“Better one safe way than a hundred on which you cannot reckon.” — Aesop (c. 620-564 BCE), Ancient Greek fabulist or storyteller, “The Fox and the Cat”
I’m sure everybody goes through this at some point in their lives. We see something in a shop or online and instantly believe it is a must-have.
Unfortunately, some people get so excited about having a new rug, a new sofa, that beautiful lamp, dining room table to seat the whole family that they don’t take the necessary steps to see if — while it may be perfect — it will fit.
Over the years I’ve been so blessed to work with a lot of people trying to fix up their homes, and I can assure you the size of potential furnishings is a big issue.
Now, I know this won’t apply to everyone — I live in a relatively small condo — but even in houses of different sizes, you must measure every detail of new furnishings. And, by the way, sofa beds are deeper and regular ones are bigger, so doorways and twists need to be a little wider.
Friends have purchased items and the delivery people have had to take them back because they wouldn’t fit in the space. While that may be OK, it’s still a hassle: dealing with getting your money back and still not having the new furniture you wanted.
One misconception is that when you are in a furniture showroom, items look very normal, and you visualize them in your homes. However, when you get a new piece inside your home, it will seem larger than it did in the showroom.
I can’t tell you how many friends and clients have shared these stories with me saying, “It looks twice as big here in the house.” Remember, you’re in a showroom. It’s bigger than your room. So it will take on a different look inside your home.
The best thing you can do before you shop for anything is measure all of the space in your home around where you want the new piece to go. Measure your doorways, hall widths and how much space you have to fill with the new piece.
Rugs have similar issues. Make sure a new rug option — say, for your dining room table — will fit under the table and have room on each side for the chairs to pull out. You don’t want one that will just fit under the table and each time a chair is pulled out it gets hung on the edge of the rug. Rugs are great grounding items for a setting, but they must be big enough to reach or accommodate the pieces in it.
Now, we’re assuming you bought beautiful new furniture and it fits into your house. The smaller issue usually revolves around artwork, accessories, lamps and any other thing you may want in addition to the furniture. Just be careful that you have the wall space, the tabletops or space to accommodate your purchase of accessories. That can become an issue also. Be aware of your space and how different add-ons will fit and make your home beautiful.
Every showroom person or designer will have a lot of similar stories about clients who couldn’t make things work. Most of us are always looking for new things for our homes, and showrooms are happy to sell things to us. But before you say, “That’s it,” make sure that it will fit in its new space.
Carolyn Muse Grant is a design consultant and creator of beautiful spaces. Questions can be sent to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.