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5 Steps For Choosing Furniture

July 22, 2020

So often we only look at the design element when choosing furniture. This is a mistake. The furniture we put in a room determines where people gather, how they gather, and how the space functions.

It’s critical we pick the right furniture for each space, and not just purchase the sofa that our neighbor has, or the one that looks the best in the Pinterest photo.

Here are 5 steps for choosing furniture for a room

1. Determine the purpose of the space

Whenever I am coaching people on furniture selections for a room, my one question I come back to over and over is “What is the purpose for this space?”

The purpose often surrounds people and how they will use the room. If this is the case, ask questions like:  

  • How do I want my family and others to feel here?
  • What do I want to happen relationally in this space?
  • What will make people feel most at home?

The furniture we choose makes a difference.  Colors matter.  For sure.  Design and style matters.  Yes.  And comfort matters the most.  

For example, someday I will have a really beautiful, perfectly styled coffee table in my great room.  But for now, in this stage of life, I chose a soft, extra long ottoman where teenagers can put their feet up and stay a while (pictured above).  It can also be used to lounge on. 

This is one example of how I’m choosing function over form to serve the people who I want to be filling the room!

If your purpose of a space is to get work done, this will determine what furniture you choose and how you set it up for maximum efficiency and production.

The purpose of the room should determine the kind of furniture you are looking to buy.

Recently I helped a client think through her sofa purchase. She wanted a sleek, modern look, but after considering her deep desire for her teenager and her friends to hang out in that space, she determined that the not-so-comfortable modern sofa wouldn’t draw them in, and she went with a more comfortable sectional that she knew they would love and use every day.

2. Declutter the room

This cannot be overlooked! The only way to get fresh eyes on a space is to take everything out. I mean everything! Put it in the garage, the hall, or another room.

Look at the space as a black canvas. Think about the purpose of the room and how you want it to look and feel. Consider what you didn’t like about it before. Determine what you can change to make it fit into your vision.

This is a great time to re-think furniture placement, paint colors, and flooring (actual flooring and rugs).

3. Create a plan

This does not have to be complicated. Simply sketch out on paper how you want the room to look. I use PicMonkey to plan out my spaces.

I also like to create a design board so I can see how all of the elements I’m considering purchasing work together visually. It’s so much better to see them on paper first, rather than order and have to send them back.

This is a great time to order color swatches to see the texture and colors of you are considering.

4. Measure, measure, measure

There is nothing worse than ordering a large piece of furniture, a rug, or some other bulky item only to have it too large or too small for the room. Often we’ll just keep it to avoid the hassle of a large return.

Measure the item you want to order, then TAPE IT OUT. This is the best way to see it in a space.

Scale matters. It makes a difference how a person feels in a space and whether it feels restful or cluttered.

I even do this for gallery picture walls. Using painter’s tape, I put the frame sizes on the wall to see what it will look like before we order.

5. Write it down

Keep inventory of what pieces you’ve ordered and from where. Write the name of the salesperson who helped you (if applicable).

Keep lists of paint colors, flooring materials, furniture brands and styles, lighting choices, etc. Keep all of this in one place where you can access it at any time. I use google docs for this.

This way if you ever need to order more flooring, do some touch up painting, or call the salesperson to tell them about a problem, you have all of the information at your fingertips.

What is your favorite piece of furniture of all time and where did you get it? I’d love to hear!


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