Furniture isn’t something you buy every day so knowing where to start can be a bit of a hassle. In this guide, we’ve answered a few of the top questions we hear from our customers. You’ll be an expert shopper in no time.
- What furniture do I need?
This might seem like a silly question to some, but when furnishing a room or an entire home for the first time, it can be overwhelming to think about. Let’s break down the most common needs by room:
- Table & Chairs– consider how many will be using daily and if you need additional seating for entertaining. Most sets can easily accommodate 4-6 people, and many have expansion options to seat up to 8 comfortably.
- Severs, Buffets, and Hutches– some type of cabinet storage to hold placemats, napkins, and dinnerware can add a lot of convenience to your dining room.
We’re going to assume the master bedroom is the most furnished. Consider any combination of the below for kid or guest rooms.
- A Bed– let’s not sleep on the floor like barbarians. Lots of options are available to facilitate your nightly snoozing. Just be sure to choose the right size for your mattress and room dimensions (Queen beds are about 65”-70” wide, King beds are usually about 80”-85” wide). King beds are wonderful, but only if you can have proper room to walk along the sides and accommodate nightstands.
- Nightstands– something needs to hold that screeching beacon of dread that wakes you up every morning. Many couples get away with one, but two are preferable unless only one of you likes a drink of water nearby.
- Lamps– often overlooked, but lamps are wonderful for nighttime reading, particularly if one partner likes to drift off a little earlier than the other.
- Chest– typically more vertical in design and usually have 5-6 drawers for storing your… drawers.
- Dresser & Mirror– shorter and wider than a vertical chest, these waist-high wonders of storage can be topped off with a handy mirror.
- Bench or additional seating. Consider being most civilized by adding a bench at the foot of your bed for putting on your socks. If you have a large bedroom, a couple of side chairs and a small table can be a nice touch.
- Desk– kid’s rooms will often contain a desk for a quiet homework space. If you don’t have a home office, some of us adults like a quiet place for work too.
Living Room/ Family Room
First, consider how this room will be used. Homes often have several living spaces, so we need to break these down a little further.
Formal living room
The main focus of this room should be aesthetics with the need for creating a comfortable place for conversation.
- Seating– usually a sofa and a loveseat, or a sofa and a couple of side chairs.
- Occasional Tables– where else are you going to put that cup of afternoon tea?
- Lamps– another excuse for the above occasional tables.
- Rugs & Accessories– if your home has hardwood flooring, you definitely need a rug here. Consider adding appropriate seasonal accessories, and don’t forget about wall hangings.
- Hutches or other storage cabinets- just think about all the things that need storing!
Everyday Living Room
Ah, the hub of the home. Consider who and how the room will be used. Is the focal point the fireplace or the TV? No judging here.
- Seating– sofas, loveseats, side chairs. You may want to consider sectional seating as well, though if you like to rearrange often, sectional seating is less flexible.
- Entertainment stand– should be sized appropriately for your TV. Don’t forget to consider the number of electronic components you’ll need- cable boxes, gaming systems, Blu-ray players, soundbars, internet modem/router- these all add up and need storage, even if your TV will be wall-mounted.
- Tables– typically two end tables and a coffee table will do the trick.
- Lamps– you could add a couple of lamps to the end tables or floor lamps depending on your needs.
- Rugs– if not already carpeted, a nice large rug will dramatically warm up your space.
- Accessories & Wall Décor– this is how you transform a bare room into your own.
Often located in the basement, and sometimes referred to as the “man cave”. That is until the teenagers reclaim it as their own.
- Seating– the focus here should be comfort. Consider a large, fluffy sectional the whole family can sink into.
- Entertainment Stand– probably going to need a large one here to hold that 80” TV.
- Tables– still need something to hold those drinks.
- Accessories & Décor– unless it truly is a man cave, then you can skip this one.
- Desk– wouldn’t be an office without one.
- Seating– and not just for the desk. Consider creating a quiet sitting area for reading or studying.
- Storage– file cabinets, hutches, trunks.
- Accessories– if you have to work at home, then make sure to create a place you enjoy.
2. Which furniture should I buy first?
As you can see from above, it takes a lot of furniture to fill a home. Many of us can’t afford to do it at all once and that is perfectly fine! Often furniture is bought in phases, and we need to prioritize starting with the spaces that are going to be used the most by our families, followed by those that will be most often viewed or used by guests. If you’re still stuck, here’s a quick prioritized list by need:
- Living Room– it’s totally OK to start basic here, but you should at least have enough seating to comfortably accommodate everyone in the home. If the room includes a TV, you’ll need something to hold it and all the required components as well. You can add in accessories, wall décor, and occasional tables as budget allows.
- Dining Room– start with a table and enough chairs for everyone in the home. Additional seating for entertaining and storage for serving is nice but can be added in over time.
- Bedrooms– a bed, at least one nightstand, and a chest or dresser. Additional storage and nightstands can again be purchased over time. Keep in mind that furniture manufacturers often discontinue their lines, so if you can’t afford the entire suite, be cautious to pick a finish and style that can be easily matched later.
3. Are furniture warranties worth it?
If you have kids, pets, or are prone to accidents, then yes. Most manufacturers provide a limited warranty to cover defects in materials and craftsmanship for at least one year. However, they do not cover any type of stains or accidental damage. We also strongly encourage additional warranty coverage for power furniture. If a power motor quits working after the first year it can be quite expensive to repair, and nothing is worse than a recliner that doesn’t recline. Additional warranties are similar to insurance; you’re paying for the peace of mind that if something goes wrong, you won’t have to pay out of pocket. No one ever expects an accident or failure, but keep in mind that without a protection plan, you’re accepting the risk of an expensive repair and potentially early replacement.
4. Should I be able to negotiate prices?
This answer varies widely by store. At Sherman’s, we don’t believe the price you pay should be based on your negotiating skills, and that everyone should get the same low price. Other stores are notorious for marking prices up and trying to make extra money off of unsuspecting customers. When in doubt, you should ask. If you’re uncomfortable asking for a lower price, ask if there are any upcoming sales. If the store negotiates pricing, that question will usually initiate the negotiation process. If the store does not negotiate, then you should get a straightforward answer.
5. Can furniture be included in a mortgage?
This may depend on the type of loan you acquire, but typically it cannot because lenders will not allow the value of a mortgage to exceed the value of the collateral (the physical home itself).
There are a plethora of financing options available for furniture though. You can visit a bank or financing service to secure a personal loan, or most retailers offer in-store financing as well.
Didn’t find the answer to your question or looking for more information? Send us a message or check out some of our other blog posts: