Often when I meet with clients who want to furnish and restyle a room, one of the first questions they ask is: where should I go to buy a set?
Another common question is: (depending on the space they are re-styling)Where do I start? Followed by: Should I get the sofa first? Or they mention how when they visit furniture stores they become overwhelmed by the number of choices. In many cases, clients are also unsure of their style.
FEAR NOT. TAKE THE STING OUT OF BUYING FURNITURE.
The second thing that most people (even on TV) say is: I just don’t know what to“pick,” or can you help me ”pick”? I don’t want to make this blog post about words, but I have to say it.
I am a visual person, very visual- perhaps that is why I do what I do.
So here is the deviating scoop, I promise to get back to the furniture selection process.
If you get nothing else out of this post, after you read this Please, Please, Please select, choose, decide on, but never, ever “pick.”
Ok back on track: Here is my take on what works best for me and has worked wonders for past clients. In my opinion, there are only a few design rules – mostly I suggest for interiors to be pulled together, cohesive and most of all are filled (with lots of white space) with things and pieces you love.
ANSWERING THE MOST COMMON QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS
Don’t buy a set – A bedroom set, a living room set and, call me crazy, but I would not purchase a dining room set either.
Why? – Because in my opinion if you do, it will look as exactly that. A set. Most people want a collected appearance; they want their room to appear “pulled together”, and that is what drives this “set” thing. (Perhaps with the belief that if you buy a set you can’t go wrong. Maybe so, but do you want to avoid going wrong? Sure, but it won’t look curated, unique or extraordinary.)
To recap – No picking. No sets. Or….Set to pick at your risk.
Where should you start? – Great question, it depends on a few variables. Are you painting, replacing floors, redoing window treatments? The answers to these questions will either add to your selection process or guide you.
- Consider fixed elements first. For example flooring – if the room you are doing is on the second floor and you already have carpet in the hallway, it makes sense to run the same carpet into the bedroom.
Flooring is usually a large surface so the color will play a big part on all your other selections. Paint, on the other hand, is inexpensive and probably one of the easiest things to change.
- Now decide the feeling you want this room to invoke: peaceful, bright & sunny or dark and masculine. Think about the space you are restyling and what is its purpose, as that will also play a part.
- The next best thing to focus on is: what style do you like? Don’t worry if you don’t know the name of your style. You know what you like and you know what you don’t like, so go online and collect pictures, (if you are doing a guest room, look for pictures of spaces that inspire you). Then delete some of the pics and keep 3+/- of your real faves.
Now visit furniture stores, take the pictures of the rooms you found and liked. You may need to visit more than one or two stores to find something that fits, something you love. It only needs to be one piece, from there you will build on for the rest of the room.
(Keep checking in for the great resources list that we are working on to highlight our fave stores.)
- After exploring the stores of your choice with your pictures, select the next piece for the room. Remember, you have to love it. It may be the bed, the dresser or a great chair.
If you have already chosen one of the bedsides and you are wondering what the 2nd bedside should look like; use this easy “rule” (remember there really are no rules). If bedside cabinet #1 has bunn feet and is rectangular; bedside #2 could be a nice round, center chunky leg table.
If you have an existing piece that you wanted to incorporate, an heirloom for example – then use this “table” as your jump-off point; assuming it has at least sentimental value. It’s easy to get stuck, sometimes after many hours of looking, the process becomes frustrating; so if the piece is not of value then be open to relocating it or donate it.
- Now that you have an essential part of the space, next choose another major component (but don’t get sets!). For example: If you get a bed, don’t get matching night stands. At least not matching to the bed. Complimentary yes, matching not so much. Choose a contrasting color or stain, don’t try to match and not get there – because it will look exactly like that – you sought to match and did not quite get it.
- Then choose the next piece, something that relates to the pieces you already found. For example, the dresser matches one of the night stands or matches the bed but not the stands. That would make the room look curated over time and not just a replica of the furniture store display.
Mix and match (match some, not all). You may buy a piece at a Flea Market and then find pieces to go with it. Don’t be afraid to mix new and old, mix textures, stain or colors that complement each other.
- An upholstered piece is a great addition to any room and gives you an opportunity to add a “soft” layer to the room to balance out all the hard surfaces. For example: If you get a leather sofa, perhaps add upholstered chairs. If the bed and night stands are stained wood, try a painted dresser, or a mirrored one – if the style fits.
- Curtains or dummy panels are another great opportunity to add another layer of softness, texture, and or color – it will add depth.Also, dummy panels – (curtains that don’t close/function) are an excellent way to frame the window if the “style” or look you are going for allows it. Curtains or dummy panels don’t have to be traditional and stuffy; you can also get a very tailored look.(Tune in when we chat about window treatments)
- Finally, accessorize. Buy several pieces and try them, return the ones you don’t use. Add art and your room is complete.
It is the same with my kitchen and bath design clients; they ask lots of questions about which decision comes first. They also feel quite overwhelmed when they think about cabinetry, counters, flooring, hardware all at the same time. My suggestion is to always choose the one thing that you absolutely love. All the other selections go from there. Is that easy?
Your style doesn’t have to come from the typical styles we hear about or read in books and magazines. Your style should be unique to you.
You may like the feel of coastal decor, but you don’t like shells and starfish accessories. You like a lot of whites, blues, and soft tans. You prefer a cleaner, more tailored look, and you love your rusted old gears that you found at the Flea Market.
Now you can call your style: Coastal/modern with a dash of industrial.
That’s it, hope you enjoy my examples and the images. Feel free to leave a comment and if you have questions you can always Send an Inquiry. There are many ways you can make this process even easier; you can always hire a designer to help. It is not as expensive as you might think and it can save you from making costly mistakes and save a lot of time. Additionally, designers can often obtain better pricing at some of the shops that have a designers program, so you are bound to save some money too.
Another option is a mood board where we put the room together for you and tell you where to purchase everything, what colors and accessories to use etc. More on mood boards here.