Thursday, August 16, 2007

What you should know before buying furniture

Before you enter any furniture store to make a purchase, give thought to your own lifestyle. I would advise anyone who is ready to buy furniture to sit down and take note of your current surroundings and needs. Keeping in mind the following key factors, you will save yourself time and costly mistakes.

There is nothing worse than finding the right piece of furniture only to find out that it won't fit in your home. Measure the spot in which your piece will be placed. Are there any heating units it will hit, beams that will lessen the height of your room, window treatments you don't want to cover? Take a step back and look for any obstacles that your home has created for you.

Finding out what style you want to bring into your home will take a little homework on your part. Many of you already know that you like a certain style such as country, casual elegance, contemporary, Victorian and so on, but have you really figured out what it is that you like about it? Sit down with several home decorating magazines and tear out pictures that you like. After a while, you may see similarities in the pictures you have chosen. It might be that all of the sofas have rolled arms... the chairs have detailed carvings... the sideboards have straight legs... or that all of the pieces have wrought iron handles. Whatever it may be, looking at photos first can save you a lot of time and frustration.

Color and texture can set the mood of a room. Do you want the furniture to look feminine, masculine, stand out against the wall, or blend into the background? Think about what colors make you feel good and what colors you would rather not see used in your home. Also, color and texture should be an important decision factor if you have children and/or pets. If you have children , and the item you want to purchase will be used by them, consider colors or patterns that will conceal stains along with textures that will take heavy use. With animals, keep in mind the color of your family pet. Is your pet's fur light or dark? Try to look for fabric that will camouflage the shedding in between your regular cleanings. Should you consider a white sofa if your Persian cat is black?

When it comes time to make a purchase, you will see that items are available in every price bracket imaginable. You can get items that look expensive for a great price, but in most cases, you get what you pay for. Higher-priced items will last longer due to the way they are produced. Sofas may have coils that are eight-way hand tied... bureaus will have dove-tailed drawers... or dining room tables could have an eleven-step hand rubbed finishing process to give it that beautiful glow. All of this takes professional manpower and craftsmanship which will, of course, be represented in the price. The lower-priced items are usually mass produced, and even though they may still represent a certain quality which you are looking for, you won't get the life span out of it that you would from a higher-priced piece. There is a way of getting high quality with a lower price, and this is my favorite type of shopping. I call it "creative shopping". Creative shopping does take a little longer since you have to search for your dream piece, but you will save hundreds even thousands of dollars if you furnish your home in this manner. A creative shopper knows where to find items in a retail store that might be less than perfect in the retailer's eyes. These items, however, can usually be positioned or camouflaged in a way that the flaw would not show. When you go to a store, ask if they have a "seconds" or "damaged goods" area. Some retail stores will also have a once-a-year tent sale on items that are damaged or discontinued. Ask the sales person to put you on a mailing list so that you can be part of this great buying opportunity. Also consider furniture consignment shops where items can be up to 70% off the original retail price since the item is pre-loved. If you work with a consignment shop that is picky about what they will put on their floor, you should have no trouble finding items that will need little or no repair. Another shopping avenue would be to search the newspapers for private sales. You will be able to ask the seller about the price, size, color, and style right from the comfort of your own home. The only two drawbacks with creative shopping are that the items are usually a final sale and you have to take care of moving them to your home yourself, so be sure the item is exactly what you are looking for.

With all of this in mind.... get out your magazines, make a list, and by all means have fun!

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