Home Furnishings

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Home furnishings are as diverse and individualistic as the people who buy them. There are so many variables when decorating a home that it takes more than a rudimentary understanding of design concepts to pull off a successful look. Granted, one homeowner's idea of "successful" may (and will) differ wildly from another's, but as with any discipline, interior design adheres to a few general do's and don'ts.

Home furnishings take into account, among other things, furniture, lighting, patterns, colors, and shapes. Some textures are better suited than others for mixing and matching, while certain fabrics are more inviting. You may love the look of a particular lighting fixture at your home store's showroom, only to find it jarring in your house.

Home Furnishings Bespeak Your Tastes and Sensibilities

The car you drive, the clothes you wear, and the food you eat are all indicative to some degree of your values. A hybrid car obviously conveys a radically different message than a Hummer, just as a vegetarian diet suggests things about you that a steak-and-potatoes regimen does not. The same holds true for home furnishings. The moment guests step into your home they can tell a few things about your values.

A giant stuffed moose head over the fireplace and a wall full of mounted fish and birds sends a decisive message. Contemporary furniture such as Blu Dot Chicago desks and upholstered Milano chairs also betrays your stylistic leanings. But the look of your home is about much more than pure aesthetics; it's about practicality and functionality as well.

A Matter of Form and Function

One popular theory of art holds that form should follow function. A stainless steel kitchen countertop may look sleek and modern, but it also presents several advantages in preparing meals, namely that it's conducive to cutting and cleaning. Similarly, a contoured chair may have a retro or vintage look while helping to ensure good posture.

That's not to say that bold and extravagant flourishes don't have their place. If your overall motif is wild and outrageous, a gaudy gazebo out back or a piston-activated Gino bar stool might feel perfectly natural. It all depends on the scope of your artistic vision.

Your Home Furnishings Resource

You could spend years studying the finer points of feng shui, or arranging objects, including furniture, to achieve an optimal balance. Many interior designers do just that. You can even read style magazines, hire your own personal designer, join internet newsgroups, and spend hours browsing antique shops and you'd still have plenty to learn about the world of home furnishings.

In the pages that follow, you'll get an introduction to the basics of home furnishings. From modern furniture to antique accents, you'll learn a little bit about anything you could hope to put in your own personal castle. While this is by no means an exhaustive guide, it may help you decide whether bunk beds work better than futons and whether those ceiling fans are really necessary even though you live in Buffalo.


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