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Where to First Invest in Your Decor

Furnishing a space can be an expensive and time-consuming project, and figuring out how to get started is often overwhelming. You don’t have to be a trained interior designer to put together a room that is stylish, comfortable, and functional but you do need to know which items will give you the most bang for your buck. Here are three building blocks for creating a beautiful, practical space.


neutral living room with antique rug

Design by Heidi Callier Design | Photo by Haris Kenjar


1. A quality rug.

A great rug can be the jumping-off point for the color scheme of the room, and set the tone for the over-all feeling. With an infinite number of paint colors available, it is smart to start with textiles when planning your colors. Will your space be light and airy or cozy and moody? The rug can point the space in the right direction. It can also be a focal point or a way to create contrast. Imagine a neutral room with a vibrant rug. An antique rug also adds a sense of history and detail to a space, which will be especially important in new construction.


bedroom with vintage rug

Design by Light & Dwell | Photo by Anne Blodgett Photography


Arguably the piece that will take the most abuse, your rug needs to be both durable and attractive. Many people are surprised to learn that vintage and antique rugs are also extremely durable. Not only do the intricate patterns hide everyday wear, but they have been in use for decades and are unlikely to ruin now. Shop our carefully curated collection of vintage, antique and semi-antique rugs here.

living room with grasscloth wallpaper and antique rug

Design by Jean Stoffer Design | Photo by Stoffer Photography


2. Upholstery.

The main piece of furniture in a space does a lot of heavy lifting. Not only does it anchor a room and give it a sense of purpose, it also needs to stand up to constant use. You will spend so much time sitting on your sofa, for example, it should be as comfortable the day you buy as it is fifteen years from now. Better quality upholstery is also available in high-tech stain- and wear-resistant fabrics. Gone are the days of stiff, scratchy outdoor fabrics, today’s performance fabric passes for velvet and linen to even the most discerning eye.

 living room with high ceilings and antique rug

Design by Hendricks Churchill | Photo by John R Gruen

A sofa that stands the test of time should be timeless in style — you can add in more of-the-moment styles with occasional chairs and small case goods. A timeless piece can be updated over time at a fraction of the cost of purchasing a new one. Imagine your grandmother’s sofa with the skirt removed and with one cushion instead of three. If the bones are good, the rest can be updated as time goes on and trends change. 


entry way with antique rug
Design by Studio McGee | Photo by Lucy Call


3. Lighting.

Lighting is often referred to as the jewelry of a room, and for good reason. Metal finishes provide much-needed contrast to textile-heavy spaces, and the infinite number of shapes can take a room in any direction. Use lighting to help reinforce your style or provide a bit of contrast. For example, a pleated lampshade made of a floral fabric has a decidedly country-house vibe, while a sleek articulating sconce brings a note of mid-century nostalgia. Think about a sleek fixture juxtaposed against elaborate moldings of a Victorian-era townhouse.


dark green dining room with antique rug

Design by Amber Interiors | Photo by Tessa Neustadt


Practically speaking, lighting is also how you set the mood of a room. Ceiling fixtures might be used a full capacity when preparing dinner, but when you sit down to serve it, something less bright and more inviting is preferable. To fully light a room, consider using multiple sources — ceiling fixtures, wall sconces, and free-standing or table lamps. And don’t forget the dimmer switches!