Furniture and home décor have an irretrievably connected relationship. An item of furniture does more than just give a visual aspect to a room. It also specifically defies the purpose to which that room is to be put. If you put a bed and a wardrobe in a room, for example, it becomes by definition a bedroom, no matter where it is located in a home. By the same logic, a room with a sink and a cooker in it becomes a kitchen even if it is in the conservatory or the basement.

A note before continuing – when you move furniture into a home, as part of or in addition to a home décor project, you can undo all the good work of your designer with a careless twist. To avoid marks on walls, use pallet trucks where possible to control the motion and direction of travel of large items – and of course to save backs and shoulders too.

The purpose of furniture has a primary function in its selection. You don’t choose a table to sleep on, for example, any more than you would choose a washing machine to cook in. Therefore, while the look of an item is clearly an important part of home decoration, in every furniture choice situation the functional design of the thing is the prime mover in the decision making process.

In some cases, the degree to which that item performs its function, or the way in which it does so, is as important as the fact that it does. Beds are an excellent example of this. Some people require a soft mattress. Others need a hard one with plenty of orthopaedic support. And so the bed buyer must take into account the probable and known performance of the mattress, as well as the look and sturdiness of the frame.

A bed is actually an excellent example of the ways in which form and function must meet in furniture choices, all the way through its design. Because it is split into mattress and frame, it’s almost two bits of furniture: one that you look at and one that you use.

The frame, though, needs to answer certain technical and practical functions. It has to be big enough to fit the mattress a person uses; and it must be small enough to fit in the room into which it is supposed to go.

It must also be sturdy enough (as noted) or designed in such a way that the ability to support both the mattress and the people sleeping on it is not compromised.

In terms of looks, there are two schools of thought about what to specify in the bedroom – or in any other room for that matter. One, which may be referred to informally as the designed school of thought, says that every hard piece offurniture in a room should be the same. This is where we get the idea of the three piece suite; or the bedroom set.

The other school of thought, which we might term the cosy school, allows for furniture to be collected in all different styles and themes – as long as the overall effect is pleasing. Which one a person prefers is entirely dependent on their character and the character of their home. It may also be dependent on available budget.

Jennifer Doherty is a furniture designer. Click here for more information.