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  • Writer's pictureAshley Harrison

Take The Stress Out of Furniture Shopping

Furniture shopping can be fun, but also frustrating if you don't have a plan. Follow these simple steps to make your shopping experience a positive one.

How many times have you walked into a furniture store and loved an entire set-up? You look at the vignette and think, "lets just buy it all". I'll admit, I've been there, heck, I've shopped this way before. It's less time consuming to do a one stop shop, and for some that can be appealing.

Others want to create a collected and cozy space, with items from several different stores. Sounds simple enough, but it can easily become overwhelming, trying to figure out what to buy, where to shop, and how to piece it all together.

These are just two examples of different types of people, and there are obviously many other types of shoppers, but let's talk about how to alleviate the frustration, before you start the furniture shopping process.

1. Get good measurements of your room. Know the amount of space you have to play with, keeping in mind there may be obstacles like doors, windows, stairs, entrances, etc. I'm no artist, but I like to draw things out on paper, placing doors, windows, and built-ins, with their coordinating measurements. Be sure to bring your tape measurer along when your shop, and reference your drawing as you measure the furniture.

This is the room that we live as a family in, it's so important that it is functional for all six of us,

2. Understand how you live, or hope to live, in your space. Assessing your needs will help you determine the type of furniture you are looking for. For example, if you have a large family, and you all often gather in this particular room, you may want a lot of seating options. A sectional might be a good fit for you. If your room is multi-purpose, you have several obstacles (like doors or entry points), it's not a major gathering spot, or your family likes their own personal space, a couch and multiple chairs might better suit your needs.

I taped the furniture I had found on the floor before we moved in. The kids even "sat on the couch" to try it out.

3. Do some online research! Look for rooms that resemble your space. Often times I can't find a room just like mine, but if I see something similar, it helps me determine set-ups I like and don't like. I'm also of the belief that if you are starting with an empty room, or a new construction home, using painters tape on the floors helps give a visual of the furniture pieces.

4. What is your color palette and/or inspiration for the space? Knowing your color scheme or the feel you want for the room is important before you begin. Whatever your inspiration is, bring a photo of it with you to shop. If you found a room you love on Pinterest, look for items that fit in that color palette and feel. If your inspiration photo has a gray couch and cream chairs, but you can only find gray chairs and a cream couch you love, it's ok. If you are staying in the same color palette and feel of your inspiration space, the items you purchase don't always have to be a carbon copy.

Once I found the couch I wanted, I took a photo and used it at other stores to continue adding furniture to the space.

5. Select your largest or most expensive item first. Often times, this would be a sofa. Sofas can be expensive, so get what you want. The look, the feel, the shape, etc. Fill in the rest of the room with your chairs, coffee tables, sofa tables, end tables, after your big piece has been selected. That big item anchors your room, so remember, before you buy all the little things, drop your dough on the anchor.

None of these items were found at a furniture store, they were collected over time, and I may never part with some of them.

6. My favorite tip of all, BE PATIENT!

You CAN buy everything for your living room in one day. You CAN create a room you'll like, by purchasing the entire vignette from a showroom floor. You CAN live comfortably in a room you designed quickly, but my advice is to allow yourself to find things over time. Start your room with the comfortable things you ENJOY, and fill it in with unique pieces you LOVE.

In my opinion, a collected over time, mix of textures, fabrics, woods, and styles is more pleasing and comforting, so don't force yourself to decorate in one day. The design and decor process is a lot more fun when it's on-going, unless collecting over time makes your cringe, then by all means, buy the vignette.


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