How to Choose Furniture for Your Home

JAN 18|5 min read

Find furniture in the right size & style for your space, with our helpful guide.

Our furniture is designed to last – so here’s how to make sure you're buying pieces worth investing in.

Measure your home

Starting strong with perhaps the most crucial advice we have to offer – your tape measure is going to be your greatest ally when buying new furniture. It can be hard to extrapolate numbers on a webpage to your own home, which is why we love sketching out the dimensions of pieces in situ. Clear the existing furniture from your room and use masking tape to block out the size and shape of the piece on the floor. If you have carpet, use pieces of paper instead. This will give you a good idea of how the furniture will feel in your space – and give you a heads-up if it’s going to feel too big or too small.

Don’t forget; while deciding what proportions will suit your space, make sure to note down the height and width of any relevant doorways (including your front door). Your room dimensions are not the only factor that will dictate the maximum size of that new couch or coffee table – you still need to be able to get the piece into your home. You’ll also want to check out what amount of clearance you have around corners. Our shortcut is to measure the diagonal depth of your furniture, which will be able to tell you if the piece can be brought through tight doorways on an angle.

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Size matters

So, you’ve blocked out the dimensions of that new bed or dining table in your space with masking tape, and you’ve checked they’ll fit through doorways – now what? If you’re still not sure if the furniture you’re thinking of buying will function properly in your room, you just need to double-check you’ve got the right clearance. Clearance refers to the gap left between furniture and walls (or other pieces).

A rule of thumb is that regular walking clearance is 76cm; you’ll want to allow this much room between your new furniture and walls in order to move freely throughout the space. Any less and you might feel a bit cramped as you walk around or find yourself bumping into things.

Dining tables require 92cm between the edges and the walls, to allow clearance for chairs even when people are sitting at the table. If you have a sideboard against the wall, you need 92cm between it and the table (not just the wall).

Coffee tables only need 30cm of clearance, as the gap between a couch and a coffee table is very rarely ever a thoroughfare; just make sure to keep the coffee table less than 51cm away from the sofa so you can still comfortably reach it.

Rooms that are around 4m x 3m will comfortably fit a queen-sized bed, while king beds fit better in rooms 4.2m x 3.9m or larger.

If you like your lamps, make sure you measure their base before buying new end tables or bedside tables.

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Your perfect fabric & shade

It can feel tempting to go with this season’s trending tones when you’re picking new pieces, to which we say: neutrals create great blank canvases. Soft greys, whites, blacks and timbers are less likely to date, which will give your investment pieces better longevity. You can easily change up your look with accessories like cushions, throws, and homewares (and instantly add those pops of colour you’ve been wanting).

Your fabric choice can uplift a neutral colour, without completely committing to a trend. Boucle or linen in creamy shades are completely on-trend but won’t look out of place in a few years. If you want some of your furniture to bring vibrancy, dining chairs and ottomans are the perfect vehicle for colour, as they don’t dominate the space. Velvet is a great choice for colourful upholstered furniture, as it’s surprisingly long-lasting and durable.

Good, hardwood timber will never go out of style, so it’s a timeless choice for any aesthetic. Whether you’re buying a fully timber dresser or a sofa with timber legs, it’s a good idea to make sure the tone doesn’t clash with your flooring. Carpet and tile will go with just about any timber tone, but wooden floors take a bit of extra thought. Avoid pairing very cool-toned, ashy flooring with blonde wood, or it might make your new piece look yellow. We recommend pairing cool tones together and warm tones together for a streamlined look.

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Our in-store team can help you make the right choice for your space.

Consider your lifestyle & look

Before taking the plunge on that sofa, take a moment to think about how long you’ll be living in your space. If you’re renting or know you’re not going to be in your home long-term, large pieces of furniture may not be the best choice. For example, chaise couches lock you into one living room orientation, so a modular lounge chair may be a better choice.

It’s also a good idea to take stock of your existing space and lifestyle. You might like the look of a curved boucle couch, but if you have pets and a mid-century modern home, it may not suit your day-to-day. A hardwearing twill or leather won’t trap pet hair and looks great with your existing, classic styling.

Sofas look best at a 2:3 ratio – meaning about two-thirds of the width of your room. Similarly, your coffee table looks balanced when it’s around two-thirds the width of your couch. Consider that any larger than that will change the look of your space and create a focal point – even if it’s aesthetically in keeping with the rest of the room.

Let kids grow into their furniture by making future-proof choices. While a race car bed is heaps of fun when they’re six, you’ll get more wear out of a classic piece. Set yourself up for success by buying a timber chest of drawers and bed and add the fun and colour with accessories. You might also like to upgrade from their cot straight to a double bed to avoid upgrading again when they’re a teen. We offer bedding for kids all the way up to a Queen size. Check out our guide for more.

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Small space solutions

Buying for a smaller space? From tiny houses to apartments, there’s lots of ways to live on a slim floorplan.

A simple way to delineate space in studio apartments is by separating your living area from your bedroom with furniture. A loveseat or two-seater couch is the perfect size to go at the end of a bed and will instantly create different zones. Floor lamps don’t take up a lot of space but will create different focal points with lighting.

For small dining areas or dual spaces (think combined living-dining or kitchen-dining), round tables make the best use of space. You need far less clearance around a round table, as there are no hard corners to edge around. They can also be pushed against the wall without looking cramped, as there will still be room for four chairs.

In the bedroom, you’ll be tempted to get a small bed in order to fit a full suite of furniture. Instead, we recommend going a bit larger with the bed and ditching the bedside tables. Add sconces to your walls rather than wasting space with lamps and opt instead for slim c-tables that slot partly under your bed. You can also save space by opting for shelves and tall boys or storage baskets inside your wardrobe, in lieu of standard dressers that will take up lots of room.

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Functionality is king

Multi-use pieces will always make life a little easier. We know that families need versatility, so if you’ve got a few people in your house, opt for pieces that can be moved around and be functional for a few uses.

For example, armchairs instantly add extra seating to your dining room or living room but will look perfectly lovely in a study (say hello to your new reading nook!).

If you love entertaining, your functional furniture will need to pull double duty. For example, a padded ottoman functions as extra seating for movie nights - but will also give you a footrest or coffee table when you don’t have guests over. Extendable tables are winners for entertaining, as they give you the option to seat eight or more guests without having a massive table for those weeknight family meals.

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We're here to help.

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