How to Buy Furniture That Fits

a huge chairHave you ever bought a sofa, chair or coffee table that looked wonderful in the showroom but lost its charm once you brought it home? If the color and style were right, the problem may have been that the piece of furniture simply wasn’t the right scale for the room.

It’s hard for many people to visualize how a sofa they see in a furniture store in Maryland will look once it’s in their family room. They fall in love with the sectional with double recliners and envision nights spent cuddling on it (with or without the kids). What they don’t think about is how that sofa will dwarf every other piece of furniture in the room, or how it will make it difficult to navigate into the kitchen or other parts of the house.

Measure Everything

Before you head out furniture shopping, measure your room and make a sketch, noting the size and location of other pieces already in the room. If you have one of those handy tablets, use home improvement apps to make the job easier. Some apps even let you measure dimensions from a photo – how cool is that?

Then figure out how much space you should allow around each piece of furniture. (Rule of thumb is 12-18 inches around sofas, chairs and accent tables and at least three to four feet for walkways to other rooms.) Doing this little bit of homework will help you narrow down your search right away. If you know, before you go, that the absolutely largest sofa you can fit is 84 inches long, you won’t spend time looking at oversized seating.

Small Rooms with Big Style

Most decorating experts suggest sticking with smaller-scale, lighter-weight furniture in simple, low styles for a small room. To provide an airier feel, select pieces with legs; the room looks bigger when you can see the floor continuing under the furniture. If you simply must put a big and heavy piece of furniture in a small space, make it the focal point of your room and don’t crowd it (or yourself) with a lot of other furniture.

In fact, minimalist thinking (less = more) is always good when it comes to small spaces. Find pieces that can do double duty, such as ottomans that can be used as coffee tables when you place a tray on top, or coffee tables that can also store books, magazines or even laptops. The less clutter you have in your room, the more spacious it will appear.

Finish the room with light-colored walls and ceiling (if you have a low ceiling in your small space, painting the ceiling with a gloss or semi-gloss paint will help multiply the light. Choose window treatments that let in as much light as possible, since that always makes a room feel more spacious.

Cutting Large Rooms Down to Size

Although it may seem that people with large rooms have it made, big spaces can be just as tricky when it comes to buying furniture. Furniture that’s too small can get lost in a big room; it’s also hard to know how to place the furniture without leaving so much open space that it looks like you’re expecting a performance by a dance troupe.

For your big space, look for furniture with larger mass. That sectional, paired with a big-screen TV, will probably fit nicely here. Consider filling the space with several smaller furniture groupings; you could include a viewing area, a conversation corner with two chairs and a table or a reading nook with a comfortable, high-backed chair and reading light.

If your ceilings are high, think vertical when it comes to your furniture choices. Go for sofas and chairs with higher backs, tall bookcases and stacked groupings of pictures to fill the space.

The good thing about dealing with a furniture store in Maryland like Showman Furniture is that our staff has the experience to help choose the family room, dining room, bedroom and other pieces that will work just right in your home space. Bring in your room dimensions and we’ll be glad to suggest the sizes and styles that would work best.