If starting from scratch, first decide if your space is going to be formal. Don’t want formal? Maybe your lifestyle is casual and laid back. Look through magazines, watch design shows, surf the web and choose a look: sophisticated, comfortable or casual? Find one element to design the room around and make that the inspiration for the room. While shopping, keep thinking of your inspirational piece. It could be in a form of art, a designer rug, shelving or a mural on the wall.
It is very important not to second guess the size of your room and walls based on memory. Be certain to measure door and window openings before purchasing any piece of furniture to ensure it can fit in the room. Also, take into consideration narrow doorways, hallways and tight spaces. It can be difficult getting large pieces of furniture down a hall and making the turn with the furniture.
Buy furniture that is built to last. You may think at the time that buying pieces that cost less is the route to go. It may be cheaper at the time but how sturdy is it? The best practice is to search for furniture that is made with solid hardwood frames. Hardwoods increase the strength and durability of the piece. This furniture will hold up to everyday wear and last much longer generally. The cushions or fabric may become worn and discolored over a long period of time, but you still have a sturdy long-lasting solid wood frame. Cushions and fabric can easily be replaced at a fraction of the cost.
When selecting a fabric for furniture, keep in mind what and who will be on the furniture. Do you have young children, pets, teenagers, high volumes of guests and entertain frequently in your home? Micro-fiber is a great choice for all. It is very durable and can be stain resistant. Another good idea is to purchase or make it yourself slip-covers. This protects the original fabric from spills, pet hair, snags and tears. With slip-covers when they get soiled, just pop them in the washing machine.
Give careful consideration to the color of the fabric you select. Remember that you will most likely be looking at this color and pattern for a long time. A good rule of thumb is to stay with neutral colors that are timeless and not trendy. Think long-term while making your selection. Will you still love this pattern and color years from now? What if you move? Can this furniture go easily in a different home?
If you are bold and feel that you have fairly good design skills, then go all the way and have some fun with color and make a statement!