Add comfort, style and utility to every room in your house
Furniture is an essential component in any home. It turns bedrooms, family
rooms, dining rooms and other areas into comfortable, enjoyable and functional
living spaces. Good furniture is designed to incorporate elements that are
both useful and stylish. With such a wide variety of types, styles, colors and
finishes to choose from, navigating through the sea of available choices can
be a little intimidating. Taking a few minutes to consider the rooms you will
be furnishing, the intended purpose of each item and the type of atmosphere
you wish to create will go a long way toward helping you find the ideal
furnishings for your home. Before you start looking at your options, consider
the following questions and keep your answers in mind as you shop:
Type, Style, Placement and Features
Furniture varies greatly from room to room, but its basic function remains the same. Whether a piece of furniture is placed in your living room, dining room, bedroom or home office, it should provide comfort, enhance utility and add style. Each room you furnish presents a unique set of considerations, so decide which room you are going to be tackling and determine its particular dimensions, color scheme and main purpose before purchasing any items. Most furniture is designed to match a certain type or style of room, so choose pieces whose looks and features best suit the room where they will be placed.
Living/Family Room: If your family tends to spend most of its time gathered together in your living room, make sure you have plenty of comfortable furniture that will hold up to the rigors of daily use. Decide how much seating you need and populate the space with enough armchairs, recliners, rocking chairs and couches for you, your family members and a few guests. For smaller rooms or to free up space, look for an L-shaped couch that can fit in a corner. Sectional couches can be configured to fit nearly any room and some even feature built-in cup holders or tables for added convenience. Consider both the style and type of material. Leather provides sophisticated style and durability while chenille and velvet provide soft cushioning and an elegant feel. Ottomans can be used to enhance comfort and complete a room's look.
Bedroom: If there's one item in your house that absolutely, positively
must be comfortable, it's your bed. With so many options to choose from, it's
easy to find the ideal combination of luxury, size and style. Traditional
mattresses and box springs come in twin, full, queen and king sizes. Consider
the size of the room and the amount of space you need to sleep comfortably to
help determine the best size. New visco-elastic "memory" foam mattresses
contour to your body for added comfort while adjustable beds allow you to
customize positions for your head and feet. Dressers, chests and armoires all
provide storage in the bedroom while adding an element of style. Choose one
that provides enough space while enhancing the room's appearance.
Dining Room/Kitchen: Size is one of the most important considerations
when placing furniture in your kitchen or dining room. You'll need to ensure
that there's enough room to comfortably sit at a table without crowding. Try
to allow 24" to 30" for each person. You'll also want to be sure there is room
for people to slide chairs in and out. Round tables work best in smaller
dining rooms and kitchen nooks as they maximize the amount of useable space.
Rectangular tables are better for larger rooms and formal dining areas. Dining
chairs are available in a wide array of styles to suit your décor. Look for
chairs that fit well when pushed up close to the table.
Home Office: A comfortable chair and a desk with plenty of storage
space are the hallmarks of a useful home office. If you spend a lot of time
typing, e-mailing and working through spreadsheets, be sure you have a chair
that provides enough support to keep you feeling comfortable over long periods
of time. Look for one that allows you to make multiple adjustments,
particularly if more than one person uses it. The more you can customize a
chair, the greater your comfort level will be. Cloth and mesh materials
provide ventilation to keep the chair cool while leather and vinyl offer a
stylish look that's easy to clean. A good desk should provide plenty of space
for your computer, speakers, discs, mouse and keyboard. If you use your desk
for more than computer work, look for a larger surface and extra drawers. In
small rooms, consider desks that provide vertical storage or include spaces
for other peripherals such as a printer.
Wood Finish: Many pieces of furniture feature wood finishes that
provide lasting beauty in any room of your house. When it comes to determining
which one best suits your style and preferences, the chart below provides a
|Finish||Appearance||Points to Consider|
Table Leaves: Expandable tables with drop-in leaves allow you to have a cozy table that can grow to accommodate guests.
Loft Beds: For small bedrooms, consider using a loft bed to maximize available space. Loft beds are raised up off the floor and have an open space beneath, much like a top bunk bed with no bottom bunk below. The room beneath the bed gives you space for items such as a computer desk, dresser or couch.
Themed Furniture: When furnishing your child's room, consider choosing furniture with a special theme that reflects his or her interests. With everything from race cars and fire trucks to cartoon and movie characters, you can find a bed, desk, table or other item, that is bound to make your child feel more at home.
Pillows: Decorative pillows provide stylish accents for couches, loveseats and chairs. They are available in a variety of sizes, materials and aesthetic styles. For sleeping, choose a pillow that matches the way you sleep. If you sleep on your back, select pillows of medium firmness. Use softer pillows if you sleep on your stomach. Firmer pillows will provide greater support for side sleepers.
Corner Chairs: Just as there are L-shaped couches that fit into corners, there are V-shaped chairs for the same purpose. These chairs are designed to maximize space and allow you to face either direction when sitting.
Modular or Sectional Construction: Items that can be easily taken apart and reassembled make moving a breeze. Whether the door is too small or the piece is too heavy, furniture that can be reduced to small, easy-to-manage sections are extremely helpful.
Bring home a nice set of sheets to match your new bed set.
A decorative throw makes a nice addition to nearly any room and provides extra warmth on chilly winter nights.