On Choosing Furniture

The task of properly furnishing your home can be an anxiety-inducing experience. How can you choose the right furniture for your new home?

Will it last? Will it be hard to take care of? How much should I spend?

Like the move process, the task of properly furnishing your home can be an anxiety-inducing experience, especially since a furniture purchase can seem so very final. But if you follow some smart shopping basics, you’ll reduce your stress and make the right decisions without panicking.

Check out some of our tips below as you approach the process of furnishing your home.

  1. Decide what you like

    Make a list of the colors, textures and patterns that you prefer. Mixing and matching is an acceptable practice, as long as it’s within reason. But if you don’t trust yourself, try to assign your décor to one of the major categories:

    • Casual (comfy-looking, earthy, woods)
    • Contemporary (sharp, angular, metallic)
    • Country (soft, floral, painted woods)
    • Traditional (antiques, dark red woods, damask and chintz)
    • Eclectic (ethnic or artisan pieces, highly individualized)

    Generally, it works best to decide on one main theme for a room, but use contrast to accent your look. And if you’re interested in doing some home décor research, check out TV shows, magazines, books, catalogs, Web sites and furniture chat rooms for ideas. A lot of expert’s will tell you to make a scrapbook of styles that you like to narrow down the options. But most importantly, remember that you’re the one who has to enjoy your surroundings – not the decorator, not your best friend and not your mother.

  2. Evaluate your existing décor

    Take measurements in the room that you’re planning to furnish. Take a cold, hard look at the furniture you already own. How will it all work together? Will your old furniture look as nice next to something brand new? And if you have furniture at home that needs repair work or a facelift, check out our home services center to find a pre-screened furniture repairman in your area.

    If you’ll be mixing old and new furniture, add samples of your existing colors, textures and styles to your scrapbook so you can evaluate a good match when you are shopping. If you are painting, dip a popsicle stick in the paint, let it dry and add it to your scrapbook so you can be sure your furniture will complement the room. You don’t want to rely merely on your own judgment when confronted with 20 shades of blue.

  3. Be honest about your lifestyle

    If you have two toddlers, a 200-pound mastiff and three cats, then you may want to reconsider white silk as the choice fabric for your new curtains. An expensive leather sectional could also be seen as overkill if you rarely entertain guests or have a small living room.

  4. Decide what’s most important

    There’s no rule that you have to buy everything at once. Start with items that need replacing first, and build the room (slowly if necessary) around pieces you love.

  5. Set a price limit ahead of time

    Look for the best values in your price range. Be patient and shop around.

  6. Take advantage of free services where you can

    Many stores have free interior design consulting, product brochures and room- planning guides. Learn to be an expert on the look you’re going for.

  7. Don’t let anyone rush you

    Trust your own judgment. Don’t buy furniture you don’t like, no matter what others recommend. Remember, it’s your home.

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