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Adairs: How to choose furniture for your home

Adairs, Level 1

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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