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Neale Whitaker's Five Considerations When Buying New Furniture

12 Nov 2020 |  Inspiration by Neale Whitaker

How to style your home for comfort


I’ve never been a great fan of current trends when it comes to furniture and home furnishings, as I believe homes should be about personal expression. But, if there’s one trend I am happy to embrace, it’s a move towards prioritizing longevity and sustainability – and quality over quantity – especially when buying ‘big-ticket’ items like furniture. While it would be naïve not to consider the importance of price (most of us have to keep to a budget of some sort!) there are definitely other things to keep in mind before you choose.

1. Functionality

How to style your home for comfort

(Featuring Aspen Dining Table in Congo and Aspen Dining Chairs in Positano Sago)

Think about what you really need for your lifestyle. For example, a sofa is often our most significant purchase, so it should be as comfortable for relaxing in front of a TV movie as it is for chatting with friends. If you love to entertain, then the size of dining table and choice of chairs is significant. The right furniture enhances our daily lives, but it requires realistic assessment of what we need from it and how we’re going to use it. Do you have young children? Or pets? And with more of us than ever before living in apartments or downsizing, dual functionality is also something to consider, like beds and sofas with built-in storage, bookcases that double as room dividers and desks with integrated lighting and charging.

 

2. Scale and Proportion

How to style your home for comfort

(Featuring the Concerto Sofa in Olsen Natural and Hue Rug in Sage)

Have a clear idea of the dimensions of the room – including doorways - and if you’re an apartment dweller, consider access points for furniture delivery such as lifts and stairwells. And here’s the good news: small spaces don’t always require small furniture! Scaled-down furniture can make a small space feel smaller (what I call the ‘doll-house effect’), but an illusion of space can often be created by choosing larger pieces. Think too about moving sofas and chairs away from walls to allow access around them. That will also enhance the feeling of space. 

 

3. Trend v Classic

How to style your home for comfort

(Featuring Zaza in Positano Silver)

As I’ve already admitted, I never advise choosing furniture based on current trends. Far better to think about what will combine easily with items you already have and also last into the future. The words ‘classic’ and ‘neutral’ might be over-used, but I’m a big fan of timeless, expertly-designed furniture that works effortlessly with different aesthetics. I always use the example of my own King ‘Zaza’ sofa which fits as perfectly in our vintage country home as it did in our contemporary city apartment. Don’t forget you can always add pops of colour and trend through soft furnishings, rugs and accessories – even the shade of your walls.

4. Longevity

How to style your home for comfort

(Featuring Luna Outdoor Chairs in Malibu Eucalyptus and Blush)

This is perhaps another way of talking about quality, as the longevity of furniture will be determined by how it is designed and made. In my opinion, furniture should always be an investment, a long-term proposition. Look at how the furniture is constructed (steel frame versus wooden, for example) and whether fabric covers are easily removable. And remember King furniture doesn’t only offer a wealth of colour and fabric options at the time of purchase; it carries extended warranties and the opportunity to restore and refresh down the track. To my mind, that ensures longevity and sustainability.

5. Outdoor Furniture

How to style your home for comfort

(Featuring King Cove in Malibu Eucalyptus)

With the increased emphasis on indoor/outdoor living, it’s important to decide whether you want outdoor furniture to echo your indoor style or contrast with it. Outdoor versions of indoor styles now make it possible to create outdoor rooms every bit as comfortable as their indoor counterparts. But while technological advancements in outdoor fabrics offer increased resistance to our harsh climate, it’s still sensible to consider shade and protection wherever possible. For me, a comfortable outdoor sofa hits that sweet spot between luxury and necessity – Australian living at its best!