Tips and Guides

6 Must-do’s Before Buying Furniture

Don’t impulse-buy that sofa before doing these six important things!

Photography: & Urban Abode (moodboard)

Have you ever gone home with an armchair that doesn’t match your sofa, or a bed that doesn’t fit into your bedroom? Chances are, you didn’t do your homework prior to shopping. Before you blow your Christmas bonus on some New Year’s redecorating, heed these six important furniture-buying tips first.

Measure your room or space.

If it’s an entire room, measure the width of the room first, then the length; and if it’s an irregular room, measure each wall manually. If you’re buying a single piece, measure the existing spot and leave allowance for clearance between coffee tables, other seats, and hallways (Ex: 60cm clearance between a coffee table and sofa). Another important tip: if you live in a condo, check the dimensions of your service elevator, just to make sure your dining table or sofa will fit into it!

Make a layout.

Even if you’re not a designer, you can try making a rough sketch of the room and draw in where you want your furniture pieces to be placed. This is especially helpful if you’re buying multiple pieces of furniture, or if you’re thinking of changing your existing room layout.

Don't forget your measuring tape.

Never leave your home without a measuring tape! Online and print catalogs of furniture can be deceptive, because depending on the design, a chair’s arm or the top of a cabinet can stick out further than the dimensions listed. Also, you might find something else to your liking, and not all furniture store assistants have a measuring tape handy—especially if you’re buying vintage pieces.

Save your pegs.

If you’re going out to source, it’s best to bring a peg of the overall look that you want, because there are thousands of furniture types and styles out there. Save your Instagram photos and Pinterest pins in one album in your mobile phone, take photos of furniture in the stores (ask permission first), or try a moodboard website like Polyvore.

Pick a material.

Many shops offer different upholstery and wood finishes, so pick a color from their swatches to match your room’s existing color scheme. Also, consider picking a material that would help you achieve your desired look: for example, distressed wood looks good in rustic interiors, dark wood in elegant rooms, chrome and leather in modern spaces, etc.

Consider customization.

Perhaps you’ve searched the entire city and couldn’t find a single furniture piece to your liking, or maybe you’ve got an extra-small dining room and only a built-in banquette would fit into it. Many local furniture shops offer customization in style, size, color, or material for some of their pieces, so it’s always good to ask. Or try Origins at LRI Design Plaza in Makati, and Arena Home in Quezon City, which customize most of their pieces.

IMAGES: (living room, measuring tape), Urban Abode (moodboard), Jun Pinzon (materials), Dairy Darilag (customized furniture), Rian Bautista (floorplan)

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