Quality not quantity”. It’s a saying you’ve probably heard before but, perhaps now more than ever it’s worth bearing in mind. We hear a lot these days about shopping local, about being more aware of what we buy and where it comes from. If you want to be more environmentally aware when it comes to your home’s decor there are a number of options. You can choose to buy products that are sustainably sourced, you can up cycle, you can purchase items that have been pre-loved. Another option is to go for quality rather than quantity i.e. buy pieces that are of good quality. This means that they are going to have longevity.

The Approach 

There are certain items that more than others suit this rationale it’s mainly those pieces that you aren’t likely to want to change very often, the so-called big-ticket items so in the remainder of this blog I will focus on just three pieces namely the sofa, the bed and the desk. For each of these there are some basic questions. 

  1. Who is going to use the item? 
  2. What is your budget?  and 
  3. Why are you buying it?

The Sofa

Image of a grey button back G Plan sofa against a grey wall . There is a bookcase to the left and white ceramic lamps hanging from the ceiling to the right. There are two blue cushions on the sofa

For most of us the sofa is the most important piece of furniture we will buy. It represents possibly the most important purchase that we will ever make. Generally it’s a piece of furniture that represents an investment it’s not something that we would plan to change frequently so spend as much as you can afford. Think about brands such as Ercol, Parker Knoll, G-Plan that you can find on auction sites. So called “brown” furniture has been out of fashion but will be well made and can be painted and reupholstered.

Begin by thinking about the size, it’s important here to consider not only the space where the sofa is going to fit but also how it will get there. Bear in mind that hallways can be quite narrow and this means it can be difficult to manoeuvre the sofa from the hallway through a doorway into the lounge. If you have an exterior doorway such as French door onto a patio with side access this could be ideal otherwise investigate whether the sofa can be disassembled for delivery. Sometimes the arms can be removed for this purpose.

A style with feet that can be removed is another factor that can make it easier to move your sofa in and out of a room. A style on legs also has the advantage that it allows the floor beneath the sofa to be visible as opposed to styles which reach to the floor. in a small space you want to have as much of the floor visible as possible. Other factors to consider are the durability of the fabric (you want a Martindale rub count of around 100,000) and how quickly the fabric will fade especially if the sofa is going to be cited somewhere that gets a lot of direct sunlight. So finally we come to the question of colour and this should actually be one of your final decisions this may sound very practical but if you’re investing in a sofa that you are going to keep for a considerable number of years then you want to choose a colour that is going to work with a number of different decor styles.

The Bed

Image of a bed with a curved headboard upholstered in a patterned fabric. The bed is dressed with a white duvet and there is a terracotta coloured throw across the bottom and orange and blue cushions at the top.

After the sofa (or possibly equally as important) is the bed. With the bed it’s actually the mattress that is the more important element rather than the frame but I will start with the frame. For many people storage is an issue, there may not be much space for wardrobes. In this case your style of bed is probably going to be dictated by the need for storage and this means choosing a divan style which has drawers or an Ottoman style where the top section of the base lifts up. Your choice between these two options is likely to be driven by how accessible that storage needs to be. For example if you’re going to be storing spare duvets, pillows etc or clothes on a seasonal basis then an Ottoman is fine. On the other hand, if you need to be able to access the items on a daily basis then drawers are easier.

When it comes to the mattress it’s worth investing in the best quality that you can afford. When you lie on your back you should be able to fit a hand between the mattress and the small of your back and when lying on your side your spine should be straight. If you are a couple and you have different preferences when it comes to how firm you want the mattress to be then it’s possible to buy mattresses that can be zipped together.

An additional consideration when choosing the style of bed is the headboard. If like me you like to sit up in bed reading, then you want a padded headboard that is going to be comfortable to lean against. 

The Desk

Image of a small wooden desk against a wall with a chair positioned in front

No discussion around key pieces of furniture can afford to ignore the desk. The style of desk depends on a number of considerations. Are you going to spend lengthy periods at it, do you need to have space for papers etc, do you need storage, do you use a laptop or desktop? The other main aspect that you will need to consider is where the desk will be positioned is it in a designated home office or is it a workspace in a living room or Open Plan space? In the latter situation you will want your desk to have more of the look of a piece of furniture rather than a traditional style desk. Having discussed the desk then we should not ignore the other component which is the chair and this is the item that really needs more investment then the actual desk. You need it to provide proper support for your back and ideally it should be on wheels so that it is easier for you to move around. 

I hope that the above has given you some helpful tips on what things that you should consider when investing in any of the significant pieces of furniture that you are likely to buy. With each of them it is important to spend proper time considering them, and in an age of online shopping there is no substitute for visiting an actual store and trying out the item of furniture these are all items that I think really should not be bought simply with a click of a mouse.

If you would need any help in choosing furniture for your home or with any interiors project to give me a call on (07745) 876182 or email me at judith@homestyle4u.com. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire, North West and North Wales.