Interior Design

Choices, Choices – Furniture Suitability and Proportion

When you walk into a well-designed room you immediately sense that everything in the room seems to “work.” Every piece of furniture seems “just right.” Successful design means that everything works together to please the eye. In other words, a room works when all the elements-furniture, accessories, fabrics, and colors-fit together harmoniously. The first step is to always visualize what your space will look like when it is complete.

Macy’s Jolene sectional and a MCM inspired coffee table found on Houzz

Thinking Ahead

How do you get your mind working so that you end up with a finished room that “works”? First, you decide upon the mood you want the finished room to express. While function and harmony will become important later, first you start with mood. If you are not sure what mood or style you want to achieve, take a look at the home’s architectural style for a possible direction to follow. What images form in your mind when I say traditional, modern or coastal cottage? While the traditional and modern are two very different styles, the cottage and traditional styles share similarities. To learn more about style visit

Classic Mid-Century Modern furniture can work for these styles, but they can also be used with Boho and Grand Millennial. I am a big fan of MCM pieces, which are beautiful, affordable and excellent quality. To learn more, check out my

Ashley’s leather sofa and Atomic Age MCM swivel chairs found on Etsy


To create spaces with harmony, you will want to ensure your furniture pieces are similar quality and proportion. Ikea has perfectly functional furniture, but it would look out of place with higher quality pieces. Price is not always an indication of quality, if you find a good quality bargain, you can certainly use it in your space.

When choosing furniture, consider the overall proportion of the piece. Are the different dimensions of the piece pleasing to your eye? Does the piece’s visual weight and size work with the other pieces in the space?

Furniture Selection

When choosing furniture, always consider the function first. If you need a new couch for relaxing and watching television, you will want to make sure it is big enough for your family and the fabric will stand up to everyday use.

Pro Tip: Sofas with slip covers and reversible cushions have a much longer lifespan. Detachable covers on sofas can be washed and allow you to change the color or replace damaged pieces.

The Kardiel sofa, Atomic Age MCM chair, as well as the other pieces in the space below work well for relaxing, reading and provide extra storage of the kitchen.

Develop your sense of design

While your instinct will guide you when it comes to really bad design, that sense we call “taste” involves making subtler distinctions. How do you develop this refined ability? By training your eye!

You train your eyes by looking at good furniture and examining furniture that has “good lines.” You train your eye by studying classics of good furniture design. You can find great examples in museums, fine art books, and better design magazines and blogs.

Pro Tip: Don’t just look at good furniture. Examine it. Study it. Analyze it. Ask what makes this piece work? What do I like about it? How do I feel about the proportions? It will take some time, but soon you will start to recognize good design when you see it.

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