So you have an empty flat, and you need some furniture to put in it. One option: You could simply decide you’re a minimalist, and to hell with furniture. But since that strategy isn’t likely to be either comfortable or practical, we’re here to help you figure out how to choose appealing, high-quality furniture that will suit your tastes and lifestyle. We offer the following 4 tips and suggestions on choosing furniture for your first flat:
Unless you have the Trumps’ budget for furnishings, you might want to buy your furniture in stages. There are a couple of advantages to taking this approach:
- It (hopefully) leaves you with some money to buy other important things like avo toast, lattes, mascara and toilet paper, instead of completely draining your bank account.
- It allows you to buy higher quality pieces that will last longer, instead of having to settle for the cheapest rubbish furniture available. This has the potential to save you heaps of money long term, since you will not need to replace your furnishings as often if you buy the good stuff up front.
The downside is that this approach will temporarily leave your home with some empty spaces inside. You will have to prioritise which furnishings you want to buy first and which pieces you can live without in the short term.
Most people will likely agree that having a comfortable bed is a higher priority than owning things like ottomans and console tables – so a bed is the ideal piece of furniture to prioritise as one of your first purchases.
However, this is a matter of personal preference. If you own multiple blankets, sleeping bags and comforters, you can pile them up on the floor to create a makeshift bed; in that case, you may prefer to sleep on the floor in the short term and prioritise the purchase of a comfortable computer workstation, couch or kitchen table instead.
2. Choose Your Preferred Design Style
Unless you don’t mind having a hodgepodge of furnishings in different design styles, it’s wise to be deliberate about choosing a cohesive style that will define your space. Some of your options are as follows:
Traditional: If you live in a home with a distinctive historical style, you might want to choose a corresponding traditional style of home décor.
Mid-Century Modern: Mid-century refers to the middle of last century, the period when Danish modern furniture was one of the hottest design trends. Astonishingly, this look is still popular even after so much time has elapsed. If you’re drawn to furniture from brands like Knoll and Herman Miller, this is the design style you’ll want to consider incorporating into your space.
Contemporary: If you have your heart set on owning the latest, greatest and trendiest furnishings available, you might want to consider going with a contemporary style.
Transitional: If you want to combine elements of 2 or more of the above styles, you’ll most likely want to opt for a transitional style.
Once you’ve decided on a design style, you can safely eliminate from consideration all furniture pieces that do not fit into that style. Focus your attention only on the pieces that suit that style.
3. Decide Which Features Are Important to You
Every type of furniture has its own specific set of design features, some of which are likely to be more important to you than others. For example, many people agree that the most important design features of a bed base include durability, silence (no squeaks, please), ease of assembly and attractive style.
If you’re buying dining room furniture, you’ll have a different set of considerations for design features. You will want to make a conscious decision about whether your dining room chairs will have arms or not. Will they be French bistro chairs, Parsons chairs, Windsor chairs, bar stools or some other style of chairs?
Your dining room table could be square, rectangular, or round; it could be a traditional height, or it could be a tall gathering table; and you also have the option to choose an adjustable table.
You’ll also want to consider the materials and colours of each furniture piece.
If you make these decisions ahead of time, before you even set foot in a furniture store, you will have a much easier time honing in on exactly the right pieces for your space.
4. Check the Joint Construction
Some furniture is rubbish, and other furniture is destined to go straight to the pool room. In the long term, you’ll be further ahead if you’re able to acquire high-quality furniture pieces that will stay with you for years.
To accomplish this, one of the most important keys is checking out the joint construction on the furniture. Look carefully at the joints to see if you see any staples, nails or visible glue. These are all signs that the furniture is not top quality construction. Ideally, you’ll want to avoid buying such pieces.
Instead, try to find pieces that have dowels, screws, dovetail joins or mortise-and-tenon joins. These are the hallmarks of higher quality furniture pieces that are likely to be more durable.
Additionally, you’ll want to check for wobbles, squeaks and twists, all of which are best avoided.
These tips can help you narrow down your choices considerably. Once you’ve eliminated all the unworkable furniture pieces from consideration, hopefully the pieces that are meant to be yours will reveal themselves to you easily.