In a world where we are constantly fed with Instagram-worthy shots of home interiors and influenced by home makeover videos all over social media, it is safe to say that most of us aspire to live in an aesthetically pleasing home that we can call our own.
The first step toward achieving our ideal home is to go furniture shopping. However, with so many different designs, styles, and materials to choose from, we may find it difficult to make a decision. Allow us to assist you in better understanding home aesthetics and what to look for when shopping for furniture.
2.0. UNDERSTANDING HOME AESTHETICS
2.1. What Is Home Aesthetics & Why Is It Important?
What does the term “aesthetics” mean? According to the dictionary, aesthetics refers to two things; one of them being the study of the mind and emotions in relation to the appreciation of beauty. It is a philosophical branch concerned with the nature of beauty and taste, as well as the philosophy of art.
Home aesthetics refers to the appearance of your home as a result of the elements you like. It has the ability to create a different vibe and elicit different emotions in people.
The aesthetic value or appeal of a home may be unimportant to some, but it can make a significant difference in your life. The truth is that home aesthetics, or interior design, has most likely played a role in a variety of situations in your daily life. Here’s why it is important:
#1. Improves Space
Interior design not only beautifies your home but also adds functionality and improves the use of space. A good interior design should improve a space by making it better suited to its purpose and the homeowner’s lifestyle habits. For example, making a home office comfortable yet conducive to work in.
Another way interior design improves space is by making different parts of your home flow together to make your life easier. The placement of furniture should help enhance your daily life rather than disrupt your flow of actions.
Good home aesthetics should serve a purpose, be visually appealing and contribute to the comfort of your life. Not just put several designer furniture together expecting them to look nice.
#2. Affects Mood
Compare a beautifully designed space with a shabby one that lacks proper flow and furnishing. How would you feel if you were placed in both of these locations?
A well-designed home instantly lifts your mood and makes you feel at ease, whereas a poorly maintained space can trigger feelings of anxiety, disgust, frustration and even fear.
Apart from design, the colours you choose can have an impact on the atmosphere of your home. Colour psychology is used by many interior designers, marketers, artists and other creatives to elicit emotions in people. If you understand how colours can affect people’s emotions, you can easily design a space that makes you feel a certain way.
Blue can evoke feelings of calm and stability, whereas yellow can evoke feelings of energy and warmth. The colour you choose will vary depending on the mood you want to convey.
Instead of viewing home aesthetics and interior design as a finished product, consider it a process of getting to know yourself better and reflecting that in your home.
Decorating your space allows you to express your personality to others and allows your guests to learn more about you when they visit. Consider your home interior carefully, and make small changes here and there to suit your changing preferences and lifestyle habits.
2.2. Ways To Improve Your Home Aesthetics
Now that you have an idea of how your home interior can affect your mood and way of life, you can start making changes to your home. Your home is supposed to make you feel safe and relaxed. Hence, it is critical to decorate your home in a way that not only looks good but also makes you feel happier. Here are a few ideas on how you can make improvements to your home aesthetics.
#1. Choose Round Edges & Softer Textures
Softer textures and rounded corners are said to help relax our bodies and mind. A study listed in The Journal of Consumer Research also shows that people are more likely to crave soft or pleasant textures when they’re in a negative state of mind.
When it comes to choosing furniture for your home, we recommend incorporating a few pieces of furniture with round corners to soften the look of your home and make use of soft fluffy textures to create a cosy environment. This is because our brain tends to associate sharper edges with getting hurt while round edges and soft textures are more likely to improve our wellbeing.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that every item in your home needs to be curved or soft. Focus on the main and larger pieces of furniture such as your dining tables, chairs, sofas, and even your TV console.
#2. Decorate with Plants
Plants, whether green leafy potted plants or vibrant and sweet-smelling flowers, are excellent for our mental health and overall mood.
Greenery makes us feel more relaxed and calm, gives us a sense of vitality, and improves our state of mind for mental clarity and a positive outlook on life. Including them in your home will improve the aesthetics and even make you feel more active and alive.
Flowers, on the other hand, make you happy by releasing dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, which are happy brain chemicals. They can help to instil a sense of pride and excitement in you, as well as add vibrancy to your home.
Furthermore, real natural plants can help to purify the air in your home, thereby improving the quality of the air you breathe.
You can choose to adorn your wooden dining table with a vase of flowers or have a lush potted plant accompany your TV console in the living room.
#3. Let in Natural Light
The light in our homes can have an impact on our health and well-being. Natural light exposure during the day is strongly related to energy, mood, sleep, and overall quality of life. However, when we spend the majority of our time indoors, it can be difficult to get enough of it.
