How to shop for furniture
Have you been furniture shopping lately? The experience may leave your mind swirling with the many choices you can make such as solid wood and leather. Your style and lifestyle need to be considered when making your furniture choices.
When it comes to decorating your home or apartment, furniture can be a major expense with longstanding impact. It pays to think about what you need, what you want and what your budget will allow.
GETTING STARTED: Start with a list of your needs room by room. Perhaps you already have some pieces to coordinate with, or maybe you are starting from scratch. Or, are you replacing outdated, worn-out furniture?
Evaluate what your needs truly are. Basic seating? A place to sleep? A large table for the family to gather? Or do you have stacks of books and nowhere to place them? Then, look at your space and your budget.
Take an honest look at what your needs are and make a list. It is much easier to prioritize from that written list than to wonder aimlessly into a furniture store and have no earthly idea what you are looking for.
After you’ve itemized your needs, browse through decorating magazines, catalogs and websites. Hone in on the style or styles you like. Again, advance consideration of the styles that appeal to you will greatly narrow your choices and aid you in finding the right styles for your home.
FURNITURE STYLE AND FABRIC CHOICES: Most furniture falls into one of two style categories, formal and informal or casual. Formal furniture includes such styles as Louis XIV, Chippendale and Queen Anne, originally created for royalty and the wealthy.
Informal styles originated in the rural countryside, and were designed by local cabinetmakers. These would include provincial, early American and French country. Each of these styles can be further refined into traditional or contemporary.
Traditional styles are most identifiable by the cabriole legs, claw and ball feet, lyre shaped backs and carved details. Woods tend to be walnut, cherry or teak, and fabrics usually include brocades, damask and silk. Oversized sofas and chairs with deep, fluffy cushions, and durable easy-to-maintain fabrics exemplify casual.
Contemporary styles include Scandinavian, modern and Oriental, with wood or laminate. They are identifiable by their sleek overall design elements. Style also is defined by shape, color and texture and is reflected in accessories and floor and window coverings.
Home furnishings should make a statement about your attitude and lifestyle. No one style is perfect for every room or everyone, so buy furniture that you like, whatever your style.
Recliners are better than ever. There was a time when they were ugly, but not anymore.
Today more than ever upholstered furniture is available in a wide range of styles and fabrics. To be a good buy for you, upholstery must be priced right, colored right and comfortable for the room and your family.
There also is leather to be considered. Leather is a natural product. Good leather will rarely wear out, but it will change in appearance from week to week. Many people love the natural coverings that change with wear and tear.
But be clear in your mind with what you can live with when it comes to today’s leather. New methods of tanning and manufacturing also have brought leather into an affordable range for many pocketbooks.
SHOPPING FOR FURNITURE: After you decide what piece or pieces you want and have pinpointed some basic styles that feel right, it is time to target a budget and begin to furniture shop.
Prices vary widely, and often are tied to the quality of the piece.
Finding good furniture that works for you involves understanding how pieces are made and then deciding if the quality of the piece will bear up in day-to-day use. Whatever your style, furniture should be comfortable, practical and reflect your tastes.
FURNITURE SOURCES: The most obvious place to look is in your local furniture stores.
However, don’t forget estate sales, auctions and consignment stores. Some furniture stores in your area offer complimentary in-home design services to aid you in your decorating choices.
When you are ready to start out on your furniture hunt, remember to assess your needs, set your priorities, narrow down the styles you are looking for, target a budget and then enjoy your search for the perfect pieces to complement your home. Remember, when acquiring furniture, buy only what you love.