As with most aspects in life, considerable planning is essential when making a furniture purchase. The task of choosing the right style, color, durability, comfort, size and cost can be quite intimidating. Below you will find some helpful tips to consider when browsing the internet or strolling through your neighborhood furniture store in search of the perfect items. As a suggestion, to make the project less daunting, grab a scratch piece of paper and begin by sketching the room you wish to start with. A rough draft that you will refine over time will help organize your thoughts and opinions on which direction you want to take within your home.

  1. Size – As mentioned above, creating a drawing of your target room will assist in visualizing the best use of your available space. Look at the layout of the room and be sure to include measurements of each wall, windows, doors, walkways, fireplaces, and any other permanent fixtures such as columns or floor vents. This little bit of information on paper will help take the guesswork out of ensuring the proper fitment of your desired furniture. The last thing you want in your newly updated space is oversized furniture blocking your ability to walk comfortably around the room. Typically people feel more compelled to enter a room with an open concept. Not only does it make the room ‘feel’ lighter and brighter, it casts a sense of relaxation on the owner or guest. A crowded room full of oversized furniture ‘feels’ dark, cluttered, and overwhelming. Also, consider multipurpose furniture that can help transition the room into a more usable space when the need presents itself. A sleeper sofa or futon would be an example of a multipurpose piece of furniture. A coffee table that turns into a dining table or a murphy bed that folds up into a bookcase against the wall would also help maximize the usefulness of your space.
  2. Budget – More often than not the price of furniture can sway some of the most determined buyers from achieving their dream furnishings. Luckily there are many ways to avoid those disconcerting price tags. Same as before, draft a budget that you are willing to spend on the room. Start with the most expensive pieces first (sofa, dining set, bed) and work your way down to the least expensive and oftentimes the least important items. Now that you have your list, try to find quality furniture on sale or even better, look around on sites like “Facebook Marketplace”, “Craigslist”, “Offer Up”, or “Let Go”. You can even go to “Goodwill”, “Salvation Army”, estate sales, garage sales, or auctions. You will likely find used but higher quality furniture because they have withstood the test of time and use of a previous owner. Buying used instead of new furniture is one of the best ways to save money. Generally, the price of brand new furniture is divided into ½ or more as soon as it leaves the furniture store. For example, with a little luck and patience, you can find a high-quality $3000 leather sofa for $1000 or less. This quality sofa will last many years or even decades with proper care as mentioned in my other post. You could probably even turn around and sell it for close to what you paid for it if you get a good enough deal. You will be surprised how little people may be willing to sell their used furniture. They might be moving, redecorating, or going through a breakup and are in a position where they simply do not care about how much money they will lose. Also do not be too concerned with little imperfections on the used furniture you find. Most of the time you can use furniture markers, stains, paints, or other types of remedies to rehabilitate damaged or outdated furniture.

  1. Material, Durability, and Lifestyle – As mentioned above high-quality furniture can financially set you back quite a bit, but making a smart purchase the first time can save you so much time and trouble. Imagine buying a low-quality sofa and the frame breaks within its first month of use or a dining set that easily scratches the first time you serve dinner. By educating yourself on durable material types you can avoid feeling any regret by the time you have finished furnishing your room. Leather is typically better than vinyl. Solid wood is almost always better than laminate or veneer wood. Coil springs are better than sinuous or z springs. Multilayered cushion cores on sofas will keep their shape better than single-layer foam. Pay attention to reputable furniture brand names. Hooker, Bassett, Lay-z-Boy, Lane, would all be considered higher quality furniture. Lower quality, unbranded furniture from China or the Philippines might be something you want to avoid. Another point to remember is your lifestyle. Are you a single person living by yourself that takes great care of your belongings vs. a large family with numerous kids spilling fruit juice, muddy dog paws or a cat’s sharp nails? Find a material that will be suitable and resilient when the inevitable happens.

  1. Color, Finish, and Style - One of the most important factors is, of course, how well the furniture ‘flows’ within the room. Attempt to create a theme that already fits well within your home. Rustic, Modern, Contemporary, Vintage, Retro, Minimalist, Shabby Chic are just some of the many styles you can choose from. From here you can establish a color scheme you want to emulate. You typically want to avoid mismatched wood finishes or numerous, bold colors that will clash against other items in the room. Remember to incorporate neutral colors to help balance the more striking colors in the room. Again, start with your favorite, larger pieces of furniture and then end with using accents to “tie the room together” Larger pieces might include the sofa or coffee table, accent pieces might include rugs, pillows, vases, or wall décor. You may be surprised how quickly the room comes together by the time you are done with the final touches.

  1. Comfort and Ergonomics – Of course, you want the furniture to look good in the room but it’s equally important to ensure it’s comfortable! Sit at the potential dining table. Can you imagine having a conversation over a delicious meal for an hour without a nagging pain shooting up your spine? Have a seat on the sofa or lay down. How does your back feel? Does it offer enough support where you need it most? You want your furniture to ease your mind as well as your body. It’s not only mentally therapeutic but it should also be physically relaxing! If you are a small, petite person a large bulky sofa might give you the feeling of being swallowed up in the cushions. If you are a large, heavy person sitting on a small dining chair it might break easily under your weight over time. Select furniture that fits your needs as well as your body.

In conclusion - Always remember the more you plan the better off you will be. Have patience and don’t rush into a purchase because more than likely you will regret that decision. Measure two or three times to find the right size furniture for your room. Come up with a plan regarding what color and style of furniture really connect with you. Don’t automatically assume you have to buy everything brand new from some high-end furniture store. Budget and make sure your funds are well spent. Steal ideas from “Instagram” or “Pinterest” that resonate with you. Ask a friend for their opinion if you are struggling at any point along the way. Make sure you are satisfied with the quality as well as the comfort level before rushing into a purchase. Remembering this little bit of advice should help alleviate any stress you may feel later on.