One of my favorite parts of the design process is choosing spectacular furniture. I love the rich history of furniture design, from its beginnings in ancient Egypt to Mid-Century Modern and on through to the clean transitional lines of today. Every piece of furniture contributes to the composition of a room. Here are pointers to help you find the perfect pieces.
Durability is important. Will the fabrics hold up under constant wear and tear? Will fading or staining be a problem? Will the wood finish show too much wear? What is the construction of your most heavily used upholstered pieces? Will they withstand the lifestyle of an active family?
Keep comfort in mind. Will your sofa and chairs be relaxing for you and your family while watching a movie? What about your guests? Will they want to linger, or will they be wishing for a cozier place to sit? Cheap, upholstered pieces usually last no more than a few years and tend to be uncomfortable.
Splurging on higher-end furniture can be worth the cost. Custom furniture that you personally find beautiful also can be worth a little extra expense if you are certain that you will love it for a long time. A quality piece could seem pricey now, but will save you money in the long run if it stands the test of time. And if classic, timeless pieces cost a little more, remember that they can be reupholstered, handed down and last for generations to come.
Symmetry is desirable, but avoid using matched suites in a room because they can limit creativity and character. Use weight and scale rather than pairs to maintain a room’s balance. Objects and furniture do not have to match to blend. You can create an inviting, visually interesting space by mixing furniture styles that have common design elements such as color or shape.
Find a way to keep the scale of pieces balanced. Is the existing furniture in the room carrying a lot of visual weight, or is it dainty? If furniture is getting lost in the room, some larger-scaled pieces may be needed. Small rooms do not always warrant small furniture; sometimes a few larger pieces can make a room feel bigger.
Cynthia Ryan, Allied ASID, NKBA
Circa Studio 8 Interiors