There are four main things you should look for when it comes to buying living room furniture: versatility, style, affordability and uniqueness. The last one is surprisingly hard to achieve – there's always that one piece of furniture that seems to be in everyone's home. "Oh I have mine in my bedroom," Mine is in the study," comments each guest as you watch the host smile through gritted teeth over their carefully considered but obviously very popular choice.
No one wants to have the same furniture as everyone else, and that’s why it’s crucial to get outside the usual brands when it comes to buying furniture. Independent furniture shops, like Pieces on Dublin’s George’s Street, will give you a much wider variation on the usual items filling our online baskets, can often match up in terms of affordability, and you can road test the quality and comfort there and then.
Buy What You Love
If you take any advice from this article, let it be that you should buy the sofa you absolutely love and can’t stop late-night Googling. People rarely buy more than a handful of sofas in their lifetime so make it count. We've fallen head over heels for this Markeivicz sofa, it's luxurious yet welcoming, a statement piece that we think we'll just have to make room for in our life.
When it comes to buying furniture, especially for rooms like your bedroom or living room where they will make (or break) the space, it’s important to take time to consider what exactly you want. Large items like sofas, armchairs and bookcases will move with you from home to home, life stage to life stage. You not only need to like it now, but you also need to future-proof that you’ll like it later. Markievicz three-seater corner sofa, €1,499.
Those massive, fabric armchairs that you remember from your grandparents home had one thing going for them. No, not that huge floral print (although it is making a return), but they were mega comfortable. However, they were huge and looked like they took over even more space than they actually did with their block-like shape.
Buy an armchair you will fight your loved ones to get to sit in. This one has the benefit of not only being incredibly comfortable, it avoids looking too clunky through its spindled black metal legs. In a small living room, it’ll work as the main armchair without absorbing all the light of a traditional fabric armchair. Behan armchair, €599.
Consider White Space
Storage furniture can often look like just that – a dumping ground. If you're a really untidy person, just don't opt for open storage so there isn't the temptation. However, if you just need to be guided down the right path to stylish yet functional, this bookshelf could be the one.
It has got a lot of things going for it. It’s gorgeous, with its mid-century curves and space-age legs all in a warm timber. It's double-sided, which means it can work up against a wall or as a room divider in a larger space and the shelves are deep enough to be filled in on either side. And the clearly defined cubes are elevated by narrow gaps, so even if you overfill every inch of the cube, each one will still have some breathing room with a clean frame around your possessions. Heaney bookcase, from €449.
Want to be stretched out in first class but only have the space of coach? This is a typical issue for smaller living room spaces, especially in the city.
An ottoman is a great option for a small space. Ideal if you don’t have room for a footstool and coffee table, it can double as both. Rest a tray for coffee cups and some books in the centre as a display, and then pull up to the couch (there’s a matching green velvet Shaw chair or sofa option available) for a cosy movie night in. Shaw ottoman, small (75 x 55cm) €199 and large (115 x 75cm) €249.
You may need something to fit a space now, but it's important to ask yourself how it might work for you in the future. A small armchair is probably one of the most versatile items you could buy and it makes for the perfect shopping starting spot for anyone just getting on the property ladder.
This chair will work in the tiny living room of your first flat, and by the bed or in a little reading nook as you progress to a bigger place. Its classic Scandinavian design means it’ll adapt whatever the need and you’ll get plenty of compliments on it. Jensen chair, €425.
If future-proofing means or might mean children, then leather makes for the perfect furniture choice. Chic and wipeable, this sofa will look as good in a city party pad as in a family home.
Bonus points for the headrest, which pops up to make an excellent napping spot too, if you ever get a moment to yourself. This design is from the Casey range, which can be mixed and matched to create your perfect combination. The armchair costs from €519, this 2 seater in leather is €999, the 3 seater is €1,099, 3.5 seater €1,199 and corner units are available for €1,899.