Last 5 Essential Furnishings

Two weeks ago, I started listing 10 essential home furnishings for first time furniture buyers. We’ve already touched on beds, tables, dining chairs, a chest of drawers and a sofa.  Here’s the rest of the list.

10 essential pieces of furniture for first-time buyers (2nd half)

  1. An armoire.  Remember the mantra “you can’t have too much storage”?  An armoire is your catch-all storage space and can be used in a bedroom, dining room, bathroom or living room.  It can be a home for your TV, CD player, dishes, clothes, hobbies, musical instruments, computer or rock collection.  Basically, it’s a big cabinet with doors that close to hide things away.  You probably won’t find one in solid wood but choose plywood construction over presswood for greater durability.
  2. Nesting tables.  Not all that common anymore but the idea is that when cramped for space, the smaller tables can fit inside (or under) the larger tables.  They’re usually sold in a set of three.  You can pick between metal and glass for a sleeker (but colder) contemporary look or go with the details and Queen Anne legs of more traditional furniture.  The nice thing is how flexible they are.  Put ‘em away when you don’t need ‘em or pull one out as a night stand or an end table.
  3. An ottoman.  You can use it as a coffee table, foot stool or extra seating.  On some, the top lifts up for extra storage inside.  With smaller ones, you can put two together as a coffee table.  Microsuede polyesters and leathers are the easiest to clean but because of their simple design, they’re usually pretty easy to have a new cover put on.  And some, like those from Chicago Textiles, come with a slipcover so you can change your look as you need (or want).
  4. Lighting.  Nothing is as bright and unflattering as an overhead light.  Add table lamps or floor lamps to create a cozy spot in the room.  If you get matching lamps, they can be used in the same room or split up if needed.  Over the shoulder lighting is best for reading.  You can swap out lampshades to change the look.  Be sure to use a bulb rated for the lamp.  Some lamps can only take a 60 watt bulb.
  5. A guest bed.  Hey, you’ve got this great home now, somebody is going to want to visit and spend the night.  You can make do with an inflatable air bed but nothing says hospitality like a guest room.  You may consider a sofabed, but since they’re neither fish nor fowl, they tend not to be great sofas or great beds.  If you’re tight on space, you can use a futon or one of the click-back sofas that are coming back into fashion.  These work great in a spare room that doubles as home-office and guestroom.

As in every list, I expect some folks, with good reason, will disagree with me.  There’re lots of other options here.  In one of my rooms at home, I have two loveseats instead of a sofa.  It gets slightly more seating, takes up almost no more space and the pieces are small enough that I can move them around from time to time.  Mirrors can be added to reflect natural light indoors and make rooms look bigger.  Yes, I know almost everyone has a computer and that this list doesn’t include a desk.  An occasional chair is handy in the bedroom.  How can anyone put on pantyhose standing up?  A bench in an entryway is handy for pulling the boots off (winter is coming).  So don’t feel limited, or even swayed, by these opinions. But hey, these are my opinions and I’m sticking to them…even when I’m wrong.  Happy hunting!

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