Design Guide


Yorkshire Handmade Furniture

Welcome to the RGI Furniture Hub! The purpose of this page is to educate and inspire our readers on all thing’s furniture related.

Why does furniture matter?

It may sound obvious, but furniture is so important when it comes to interior design. It works as a functional element as well as creating a sense of order in a chosen room. Furniture provides a context for the room and information on the purpose of the space.

Always think about how you would like to use the room before you begin designing. For example, if your kitchen is a large open plan room will you be entertaining a lot and therefore need plenty of seating. Or will you utilise the kitchen itself and need more worktop space for cooking and baking?

Furniture can also add interest and a talking point to your room, depending on the style and size of piece you choose. On top of this, furniture matters as it creates a flow of movement. Allowing enough room to move between furniture items and giving some ‘breathing space’ is something people often forget to think about. Getting it right may involve some trial and error before deciding on the final position. Remember that people like to have room to move, think and breathe so don’t cram too much in one area!

What does RGI take into account before stocking a furniture brand?

At RGI, we have developed our own collection of furniture including handmade cabinetry, tables and media units as well as bespoke upholstered chairs, stools and sofas. We pride ourselves on high quality furniture handmade in Yorkshire. We feel it is important to ‘shop local’ without compromising on detail or aesthetic. In terms of brands, we try to use the same theory. This is why we only stock a small selection of designer furniture brands such as Andrew Martin, the internationally renowned B&B Italia & Porada.

Visit Richard Grafton Interiors and see our furniture selection. We have carefully curated room sets to incorporate furniture, fabrics and accessories to help you visualise your end goal. More recently in our Ilkley showroom, we have Cattelan Italia on display including a dining table you will find hard not to love.

We are here to advise on all aspects of your interior projects to make them a reality. Pop into one of our 3 showrooms to begin your interior journey!

What things should I consider before buying furniture?

Location – which room?

Does your lounge area need a lot of individual seating elements? Would you prefer a built-in media cabinet and a corner group sofa to create more of a chilled ‘cinema’ style room?

In your bedroom, think about the position of the bed and then work around this to add detail such as matching bedside units and a dresser.

Kitchens are always one to think about carefully. Built in kitchens can accommodate a lot of cupboard space but think about integrated appliances too. Also, whether you want a kitchen island and have the space for this? Alternatively, think about the size and shape of dining table you would like and how many seats this can accommodate. Would a round or rectangle shape work best? Adding a new shape into the mix creates diversity in your interiors.

Finally, small spaces can be utilised cleverly with built in furniture. Could you add some bespoke shelving under your stairs or even create a desk area to turn a dead space into your new home office?

Tip: Think about how the room will be used and who will use it before buying furniture.

Furniture size – how to choose furniture the right size for a room?

Size of furniture is led by the size of room you want to fill. However, always measure carefully and bear in mind ‘breathing space’ as mentioned before.

Using online apps and tools can help with the measuring or use a trusty tape measure to get your furniture dimensions correct! If you are working with a smaller room, select the essentials first and then see what space you have left to fill.

Skip the items which waste space! If you love a large cabinet or sideboard, see if you can opt for a smaller, scaled down version of the same design like the Andrew Martin Kinvara cabinet which is available in both a 3 door and 2 door.

If you have a large space to fill it is important to designate areas of the room to certain functions. Do you want a reading corner? A media area? A games area?

You need a large anchor piece in a big room, avoid filling the room with a lot of small pieces as they will all merge together and get lost. If you can’t find a piece of furniture that looks big enough, try doubling up on items like coffee tables or rugs. Artwork should also be big and bold, mirroring the size of room you are filling.

Tip: In a large room, use furniture like sofas and console tables to divide the room and create ‘walls’ and walkways.

When will the room be used?

Regular use of a room can mean a few things in terms of furniture choice:

  • comfort
  • usability
  • durability

If a room is only to be used for those special events with friends and family, you might want to focus more on the colour and style rather than comfort as a priority. This is a great time to add fun, statement pieces to your room!

Colour and material combinations for furniture

  • Blush & Shagreen
  • Pastels & Ceramics
  • Teal & Brick
  • Charcoal & Burnt Orange
  • Copper & White
  • Ruby & Walnut
  • Olive Green & Oak Veneer
  • Navy & Glass
  • Black & Lacquer Gloss
  • Metallics & Marble

Hand-made furniture

We have our own Yorkshire based furniture workshop. This allows us to design and make beautiful pieces of furniture for your homes, whatever room you may have in mind.

