How to make the most of your existing furniture

Updated: Jul 17, 2020

Good interior design isn’t always about starting with a blank canvas. Work with what you’ve got. My first conversations with clients are all about what they’ve got, what they like, what works and what doesn’t and we go from there.

With this client, we decided to keep their perfectly good dark brown leather sofas, which had been feeling dated until they were given a new lease of life. Using Pale Powder by Farrow & Ball on the walls, coral and teal accessories and of course, the velvet accent chair of dreams, we created a beautiful, light airy living space, without the expense of new sofas.

A good interior designer will work hard to include your existing furniture and show off your older pieces in their best light. You may have some good pieces that are in perfectly usable condition and don’t need replacing, or sentimental pieces that you are attached to. A fresh pair of eyes can help you to see the way you use, and where you place your existing furniture, in a new light.

I recently worked with an older couple who had downsized from a very large house with lots of antique furniture. They had so many pieces; they didn’t know where to begin. I helped them to refine their selection, and work those pieces to their advantages. 

She had two favourite pieces, an antique drinks cabinet and a vintage metal trunk that she’d taken to college. We cleared out the CDs being stored in the glass fronted cabinet to display their wonderful glassware collection. In a new location and with good lighting the piece has whole new lease of life. The gorgeous metal trunk was moved into the dining room to be used as an occasional table, a piece that has huge sentimental value has been given pride of place. 

Unfortunately we went into lockdown before we got photographs of that project but we will add them when we are able to take some, for your inspiration.

Even if you don’t have valuable antiques, often old furniture is much better quality than modern furniture. You can effectively up-cycle pieces with the right treatment that can make it sit with your scheme better. It’s a super sustainable option to re-use and recycle existing furniture. In this picture, you can see plain and functional bedside tables can be reinvented with a new colour (for example here - "on trend" black) and some new knobs (these are from Ikea).

Changing things up can really invigorate your home. It’s human nature to want a change once a while and it can be good for you. You might want a change but don’t have a big budget. In these instances a fresh paint colour, a rearrangement of your existing furniture and perhaps a new rug that works with what you’ve got can make a huge difference for a minimal spend.

If you’d like to freshen up your space to lift your mood then get in touch, we look forward to working with you very soon.

Warmest regards from Team Mabel

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