I need new furniture! Now what?
When shopping for new furniture most people know this much. “I need a new sofa.” However, because there are so many things that go into finding that new piece of furniture, and the initial search can be overwhelming, I have discovered that I can help my customers by giving them the following ideas as ways to refine their search.
Do you know what you actually want? Knowing what you don’t want may be the easiest way to discover what you are really looking for. The best designer advice I ever received came from Trisha Kolker, “More people know what they don’t like than what they do.” Look in magazines and recognize what you don’t like. Eventually you will begin to know exactly the look you are endeavoring to create for your home.
A note of caution; if you see a beautiful sofa in a fabulous garden room setting with lots of outdoor light streaming in and you say, “That’s it!” consider how it will look in your home. Do you have the same sunlight? Will you have that much room? If you live in a small apartment in the city with one window… believe me, it really won’t look the same!
Take the time to determine your budget…BEFORE you shop. Once in the store the sales associate will encourage you to look at and sit on their very best item. Once you have looked at and sat on a $7,000 sofa, you may be less thrilled with the furniture that is in your price range.
How much space do you have? Most people know what their space is, but people are sorry to discover that what they ordered was far too big for the space it was purchased to fill!
What is the sofa supposed to accomplish? I know that may seem a silly question, but my requirements were always, “Can I stretch out completely?” Sunday afternoon golf/football/bowling…aka nap time, have always been important in our home! Do you want a sofa in a decorator/designer/museum living room or are you looking for family room comfort?
What kind of fabric are you considering? If you have children, pets, or wine drinking friends, you may really want to consider leather over fabric. Here are a few things to consider from Thesquarecottage.com– October 16, 2013 Home and Living
• Fabric can often be permanently stained by food and drink that is spilt on your sofa. If you have a young family, then this might not be the right choice for you.
• Some parts of your sofa may become worn over time and start to rip or tear. Fabric can fray, and wear thin in some areas, and it also picks up any strong odors such as cigarettes or pets.
• Some patterns quickly become very dated and you may no longer wish to keep your sofa. If you wait long enough, the style may come back into fashion! Ideally you want your investment to last as long as possible.
I appreciate Jill Vance’s comments in her article “The Benefits of Leather Sofas” posted on Knoji.com, “To be fair to material, it does have one advantage, it can have a pattern – but this is easily overcome by throwing a few colored cushions, or a throw, onto the sofa. This too, (the pattern, not cushions), has a down side, as a pattern that seemed modern when bought, soon becomes dated and boring, perhaps even faded in places, and this necessities re-upholstering to create a pleasing look.”
Finally, Angelique de la Morreaux in her post on Ehow.com, addresses environmental concerns that most of us would like to consider. “As concern for the environment grows, the hunt for a green and eco-friendly fabric to use in the home continues. Leather fulfills both requirements. Leather comes from a renewable source — the hides of cows — and is a natural fabric. Although there may be treatments applied to the leather, the treatment process provides color and imparts durability to the fabric; however, it is not used to make the fabric.”
As a retailer of high quality American made leather furniture leatherfurniture-usa.com, I am obviously biased that leather furniture is the best for my customers, but having lived with fabric and endured what the other writers have noted – fraying, bad odors, out of style designs, and overall durability – I really do believe that leather is the best option when shopping for new furniture.