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How to choose the right furniture

It may seem simple, but choosing the right piece of furniture for a room can often be a somewhat tricky task when you consider all the various aspects that need to be taken into consideration - its design, its colour, its size, its style and so on.

What do you need?

Before going furniture shopping, decide exactly what it is that you need, where it is all going to go and how much space each individual piece should take up. Are you a big entertainer? In which case you are likely to want a sizeable coffee table. Do you like to curl up and read in a chair? If so, ensure there is enough room for a large, comfy armchair in one corner. Rather like a theatrical set designer would spend time on the layout of the stage, you need to do the same for your room.

First impressions

This is the easy bit. If you don't like it on first impression, chances are you won't like it once it's in your home. For example, when gauging your first impression of a chair, sit on it. If it's not comfortable from the word go, you should probably walk away.

Furthermore, your furniture should reflect a little bit about you and your personality. If you cannot see this on first impressions, then it may not be the right piece for you. Go for what you like as opposed to something which is necessarily 'on trend' as it may go out of style - your personality never will.

The price

They say that you get what you pay for and the same could not be more true of furniture. If you are looking for an upholstered sitting room chair to last you a matter of years, a £20 or £30 price tag should set alarm bells ringing.

If cost is important, this is where reproduction furniture could be the solution, as it gives people the chance to purchase quality solid mahogany furniture, for example, for a fraction of the price of an antique.

Its build

If possible, get a feel for how heavy it is. One sign of fine, traditional furniture is a solid, wooden frame, which packs a substantial weight. If it feels as light as chipboard, chances are it probably is.

Once you have considered its quality and structure, look at the silhouette of the piece. Will it stand the test of time? Will you be able to carry out a refresh of your sitting room in a few year's time and still be able to keep it?

However, as furniture designer Reagan Hayes at Fashionphile told ApartmentTherapy.com, this doesn't mean people should pick something without shape or style, as there are plenty of both modern and traditional designs - many of which are timeless - on the market nowadays.

The colour

A piece of furniture can be completely transformed by its varnish, stain, paint or overall finish. Therefore, if you see a piece with a shape and style that you like but with a finish that puts you off, it may be worth considering what you could do to reinvent it.

Practicality

If you like it, the price is right, it's good quality and the colour is to your taste (or you know how you can change it), the final thing is to be absolutely sure it is suitable for its purpose. To take the example of a chair, if it will be used a lot, it is probably not wise to have one that is upholstered in a pale colour as it could soon get dirty.

            
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