It is said that only being exposed to artificial light reduces melatonin levels, which is a hormone important for our body's health because it regulates our circadian rhythms. When melatonin levels are low, some symptoms we can suffer from include insomnia, negative emotions, and other health problems. This is why we should consciously allow as much natural light as possible into the house.
Sunlight exposure increases our brain’s production of serotonin, which helps to improve our alertness, mood, productivity and more.
Increase the amount of natural light entering your home by swapping out opaque night curtains for sheer day curtains, opening up windows and opting for brighter furniture shades to reflect more light.
#4. Floor Decor
We tend to focus on the walls and empty spaces in our rooms when decorating our homes, but not so much on the floor. Hence, leaving them bare most of the time. Using large carpets or smaller rugs to fill empty floor space can help to improve the appearance of your home and make it feel warmer, inviting, and cosy.
Aside from that, soft floor coverings make walking more comfortable, lowering the likelihood of a foot problem and lowering noise levels, which is especially important in HDB flats and condominiums.
Small rugs can also be a part of your decoration. Placing them below a chest of drawers or below a standing mirror can add more details to these corners.
#5. Minimise Clutter
Clutter can have an impact on our anxiety levels, sleep quality and ability to focus. In a cluttered space, you may find it difficult to relax physically and mentally, increasing your stress levels. Having to clean up the mess will also add to your frustration.
A neat and clean environment can help you sleep better, be more productive, and focus better, raising your standard of living significantly.
However, you should still allow yourself to be a little messy from time to time because being too strict on keeping the place clean and tidy can backfire and actually stress you out.
One way to balance this is to have more storage space, such as several chests of drawers or cabinets, as well as a good organisational structure, so you don’t stress yourself out while trying to stay organised.
Psst, a trick to clean up your space is to hide everything in your storage units.
2.3. Essential Furniture Every Home Needs
Home furniture is essential for a comfortable and convenient lifestyle. It is also an important part of home interior design and functionality. When faced with a new home and an empty space, you may feel intimidated and unsure of what to get for your home. Here is a list of furniture pieces that we believe every home in Singapore should have.
A sofa sets the tone for your home and provides you with a comfortable place to sit and relax at home. You can eat on your sofa, read, or even simply lounge on it. If you have visitors, you can also gather around the sofa for some catching up.
#2. Dining Table & Chairs
Dining tables and chairs are necessary in every home because you need a comfortable place to sit and eat your meals. During meals, good posture is important because it encourages proper body and head alignment, which directs food from your mouth into your oesophagus, preventing choking and assisting in proper digestion.
They can even double up as a workstation, saving you the expense of purchasing additional tables and chairs for your home office if you don't have the space. We do, however, recommend that you get proper desks and ergonomic chairs for work and study purposes for better postural health.
The place where we rest our heads at night is absolutely essential in your home. A good night’s sleep will help you wake up more refreshed and ready to face whatever life has in store for you. Hence, it is important to get a bed for your home, even if it’s just a good mattress without a bed frame.
However, bed frames are necessary for good sleep, so if possible, avoid skipping out on them.
Remember how we said you should keep your home clean and uncluttered? Storage areas such as shoe cabinets, chests of drawers, wardrobes, and even your TV console are all necessary for keeping your belongings organised. Without enough storage space, your home may become disorganised, and you may struggle to find items when you need them.
3.0. PROCESS OF BUYING FURNITURE & HOW TO CARE FOR THEM
3.1. Things To Note When Shopping For Furniture
Now that you know what you need for your new home, there are a few things to think about before you go shopping for furniture. Keep these considerations in mind whether you're shopping for furniture in a physical store or online furniture shop. These factors will assist you in making a more informed decision and in finding the appropriate furniture pieces to meet all of your requirements.
#1. Furniture Colour
Choosing the right furniture colour is crucial, especially if you place a high value on home aesthetics. They can either make or break an interior and your choice will affect how your home turns out. Choosing the right furniture colour is more than just making it look cohesive with the rest of your home; it will also set the mood of your home and trigger different feelings in you depending on which colour you choose.
No matter how well-designed a piece of designer furniture is, it will look unattractive and out of place if you choose a colour that does not match your home.
When we go shopping for anything, one of the first things we look at is the price. Something too expensive will only burn a hole in your pocket and make you feel uneasy. Buying the cheapest item, on the other hand, may serve no purpose because it may begin to fail on you almost as soon as you have it set up in your home.
So, rather than purchasing only the most expensive piece of designer furniture, or even the cheapest and more affordable piece, consider the cost in relation to its function, material, features, and so on. This is to determine whether the price you’re paying is reasonable and worth it.
