Designer Tips – Selecting The Right Furniture For Your Home

by Angela Angela Steyn on 07-03-2016 Furniture
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Designer Tips – Selecting The Right Furniture For Your Home

Entrance Hall Tables

The entrance hall sets the tone for the whole home and should reveal the character and style of the rooms within. The addition of a hall table can be just the thing to inject personality and anchor the space, providing the perfect spot to pop a vase of flowers or a scented candle.  Size and style are the key ingredients with narrow, classic pieces being the easiest to work with.

Designer Tips:

  • Drawers are ideal for hiding keys, mail and any other unsightly paraphernalia that threaten to clutter a hall table.
  • Choose a style that is in harmony with the rest of the home – there should be an effortless flow from the entrance into other rooms.
  • Commodes and sideboards can be used in very large entrance hallways that can cope with more grandly proportioned pieces.
  • Hang a mirror above a hall table for a classic combo that will instantly open up the space.


One of the most common mistakes made when purchasing a new sofa is size. While the modern home might be centred around casual comfort, it is important not to let the desire for lounging outweigh the need for space.  The popularity of modular and chaise sofas has compounded the problem with the promise of ample seating resulting in huge furniture pieces that can easily swamp their surroundings.

Designer Tips:

  • Always draw up a scaled plan of your living area before hitting the shops - it is surprising to see what will comfortably fit within the space.
  • Remember the proportions of a sofa can be deceiving when viewed on a showroom floor.
  • If in doubt opt for a neutral colour – it is much easier to update scatter cushions than reupholster a sofa if you tire of it.
  • Select a sofa with a low back to open up a room.
  • If buying a sofa with loose covers, ensure that they have been pre-washed or shrink-tested.

Dining Tables

Once again size is the number one factor when it comes to choosing the right dining table.  Not only do you need to consider the number of seats required, but also the size and shape of the space available.   As a general rule, the dining table should imitate the shape of the room.  For example a round table will work best in a square space while a rectangular room calls for a rectangular table. These days there is less call for a formal dining room with many families opting for one main eating area.  It is important that the table you choose can work for both formal and casual occasions.

Designer Tips:

  • Avoid large square dining tables - they make for awkward social interaction and take up a large amount of floor space for the amount seating achieved.
  • Many families use their dining table for everything from playing Monopoly to laying out a school project – be careful that the choice of material doesn’t limit the versatility of the table.  
  • Consider an extendable table if more seating is required on an occasional basis.
  • If you want to streamline the look of your rectangular dining table, remove chairs from the ends.
  • If you select a wooden table, choose contrasting chairs so that the overall effect isn’t too heavy.

Outdoor Furniture

Before falling head over heels for a wicker armchair, firstly consider its suitability for its location – will the furniture be exposed to the elements or will it be undercover?  Full exposure will limit the material choices of outdoor furniture as you need to make sure the product can handle both sun and rain.  If the furniture is to be undercover then you have far more options available to you.

Designer Tips:

  • Good quality synthetic wicker is a great all-weather material choice and comes in a wide variety of colours and styles.
  • Timber furniture is a beautiful addition to an outdoor space but keep in mind that it will weather and ‘grey off’ if left untreated.
  • Always choose outdoor fabrics for cushions to avoid them fading and ensure they are filled with all-weather inserts if they are to be left out in the open.
  • If your alfresco space leads directly off a dining area then consider an outdoor lounge setting rather than another dining table and chairs.
  • Metal furniture is the perfect choice for contemporary spaces but it can be prone to rusting if left out in wet weather.

Need help in deciding what furniture will be right choice for your home , use our home improvement directory to find an Interior Designer to help you create your dream look.

Angela Angela Steyn

Angela Steyn is an Australian Interior Designer, Stylist and Freelance Writer living in Sydney with her young family. She is passionate about the impact of beautiful surroundings on the soul and believes that everyone should live in an environment that brings them joy on a daily basis.