How to Buy the Right Furniture for Your Space

I can’t count the number of times I hear someone say – I bought it on sale then when we got it home – it didn’t fit, or didn’t look good, or was too big for the space, or wouldn’t fit through the door….  Buying furniture is an investment.  The larger the piece of furniture the more attention to detail you should be taking prior to the purchase.  There are a number of critical factors to consider before you even leave your home.

What is the space?  Measure it.  Yes, take a tape measure and measure it.  Then decide on the furniture pieces you would like in the space.  Are you looking for a sofa, loveseat and 3 piece table set?  Would you prefer a sectional with a square coffee table? Are you in the market for a new bedroom suite or kitchen set?  The Internet makes shopping a breeze.  Almost everything is available online.  I can find the exact measurements for most furniture pieces before I ever see them in the store.  This saves me a tremendous amount of time before I ever get to a store.  Once I have my room measurements, I can then determine which pieces will fit my space and which just will not.  You always want to ensure you leave a minimum of 4-6 inches between your sofa and your end tables or your bed and night stand in your initial measurements.  This allows you to move it closer if you choose once it arrives.  However, if you only leave 2 inches and find the measurements provided for the sofa do not include the upholstered arm on the sofa which hangs over the frame by 3” then you are suddenly too short on space.  It’s always best to leave more room than less.  Try to leave some space between the furniture placements as well – minimum of 18”-24” between the coffee table and the sofa/love seat.  Again, it depends on the dimensions of the room in a smaller room it can be functional and look just fine in the smaller dimensions, in a large space, you can even get away with a larger space – it’s all proportionate to your space and furniture selection.  The important thing is to measure!  Measure your space and measure the furniture you are looking at to ensure it will fit your space!

Something many people overlook is the door.  How do we get the furniture in?  What is the width and height of the door?  What is the width and height of the sofa (or other large pieces)?  If you come to the furniture store with these measurements, most professional salespeople should be able to verify the piece you are looking at will fit.  Is the doorway open for 5’ or more or is there a wall 3’ in front of the door – this will also affect the ability to bring in the furniture.  Take these measurements in advance and you may save yourself the time and frustration (and expense) of having to remove a window to get the furniture into your room!

There are many different colors of wood out there.  Take a good look around your home.  Do you have a lot of wood?  What wood tones are currently present?  Do you intend on keeping these tones?  If so you may wish to ensure the furniture choices you make go well with what you currently have.  If all your flooring, trim work and cabinetry are dark wood tones, buying furniture with very light oak tones may not be the best for your space.  Even if you LOVE the set – it will not look the best in your home.  However, many manufacturers offer different stain colors to choose from that may go better with your space.  The set you love just may be available in a more suitable stain color for your home!  It never hurts to ask.  Again, a good salesperson will be able to direct you to other selections of a similar style, they may offer this option for you.

Upholstery fabric comes in countless colors and fabrics.  Again, it helps to have a good idea of what you are looking for?  Things that may make an impact on your choices are whether you have young children, pets, or you entertain a lot.  Is there a risk of stains and spills, pet damage?  Some fabrics are more wearable than others.  Some are more stain resistant than others.  Some are much more trendy and fashionable.  Think first of the functionality – who is going to use it, then think of the décor and colors.  I can tell when I walk into someone’s home if they are conservative or enjoy color!  If they are conservative (they usually have neutral color tones in their home already), I recommend they choose neutral solid tones for their major pieces of furniture, black, brown, cream, white, beige…all colors that can be easily decorated around but that you rarely grow tired of quickly.  If they purchased an overly colorful piece and they were very conservative – they rarely feel comfortable with it over the long term and often end up asking “what was I thinking?” If you love color and have lots – go for it – you know what you are comfortable with so be happy.  For the clients with more conservative tastes, adding colorful touches can easily be accomplished with accessories like art, throw pillows, throw blankets, décor, artwork and area rugs.  These are your less costly items when your large furniture pieces are neutral tones it’s easy to re-accessorize at a fraction of the cost for a whole new look, whenever you choose. 

Finally, the style of the furniture makes a statement.  Choose a style you love and stay with it.  Whether it’s traditional, transitional or ultra-contemporary, it is critical that all pieces in the space work together.  They must also blend with the architecture of the space. Trying to furnish an old turn of the century character home with ultra-modern contemporary furniture will always leave a feeling of something being just “off” a bit.  Even if it’s beautifully done, it just isn’t right for the space.  Pay attention to the architecture of your space and even take photos to help the furniture salesperson make the right recommendations. 

The nest time you hit those Christmas and Boxing Day sales go prepared with the room measurements, rough furniture measurements you need, photos of your room and wood tones.  Don’t forget to measure your doorways and entrances.  This way delivery day will be full of the anticipation and excitement it should be!  Enjoy those Sales!!!!