Choosing new bedroom furniture is both exciting and scary -- exciting, because who doesn’t love new things and a new look? Scary, because furniture is expensive and the fear of making a mistake can be overwhelming. Luckily, picking the right furniture for your needs is much easier if you ask yourself a few questions before heading to the showroom.
Where will the furniture go?
Are you buying new furniture for your own master bedroom, or is this for a child’s room or a makeover for a teen’s bedroom? The right furniture is suited to the user of the room, both in style and design.
What’s your budget?
It’s fine to browse – in fact, that’s the best way to see what’s out there – but it’s very unwise to make a purchase before determining exactly what you can afford. Furniture is a big expense, so be honest with yourself before pulling out your credit card. If your dreams are large, but your bank account is small, you have several options:
- Buy just one new piece of furniture now, and wait until you can afford to buy the rest
- Shop for secondhand furniture
- Go for lower quality – but also lower priced – furniture if it’s destined for a guest bedroom or a child’s room
What about quality?
You don’t want junk furniture that will fall apart within a few months. That doesn’t mean you have to have the absolute top-of-the-line, either. Your budget plays a big part in deciding the level of quality you can afford, but so does the intended use of the furniture. It’s worth spending more for high-quality furniture for the master bedroom, but okay to go down a level or two for a child’s bedroom set that will be replaced within a few years. It’s always worth splurging (within your means) for a good-quality mattress, but not always worth it for a nightstand, headboard or bench for the foot of the bed.
How big is the room?
If you’re decorating a tiny bedroom, it doesn’t make sense to buy a massive four-poster bed or mammoth dresser. Likewise, if you are lucky enough to have a sizable room, don’t choose undersize (or too few) pieces of furniture. Scale is crucial for a well-decorated room; that means that the size of the furniture needs to be in balance with the size of the space. Whenever you buy new furniture for any room, be sure it can make it to its destination before signing the purchase order. You don’t want to discover that the new dresser won’t make it around the hallway corner or through the bedroom doorway the hard way.
What do you need?
You might be replacing all of your old bedroom furniture, starting from scratch in your first apartment, or just buying a few new pieces, but you should know from the start what you actually need. If you only put on makeup in the bathroom, it doesn’t make sense to buy a vanity. If you share your bed with a partner, you’ll both want a nightstand. If you or your partner is exceptionally tall, then choose a bed without a footboard so toes aren’t cramped during the night. If a dresser is cute but doesn’t have enough drawer space to hold your clothes, it’s not the right one for you.
Take your lifestyle into account, as well. Your idea of the perfect Sunday morning breakfast might be with the whole family piled into your bed, or maybe you have kids in your bed every night. Does Fido or Mittens share your room? If any of those sound like you, then you need a large bed that’s roomy enough for everyone.
What’s your decorating style?
If you love all things contemporary, you won’t be happy with a rustic, country bedroom set. If you have a beloved decorating style, you’ll want furniture that complements it. That doesn’t mean you should lock yourself in a rigid mindset; a great deal of bedroom furniture is transitional in style, meaning somewhere in between traditional and modern. In other words, it generally works well with most decorating themes.
Do you want a matched set?
While it’s certainly safe to buy a complete, matched set of bedroom furniture, it’s not required and it’s not even necessarily the best choice. In a traditional or formal room, a matched set looks great, but in more casual styles, too much matchy-match can be stifling or boring. Instead, choose a variety of pieces that complement – but don’t perfectly match – each other and the overall decorating style of the room.
Is the room shared?
If two people share the room, whether it's two siblings or a married couple, you need to take both people into account when choosing furniture. If it’s two siblings, you’ll need beds for each. For any shared room, both inhabitants need a dresser or chest of drawers to hold their clothing and a nightstand or bedside table with a lamp. You’ll also need to think about both people’s tastes and desires. Compromise may be necessary, but nobody should be unhappy with their bedroom.