Our showrooms are your first port of call to provide you with inspiration and ideas. From the handcrafted fitted wardrobes with shagreen detail in Wetherby to the fully functional kitchen with bespoke island in Ilkley to the two media cabinets in Harrogate.

As well as making the furniture, we will then install and project manage the whole process so you don’t have to worry about organising trades people. We take the hassle away from you!

We have some beautiful RGI own brand sideboard cabinets available in our showrooms which are a great opportunity to add a statement piece to your lounge, snug or dining room. With coloured veneer finishes and antique mirror tops, the furniture will give your room the wow factor, at a great price!

How and when to use statement pieces?

How to achieve a classic style

Classic furniture creates more of a traditional look and can take inspiration from English & French styles of the 18th and 19th centuries. Typically, a classic style is warming and inviting, using deep colours and textures through the use of woods, leathers and ornate luxurious fabrics.

How to achieve a modern look

Contemporary furniture creates fluidity and is ever changing in its style. Open space is key to achieve a modern look and geometric shapes are often a key feature. Materials such as glass, chrome and lacquer create a modern look. However, we always incorporate some stone and brushed veneer where possible to soften rooms, using clean lines and abstract forms. Metallics always look great in a contemporary home with plenty of light so it reflects!

How to use furniture to create a classic contemporary look

This can be more of a transitional style, bridging classic and contemporary together to create stylish, effortless interiors. This is our favourite style at RGI and can look so refined when done well! Drawing elements from both, such as minimal patterns and understated colours with luxurious elements in the materials such as marble and wood. Classic Contemporary style has a minimal approach, with symmetry and a clear, harmonious flow to the room.

How can you blend different styles of furniture?

Richard loves to combine old and new styles together. Our signature look is a ‘classic contemporary’ take on interiors so don’t be afraid to pair materials together that you would normally shy away from! Think a traditional wood with marble and glass or a porcelain stone. You don’t need to keep your house a single style, be adventurous with your choices and blend looks together.

Furniture brands

Andrew Martin

Since 1978, Andrew Martin has been at the forefront of global design. Andrew Martin has an eclectic style, which is not defined by a single aesthetic. Shop the selection at RGI online now!

John Sankey

John Sankey creates timeless and unique upholstery which takes pride in your home. From bespoke fabric coverings to the material on the feet, you can design your own personal piece of furniture and know that it will be exquisitely made with the utmost care and attention.

Artistic Upholstery

Artistic Upholstery is an inherently British, family run business which was developed in Long Eaton (known as the centre of upholstery in the UK).

Julian Chichester

Julian Chichester is an English designer who is heavily influenced by classic English furniture making. Expect to see exciting new materials and finishes in his collections as their techniques are always updated and improved.

Common furniture questions

What is the most durable fabric for a sofa?

Nowadays, you can find a lot of fabrics which are technologically engineered to look like their natural counterparts, but which can withstand the test of daily life, children, pets and more. A lot of natural fabrics are very durable however, such as linen (especially if it is machine washable), velvets and of course leather. If you are worried about the leather getting scratched, then we recommend a distressed leather as any marks will blend together. Mohair is also an extremely durable fabric, whether you choose this for a sofa or alternatively opt for a mohair throw of which we sell in our showrooms in a variety of colours. As well as opting for a durable fabric, maintenance and upkeep are very important. Keep your fabric clean and free from dust and debris by hoovering it regularly.

Should furniture match wall colour?

Definitely not! It is an entirely personal choice in terms of your wall colour and furniture. We love to experiment with colour and textures, mixing old with new. This could be through using a very bright colour on your upholstery such as a teal/turquoise and then pair this with a stripped back wall colour such as a grey/brown. Kitchen furniture and cabinetry can also be colourful and sit well alongside a muted off-white wall. That’s not to say your wall colour should never match your furniture – if you prefer the single colour look this can also work well in a bedroom giving off a calm and serene energy if you opt for a silver/grey or a mushroom/taupe like the paint colour from Zoffany – ‘Half Mushroom’.

Discuss your project

We are always happy to receive enquiries about your next interior design project. We have design studios in Harrogate, Ilkley & Wetherby so please get in touch, pop in or call to make an appointment.

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