Home room designers can’t stop using


By Sarah Lyons

The Washington Post – Who wouldn’t want to shop alongside an interior designer? While it’s true that the pros generally buy most furniture and other decorative items from specialist suppliers, many also rely on proven retailers that are accessible to the general public. We asked the designers to share their favorite pieces that anyone can buy, and why these items never let them down. Here are their picks.


Why not invest in a piece that can serve multiple purposes? Designer Peti Lau loves Jonathan Adler’s Channing Three-Drawer Console Table because, with its drawers and small footprint, it can “function as either a desk or a console table.” “I like the simple white lacquer and silver metal finishes, which give it a more timeless feel,” said Lau, who works in Los Angeles, New York, London and Thailand.


No room is complete without layers of lighting, including pendant lights and work pieces. Picture lighting is a simple way to bring museum quality to any home. Tucson designer Priya McCulloch suggested Circa Lighting’s 18-inch Brass Picture Lamp. “I love using them for built-in shelving or to showcase art,” she said. They’re also available in bronze and antique or polished nickel and “add a classic touch to any space,” McCulloch said.

A statement-making fixture that will shine in any room. A Memphis McCall Dulkys designer has incorporated Wayfair’s expansive 96.45-inch Whit three-light semi-flush fixture into many spaces. “I love using it on dining tables because the massive width often extends the full length of the table,” she said. “It’s perfect for modern or mid-century modern spaces in black, and white could even be used to add a touch of modernity to a coastal home.”

A lampshade is another less expensive way to make a major style statement. Designer in Kensington, Maryland Laura Hur is fond of linen shades, handmade in Denmark, from Etsy shop LeKrazyHorse. They can give an old lamp a chic update, she says.

ABOVE AND BELOW: A basket-woven floor mat from Chilewich; and the jute loop rug from West Elm. PHOTOS: WASHINGTON POST

She also loves that they’re pleated because “they bring a sense of texture, movement and playfulness to any space,” she said.

“Pair one with a sculptural ceramic base, and it’s suddenly a whole lot more interesting. Pair one with a playful squiggle base, and it looks like a party.”


A must-have accent chair is a must-have for both residential and commercial spaces. Montclair, New Jersey designer Blanche Garcia said Blu Dot’s Puff Puff lounge chair, available in multiple fabrics and colors, is a recent favorite.

“It’s sculptural with a stunning tomato red velvet fabric, and for the price, it’s just unbeatable,” she said. Whether paired with a neutral sofa or accented with a vibrant throw pillow or two, the piece can be designed to appeal to both minimalists and maximalists.


An area rug can cover wooden floors, be layered on top of carpeting, or used to create a separate area in a larger space. Boston-based designer Desiree Burns keeps coming back to the West Elm jute loop rug. “It’s great quality for the price and goes with just about anything,” she said.

“I’ve used it for…coastal bedrooms (and) more contemporary living rooms, and it’s always a hit.”

And if you often deal with damage, there is also something for you. Austin designer Christine Turknett Ho said she was “obsessed” with Chilewich woven floor rugs for the dining room.

“They’re super durable (to combat) any food spills, and the designs are timeless,” she said.

“My favorite is the basket weave floor rug, which I have in my own home in oyster, a neutral gray that pairs so well with other colors.”


Functional pieces like glassware, napkins, and wastebaskets don’t have to be boring. Designers know that clever detailing is key to finishing any room.

One way to add both style and comfort is to incorporate plush towels.

Houston-based designer Benjamin Johnston says RH’s ultra-soft Turkish towel collection is a must-have. “It’s that little bit of luxury that makes preparing for your day that much more enjoyable,” he said.

Plush doesn’t have to stop at towels; many designers like to incorporate lavish materials throughout the home. For example, Seattle-based designer Pallavi Kale likes to include alpaca throws, like Jenni Kayne Home’s Braided Alpaca Throw, in any room she decorates. “They’re soft and warm to snuggle up to,” Kale said. “You can also use them to add a layer of texture to your sofa, bench, or the foot of your bed.”

Another Houston-based designer, Hallie Henley Sims, said she likes to “make sure no detail is overlooked, even when it comes to wastebaskets.” One of his favorites is the whimsical Bunny Williams trash can from Ballard Designs. It is perfect for a powder room or home office.

And the right glassware can make you want to have a meeting as soon as possible. DC-area designer Shannon Claire Smith recommends the Lucia collection at Crate and Barrel. “The pieces are value-priced and make great everyday or high-used eyewear,” Smith said. “They can be casual enough for the patio or placed on a table for a formal dinner party.”

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