Have you ever heard the term FF&A? If you spend anytime in Real Estate or the Interior Design industry, then you probably consider FF&A the cornerstone of a well-designed home.
Obviously, it’s not literally the cornerstone – because, well, that would be the actual cornerstone’s job, but just go with me on this.
FF&A = Furniture, Fixtures & Accessories
Sometimes you’ll even hear FF&E, which stands for Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment. But this generally applies in construction contracts and commercial real estate where the equipment stands more for functional pieces of furniture (think desks + filing cabinets as opposed to sofas and ottomans).
The fun part of buying a new or new-to-you home is being able to style it just right so that it reflects who you are when people walk through that front door. The tricky part is making sure that it’s not only stylish and relevant, but cohesive and quality.
So – where do you start with FF&A in mind? I’ve got a few tips to help you get started bringing some personality and style to your home without overwhelming your senses (or bank account).
Start on Paper
Before you hit the store with your wallet and good intentions, take some time to measure the room and sketch out what you want things to look like. Where would you put a sofa? Is there going to be a focus point – like entertainment center or fire place? What about rugs, curtains and side tables? What shape sofa works best?
Take the time to sketch out your ideal room on paper so you know just what you’re shopping for, and don’t forget to take a measuring tape with you when you finally hit the store!
Take a Look at What You Have
Do any of your existing pieces work? Do you have a sofa or a table you like as-is, or that would be easy to reupholster or refinish? What pieces do you already have that fit the style you’d like to convey without having to start from scratch? Add those into your style plan you’ve already sketched out, and then make sure you create a shopping list with dimensions and armed with images to help match what you have to what you still need to purchase.
Ground the Room with the Big Pieces
Decide whether your big pieces of furniture will serve as statement pieces or subtle background structure to help you give your room dimension. If your sofa is a bold color or patterned, make sure that your rug and accessories don’t outshine or clash – but instead add depth and support the pieces you choose. Use your big pieces to decide what goes where.
Make sure that you know which walls will showcase art and which will be taken up with big Armoires or half-covered by a sofa-table. Use your furniture to help strategically design the space, not just fill it. Use your big pieces as an outline for the supporting pieces.
Choose your Art + Rugs
After your furniture is chosen, measured and placed, move forward with rugs that will help pull things together and artwork that fits perfectly in the space that it’s designed for. This is the time when you can either make or break a design – always ensure you know exactly what size and space you’re shopping for to avoid things looking haphazard.
Be Strategic With Accessories
There’s a difference between a strategic cluster of beautiful vases or candlesticks and a room full of random hodge-podge tschotchkes. The depth of a room can be decided by the accessories. Remember – just because you have a shelf doesn’t mean it has to be full. Pick pieces that have function and interest, that don’t draw from the atmosphere of a room, but instead tie it up neatly.
Questions or tips? We’d love to hear what works for you when designing the perfect room-in-progress (because if you’re a designer, the job is never ending!)