8 Furniture Buying Mistakes

We've all been there: You've just moved into a new place or renovated your beloved home, and you want to reflect your perfect style. You've thumbed through every catalog and design magazine and you are ready! You have the perfect picture of the masterpiece you are designing, unless you make the all too common mistakes when buying furniture. But we are here to help you avoid falling prey to these blunders and to ensure you end up with fabulous pieces that you'll be happy with for years to come. 

 Emily Jenkins Followill

Emily Jenkins Followill

1. Ignoring Lifestyle

Select pieces that suit your lifestyle, and consider how long you plan to keep a piece especially if it's a splurge! If you forget to factor in small children, pets, snacking while watching TV, football Sundays you could be heading for disaster. Your white linen sofa or your coffee table with that delicate finish will not last too long with muddy feet scampering around threatening their livelihood. Be realistic and buy furniture that can withstand all of the tough times in your home. 

2. Ignoring Scale and Color

A sofa that looks just right in the store, might look too big in your room or not big enough. A color that doesn't look very overpowering in the showroom, could do so in your home. It is hard to judge when you are looking at a picture or seeing it in a showroom. Always measure the items and ask for a swatch to take home. If you have an empty space at home it is a great idea to tape out the outline of furniture to see how it will take up floor space, it does not account for volume but can give you an idea of the layout. Essentially you want to be sure that whatever you are buying fits the scale of the room and fits to the scale of the other pieces in the room. The swatch is also important to look at at home, as you know lighting is different EVERYWHERE so be sure you love the color in the space you are filling. 

 Image by Amber Interiors

Image by Amber Interiors

3. Falling Into Fads

It is best to buy a piece of furniture that you will feel comfortable with for years to come. That goes for color as well as style. Fads can come and go quickly, so look beyond and buy a classic piece. And just remember you can play around with fad styles in the accessories! 

 Image by Emily Henderson Design

Image by Emily Henderson Design

4. Island Rugs

Don't underestimate the power of a good rug, especially in a living room  where the rug is a focal point of your design. So why buy a rug that is too small, spend the extra money and buy a rug that fits the room. A too small rug can make a room look smaller. To make sure you have a rug that's the right size for your space follow this rule of thumb: The front two legs of each piece of furniture should be on the rug. If they miss the rug (even by an inch), your rug is too small. In a perfect world, all four legs of your sofa and chairs are on the rug. 

5. Buying Sets

Shopping for furniture is overwhelming, and when you are overwhelmed you are a lot more likely to just buy a set from a showroom to furnish a whole room or home. Say "No" to the set, your sofa and chairs shot not match and the coffee table and end table do not need to be identical besides size. Design is about layering texture and materials, and it should be personal to you. Consider mixing tones, textures, and styles to give an unexpected edge, no cookie cutter living rooms please! 

6. Buying All At Once

Being that I just told you to not buy the set, you have to imagine that furnishing a room or even a whole house can take a long time. I know this is not what you wanted to hear but beware of filling out the rooms in the fast lane, you will end up with something you regret or even worse a whole room! Our rule of the thumb is: splurge on main pieces such as sofa or dining set, and then let the pieces breathe in the room before adding accents. It's important to mix and match to show your personality. 

 Image by Traditional Home Magazine

Image by Traditional Home Magazine

7. Starting All Brand New

Don't rush to ditch antique or sentimental pieces just because they don't immediately work with your items or space. New items mixed with your old items can give your home a more collected and authentic look. 

8. Forgetting to Measure

Last but not least is measuring everything! Measure the room or space you are working in, as well as any existing furniture you are incorporating into your design. Most importantly measure all doorways and hallways the new furniture needs to fit through. Last week we covered all the basics on how to measure, be sure to check out that post before buying any furniture! 

So there it is, some basic rules to consider when you are buying new furniture. But don't worry you can always work with one of our great design consultants to help find the right piece for your home. 

Interior Design 101 : How to Measure Space for Furniture

So you have moved into a new house, built a new edition, bought a summer home, or just deciding to redesign a space, there is one major thing you need to do. Before you buy any furniture or even before you start making any plans for furnishing and decorating, you need to measure your space! Measure everything once and save the measurements for easy reference when you are shopping later on.

Here are a few tips on how to get the best measurements so that your project is running smoothly. 

Measure Entries and Passages

  • Go over and measure all the entries, passages, stairways and doorways through which your furniture has to travel to get to its final destination. When measuring doorways measure height (A), width (B), and entry clearance (C).
  • Measure width, height and diagonal width. Diagonal width is important for large Casegoods to ensure they will clear your doorways. 
  • Make note of any corners that need to be turned in a hallway or on a staircase. Make sure to measure diagonally over here too. 
  • Make note of any light fixtures, railings or any architectural impediments along the way. 

**Any furniture you buy should be at least 4 inches less than the passage measurements to move it easily and safely. 

Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 9.45.20 AM.png


Diagonal height must be less than entryway dimension A or C

Measure Your Room

  • First measure the door that you will be using to bring the furniture into the room. As learned above, measure the height, width and diagonal from top left to bottom right. Make sure to get the measurements for inside the door frames too. 
  • Measure the length from the entrance of the room to the far wall. You need this measurement to know if you will be able to bring the furniture into the room and be able to maneuver it easily into place. (see pic above for reference).
  • Measure the length and width of the room.
  • Measure the height of the walls.
  • Measure all doorways, windows, radiators, fireplaces, or any other architectural features. 
  • For windows, it is also important to measure the height from the floor to the bottom and top of window.

How To Measure a Sofa

  • Width: Measure the width from arm to arm. Make sure that you are taking the width measurements at the widest point of the sofa. 
  • Height: Measure from the highest point but do not include the pillows if they are higher than the sofa frame. 
  • Depth: Measure the depth go the sofa from the outside edge of the seat all the way to the back. 
  • Diagonal Depth: Measure by first placing a straight edge from the highest point of the back frame (do not include pillows) to the front of the arm. Then, using your measuring tape, measure from the bottom rear corner of the sofa up to the point that bisects the straight edge.
Please note: This is merely a guide on how to measure and does not guarantee your furniture purchase will fit. You should consider the size constraints of the entire path from our delivery truck to the item's final destination.

Standard Furniture Measurements

Did you know that most furniture is manufactured to standard measurements? Knowing those standard measurements before you buy or design a space can cut the task down to size. Here is a quick hit list of some standard sizing to help you get started on your planning.

 Images by Universal Furniture

Images by Universal Furniture

These measurements are meant to be a general guideline only. Before you buy anything always speak to one of the Darby Road Home's consultants to ensure it will fit in your home. 

After determining the dimensions of the room, you may also want to consider designing custom furniture pieces specifically scaled to fit your space. Or you may just want a little help designing and decorating your space, so come in for a design consultation today


DRH Style Team


Next Edition: Top Furniture Buying Mistakes

We would love to hear more from you, please comment below and share your thoughts, questions, and ideas!

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