Tips for Choosing Living Room Furniture

Your living room is arguably one of the most, if not the most, important spaces in your home. It’s often the first room guests encounter upon entering, and it’s probably where you and your family spend the majority of your time together.

For these reasons, it’s crucial to put your own stamp on this living space. You want your living room to reflect you and your personality. Therefore, it’s advisable to plan the space to achieve the look and feel that’s most important to you.

Your living room should be a place of comfort, where you can be happy to entertain your guests and to just enjoy being. It can complement who you are, even going as far as to be an extension of yourself.

A well-designed living room is comfortable for all who use it, both family and guests. Your choice of furniture is vital in terms of relaxation, entertaining guests and for its visual appeal.

When you’re selecting furniture, it’s important to consider factors such as quality, size and aesthetic appeal. You also need to consider whether you want to have a theme to your space, and whether you want a formal or informal living room. If your living area is open to the kitchen, you’ll want to consider coordinating with that space as well.

With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at how to plan and choose the right furniture for your living room space. Here are some tips for choosing living room furniture before you head to our furniture store in Knoxville, TN and Nashville, TN.

First Things First – Planning Your Living Area

If you’re wondering how to choose living room furniture, considering your room size is the first step to planning what can go in it. It’s a good idea to create a floor plan on paper so you can figure out different ways of fitting in the furniture that’s caught your eye. Planning helps you efficiently utilize all available space, while avoiding cluttering. It also helps you to include room for walkways around your furniture.

Remember, when measuring your space, take note of the furniture-to wall-clearance too so you don’t order pieces that won’t fit into your living room. It’s also important to select the correct sized furniture for your room. If you’re living space is on the small size, huge pieces can look overbearing. Similarly, in a large room, tiny little chairs and tables also look “off.”

In the case of shared furniture, it’s crucial to place this in easily accessible spots to ensure all the family can use the pieces. For instance, placing the coffee table in the center of the room is far better than placing it beside a chair that’s only used by one individual. Also, remember to place the TV in a central location.

A handy checklist to follow for planning your living area could be:

  • Take measurements. Using a tape measure, calculate the dimensions of your room, remembering to take any recesses into account.
  • Draw up a floor plan. This allows you to see how much space you have to work with. Draw out a few different ideas you have for furnishings, ensuring you some space around each furniture piece. You don’t want to be squeezing in between tables and chairs as you navigate the room.
  • Measure your doorways. If the furniture you’ve ordered comes assembled, be sure that it is able to fit through your doorways when delivery time comes.
  • Stage your room. At this point, you may wish to mark out the spaces on your floor where you want to place your potential purchases. You can use newspaper sheets or painter’s tape.
  • Consider how your room will be used. Some people use their living room only occasionally, whereas others utilize this space for daily family use. If you’re only using the space from time to time, you can buy more delicate pieces without worry. However, for family rooms that are heavily used, it’s imperative to purchase stain-resistant and sturdy items, particularly if you have children.
  • Note the architecture of the room. Perhaps you have a beautiful antique window in your room that you wish to make a focal point of. If that’s the case, purchasing a period-looking piece can complement it.
  • Consider what color you would like your furniture to be. Color profoundly affects the mood of your room. With this in mind, neutral woods work every time. For pops of color, think about buying a few throws or cushions.
  • Think about the shape you want your furniture to be and how that’ll look in your living room. Furniture with a rounded shape occupies more space than rectangular or boxier pieces.

Now you have everything planned out, you can move on to selecting your furniture.

Next — Selecting Your Living Room Furniture Pieces

The fun part of the whole process of making your living room look amazing is the selection of your pieces, right? Still, to make sure you get what you’re looking for, it’s a good idea to adhere to the following process:

  • Begin with the basics. First, you need to purchase the basics — an armchair, sofa, coffee table and side table. Take care of these main objects first, before adding any extra pieces.
  • Purchase good quality pieces. By buying solid, sturdy, investment pieces, you’ll find that your furniture has a very long life, and you’ll save on the expense of replacing each item every few years.
  • Look for fabrics that are stain-resistant as well as being high-quality. Good quality fabrics afford you more comfort, as well as being longer-lasting than inexpensive materials. If you have young children in the family, it’s a good idea to buy stain-resistant fabrics in case of spills.
  • Coordinate your furniture. Every piece in your living room should look good together. If not, your space will look thrown together, and consequently, won’t be a conducive atmosphere for entertaining. It’s therefore best to adhere to a theme, Old World for example, and to only buy pieces that are true to your theme.
  • Buy furniture that works in your space. Purchase a loveseat, for instance, rather than a full sofa if you have a smaller room.
  • Pick out other complementary pieces. Once you’ve identified all the pieces you want for your living room, move those in, and then pick out other complementary pieces that fit in around your furniture while affording you plenty of space to move.

