Build quality, premium materials, aesthetic appeal – these are all things that separate luxury furniture from run of the mill products.
But having the word ‘luxury’ on the label doesn’t in itself mean an item is right for your home. You can splash out on quality, sure. But without putting a little thought into your choices, you could end up with an expensive purchase you don’t get on with and soon come to regret.
This is why lots of people fret about buying furniture. It’s a big investment. To get your money’s worth, you should be thinking about living with your chosen items for the next 10 to 20 years. Especially when shopping at the higher end of the market, picking out furniture that doesn’t quite feel right is an expensive mistake to put right.
There’s a lot to think about when choosing furniture. Personal taste, the dimensions and layout of your home or garden, existing decor, your practical as well as aesthetic priorities. For example, when choosing a dining table, there’s often a trade off between the number of people you want to seat and the space you have available.
Or for garden furniture, you might have to balance durability against ease of moving it around or packing it away when not in use.
One thing choosing new furniture shouldn’t be, however, is a chore. Picking out a new centrepiece item for a room, or even going to town with a complete new suite of furnishings, should be exciting. It can have a transformative effect on a room, your whole home or your outdoor spaces.
Yes, it’s a decision you need to get right. But you should enjoy the process. Here are some expert tips to help you on the way.
Start with what you already have
If you are planning on buying new furniture, it means your existing furnishings are looking tired, out of date, or you are otherwise dissatisfied with what is already there. Look at both the furniture you want to replace and what else you have in the surrounding space with a critical eye. What is lacking? What would really bring the room to life? What would your dream piece be?
Think practicalities as well as aesthetics, like whether the space is overcrowded or feels underutilised, how the size of furniture might affect movement and light etc. Once you have a picture in your head of what you really want, you have your starting point to look for pieces that fit.
Look at what other people have done
Once you have a picture in your mind, go out and research it. This has never been easier thanks to the internet. With sites like Pinterest and Instagram, you have tens of thousands of examples of home decor ready to be explored, easily filtered by room, theme, style, colour, items of furniture and much more. Whether you have a complete design scheme in mind or just a single item of furniture you want to incorporate, get online and see what other people have done for inspiration.
Riff on a theme
Some people love the idea of achieving a consistent look and feel throughout their homes and even in their gardens, too. Pulling everything together in a coherent way can certainly have an impressive effect. It creates atmosphere and becomes a reflection of your personality. It also makes adding pieces and developing your decor fun but focused, as you set yourself the challenge of finding new pieces and accessories that fit with the theme.
If aiming for a consistent theme throughout your home seems too much of a challenge, you could break things down by having a different theme for different rooms instead. You can make the differences modest – perhaps go for a ‘rustic’ theme in one room with lots of natural wood and ‘period’ in another with elegant traditional upholstery. Or mix modern aesthetics in one room with shabby chic in another. Or you can push it further with themes based on mood, colours, activities etc.
Pick furniture that works for you
Sometimes people see a piece of furniture they fall in love with and they simply have to buy it whether they really need it or not. And that’s fine – we’re all allowed our impulse purchases and indulgences. But a less risky approach is to think carefully about what matters most to you and your family, how you like to spend your time in and around your home, and choose furniture that will add to your experience.
For example, if one of your favourite things to do is curl up on the sofa for the evening with a good book or a film, then it makes sense to invest in a big, plush, roomy sofa. It will give you hours of pleasure. If you love hosting friends and family for dinner parties at every opportunity, go for that showpiece dining table and chair set. Or if you’re the sort who is straight outside the moment the sun is shining to soak up some rays, get yourself some luxury loungers or day beds for your garden.
Think to the future
After encouraging you to let your creative juices run wild in coming up with different themes for different rooms, a word of caution. People’s tastes change over time just as fashions and trends do. What seems like a fabulous cutting edge look for your home now might be something you hate in five years.
Again, when it comes to high quality, luxury furniture, you’re making a big investment. You want to avoid having to start over again too soon. That’s why lots of furniture in the luxury bracket has a certain timeless quality to it – it’s built to last, not just in terms of build quality, but also in riding the waves of tastes and trends.
While there’s nothing wrong with stamping your creative personality on your home, it’s well worth considering how you might view the same design idea in five or 10 years’ time. If it comes down to it, push the boat out on decor, but play it a bit safer with your choice of furniture. Sticking to classic designs and styles means those pieces will still work even if you end up changing your mind.
Five Designer Tips for Choosing Luxury Furniture for Your Home and Garden