Has it happened to you? You’re out shopping, looking for the perfect piece to finish your dining room, your bedroom or your living room. You look across the store, and there it is! Angels sing, stars twinkle and hearts jump out of your eyes – it’s PERFECT!
You’ve finally found the piece after a quest that seems to have lasted years. It’s the right colour, the ideal materials, and oh so very stylish. (Of course, such pieces usually have a price tag to match.) A quick sit, lie or recline, some frantic measuring using the ever-reliable hand-to-hand method – yep, that looks like it should fit – and you’re sold! Credit card handed over, you head home to await delivery of this longed-for treasure.
You’re so happy; you can’t believe just how perfect it is. Then it arrives and that’s when things start to go wrong …
It’s too high, too low, too long, too wide, too deep, too big, too small. It doesn’t fit through the door, the whole family can’t sit down to dinner, you slide off, you sink in, it’s uncomfortable. The dining chairs that are so perfectly trendy are ass-pinchingly, butt-numbingly painful to sit in for longer than ten minutes. The couch that made your living room look like something from Architectural Digest can’t be used – it’s too narrow to lie on and too hard to relax on, and you can’t take food or drinks into the living room because it will stain if you just look at it!
The angels are no longer singing and all you see now when you look at your ‘perfect’ new item are flashing dollar signs and scrolling credit card statements.
Finding the perfect pieces for your home must be about more than just style and trends. You need to ensure that whatever furniture, rugs or décor items you choose work for your lifestyle, not just your interior style.
ALWAYS, ALWAYS, MEASURE!
Measure the space you’re putting the piece, the space between items, and the hallways and doors you need to fit the piece through. Use a tape measure to do this – not your hands.
TEST IT OUT
Sit on it, lie on it, sit at it, open it and close it. Test out the piece in a number of ways and for more than one minute. If it’s uncomfortable after five minutes it isn’t going to get more comfortable after 30!
THINK ABOUT HOW YOU WILL USE IT
How are you planning on using the item? Is it for a formal lounge that is rarely occupied or for the rumpus room where your kids play, eat and watch TV? Thinking about exactly how the item needs to function and keeping that in mind while you’re searching and testing out pieces will hopefully prevent you from getting side-tracked by pieces that don’t suit your specific needs.
So if there is ever a competition between function and style, we will always choose function! Yes, of course your home should be filled with beautiful pieces that you love. But we believe that a gorgeous piece that you never use because it doesn’t function the way you need it to just isn’t a practical option for anyone, and particularly for those of us with kids. Keep function in mind first and then search for pieces that are able to fulfil that function and that suit your style. And just maybe, if you wait and look and take your time, you will find that piece that is both functional and stylish and truly just perfect!