget storage. Clutter can really detract from the look and feel of a room so make sure the furniture you choose leaves you with a place to put everything.
How to Make Sure Your Furniture Will Fit
You’d be amazed by how many times we have tried to deliver furniture only to find that it won’t fit in through the door/hall/stairwell. What is more, sometimes we struggle hard to get it into a home only to learn that the piece is just too big for the room it was bought for. You can save on disappointment by following these simple steps:
- Measure access points to make sure the furniture will fit into your home and the room itself. Factor in immovable objects like bannisters as they can be a real deal breaker.
- To get an idea of how furniture will sit in proportion with the rest of the room, consider marking out the piece’s dimensions with newspaper.
- Remember to leave extra space around the furniture for doors and drawers to open unimpeded. Remember also to allow enough space to move around the room. Sounds silly but it’s an important step.
Veneer, Wood or Metal Furniture
The type of material used in furniture construction basically falls into three categories: metal, veneer or solid wood. There are pros and cons to each. If we had a favourite it would be solid wood but that is not to say the others aren’t up to scratch. Below is a very short breakdown of what's on offer:
- Solid wood furniture is never an expense. It’s an investment. Care for it correctly and it will last for generations. It can add a feel of permanence to any room and the fact that each item features a unique grain means you will always own a one-of-a-kind piece.
- Veneer furniture (furniture made from MDF and covered with thin pieces of wood) may not be quite as alluring as solid wood but it should not be discredited. Veneer is light (which is great if you move around a bit or if you feel the need to change room layout regularly) and, more importantly, affordable. Veneer furniture can look every bit as good as solid wood.
- Metal furniture (the type we tend to stock is often referred to as hairpin furniture) is extremely durable and easy-to-look-after. Because most metal furniture is made from aluminium, it also tends to be lightweight, which is handy for the same reasons as listed above.
A Brief Guide to Choosing Upholstery
We re-upholster practically everything that leaves our store. For the most part we opt for neutral and darker colours and we do this because we think they are the best looking, highly versatile and the most practical. We do, however, appreciate that ours is unlikely to be the only store you visit on your search so we advise bearing the following in mind when you make your choice:
- Choose the upholstery that matches your lifestyle. If you have young kids in your house, avoid light colours and choose a durable material such as leather or vinyl.
- Match the size of the pattern to the size of the piece. For example, a large pattern on a small couch will look a little bit ridiculous. A good designer may be able to make this work now, but we suspect such a look is unlikely to stand the test of time.
- Plain, neutral colours are more versatile than patterned upholstery so they will still look great if you decide to re-decorate. They are also timeless so they’ll never go out of fashion. Plaids and small check patterns are probably the exception to the rule, particularly when it comes to mid-century furniture.
Some Final Thoughts
Deciding on furniture is always going to be a matter of taste and preference. But before you take the plunge, run through this quick list of furniture buying tips to avoid getting it wrong:
- Larger rooms can cope with dark wood furniture better than modest rooms. Dark wood looks bigger (and heavier) which is great when used correctly but it can be overbearing in smaller homes.
- When shopping for furniture to place in small rooms, look out for open-sided designs, light-coloured wood like beech or elm and glass table tops. Each one of these design features can create a sense of space and light.
- The secret to buying a good table is to establish in advance how many people you need to seat at it. If you don’t entertain much, or if you live in a small home, round tables or drop leaf tables are ideal. If you like to play host, extendable tables help you make the most of any available space.