Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Designer FAQ: Where to invest

When you are decorating your space, the first decision to make is which pieces you are going to really invest in. Most people don't have the budget to invest in everything that goes into a room.

I have some go-to recommendations for people (and clients) on a budget.

For a family room, your sofa is the most used and most important piece of furniture in the room. Get a great, durable, comfortable sofa and you can fill in with less expensive pieces. No question.

This green sectional in designer, Bailey McCarthy's, home is the basis for the entire room

 For your bedroom, this is a bit more complicated. You can skimp on nightstands (paint a thrift store find), headboards don't have to be expensive, nor does bedding (ahem, have you heard of Biscuit?), lamps can be pricey but I'm not sure they HAVE to be an investment. I think my go-to investment in your bedroom would have to be custom drapery. You are going to use those every single day to block out the light and give you privacy. They should work. And work well.

There were definitely other investments made in this room besides the drapery, but the drapery is the perfect finishing touch. And best of all, functional.

Dining Room. A budget friendly table is easy to disguise with investment chairs. And there are tons of vintage light fixtures out there that are really fabulous. Chairs are important, because the cheap ones show cheap. Good chairs are expensive, but worth it.

This could be any pedestal table, but those coral Louis chairs completely dress it up.
And in all cases, dining, living and bedroom... I think its always worth investing in art. If you buy pieces you love, you'll love them forever and always find places for them. There are plenty of situations where art just makes the room. You can have basic furniture, but then a serious piece of art and the entire room changes.

This large scale photograph completes this room in every way. Can you even imagine it without it?

Do you have any other questions you'd like a designers' perspective on? I have a couple other frequently asked ones I've been thinking about answering here.


  1. Great post, Alex!! I'm slowly learning all these lessons as we decorate...I'm showing this to the mister in regards to draperies!! :) xo, vmac

  2. This was a great post! Thanks for sharing these lessons - I'm totally with you on investing in a great couch and beautiful dining room chairs.

  3. my bedroom and living are the same room. so i invested in a great rug and will be getting a nice sofa. i made my headboard so i could spend more on my sofa.

  4. Love this post! I would love to hear about sources for budget friendly items in a future post. Also, I would love to hear more about decorating room by room and choosing which room to start with. We just moved into a new (larger) house that I am affectionately calling my "bowling alley" since we have quite a few rooms without furniture at this point. Thanks for providing such great inspiration! xo

  5. Terrific and timely post for me personally. I was having trouble justifying the price on some drapery in my bedroom but this totally pushed me over the edge in terms of committing and feeling ok about it. So, thank you! :)

  6. Great post. I will definitely have to remember these tips in the future when I actually have money to invest in where I live.

  7. I agree - there are for sure things you can skimp on - I like your suggestions! A good drape is heaven!

  8. Loved this post. Thanks for your insight!

  9. This is super helpful, as I'm redecorating one of our rooms right now into a sitting/reading room/2nd living room. I invested in a couch and a lamp I absolutely love, but I'm having trouble making decisions on other pieces because the room is SO tiny. For a small room with doors or windows on every wall, do you go for more seating, better visual, or does it completely depend?

  10. The drapery tidbit is great! I wouldnt have looked at it that way.
    A sturdy bed is good too,but as you said, a headboard can be DIY'ed or added later on the cheap. The mattress and bed frame although, should be worth investing, you spend over 56 hours a week there at least!

    Ciao from NY

  11. I remember seeing that image of the large photograph a while ago. It just floored me. I would love that for our living space someday.

  12. Great recommendations. I completely agree with the dining chairs. They may cost a mini fortune but they'll last a lifetime and your guests will return for your next party ;)


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