If you have recently moved into a new space, whether it be a home you’ve just purchased or a loft you are leasing, one of the most exciting activities you will accomplish is deciding how to furnish it. Items such as style, budget, size of family, and the pet population in your home will be key factors in your decision-making process. Read on to learn how to select the best furnishings for your abode:
Find Your Style
Assuming you have moved beyond the college years and are no longer accepting a mish-mash of discards from well-meaning family and friends, your first task is to find your style. Home décor styles run the gamut from sleek modernism to traditional, and rustic to Victorian, with something for everyone in between.
How does one find one’s style? The best way is to step back and take a look at your general preferences. The way you dress, the vacations you dream of, the food you prefer, and the car you drive are all strong hints at the type of home décor you would enjoy living in. Once you’ve decided on a style, do your best to stick with it; homes which are decorated with seamless continuity tend to be soothing and relaxing to the inhabitants.
Determine a Comfortable Budget
Just as there are many styles of furniture, there are also many price points. By setting an overall budget ahead of time, you can stay within it and avoid becoming bogged down by the results of overspending. Depending on where you live, plan on spending at least a couple of thousand dollars in each of the three main rooms that require substantial furnishings: the master bedroom, the living room, and the dining rooms. Children’s bedrooms and the den may be areas where you can spend less.
Generally speaking, higher-cost items are built to last for generations, while low-end pieces may wear out in a few short years. If you are the type of person who prefers to hang onto belongings forever, spending more money upfront may work for you. On the other hand, if redecorating every five years is your ideal, then you may be able to purchase items that are priced lower.
Family Size Matters
Clearly, furnishing a small apartment which has only yourself as an occupant would require making fewer purchases than filling a large house that is home to a rambunctious family would. In either case, consider treating yourself to at least one item that makes you very, very happy. Be it a stunning dining set at which to host intimate dinner parties, or a bedroom suite that you’ve dreamed of forever, satisfying that urge to splurge can allow you to use that one piece as a focal point for the room in which it abides.
Pets are People Too
Even if Fido and Fluffy have their own furniture, at some point they may decide they would rather recline on yours. Some home interior designers take the color and breed of pets into consideration when they decorate spaces, and you can, too. For example, if you have a black-and-tan pet such as a pug or a Siamese cat, choose upholstery that it will look good with. Consider buckskin-colored leather or a leopard print for a matching scheme, or rich jewel tones for appealing contrast. For white pets, select white fabrics so the fur left behind doesn’t show.
Naturally, any home that has pets in it will need to have surfaces which are easy to clean. Leather is the gold standard for low maintenance upholstery, but other natural options such as mohair, linen, and velvet can stand up to most spills, especially if they are cleaned right away.
Today’s engineered fabrics, such as microfiber and ultra-suede, are also very easy to care for. A recent trend in upholstery is the use of outdoor fabrics indoors. Sturdy and durable, yet soft and stylish, they answer the need for toughness and beauty that pet owners require. Eugene Chrinian, a leader in the world of home furnishings, is aware of this trend.
While the fabrics listed above are good choices for homes with pets, other fabrics can be very poor choices. These include polyester, rayon, and silk. Easy to stain and difficult to clean, they are best in homes where pets do not reside. However, if you fall in love with a piece that happens to be covered in one of these fabrics, and the price is right, then recovering it or using a slip-cover may be a sensible option.
Ultimately, your choice of home furnishings is entirely up to you. By visiting showrooms, touring open houses, and thumbing through design magazines you can get a feel for style and budget. It is important to remember that not every piece that catches your eye will look good in your home. Keep the big picture in mind, and be wary of items that are priced suspiciously low. Most importantly, once your furniture is perfectly placed, remember to enjoy it.