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You Don’t Live on your Walls

Of course, you don’t live on your walls. You also don’t live on your ceiling and most of the time you don’t live on the floor either (even though the floor would be easier to pull off than the other two). So where do you live? Think about it for a moment…where does your physical body spend most of its time?!  

On. Your. Furniture! 

A quick Google search revealed that the average North American spends 6.5 to 10 hours per day sitting, and if you have an office job, this number may increase to a staggering 15 hours per day! Then there’s the 7-9 hours most of us spend sleeping each night. You can see where I’m going with this…we spend A LOT of time connected to our furniture.  

So why then, during a renovation or new build, is furniture often an afterthought? This was a topic of discussion during my recent BOSS group meeting, a mastermind group of design professionals I meet with each month. It was one of my fellow members who said, ”Furniture is very important, because you don’t live on your walls.”

This was my lightbulb moment! What a great way to visualize how we actually live, or how we dream about living.  

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine meals and conversations around the dining room table with good friends. Imagine a winter morning curled up in your favourite arm chair reading a book. Imagine watching a movie with the kids as you’re all sprawled out on an oversized sectional. Imagine cuddling up with your partner in your comfy king-sized bed. Imagine working in a chair that supports your body ergonomically so that your back doesn’t hurt at the end of the day. 

The architecture, finishes, and fixtures in a room dictates how it functions and feels, but life happens on the furniture. 

How and when should you plan for furniture so it doesn’t become an afterthought? 

1. Take inventory. Determine how many of your existing pieces will be reused and how many will be new.  

2. Determine function and style. Write a list of the important features each piece must have and how you want it to feel and look. You can also make a Pinterest board. 

3. Lay it out. Create a furniture plan to determine appropriate sizing. 

4. Create a budget. Make a line item for each piece and decide on a budget range. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for how to calculate furniture as cost against a total construction budget. Do some research to determine if your budget ranges are realistic. Generally speaking, everything costs more than you think it will. 

5. When budgeting, think about the quality and lifecycle of the pieces you are purchasing. Price generally coincides with quality. Spend more on the pieces that will be used and abused every day (e.g., the family room sectional). If you have to replace a cheap sofa three times in the time span of time that it takes for a higher quality sofa to wear out, you haven’t saved any money and you’ve also contributed to the landfill. Plus, higher quality furniture can be refinished or recovered so it is far more environmentally responsible. 

6. Order early. Supply chain and shipping delays are real. Count on an average of 20-weeks for a new piece of furniture to arrive. 

Your furniture planning should coincide with the rest of your renovation plans. It must be done at the same time you’re deciding the layout and finishes for your space so it’s a cohesive part of your project and budgeted. This ensures your furniture is not an afterthought and you won’t feel disappointed when your shiny new living room has lawn chairs and a folding table when you move in because you ran out of money or the furniture isn’t arriving for months. 

You may have noticed that for the last couple of months our blogs and our social media have leaned heavily toward the décor aspect of design with a focus on furniture. This focus is new-ish to S3. Each of the designers in our office comes from a technical design background – we love space planning and solving the “architectural puzzle” of a home or office. We love designing unique details that make a space sing. We also love selecting the most appropriate and beautiful finishes and fixtures that will adorn the walls, the floors and the ceilings. Don’t get me wrong, furniture was always considered. We’ve always made sure the appropriate furniture would lay out well within each room, but we didn’t put our focus towards actually selecting and procuring those pieces on behalf of our clients.  We’ve recognized that this was a missing element to our design offering, and we’re now ensuring that S3’s designs incorporate ALL the parts and pieces…from architecture to décor…because you don’t live on your walls!  

If you’re interested in learning more about the lines of furniture that we carry and how to select the perfect pieces for your home or office – please reach out, we would love to assist you! 


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