Choosing new furniture for your home is a big decision, but it is also very exciting.
Whether you are moving into a new home or giving your existing dwelling a refresh, furnishing a room is all about making a new start. It’s a chance to put your stamp on the room, to create the perfect space for you and your family, to make a room you have grown tired of, feel enticing and comforting again.
It’s not something to be taken lightly. Purchasing furniture is obviously a big investment. You will have to live with the decor you choose and the pieces of furniture you buy for years to come. Getting it wrong can turn into a very expensive mistake.
So how do you make sure you are making good decisions? One thing you can do to keep yourself on the right track is to turn things around and think about what the wrong decisions look like and why you might make them.
Here are some common mistakes to be aware of when you next buy home furniture.
Don’t get sucked in by looks alone
There’s no doubt that looks are one of the biggest factors that influence our choice of furniture. No one actively wants to live in an ugly home, after all. We want our homes to be visually pleasing because we take pride in them. And let’s face it, we all get pleasure from looking at beautiful things, furniture included.
But when it comes to furniture (and most things besides), looks aren’t everything. There are other factors you also have to consider, like how comfortable or practical a piece of furniture is, or how it fits with the rest of the room. If you go purely on looks, you could end up with mismatched furniture that isn’t very functional and therefore encourages you not to use a room, which is the opposite of what good furniture should do.
Try not to buy on impulse – do your research!
Impulse purchases of furniture are most likely to happen when you have your “looking-for-beautiful-things” goggles on and get completely swept away by how good a certain piece looks. An impulse buy by definition is unlikely to consider practical things like size and functionality. You may even end up buying a piece that you think looks great on first viewing, but which you grow to hate once you have to look at it day in, day out.
A golden rule with buying home furniture is to slow things down and take your time. If you see something you like, come back to it another day and see what you think then. In the meantime, do your research – is it a good price for that item, what do the reviews say, what alternatives are out there? The more work you put in, the more likely you are to find the best options.
Don’t assume anything will fit – measure, measure, measure!
Another common mistake, again most often seen with impulse furniture purchases, is making a snap judgement that an item of furniture will fit your room. When it comes to furniture layouts, “it looks about right” is not good enough. All it takes is a couple of centimetres in any dimension and you have a piece of furniture that doesn’t fit where you want it to go.
It’s therefore essential that you have the measurements of your room, and of other pieces of furniture in it, down to a tee when you do your research on what to buy.
Size isn’t just about whether a piece of furniture fits
Even if a piece of furniture fits in your room, it doesn’t mean it’s the right fit. Part of the art of choosing the furniture for your room is how well you use the space available. Scale is just as important as size.
For example, you might just about be able to squeeze that king-size bed you love the look of into your bedroom. But how does it affect the rest of the space? Do you have room to move around in? Can you get into the cupboards and drawers? Pieces of furniture that dominate a room too much can be overbearing. Similarly, go too small in the quest for an ‘open’ look and you can end up leaving a room looking bare and uninviting.
Budget doesn’t automatically mean better value
As we’ve acknowledged, buying furniture can be an expensive business. People understandably have budgets to work to and can’t always afford to splash out on the most luxurious items available. However, the cost of furniture is often an indicator of build quality. It can be a false economy going for the cheapest options available.
What you have to factor in is the longevity of a piece of furniture. With something like a sofa which will get heavy use from people sitting on it (not to mention kids bouncing on it), durability becomes important. Yes, you may be able to save a few hundred pounds going for a budget option. But what if you end up having to replace that sofa in five years’ time? The more you invest in the furniture you buy, the longer you can expect it to remain in good condition.
Don’t underestimate the importance of lifestyle to your choice of furniture
This links back to our first piece of advice about not getting sucked in by looks alone. All too often, people shop for furniture without prioritising what it is for – to be used by you and your household day to day. Yes, you want it to look good. But you also want it to work well. And that means considering what type of furniture best suits your lifestyle.
For example, you might be shopping for a three-piece sofa and armchair suite for your living room simply because that’s what every living room has. But if you’re a single person living on your own in an apartment, do you need a full suite? Similarly, you might be determined to go for a minimalist look for your family home. But with kids’ toys and all the other paraphernalia of family life, what about storage? Those bare walls might please you aesthetically, but where are you going to keep stuff?