Does size really matter? - John Isacc

Yes, it certainly does - especially when it comes to furnishing a room. Last month, I wrote scathing comments about the ghastly "3 piece suite" which, in my view, is as much of a passion killer to the style and mood of a room as a large pair of grey knickers on a gorgeous girl. The current taste for monstrous sofas and obese chairs has been the ruination of so many living rooms - but read the article on this site, and you will see what I suggest instead.

Proportion is everything when planning your furniture, and while I may advocate smaller, neater, seating arrangements, when it comes to choosing incidental items, THINK BIG!

A large chandelier, a big mirror, a tall bookcase, a substantial picture will have more dramatic impact than lots of smaller bits and pieces. As seating tends to be mostly at waist level, every room needs something tall as a counterbalance. 

Go onto the site and look for an antique linen press. This is a most useful and practical item of furniture. Its sober, clean lines will harmonise with the most modern of room settings, and, at the same time, provide much needed storage space. Although intended for the landing or bedroom, it is ideal for a lounge as the top half can be used as a drinks cupboard. 

burrwalnutgentlemanswardrobelinenpressA superb colour and patina burr walnut, with working lock and key.

Equally, an elegant antique bureau bookcase can serve the same purpose. Both occupy a small amount of floor area, and should fit easily into any size of room, but their height will add character and dramatic style. There are fine examples from the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian periods at all sorts of prices to fit any budget. You can make it even more spectacular in a room with high ceilings by placing some large blue & white ceramic pots or chargers on top. 

FineGeorgeIIIWalnutBureauBookcaseA Fine George III Walnut Bureau Bookcase available from

The same theory applies to wall lights (big rather than small), table lamps and pictures. If you cannot find (or afford) a large painting, collect a variety of smaller ones - drawings, etchings, watercolours and hang them together on one wall as a collection. It does not matter that they are different styles or that the frames don't match. As a collage, they will have as much impact and interest as a large, expensive oil. You can have fun collecting odd pictures or even old shop signs which have wit as well as nostalgic appeal. As a collection grouped together, they will tell an interesting story and a brilliant talking point when you have visitors.  

Good Antique Hunting!