Many homeowners place a higher value on the appearance of a piece of furniture than on its functionality. However, a piece of furniture is supposed to function as an “equipment” that makes your life easier and more comfortable.
Consider looking for features that will improve your everyday life. For example, choosing ergonomic chairs with adjustable headrests and armrests over a nice-looking chair without ergonomic functions, or getting a chest of drawers with deep and functional drawers over an aesthetically pleasing one that can’t hold much.
On top of that, you should also keep in mind that the furniture you get should be easy to access, easy to use, as well as add to your comfort and convenience. Don’t go for a tall shelving unit if you don’t think you can reach the top of it.
Aside from home aesthetics, one of the most important factors to consider when shopping for furniture is its size and whether it will fit in your home. Before you go furniture shopping, carefully measure every corner of your home and think about where you will place each piece of furniture.
Besides that, you must also factor in enough space for other pieces of furniture or for you to move around. Don’t forget to take into account the doorway as well as cabinet or drawer doors, as these will take up a certain amount of space to open. Refrain from putting anything in its path that prevents it from opening up.
#5. Durability and Maintenance
A home is where you’ll spend the majority of your time for the rest of your life, whether to rest or to engage in your favourite hobbies. To prevent yourself from having to purchase a new piece of furniture every few years, remember to take into consideration the durability of the furniture.
Besides durability, maintenance is also just as important. Proper maintenance and care can help to extend the life of your furniture. However, if it’s difficult to maintain, you may end up not taking care of it at all or find that nothing you do can help to keep it in optimal condition. Getting a piece of furniture that is easy to clean will help to save you so much trouble.
The material from which your furniture is made has a significant impact on its durability and maintenance. Although all materials have a certain level of durability, some are far more durable than others, and different materials thrive in different environments.
When shopping for furniture, consider the people living with you, your lifestyle habits and how the material will affect your life. Learn about some common furniture materials in the next section and decide for yourself which will be most suitable for you.
3.2. Materials To Look Out For And How To Care For Them
Polyester fabric is a synthetic woven material that is known for its durability and affordability. It is used to upholster a variety of furniture items, including sofas, sofa beds, and dining chairs. Polyester, despite its low cost, provides a number of advantages to its users.
I. More Stain-resistant
Polyester tends to be more stain-resistant compared to other materials because of its less absorbent nature. It is, however, not waterproof.
Polyester is a strong and sturdy material that can withstand some wear and tear, including light scratches from your pets, as long as the furniture is made entirely of synthetic polyester and not mixed with other natural fibres. One should still refrain from allowing pets to scratch the polyester sofa. Polyester may also retain its appearance, but it will soften and stretch slightly after years of use.
III. Easier to clean
Quickly cleaning away any spills or food crumbs on the polyester will help to keep it clean. However, dirt and debris can still become trapped between the weaves. So, one should be careful when consuming food and drinks on the sofa.
Simply vacuum your polyester sofas, sofa beds, and dining chairs on a regular basis to remove dust from within, use a lint roller to pick up pet hair, and gently wipe it down with a damp cloth to keep it clean.
Leather is commonly used to upholster sofas, but not sofa beds because they are not the most comfortable to sleep on. Leather sofas can create a sleeker and more luxurious appearance in your home if you prefer a contemporary or modern look. They exude a certain elegance, which is difficult to achieve with most fabric sofas.
When it comes to shopping for leather sofas, you may have heard of full leather and half leather sofas and wondered what’s the difference.
Full leather sofas are fully covered in leather, whereas half leather sofas have only the parts of the sofa that our bodies come into contact with made of leather, while areas such as the back of the sofa, outer side, and bottom parts are made of PVC.
Quality leather sofas are subjected to stringent modern processes that make them more resistant to cracking, sagging, or peeling, allowing them to outlast fabric sofas. The durability of your leather sofa will also vary depending on its origin and thickness.
Furthermore, leather is a flexible and strong material that is resistant to everyday wear and tear. But, proper leather maintenance is still necessary to make it last longer.
II. Easy to clean
Second, the resistance to spills and stains is one of the reasons why leather sofas are so popular among families. Cleaning them is easy because you only need to give them a quick wipe down with a damp cloth to remove any spills and keep them clean. Wiping away body sweat and oil on a regular basis will also prevent leather from cracking or peeling.
Most leather sofas are soft and comfortable to sit on, especially when you have the air conditioner switched on.
If you suffer from allergies, you'll be relieved to know that leather sofas are hypoallergenic. Dust mites, pet dander, and other allergens do not easily accumulate on leather sofas, and they even repel dust.
Follow these steps to clean and maintain your leather sofa in optimal condition:
1. Brush off any dirt or dust on the sofa with a soft cloth. Get into the nooks and crannies with a vacuum equipped with a soft brush attachment.
