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By Leah A. Zeldes, Tribune Content Agency
When it comes to trendier home decor, stick to walls, floors, accessories and smaller pieces, say home designers for Baer’s, a collection of fine furniture stores with 15 locations throughout Florida. You can make your rooms look up to the minute, but go for classic comfort when it comes to your sofa.
"I've seen a few design trends come and go in my career," says Wendy Rossi, who has been designing for the stores for 15 years. She advises clients to look in their closets to guide their furniture buying -- for color and style. When it comes to major furnishings, like a couch, she says, if you think you might get tired of it, don't buy it.
A basic three-seater sofa is best, says Baer's design consultant Connie Sherrard. "It's timeless."
A classic sofa can be dressed up or down, the furniture equivalent of the little black dress.
Simple designs with clean lines offer the most versatility. "No flashy legs. Get an arm that is comfortable," Rossi advises. Stay away from anything too ornamental.
Pit groups have made a comeback recently, but they're definitely a style that can become dated. Stainless steel is hot right now, too, Rossi says, but if you keep it for end tables, coffee tables and occasional chairs, you can build a contemporary look around that comfy, classic sofa.
"Comfort is No. 1," says Rossi. "It's almost like buying a pair of shoes."
Try it out
The designers tell people to come into the showroom and spend time sitting on sofas before buying one. Check the height of the couch arms and the feel of the back and cushions. If you like to nap on the couch, lie down in the store. Unless you're intending it for a room that's rarely used, how the sofa feels is more important than how it looks.
People say, 'This sofa isn't exciting,'" Rossi says, but what makes it exciting is your accessories.
"Chairs are usually a lot less expensive than a sofa," says Sherrard, so that's the way to bring in new seating fashion.
Color trends come and go. "We're going more into color now -- we'd been in the earth tones for a while," says Rossi, but she still advises neutral shades for your couch.
"If you buy your investment pieces in neutral colors, you can enjoy the trend but not be stuck with it once it's gone," she says.
Don't buy flashy fabrics with the idea that you'll reupholster the piece when you get tired of it, Sherrard says. "It's more expensive to re-cover than to buy new."
"A red leather sofa is a big commitment," says Rossi. "A good leather hide can last for 20 years.
Rossi suggests shades of beige, cream and brown. "Chocolate brown is a color you can do a lot with," she says. A cleanly designed chocolate brown leather sofa can be matched with bright pillows or richly colored rugs. Sherrard suggests off-white or lemon if you want a lighter look. Grayish tones go well with cool colors such as blue and purple.
It's better to bring in brighter colors with rugs, says Sherrard. "Putting a rug on the floor is like putting a piece of art in the room."
The designers say investing in good pieces will save you money in the long run. Says Sherrard, "Buy a quality sofa, then keep it a long time."
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