Furniture for the Holidays
Getting ready to host for the holiday celebrations can mean having to redesign or rearrange rooms in your home to accommodate your guests, especially those staying with you from out of town.
You will want to take a look at the main rooms of your house where guests will congregate and determine if you have enough space and, more importantly, enough furniture to accommodate all those party-goers. Even if you have an intimate number of guests, you still want to look at how your dining room, living room and guest bedroom are set up and ask yourself, “What furniture do I need for the holidays?”
Many people consider purchasing a bigger dining room table to accommodate larger groups of guests. You will also want a table that can be downsized for smaller gatherings simply by removing a leaf or two from the tabletop. Consider these options before buying:
- Shape: Dining room tables come in four distinct shapes: rectangle, square, oval and round. The rounded tables are good for small gatherings, but if the table is too big, your guests will have a hard time holding a conversation across the table. Oval or round dining room tables with seating for 12 are physically larger than a rectangular table with the same amount of seats. So, if you plan on entertaining a large group, go for the rectangle style. Medium-sized groups would fare well with an oval table, while small groups would do best with square or round tables.
- Material: The material of the dining room table should match what is in the rest of your house. Mahogany and walnut have a formal feel, while oak, cherry and pine offer a more casual and relaxed appearance.
- Style: The style of your dining room table should also match with what you have in the rest of the dining room. Antique tables have beautiful, handcrafted workmanship and make you feel a rich sense of history. Contemporary furniture doesn’t show this same craftsmanship. An expandable table – the kind with removable leaves – would best serve holiday gatherings of various sizes.
When considering chairs for a dining room table, you will want to find some that are both stylish and comfortable. Especially during holiday parties, guests seem to congregate around the dining room table to eat and have conversations. Factor in these thoughts when looking for chairs:
- Size: Make sure you know the size of your table and the size of your room when you go looking for chairs, as this will determine what you get. You also need to keep in mind what you will do with extra chairs if your table is not fully extended all the time.
- Style: The style of your chairs should match that of your table. If you have a formal table, you need formal chairs. Choose from open, solid-back, upholstered or solid wood chairs.
- Material: Wooden chairs are your best option for a dining table as they should match the wood, color and design of your table. If you choose upholstered chairs, this will give you an opportunity to match the pattern and color with other designs in the room.
If your living room furniture is looking worn or drab and you want to update before the holidays, there are many options to consider. Before you start browsing, heed these guidelines:
- Measure the room: Measure the length and width of the room, accounting for the dimensions of any alcoves or recessed spaces.
- Create a floor plan: Determine how much space you need for holiday furniture, sketching a few different plans. Make sure to leave ample space between the pieces of furniture.
- Check doorways: Make sure they are large enough to accommodate the bigger pieces of furniture you may buy.
- Think about how the room is used: Will your guests be gathering in this room during a party or will they stay in the dining room or outside? This will determine the amount and type of furniture you buy for the holidays.
- Christmas tree: Will you have enough space to put up a Christmas tree? Make sure to sketch that into your plans.
Now that you’ve designed your room, the next step is to actually purchase the furniture. Start with the basics, such as sofas, end tables, coffee tables, and arm chairs. From there, look for investment pieces that are solid pieces with wood frames and sinuous steel springs. These may cost more, but the quality and workmanship are worth it as they tend to hold up better and longer. Once you find those pieces, take this information into consideration:
- Make sure fabrics on upholstered furniture are stain-resistant but of high-quality.
- Ensure that cushions are made of a wrapped foam, which makes them more durable and comfortable.
- Test the strength of the frame of a sofa or chair by lifting one leg about six inches off the ground and making sure the adjacent legs rise as well.
- Coordinate your pieces so they complement each other.
- Match the theme you have in the rest of the house.
- Select a loveseat instead of a sofa if you have a smaller space.
When selecting guest bedroom furniture, you want to find pieces that will make your guests feel comfortable and at home. Simply focus on these essentials:
- Comfortable bed: This is the most important piece of furniture you can provide to your guests. They will rest easy and get a good night’s sleep. If your guest room is smaller, consider a futon, a daybed with a trundle or a sofa bed.
- Chest of drawers: This is another must-have in a guest room. A well-crafted oak or cherry dresser is perfect for storing clothes and other belongings so your guests won’t have to live out of a suitcase while they are visiting.
- Cozy chair: A comfortable recliner or armchair is greatly appreciated when your guests want a little private time to read or make a phone call.
Nightstand: This item should be made of high-quality wood and can hold a small reading lamp.