2. Wipe the surface down with a damp cloth. Avoid soaking your sofa as leathers cannot handle large quantities of liquid. It is best to use distilled water for cleaning.
3. We recommend cleaning your leather sofa with a leather cleaner once every 6 months and applying a leather protector when necessary.
4. Let your sofa dry naturally before you sit on it. This will allow the material to stay shaped and avoid creases.
Marble is a natural stone highly valued by many homeowners for its beautiful patterns and luxurious look. Their applications include dining tabletops, coffee tabletops, flooring, and kitchen countertops.
Marble is relatively strong and its strength makes it naturally resistant to cracking
II. Aesthetic Appeal
Marble comes in a wide variety of colours and patterns. Furniture and flooring made from natural marble will also feature the unique marble patterns that cannot be replicated. Marble makes an interior look elegant and will never go out of style.
Glass is a non-crystalline solid that has widespread practicality. Although seen as fragile, it is used in many furniture applications such as dining tables, shelves and coffee tables.
Glass is a man-made material, it is non-porous and doesn’t trap dirt, dust, bacteria, or other microorganisms in them. This makes them hypoallergenic and safe for those with allergies.
II. Aesthetic Appeal
When placed in a room, glass makes the room look light and bright as it allows light to pass through it. Occasionally, even reflecting some light. It also looks delicate and elegant in any interior.
III. Easy Maintenance
Due to its non-porous nature and smooth surface, glass can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth or a soft duster.
#5. Solid Wood
Wood is an organic material that is used to make many types of furniture, including sofa frames, wooden dining tables, dining chairs, bed frames, chests of drawers, and more. They provide numerous advantages to a home and are one of the most popular furniture material choices.
Many households with wooden dining tables and chairs tend to keep them for many years and even pass them down generations, especially if it’s a well-crafted piece made of high-quality hardwood. Wood has incredible strength and it can last for many years if well taken care of.
Wooden furniture, such as dining tables, chairs, and bed frames made entirely of wood, can be recycled and renewed to create new wooden furniture. Reusing salvaged wood also means fewer materials are disposed of in landfills or burned.
When wood is sourced responsibly, it is also environmentally friendly because trees that are cut down are replaced with new planting.
Because of its timeless appeal, wooden furniture can be passed down through generations and still look good. It will never go out of style and will continue to beautify spaces for many years to come.
The natural grain of the wood makes it versatile and appropriate for a wide range of interiors. They also come in a variety of colours that can be used for a variety of looks.
When it comes to keeping your wooden furniture clean and in good condition, you need to make sure to regularly clean it. However, avoid using excess water and harsh chemicals as they can cause long-lasting stains that may not be possible to remove. You should also re-oil and re-wax your wooden furniture when necessary.
On top of that, avoid placing wooden furniture in direct sunlight, as heat and sunlight exposure can deteriorate the condition of your wooden furniture. UV rays, in particular, can cause bright and dark spots to form on the wood's surface.
#6. Sintered Stone
Sintered stone is a manmade material created through a process called sintering, in which various materials are pressed together under high heat and pressure to form a solid impenetrable material without melting any of the elements. Compared to wood, it is a relatively new product and its durability is impressive.
Sintered stone is most commonly used for kitchen countertops, but it is also used for dining tables, bathroom vanities, flooring, and even wall claddings.
I. Extremely Durable
Sintered stone is stain-resistant, waterproof, scratch-resistant, and even temperature resistant. Hot pots and pans can be placed directly on sintered stone dining tables without causing any damage. However, you should avoid doing so because excessive heat exposure may still affect the colours and prints on it.
II. Food Safe & Hypoallergenic
As a man made material, its non-porous surface makes it impossible for allergens, bacteria and other harmful substances from becoming trapped within it. Sintered stone is also made from natural materials and does not contain any toxic chemicals, making it food safe and hypoallergenic.
III. Easy to clean
Due to its durability and non-porous properties, sintered stone is easy to clean and a simple wipe down can keep it in tip-top condition.
IV. Environmentally friendly
Sintered stone is made of 100% natural materials, so it is free of resins, volatile organic compounds, and other potentially harmful substances. It is also relatively environmentally friendly because up to 52% of it can be recycled.
Purchasing furniture for your home is essential for comfort, convenience, and an aesthetically pleasing interior design and choosing the right furniture can improve your life in a variety of ways. Now that you've equipped yourself with the basics of furniture shopping, it’s time to browse for the furniture you need.
Star Living is a Singapore-based online furniture shop that houses seven distinct designer furniture brands, offering a one-stop shopping experience for all homeowners looking to furnish their homes with something new. Shop a variety of designer furniture here.