At first, the thought of buying new furniture for your home seems exciting and full of possibilities. It’s a chance to create an environment that suits your personality and lifestyle and perhaps experiment with new colours or ideas that you’ve been gathering on Pinterest.
But that’s also when it becomes a daunting task. Unless you’re an experienced interior designer/decorator (or have loads of time to plan and research), this fun project can quickly go downhill and start to feel like a frustrating and time-consuming chore.
There are two ways you can go about this.
If you have the budget and would like to create an interior that will last for years to come, it’s well worth working with a professional interior designer. Not only will they help shape your ideas into something concrete, they can also open up new ideas you hadn’t considered and take the design concept to the next level. They’ll take a load off your plate by doing the legwork when it comes to sourcing items and an added bonus is that they have industry connections and knowledge to create what you want within set parameters.
(We’re fans of Edwards McCoy, a luxury interior design company that blends beautiful design aesthetics with function and comfort. They’re based in the UK but work globally for both residential and commercial projects.)
Of course, if you’re more of a DIY kind of person who likes to be hands-on and tackle the details, the home design and decor stores will be your playground. And if you approach this thoughtfully and with a plan, you’ll end up with pieces that you love and a cohesive look that pulls everything together.
But before you pull out your credit card, here are 5 things to think about when selecting new furniture for your home.
Buy the absolute best quality available within your budget. If it’s within your means to pay a bit extra for something that is clearly of higher quality and that you love, go for it instead of opting to save a few pennies. In the long run, you’ll end up saving money because there’s a good chance that poor quality furniture will start to show wear a lot sooner than you’d like and that you’ll toss it after a couple of years.
Make sure that whatever you’re looking at—a sofa, armchair, console—is well-constructed and made from quality materials. If it’s a wood piece, check that it’s solid wood and not, for example, MDF (medium density fiberboard) or particleboard. You want your furniture to feel sturdy and heavy, especially for items that will see a lot of use.
Is it modern or traditional? What is the general aesthetic of your home and what is your personal style? Do you lean towards classic shapes, love the vintage look of mid-century pieces, or have an affinity for clean, sharp lines? While it’s completely possible to mix and match styles, remember that your furniture should reflect who you are.
Also, if you’re looking at investment pieces, consider whether they will be able to withstand the test of time. Choose wisely and the pieces you buy now will be able to hold their own five or ten years down the road and not look completely dated.
The size of your furniture should be proportionate to the size of your room. If your lounge is on the cosier side, you might want to reconsider that large sectional you’ve had your eye on and think about scaling down. And as lovely as that little side table looks on that furniture website, it might get lost in a spacious bedroom with a king size bed.
We love beautifully upholstered pieces as much as the next person but we’ve also experienced the pains of removing marks on light fabrics and witnessing wear and tear on expensive chairs. Be practical in this consideration and take into account who will be using the furniture and your level of commitment to its maintenance.
An occasional chair that is used, well, occasionally, can be the perfect opportunity for indulging in a rich velvet or silk. But if you have children, pets, or like to enjoy a nightly glass of Syrah on the couch as you catch up on TV shows, a white linen sofa without a slipcover is an expensive headache waiting to happen.
Instead, consider darker fabrics that hide stains, materials like microfiber which are known for being kid-friendly, or classic leather which is tough but wears nicely.
If you’re just dying to splurge on a custom-made velvet tufted chaise, make sure you can dedicate the time to maintain it on a regular basis in between professional cleanings.
It’s also a great idea to gain inspiration from what’s on trend for the season. A lot of these “trends” will actually work long after if carefully planned. For example, right now we’d go for a sofa or armchair in a deep navy (which is having a moment right now) but choose a classic shape or fabric to balance it out and then brighten it up with a bit of blush pink (another popular coulor this season), perhaps in the form of a few accent pillows or a luxurious throw.
FORM AND FUNCTION
One of the toughest things is finding the perfect balance between how it looks and how it will be used.
Buy furniture that is aesthetically pleasing to you and has character, whether in the finish, the small details like nailheads, or an unexpected bit of colour. With so much variety these days, you’re no longer relegated to staid, boring pieces. But do think about the general style of your home. For example, those lucite dining room chairs look fantastic in an airy loft but they won’t have the same look or feel in your farmhouse-style home.
Also, don’t forget to test the comfort level of the furniture. It’s no use buying a beautiful designer sofa if it feels like sitting on a park bench. These are items that you’re going to be using on a regular basis—if it’s not comfortable, what’s the point?
BONUS: DECOR ACCENTS
If you decide to play it safe with your furniture, you can always have a bit of fun with the decor accents in the room to add character. We understand that it’s often easier to select a neutral palette and classic shapes in an effort to create a timeless look that won’t look dated after a year!
Use this opportunity to add some trendy accent pieces that can easily be swapped out when you decide to switch things up again. This year, in addition to navy blues and soft pinks, we’re seeing lots of vibrant greens, metals, and textures. Finish off your room with items like pillows, rugs, lamps, and side tables for these trends – they’re less of an investment and much easier to rotate around to create fresh new looks.
(Read more about 2017’s trends here.)