4 Furniture Fundamentals for the Home

Knowing your own basic style can help you simplify your furniture search.
Knowing your own basic style can help you simplify your furniture search.
Courtesy of Homemadesimple.com

Furniture is perhaps the most important element of your home's décor, so being armed with the proper information is crucial to the success of your design plan. From unique updates to major purchases, these helpful hints will help make your next trip to the furniture store a certain success.

1. Address Your Underlying Design

Chances are, you already know what kind of furniture suits you. If not, the best way to find out is through "window shopping." Stroll showrooms, thumb through magazines. In no time at all, you'll discover what you do and don't like. You may find yourself gravitating toward cozy rooms with soft, sueded sectionals, or toward open, light-filled expanses featuring sofas that are sleek, ultra-modern, and armless.

Knowing your basic style eliminates your need to wander through furniture store after furniture store, or display after display.

Don't be dismayed if your preferences tend to overlap two or even three distinct looks. As long as they don't fight each other, you're still on track. You can eventually create some unexpected combinations and call your approach "eclectic."

2. Quality Matters

You've heard this advice about furniture before, and it's still true. Look for serious, high-quality construction, solid wood and steel bases, drawers that glide, and chairs that don't wobble. Particleboard may be affordable, but it won't hold up as well as solid oak. Check the upholstery; seams should be straight, and patterns lined up. It helps to find a furniture store that has a good reputation among friends and family.

Regarding prices-markdowns are great, but be careful when scouting for bargains. If you sacrifice quality for a lower cost, you may wind up buying twice. Think of your furniture as a lifelong possession. A fine sofa or dining table can always be recovered or refinished when styles or preferences change.

3. Timeless Classics

Finding classic furniture is often easier with major investments like iron beds or cherry armoires. Smaller items, such as lamps, tend to evolve in and out of the fashion cycle every five years or so. They'll look dated far sooner than the end tables they're sitting on.

One current trend is purchasing larger pieces, but fewer of them. Even in a small room, a couple of large pieces will make it look more spacious. Four wide dining chairs will always have more of an impact than eight skinny ones. (Keep those in the basement until you host a Thanksgiving sit-down.)

4. Fashionable Fusion

Some styles mix well, while others don't. For instance, a stainless steel folding chair may clash with a Louis XIV gilt mirror. When in doubt, carry some snapshots to an interior designer and request a moment of advice.

Antiques, however, tend to blend almost anywhere. Even the starkest contemporary treatment can benefit from the addition of a rustic trunk or planter. It keeps things from looking too predictable.

Play with color. Virtually any shade, even orchid or lime, can now be considered a backdrop or neutral-so why shouldn't you add a royal blue love seat, a gunmetal coffee table, and a buttermint chenille throw if they're all things you adore? It's a safe, fun way to experiment. And that may be the best advice of all...have a good time!