We’re not going to sugarcoat it for you: creating a well-appointed space is the gift that keeps on giving, but it’s not exactly an easy process.
As if choosing the right paint shade, furniture layout, and home decor isn’t challenging enough, you have to figure out how to do it all without breaking the bank. If you want to create a home that’s charming and cost-effective, you might want to invest on the timeless essentials and buy trendier accessories for less. But, since every dweller has their own design priorities, it can be a little tricky to differentiate the investments from the affordable add-ons.
So, where to begin? To help, eight designers share their favorite spurge-worthy pieces. From forever furniture to decadent details, the perspectives below are proof it’s time to treat yourself.
The average person spends a third of their life in bed, which is exactly why a great bedding bundle is one investment that will pay for themselves in no time. (After all, nobody wants to toss and turn on stiff sheets.) “It makes such a difference to fall asleep in a beautiful, comfortable bed, and a well-made bed is such a ‘welcome home’ at the end of a long day,” explains Cate Dunning and Lathem Gordon of Gordon Dunning. “In addition to sheeting and duvets, we always recommend investing in an impactful ‘boom-pow’ pillow to really set the space apart.”
In fact, the design duo even teamed up with Southern Living to create a line of home essentials—yes, including bedding—which is currently available at Dillards.
From a dreamy bed to a plush sofa, your home is the ultimate place for kicking back and relaxing, so shouldn’t you have furniture that’s built to last? Florida-based designer John McClain encourages you to look for pieces with buzzwords like “kiln-dried hardwood, corner blocking, or hand tied springs.” He also shares that the weight of the furniture can often be an indication of quality. “Try moving or lifting the item,” the designer recommends. “If it’s no issue, you are probably looking at a piece constructed from plywood or particle board which will work fine for a year or two but will need frequent Replacing.”
While there are plenty of companies that pride themselves on making high-quality furniture, you might want to consider going custom—especially for your sofa. “No two living rooms are built the same, so designing a custom sofa to fit your home is the best way to optimize the space and ensure lasting comfort,” explains Betsy Berry of B. Berry Interiors.
Speaking of your sofa, Zandy Gammons of Miretta Interiors also encourages you to choose your furniture’s upholstery with care. “It’s used everyday, and you want it to last for a while,” she says. “Your family uses the sofa for relaxing, reading, watching TV, socializing and more. Nothing is worse than a poor quality sofa that leaves a permanent indentation in the cushions after prolonged use!”
For Stephen Shutts, senior designer at Mitchell Hill, seating is generally used more than any other element in the house, so your upholstery should “be engineered to be at once practical and beautiful.” A great sofa can last up to a decade, but if you want to ensure your seat’s longevity, consider investing in a performance fabric, an easy-to-clean option that can wick away stains.
Lighting has the power to make or break your home’s overall atmosphere, but if you want to mix form and function, you might want to consider investing in a great fixture, too. “When done right, dramatic accent lighting serves as a centerpiece to your room and changes the entire mood of a space,” says Leslie Murphy, creative director and co-founder of Murphy Maude Interiors in Memphis, Tennessee.
North Carolina-based Gray Joyner agrees, noting that this is one investment that has serious staying power. “Good lighting lasts for a long time and can keep a space looking well designed and neat,” she shares. Talk about a bright idea!
The Art of the Matter
Beauty lies in the eye of the art holder, so you might want to pick up some unique pieces for your walls. “Always invest in original art; you will never regret its value,” says Nomita Joshi-Gupta, a New Orleans-based designer who owns a multi-line wallpaper and fabric showroom called Spruce. The good news is that it’s possible to pick up investment-worthy art without spending above your means. From perusing high-end galleries to picking up one-of-a-kind works from a flea market, it’s often the search, and the mix of pieces you find on it, that is the secret to a well-curated collection.