Let’s go furniture shopping!
There’s an exciting thought. Until you think it. Then it can seem somewhat daunting. Furnishing a home is no easy feat and the ultimate goal should be to select timeless pieces that can be used for decades to come – even if their rooms, placement, location and orientation change down the road.
Here are some guidelines for choosing furniture that you and your guests can enjoy for a long time to come.
Take the Long and Winding Road Approach
Home design is not stagnant. It is a living, breathing thing that changes and evolves along with your tastes and lifestyle. That being said, it also doesn’t make sense to reinvent the home design wheel once a year, as remodels and renovations are time and cost consuming. Therefore, interior home designs should be timeless enough to last a while, but changeable enough to accommodate shifts in seasons and styles.
The same goes for your furniture. Choose pieces that can be moved around fairly easily so your living room or family room can accommodate better party flow or more intimate conversations, depending on the gathering.
Consider things like:
- Swivel chairs that move to accommodate conversation or enjoy the view out a picture window.
- Enough light-but-comfortable pieces that can be easily moved (poufs and ottomans are examples of these).
- Smaller end- or coffee tables that serve as portable surfaces.
Consider Size and Shape
Yes, you want to invest in versatile furnishings but you also want them to fit the room they’re in. Proportion is important. Your furniture should always accommodate comfortable flow as well as a sense of the room’s spaciousness.
In most cases, you want at least 36-inches between the edge of a piece of furniture and an adjacent object so people can walk and move comfortably around the space. Draw your rooms to scale using graph paper, and take these with you when furniture shopping to ensure potential furnishings will fit well.
Think About Materials and Textiles
The materials and textiles you select should reflect your lifestyle and the building occupants needs. If you live alone or are empty-nesters, you can be slightly less selective since wear-and-tear isn’t as much of an issue – – unless you own pets. If you have children, pets or grandchildren that visit on a more regular basis, you will want to select furnishings and textiles that can take a bit of a beating.
These days, designer fabric and upholstery designers offer fabulous prints and designs in high-quality indoor-outdoor fabric, allowing you to enjoy a designer look without having to fret every time a dirty paw or errant chocolate chip comes in contact with the furnishing.
Consider Adding a Few Custom Pieces
One of the best things to come out of my years of working as an interior designer are the contacts I have made with artists and furniture makers throughout the Bay Area and beyond. This provides clients the ability to enjoy custom furniture for a much more affordable price. Custom pieces can transform a room’s design.
Custom furniture pieces are ideal for unique or hard-to-fit spaces, rooms or niches. They can be used to put the finishing touch on a particular “look” or to meet your personal lifestyle needs. Maybe you need that perfect reading or napping nook, or a corner cabinet to house your prized wine opener collection. Designing a custom furniture piece is a way to put your ultra-personal mark on your home’s interior design.