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Sofa and Loveseat?? Large or Small??

These are common questions asked by renters. It all boils down to versatility. When it comes between suggesting either a sofa and loveseat - or a sofa and two chairs, I will always recommend the sofa and two chairs. Here's why.
A loveseat seats two, but, not so comfortably depending on the size of both the people and the loveseat itself. We, Americans, have this hang-up about "space" and that said space being invaded. Rarely, unless its a a couple or set of close friends, will someone sit down on a loveseat next to someone if they feel they are invading that person's space, or in turn their own will be invaded. On the other hand, two chairs will technically seat the same amount as a loveseat - two. But, the two chairs offer much more flexibility when it comes to furniture placement. Just because your present home can accomodate both the sofa and the loveseat in one space without any problems, doesn't necessarily mean your next home will. But, chances are - even if that room cannot accomodate the sofa and the loveseat, you will have no problem with placing the sofa with at least one of the chairs. A spare chair can find a home anywhere throughout your home. Its hard to say the same thing about a loveseat.

So - now that you know which type of pieces I recommend, what about size? Well, size of furniture is very important when it comes to scale and balance of a room. But, scale and balance have been the last thing on my mind when I was trying to shove a large sofa up a narrow hallway. I ahve learned over the years to think beyond technical design philosophies and choose furniture that is not only versatile, but easy to move as well. This often means choosing pieces smaller in scale. You are risking the chance that some of these pieces will look out of place in a larger room, but I have always found that even small pieces can accomodate a large space just by adding more pieces such as a small desk, a sofa table, plants, etc. So, my suggestion to the average apartment dweller would be to choose small.
While we are on the subject of sofas, I want to tell you about a type of sofa that is ideal for those who move a lot, or move into tight spaces. Many of you may already own such a sofa, and can attest to its usefulness. Its a sofa that you put together. It comes in pieces and you assemble it yourself. I own such a sofa, and it has been a Godsend in some of the homes I have lived. Owe used it in our last home which feartured a small, upstairs tv room. We would never have been able to get a regular sofa up the narrow stairs. Several companies carry these sofas, but to get an idea what they look like and how they work - go to www.furniturefind.com, and click on the link to sofas.

Home Sweet Rented Home
"Fickle Furniture! Does that belong there?"

I have learned to adapt my furniture so it suits the home where we are living for the time being. To do this, you cannot be afraid to use pieces in places other than where they were originally intended for.
Also, I love storage! I can never have enough. (More storage means more space to put more stuff!!!) So, I look for clever and ingenious ways to create storage. I have implemented some of these storage techniques when I have decorated client's homes that were small and lacking for space. I like furniture with drawers...be it side tables, coffee tables, desks, bookcases, etc. A piece of furniture with drawers can be easily adapted to fit almost anywhere, and still maintain its usefullness. A table with four legs is still and always will be a table with four legs. Give me drawers!!! As an example, we once lived in a military house that had virtually no space for a breakfast area, not to mention that cabinet space was at a premium. I was determined to create both. I bought a second-hand dresser with four drawers and repainted it. Then, I had a piece of plywood cut into a circle large enough for a tabletop that could seat two to three comfortably, and four cozily. I attached the plywood circle to the top of the dresser with screws. Then, I had a piece of glass cut the same size as the plywood circle. I covered the plywood circle with a beautiful, round tablecloth that hung to the floor, and topped the cloth with the glass. I used the much needed drawer space to store linens, cookbooks, baking pans, etc. Today, that same dresser, minus the wood and glass tops (...screw holes filled in and painted) can be found in my guest bathroom used as storage for extra toiletries, etc. Who knows where I might use it in my next home.
Don't be afraid to mix and match styles and woodgrains of furniture, either. This only makes for a warmer, more relaxed home. Or, simply try to purchase the same woodgrain, i.e. cherry, oak , pine, etc. To give another example, I currently use a small dresser with mirror by my bed as a nightstand. The extra space is wonderful for storing my lap desk as well as my stationary, books, extra blankets, etc.
Try to look at your furniture with an open mind and give it a new perspective. You might find that that wrought-iron garden table sitting out on the porch is just what was needed in the living room!

"Buying Furniture that is Versatile and Moves Easy"

As I talked about in the Color section, I am always pulled to patterened sofas when I go into furniture stores. I can't help it, because as I stated, the eye is drawn to pattern first, then color. A sofa which encompasses both is almost too hard to resist. But, resist you must! You will never regret choosing the solid sofa over that large, floral pattern. Why? A solid color is easier to coordinate other colors with than a floral design. But, doesn't this go against the grain of design lessons about using a pattern as your inspiration piece? If you select a sofa which features a pattern of say, two to three colors - then, these are the three colors that will determine your every color scheme from here on out. You may find that quite limiting. But, if you select a sofa with a neutral background, say for example, a medium sage or dark taupe, a myriad of color schemes are open to you. Rely on other features to add pattern and color such as a fabric for window treatments, a throw pillow that matches the sofa or an area rug - even a print. Buy a side chair in your favorite pattern. This can be easily slipcovered or reupholstered in years to come, much easier than a large sofa. Or, choose a pattern such as a stripe. I consider a stripe a neutral in the world of patterns. A stripe is also versatile in that it looks well great when combined with solid pieces or patterned pieces such as a florals, checks and geometrics. The striped chair does not have to be the same color as the sofa, either. This is a wonderful time to bring in a second color, for example, a red and cream stripe. This begins the basis for your color scheme of sage, red and cream. Finally, add an area rug for even more pattern and color. Pull a third and even a fourth color from the rug to complete your color scheme. Add accessories and lighting, and your once boring and plain sofa is suddenly full of life and character amidst its patterned and colorful surroundings. Best of all, when you happen to get a job transfer, etc, next month - the versatile sofa and chair can be used elsewhere. A new rug and a few new accessories can be changed if need be.

Another bit of advice about sofas and solid colors. Solid does not have to mean smooth. What I mean is this: there are wonderful sofas that are solids, but feature beautiful designs ingrained in the form of textured patterns. For example, chenille has a soft texture with a slight nap. This nap gives the fabric its interest. Consider something along the lines of a crushed velvet, brocade or even a corduroy. You don't have to settle for a plain, cotton fabric any more.


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