Designer Tips

10 Pieces ALL Designers Swear By

10 Pieces ALL Designers Swear By
Filed Under:

When you look at chic home after chic home, a few pieces pop up again and again. Not because they’re cliché, but because they’re utterly classic—and wildly useful to boot. With that in mind, we pulled together a top 10 list of tried-and-true pieces that should have a spot in every home. How many do you have?


1. Gilded mirrors. Grand, romantic, and timeless—what’s not to love? A glint of gilt dials up the drama in any room, and all mirrors add the illusion of light and space.

2. Simple tumblers. Effortless entertaining in a glass. Someone drops by unexpectedly, and you’ll want to have a sleek set of these on hand so that you can quickly grab a couple and mix your guest a cocktail (while hoping you picked up that dirty laundry in the bathroom—eek!).

3. Rush baskets. The question is, what can’t they do? They can hold wood near a fireplace, clothes in a laundry room, blankets in the living room, or toys in your tot’s room. In other words, they help your chaos appear under control.

4. Lacquered trays. Trays might just be the ultimate decorators’ trick. Those finished in lacquer elevate everything corralled on them, from perfume bottles in your bathroom to liquor on your bar.

5. Linen napkins. Ditch the paper, people. When setting your table, those pretty plates need chic cloth sidekicks to match.

Dine with cloth napkins, fine china, and silver at every meal—even breakfast! What's the point of owning beautiful things if you don't use them?

— Designer Grant K. Gibson
Photo by Bess Friday

Photo by Bess Friday


6. Garden stools. They can tuck under a console table to be pulled out when you need extra seating or stand in for a side table.

7. Cashmere throws. The opportunities are endless: Leave a couple rolled up in a basket in your living room for easy access when you want to cozy up during movie night; drape one over the foot of your bed for added oomph; tuck one around the back or seat cushions of your sofa to switch up the look sans a reupholstery job.

8. Hurricane vessels. These sleek vessels (which protect your candles from wind but can also hold flowers) add height to vignettes, can frame a piece of art on a mantel or a console, and have centerpiece written all over them.

9. Silver picture frames. Some things never go out of style. Sticking disparate photos of friends, family, and past summer vacations in silver frames gives them a chic, cohesive look.

10. Coffee table books. They can riff off organic shapes like shells or potted plants in a vignette, and they give guests something to page through after plopping down on your couch.

You can never have too many books. They’re beautiful, personal, interactive, and always make a room feel cozy and finished.

— Designer Michael Smith
Join the Discussion

Join the Discussion

12 Responses to “10 Pieces ALL Designers Swear By”

  1. robertsklar says:

    You failed to mention a piano.

  2. parker500 says:

    And a dog……..

  3. Tatiana says:

    most of them are useless pieces. gosh…how about a rug? an ottoman? a clock? …who dosnt’ have glasses in their cupboard?

  4. smackdab says:

    Just how much impact does cloth napkins or tumblers have, over all, on a home?

  5. DailyAlice says:

    This is a very elegant and elite advertizement. You could substitute something equally interesting for any one of these items.

  6. Deborah M Walker says:

    This was a lot of useless information. Most homes have dogs and or cats! Homes are meant to be LIVED in. Cashmere Throws! Really????

  7. CatsPaw55 says:

    And they show an office and a foyer…napkins,, serving tray, etc.Cashmere throws. I have six cats and three dogs! I don’t think so. Another teaser to get us to shop.

  8. Nya Smith says:

    Aw, this article is getting a lot of flack, but honestly I found it very helpful. My boyfriend and I are decorating our first apartment, and while we have most of our big furniture pieces, it’s still missing the curated final touches that make it feel like a home. After reading this article I was inspired to do a little DIY w/ an old mirror I had in storage (it is now gold, and hanging high above a vintage radio in our living room opposite a large window, so it reflects the light and opens up the space), as well as repurpose a vintage tray (placed on top of our oversized ottoman to convert the seating into a coffee table in our small space) and nesting tables my boyfriend found curbside (now an adorable bar that we use for entertaining). We still have a ways to go, but a few simple touches really warmed up our place and I didn’t have to spend much at all to recreate these looks.

Leave a Reply