Thursday, April 12, 2012

How to Pick Furniture that Goes Together

Selecting furniture, while fun, can be a little overwhelming sometimes, especially if you’re not sure what style you like or what looks good in your house. Fortunately, we’re in the age of “anything goes, if it makes you happy.” Furnish your space with what works for you! Here’s a great guide from HowStuffWorks with some tips on color matching and contrast, how to use patterns, balancing a room, and more! 

You bought a new house that you can't wait to furnish. Visions of comfy couches and dining room chairs dance in your head, but when it comes to putting it all together, your mind is reeling. If you want to make it easy, you can go matchy-matchy and buy a suite of furniture.

But many of us are more interested in creating an eclectic room with a personality, including pieces from different designers and even different eras. Eclectic isn't just a word for throwing together everything you have in hopes of making it work. There's a strategy to pulling off a harmonious, eclectic look, and it involves a decorating scheme with unifying elements.

Using Color
One strategic way to mix and match your furnishings is through use of color. It's a great way to provide continuity in a room with pieces of different styles. For example, you may be a flea market hound who owns a room full of mismatched wood furniture. So consider painting it all one color. A monochromatic scheme of white walls and painted white furniture in a variety of styles is the basis of the popular Shabby Chic decorating style, which has been in vogue for years.

Complementary colors lie across from each other on the color wheel and provide the most vibrant color combos, so don't be afraid to make bold choices. But if you want to use multiple colors in your furniture or accessories, consider a neutral backdrop, such as white or beige walls and trim.

Using Patterns
Choosing fabrics with bold patterns and contrasting colors is a great way to tie together a couple of furnishings that wouldn't ordinarily "go" together, from a color wheel perspective. Funky and vibrant patterns are all the rage, and the rooms that successfully combine a variety of patterns are wonderful to be in. For example, you could reupholster your couch in a striped pattern and choose a large scale floral in like colors for your guest chairs. Then choose a smaller scale of the same floral pattern for accent pillows on the couch.
If you want to keep it simple, find a rug that has the colors you want in your room. Take heed, it's wise to choose the rug before the furnishings. You could spend an exorbitant amount of time trying to find the perfect rug to harmonize your sage green couch with your orange patterned ottoman. It's much easier to find the rug first, and then choose upholstery that matches.

Mind the Scale
Another way to achieve balance is to choose furniture that matches in visual weight. For example, you wouldn't want to pair a comfy overstuffed couch with a spindly-legged coffee table. Instead, you should opt for a chunky coffee table that proportionally matches the girth of the sofa.

The scale of the furniture should work in tandem with the size of the room. If you have a small bedroom, you don't want to stuff it with a king-sized bed and matching dressers. It will make the room seem overcrowded and anything but an inviting place to lay your head. Conversely, if you have a cavernous dining room, a table for four and a small buffet will get lost in the vastness. As much as your furniture needs to have a sense of scale, it also needs to work well in the room.



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