Hooray! You are ready to replace a sofa, finally get a credenza for the dining room, or upgrade your child’s bedroom to big-kid status. Whatever it is, there are some tips and tricks I always use when selecting a new piece of furniture and I’d like to share them with you!
Determine the Function:
For our example, let’s say we are going to look for a new sofa. First thing we need to do is determine the function it needs to serve. How many people need to fit on this sofa? Does it need to be ultra comfortable because it is the main sitting area of the home? Does it need to be a really stain-proof/durable fabric because you have kids and pets? Does it need to be super deep because often you like to lay down and take naps here? Think about all the things the sofa will need to DO for you to satisfy your needs.
Determine the Look:
This could already be formulating based on the functional aspects you’ve determined. Maybe we know it is going to be an oversized sectional that is plush and comfortable with durable fabric – great. Now what about the color? Lighter colors because you aren’t worried about staining, darker colors because you are? A really wild and bold color because that sounds perfect to you? Is your style more sleek and boxy, or do you like decorative flourishes and rounded edges? You may not be able to describe the style you like in fancy terms – Mid Century Mod with an Eames Influence – but you don’t have to! Your eyeballs know what they like and that’s all you need.
The best thing to do here is get on Pinterest and search for Family Room or Sofas, etc. Thinking specifically about the room where this new furniture is going, find anything that catches your eye, save it to a new board. After you collect 5-10 photos, look at them on the board and see what they all seem to have in common. Maybe every picture had a light brown leather sectional. Maybe the majority were big white poofy sofas with tons of pillows. This is a great way to see what you are continuously drawn to.
Determine Your Price Point:
Now that you have an idea of what you are looking for it’s time to find your price point and the retailers that will support that. You could find a sofa for $100 or $100,000 – seriously, it’s pretty unlimited on what you can spend on home design and decor, but it’s a good idea to have a budget range in mind that you are comfortable with. Based on that, are you looking for something new or maybe something used to fit within your budget? Are you needing to find a company that makes expensive one-of-a-kind custom pieces? Are we talking Target or Room + Board?
Start looking at different retailers online to see where their prices fall so you can narrow your real search to the places that will fall in line with your budget. Also know that furniture is something that goes on sale quite frequently with a lot of retailers, so if you aren’t in a rush, you might want to wait for a sale to come up on the item you are searching for.
Measure and Mark:
If you are replacing and existing piece of furniture, you’ve got an advantage. You can measure the existing piece – width, depth, height, etc. – and then you know where to start. If you know you need something larger or smaller, adjust your measurements appropriately. If there are any critical measurements such as ‘can’t be taller than this window sill’, ‘can’t be longer than this wall’, etc. make sure you jot down the critical measurements as a restriction.
If you have an empty space and you aren’t sure how big the furniture piece needs to be, is there anything similar in your house that you could move into that spot for reference? Bring up that chair from the basement – does it look way too big and overpowering in the room? Measure it and then know you need to look for something much smaller than that.
Once you have found some options for what you might end up buying, use painters tape to mark out the dimensions in your room. If we are back on the sectional sofa example, tape out the entire L shape on your floor, tape up the height of the sofa back against the wall, etc. This will give you an idea on how large the piece will be and you can see if it is going to work or not. I even had a friend who built a replica of a custom dining table they were purchasing out of a bunch of cardboard boxes taped together so they could get a feel for how it would be in the space – whatever works, my friend!
See it in Person:
If you can, and especially if you tend to be on the nervous side in making selections, shop in actual retail stores where they have the items on display so you can see it in real life, test it out, sit on it, feel the fabric, etc. The other great thing about retail stores is there are human beings working there who will be happy to help you and answer any questions and help point you in the right direction – use these wonderful people! Depending on what you are buying, they might have a fabric sample or finish sample that you can take home for a day or so to view in your own space with all your other things. Always do this if possible.
If shopping online for furniture, just be extra careful to review all the details before purchasing. I always like to read the reviews to see what other people’s experience has been, (take it with a grain of salt). And remember, even when you purchase online, most places have excellent return policies so if it shows up at your house and isn’t at all what you were expecting, you can almost always return/replace it.
Make Sure You Can Get it There:
This isn’t always able to be determined until you try, but think about how/if the piece can actually be moved into your space. Do you have a large enough door to the exterior where the furniture can fit through? Can it make it through that tight turn in the hallway? Sometimes you just don’t know until you try – I’m amazed sometimes at the furniture I’ve wiggled through tight places – but it is something to think about in advance if you can. Make sure they can deliver the piece, and if not, that you have a way to get it home safely. Also, if you are getting rid of an existing piece, make sure you have a plan for how you are going to donate/get rid of it.
Nearly everything is returnable/exchangeable in today’s world. Unless you’ve gone with a custom piece that was ordered specifically for you, you can usually figure out a way to return it if it doesn’t work out like you’d planned. You can always check return policies and customer service of a company before deciding to make your purchase. I love ordering things online through Target because they carry about 1,000x the products than they have in-store, but if there is a problem, you can return it to a store and it is super easy. Sometimes I’ll order 3 rugs online, see how they look in my space, and return the two I don’t want to the store. SO EASY!
~Takeaway~ So there you have it! Some super simple tips and tricks to help you select the perfect piece of furniture for your home! This process will work whether it’s choosing a new sofa, table, chandelier, anything! Happy shopping friend!