This week read FURNITURE: Part 2 – STYLE & SPACE of my latest blog for tips on selecting furniture.

To create interest and for a softer effect in a room, you can mix different styles of furniture to achieve an eclectic mix, rather than choosing everything to match which can give a rather contrived effect. Some of the furniture in a scheme should be upholstered to provide comfort and to soften the acoustics in a room. The style of the furniture should be chosen whilst keeping your budget and the item’s purpose and size in mind. Take measurements, photos or diagrams, and samples of flooring, fabric, or wallpaper with you when shopping.

If the room is small or has little light, choose furniture which takes up less space visually to create a more spacious effect such as furniture which is low, transparent or which allows lots of floor space to be seen underneath it.

Leave space in bookshelves for more books, so that shelves do not become overstuffed and inaccessible, with the result that they look cramped and messy and simple do not work anymore.

For obvious reasons there should be plenty of room for traffic to move between items of freestanding furniture and for each piece to sit well in the room. Space between furniture also tends to give a more relaxed flow to the space. Built-in furniture can reduce the size of a space considerably and as this tends to be an expensive option it is imperative the style, materials and purpose are thoroughly considered before deciding on a finished scheme. With a built-in desk try to plan it so that a person can be seated to face the room or sit side on to the room, rather than have their back to the room. Perhaps the worktop can slide out and then be pushed back when not in use. Built-in furniture is ideal for concealing contents within cabinetry for example or for concealing something behind it, such as a pantry, en-suite or walk-in closet, or even an entire room like a study, creating intrigue and guarding the privacy of the space.

The best furniture is flexible and adaptable, such as an extendable dining table or a modular system that you can add elements to over time. You may not enjoy entertaining now, but perhaps it will become a passion in a few years.

One of the most useful items you can purchase is an ottoman (a large footstool) with concealed storage for magazines and newspapers that can double up as extra seating or as a coffee table on which to place a tray. Some contain a fold-out single guest bed which is an ideal option for many households. An item like this could prove to be good value for money, because the cost is not that much higher for the extra benefit. A wall bed can also prove an incredible useful furniture item not just for its purpose of accommodating guests but also allowing the space to become multi-purpose.

Be sure to add lots of tabletop surfaces into your scheme as this will allow for lamps, a decorative item or somewhere to put down a book or a drink.