WEEK FOUR - Add the Basics!
Here is where the fun starts! Adding the basics, exactly what are the basics? This is not the time to think about accent pieces like coffee tables, lamps, small chairs, etc. This step is for the "investment pieces" like installed light fixtures and large pieces of furniture.
Go back to the list you created at week one. Think about the function of your room and consider the multi-function pieces needed (i.e. the cabinet that doubles as a home office, toy storage for the playroom "zone"). Now is a great time to take out photographs from the design magazines from your journal. What large pieces of furniture will work for your space?
Time to make some big decisions. Look at the furniture you already have. Will it function according to your needs? If not, get rid of it. Put it in another room, sell it (consignment stores really come in handy at this point) or donate it. After you have conducted a survey of what you have that will or won't work, make another list. What do you really need? Write down both the item and it's purpose, for instance, "sofa sleeper so room can double as guest space."
Now that you know what you need, where are you going to shop? You could always shop the expensive furniture stores and buy new pieces, but in this economy? Are you kidding? consider all of your sources. How about friends & family - does someone have an old desk they're not using anymore? How about that perfectly good sofa that is sitting in a neighbor's basement?
Next option is consignment furniture. Now, before you turn up your nose, remember that consignment shopping isn't what they used to be. Gone are the dirty old thrift shops and stuffy antique stores - consignment furniture is now all the rage with a wide variety of furniture styles that you cannot find in retail stores for prices you cannot believe! Inventory changes all the time, so you don't have to wait for the season to change for new items (like you do at most new furniture stores). Consignment furniture offers an inexpensive alternative to get pieces of furniture that are functional as well as stylish and unique - pieces that NOBODY else will have! Even better, consignment stores can also take your old furniture and sell it for you and most have delivery services. Awesome, right?!
Did you know that the best consignment stores are now offering reupholstering services at reasonable prices? Use that service. They may even have the fabric on site so you can coordinate your fabric with the furniture piece at the same time. Talk about One Stop Shopping! You don't want to pass up the perfect dining set because of the ugly faded dining chair fabric - recover them!
BIG CONCERN - consider the scale of your room. Furniture always looks smaller in a large showroom than it does in your smaller space. Measure your room and take the measurements with you when shopping (include measurements of doors, hallways and stairs!). If you find a piece that is too big (or even too small) just walk away - even if you love it. An out-of-scale piece will only throw off the balance of the room. Be strong!
Quick tip on choosing your large pieces of furniture - THINK ABOUT THE BIG PICTURE. Look at the pictures you so thoughtfully cut out of design magazines. Carefully consider how much pattern or color you are adding. Is this a statement piece that may be changed in a few years or do you want it to stand the test of time? A statement piece can be amazing, but remember, you want to make a statement, not a speech. Too many large statement pieces make a design confusing and cluttered. Remember you will soon have the opportunity to add smaller statement accessories (patience, little one!).
Last step, placing the furniture. Go back to the diagram/floor plan you created in week one. Where will the items be placed in the room? Remember your function zones. Go ahead and actually place your larger items in the room - don't leave them wrapped up in the garage. Have these important pieces in the space will provide you with valuable visual information to make the next steps infinitely easier...