A new find can be fun, but everyone has a piece that can work like a charm in any project. We asked three designers to share their favorite staples.
“I started out as a set designer, where I had to find creative ways to make things look expensive without a lot of money. My budgets almost never left enough for coffee table books, so I started buying old textbooks from thrift stores and wrapping them in remnants of fabric from Thibaut or Scalamandré. While it started as a styling trick, it has carried over into my interior design work. When I did a room at the Kips Bay Decorator Show House in Palm Beach, Florida, last year, I used secondhand books wrapped in a Robert Allen linen to line the bookshelves. I’m someone who loves repetition in a room’s design—it’s like branding, and I’ve found that multiples of something look strong, even if it’s just an accent piece. And unlike dealing with coffee table books, fabric-covered books don’t leave you with random spines grouped together. I tend to use neutral linens because it makes for a clean color palette and gives you a chance to tell a story without a lot of clutter—and no one knows how much or how little it costs when you put it next to an antique object.” —Mikel Welch, New York
Plays Well With Others
“The Paloma lounge chair from Gregorius Pineo is a favorite of mine—I’ve even got one in my own home. It comes in a low back or an even more dramatic high back, and it’s one of those pieces that just gets along with everything else in a room. I try to not repeat items, but every once in a while you find something that’s a great blending tool, and this is one of them. I’ve covered it in a light outdoor cotton, and the chair that I own is in a gray velvet on the back and linen on the seat. It’s so comfortable, which so many chairs actually aren’t. Once you find one that is, you have to keep using it! It also works for people of different heights: I’m 5-foot-5 and my husband is over 6 feet, and we both love sitting in this chair. And did I mention that it swivels? It gives you the opportunity to add versatility to a furniture plan.” —Susan Ferrier, Atlanta
In the Mix
“Every time I see a Parsons table when I’m shopping, I buy it. It’s a totally classic style. To me, the idea of making antiques look modern is appealing—when we interject those
classic, clean lines into a room mixed with a bunch of older pieces, it brings everything into 2022. I also love a Parsons table as a side table paired with dark woods and lots of fabrics. It’s such a timeless shape and style that brightens up a room, and I’ve used it in so many projects as a dining table, drinks table or coffee table. I’ll scatter little Parsons tables everywhere! While my go-to is refinishing them in a white lacquer—it adds another dimension, especially next to deep-colored woods, and pairs beautifully with antique dining chairs or a French console table—I’ve also done it in colors as bold as a bright emerald green. It’s a simple style that brings everything together.” —Matthew Carter, Lexington, Kentucky
Homepage image: Ferrier deployed the Paloma lounge chair from Gregorius Pineo in summery white. | Peter Vitale