Remember to take your time when selecting your living room furniture and to take all of the above into consideration. Buying quality solid wood pieces, ensures your furniture looks good and lasts a lifetime.

Construction of Your Furniture

When you’re selecting furniture pieces for your living room, it’s imperative to select items of quality. When possible, it’s best to buy solid wood that’s been handcrafted.

Nowadays, we’re all used to imitation real wood pieces that may look good from afar, but they are lacking in the durability that solid, handcrafted wood offers.

Let’s take a look at some modern composite materials furniture can be made from:


Particleboard is a hot-pressed composite made from waste wood-based materials, bound with formaldehyde resin and then usually painted or veneered. Weaker than other composites and fiberboards, it’s also relatively inexpensive. Particle board may look fine upon your far-away glance, but upon closer inspection, it usually looks inferior to solid wood.

Particleboard is also much flimsier than solid wood. If the outer veneer or laminate portion peels off, the interior particleboard crumbles. It doesn’t stand up to moisture well because it absorbs water and expands, so it’s not ideally used in a living room where spills are a risk. Once damaged by water, furniture made out of particleboard cannot generally be repaired.


MDF or medium-density fiberboard is far denser than particleboard, and it is also a wood-based composite material, pressed from formaldehyde resin, residual wood fibers and wax. Often used in place of solid wood, MDF, like particleboard, is environmentally questionable due to its formaldehyde content. For this reason, some manufacturers are now opting to use polyurethane resins instead to create the material.

Like particleboard, MDF tends to expand when damp, which can lead to cracking.

It’s true that both MDF and particleboard pieces break down in time, ceasing to be attractive pieces of furniture. Although solid wood furniture may expand or contract, it always looks good, and it does not warp like these cheaper materials.

Solid Wood

Arguably, solid wood is the best choice when you’re buying living room furniture from a furniture store in Nashville, TN and Knoxville, TN. Wood ages well, is high quality, long-lasting and strong. Your wooden furniture is an investment, and it looks as beautiful in 40 years — sometimes even more beautiful due to its character flaws — as it did on the day you bought it.

Additionally, no two pieces of wood are the same, so your wooden furniture is entirely unique. These natural variations in the grain depend on the age of the tree as well as the environmental conditions the tree experienced during its lifetime.

When it’s cared for correctly, hardwood furniture looks attractive in any living room. A few things to remember when caring for your wooden furniture are:

  • Polishing and cleaning your pieces regularly keeps them in excellent condition.
  • Restoring and treating any scratches on the surface of solid wood is far easier than fixing a damaged composite piece of furniture.
  • Keeping your wooden pieces out of direct sunlight is crucial, as the sun bleaches wood and degrades the finish of your furniture.
  • Remembering to keep your wooden furniture away from sources of direct heat is imperative, as heat can also damage wood.
  • Using harsh chemical cleaning agents on wooden furniture is a bad idea as these can strip or stain the surfaces of your piece. Find natural, gentle alternatives instead.

As wood is a sustainable product, and also gives the appearance of luxury, it perfectly complements your living room. When choosing furniture, know that if you’re buying pieces made from either particleboard or MDF, they are an inferior product to natural wood.

You may also be potentially exposing you and your loved ones to toxic chemicals in particleboard, like formaldehyde in the resin glue that binds it together. The World Health Organization has classified formaldehyde as a carcinogen. Health experts propose people have an exposure rate below 0.1 parts per million. Some individuals experience nose and throat irritation and eyes watering at levels as low as 0.03 parts per million. Care.com reports that the fumes from particle board can emit for up to five years.

This is why real wood furniture is always the best choice when you’re planning the perfect living room. Now, you have some ideas about how to choose furniture for your living room. You can come in to our furniture store in Knoxville, TN or Nashville, TN, talk to us, and get the guidance you need to make the best furniture choice for you and your family.