This week read FURNITURE: Part 1 – FOCAL POINT & SEATING of my latest blog for tips on selecting furniture.

Every room has a purpose although this may change over time according to your needs and the needs of your family or co-occupants. Today, our homes need to be adaptable spaces to allow us some flexibility in our living needs because we are in such uncertain times and change is the order of the day. Often spaces are shared by many members of a household whether related to one another or not. As space is at such a premium too, it is great if each room can be set up to be multi-purpose. Therefore, when deciding on furnishings for your interior you should assess the functionality of each piece and its longevity so that you know it can be fit for purpose in different situations over a long time. Ensure it falls within the budget you have set for your project, and that it fits into the style you have chosen for your space. An eclectic mix of furniture pieces can work well showing how a space has evolved over time, maybe even generations, adding layers of interest and create a timeless, charming look.

Start with the positioning of the furniture to take advantage of or to showpiece the room’s main focal point, such as placing seating around a fireplace in winter or facing a set of French windows to a lovely garden during the summer months. You may need to experiment with different looks before settling on the layout that works best for you.

If the room has drawbacks such as dated or tired décor or an ugly feature that needs to be disguised, then this is your challenge to deal with early on. Before starting plan your concept for the room’s style, colour scheme, furnishings list, room layout, lighting plan, decorative items, flooring and finishes, etc. By doing this you can pull together many elements into one cohesive whole and save yourself unnecessary time, effort, and expense.

Whilst selecting furniture have your measurements of the space to hand – width, length, height and the size of any recesses, distances from windows and doors, etc. – so you know the pieces you are shopping for will fit wherever they are going to be positioned in the room, without overwhelming or cluttering the space. Remember to leave plenty of room around the furniture for traffic space as people need to easily negotiate their way around a room without stumbling through an obstacle course.

To encourage conversation seating should be positioned so that people can face one other, and it should be situated close enough that someone can easily hear what another person is saying. It is considered confrontational to see the back of someone’s head when entering a room and people feel uncomfortable, as though they may be under threat of attack from behind, if they are seated with their back to a door.

To create an informal atmosphere in a room, choose low furniture, preferably of an oval or round shape to give a more relaxed impression. Natural wood tends to give a scheme a soft, gentle effect and the warmer the tones the richer the look. Avoid very tall overwhelming items of furniture that give the impression they could topple forward at any moment and avoid choosing furniture with a high gloss finish unless you are prepared to look after it as it will constantly attract dust. Be practical and think of the durability of a piece as a delicate finish tends to mark, scratch and dent easily.