As a first-time homeowner, finding the right furniture for your home can be a daunting experience. There are a lot of things and factors to consider – style, function and colour; size of the item; the purpose; location in the house; and that’s before you consider the sheer choice of furniture items!
What is Furniture?
It might seem a silly question, but a piece of furniture is any fixture used in the house for the purpose of practical use (kitchen table) to comfort (sofa) or to arrange and store items (cupboards).
Mostly, furniture is used to keep the place in order, clutter-free, and provide aesthetic value to a room. Some of the more common pieces of furniture for home are tables, beds, desks, cupboards, dressers, chairs, cabinets, and wardrobes. In an office setting, this can be in the form of desks, drawers, and supply cabinets. Furniture is generally offered in a range of styles, size and budgets to suit most rooms.
Many items can also be used in the office or at home for the purposes of demarcating zones or designating areas.
For those who have awkward shapes or large rooms, or perhaps prefer a bespoke option, furniture can be custom-made to suit the specific requirements you have.
Whether you want furniture for a purely functional reason, so maximise your space or express your personality – the choice & preference is yours
As a general rule of thumb, there is no right and wrong way to choose furniture for your home or workplace. After all, it all boils down to what you want, what you need to use it for & how you feel about buying it. To help, here are some tips to choosing a great piece of furniture
Create or designate a focal point
Consider the area that you are focusing on – whether it is the living room, bedroom, kitchen, patio or a private office – be mindful of what you wish to emphasize. Creating a focal point gives a room purpose, aside from the practical use of the room. It could be a window, a stunning garden view, a beautiful old fireplace or a simple TV.
Once you have identified your focal point, you can choose furniture, soft furnishings and decoration to emphasize that area. Consider the layout of your room and where you place the furniture to keep the attention on your focal point. Don’t forget to consider how you will “see” the focal point at different heights & positions within the room – what impact do you want on entering the room; what extras do you want to see when seated; how does the light work through the room – all will help to maximise the WOW you deliver.
Consider mobility and moving around the room
One of the most common pitfalls is buying furniture without consideration of how you will use the room or the flow of traffic through it.
Consider how people will go in and out of the area; how they will access windows and doors; how they will get to tables, chairs and sofas; and where the main flow of traffic will be. Buying furniture without considering this can result in bottlenecks & pinch points, or crowding and make the feel smaller than it actually is. Diversify your choice of furniture as much as possible to match your style with the practical use of the room
Measure! Measure! Measure!
This cannot be understated. Getting the right size of the furniture is one thing and we highly recommend creating a working floor plan to plot everything out before you size. The thing most people forget to think about is getting it into the room and maybe even fitting it together with other pieces!
Consider the width of the room doors and clearance in the room itself. Any awkward stairs, steps or door angles you need to consider? If it is flatpack furniture, does the item have to be built flat, before moving into position? If so, do you have the floor space to do this? And for townhouses, where the lounge is generally on the middle floor, can that sofa fit up the stairs & around the landing?
If possible, create a working floor plan to help you plot everything and give you clear information on how to position everything.
Much like fast fashion, it would be easy to buy cheap furniture, but the quality is often significantly poorer to the price you pay. You also don’t want to be investing in new furniture every year. Although budgets are of course a big factor (especially for a new home owner) it is best to find furniture that is built to last. Furniture made with materials that have high resistance to scratches, weathering, and stains are always a good place to start. This can save you from a lot of trouble and allocate your budget wisely and productively.
Comfort and function over aesthetics!
Never compromise your comfort for style! Make sure you use the item of furniture in the showroom, like you would at home – that chaise lounge may look beautiful, but how comfortable is it to lounge on? The wooden coffee table looks fab, but how will it hold up against spillages? And the dining table made of coloured glass might match the art you have on the wall, but how often will you be cleaning fingerprints?!
In selecting a piece of furniture make sure you are clear on the use vs aesthetics – it defeats the whole purpose if you let aesthetics become a deciding factor.
While function and comfort are the primary considerations in choosing a piece of excellent furniture, this does not mean that you can’t express your style and personality at the same time. Whether you upcycle charity furniture; refurbish old furniture you already own; purchase unique pieces of art or decoration; or opt for a statement piece of furniture in that bold colour – don’t be afraid to express yourself – though you might need to be patient and diligent in finding the one that ‘screams’ you.
Maintaining Your Furniture
As part of choosing furniture, it is important to understand how to properly maintain it. Often furniture are expensive items to purchase for a house so you need to take reasonable steps to prolong the life of use.
Nothing beats regular cleaning. It allows you to check on the condition of the item and helps to identify monitor dents, deep scratches or significant damage that might impact the use.
Fair use damage is unavoidable – the items need to be used – but regular schedules cleaning and repairs of minor issues prolong the lifespan of the piece and prevent major issues from developing.
If you do find some superficial damage, it is worth considering specialist or commercial cleaning and repair solutions. Many are designed to help make furniture look brand new. These are generally easy to apply and are very effective in hiding dents and scratches. Where repairs are needed it is worth looking for local furniture repair handyman services to help make sure you do not damage the furniture further.