Some pieces in your home should absolutely be approached as an investment, and if chosen well can become a true heirloom, weathering decades of use and shifts in style.
A version of this article originally appeared in OUR HOMES Summer 2018.
We know some things we shop for will be a passing fancy – like a “millennial pink” pillow or a glitzy brass bauble. However, some pieces in your home should absolutely be approached as an investment, and if chosen well can become a true heirloom, weathering decades of use and shifts in style.
A Room-Making Rug
While too often rugs end up being an afterthought, if chosen properly they will and should anchor and elevate the look of an entire room. Rugs can also last for generations, if selected in a quality material, tight weave and a timeless style. Traditionally, patterned rugs can feel very hip and trendy when mixed with contrasting styles of furnishings, but you also know they’ll stand the test of time, as these styles have already endured for centuries. Just expect to pay as much for a long-lasting rug as you would a good sofa, and in some cases, depending on size, even more.
LOOK FOR: Wool in a tight weave.
TIP: Bend the rug on a diagonal to make sure there isn’t excess empty space between the rows of fibres for soil to gather.
A Statement Chandelier
Individual pendant lights may not be worth moving from home to home, but a grand chandelier is forever. Plus, it can be enjoyed from all angles and makes a natural focal point, so it’s worth investing a bit to get something that stands up to all the extra attention. For the best long-term investment, choose a handcrafted one-of-a-kind piece, or look for a style that has lasted for at least 15 years (such as a French mid-century period crystal chandelier), to avoid passing fads.
LOOK FOR: Honest finishes like smoked glass or bronze, rather than faux finishes like gold-plate.
TIP: Choose one with an adjustable cord or chain, so it can be rehung in a taller or lower space later.
A Strong but Leather Sofa
A good sofa needs to do a lot: be comfortable, look good, survive spills and indulge naps. This is definitely not a place to cut corners in any home. A quality leather sofa in a natural, supple material, will only grow more beautiful with age as the material develops a patina over decades of use. The best thing about a comfortable sofa? It can start as the central feature of your first home, and eventually move to a den or study in a future space – but you’ll always have that one place you love to lounge.
LOOK FOR: Timeless natural shades like tan or soft grey.
TIP: Choose a simple and understated style that’s truly comfortable, and then customize with beautiful one-of-a-kind vintage pillows. Think Hermes scarves turned into pillows.
An Ornate Mirror
Like Modern? New Traditionalist? Art Deco? No matter your preference, you can find a beautiful mirror that adds style to your walls, while also being functional and doubling the visual size of a room. Ultimately while the frame will add flair, it’s a quality piece of glass that will make a true heirloom, so look for one without the subtle ripples and warps that you often find in flimsier mirrors.
LOOK FOR: Clear, flawless glass.
TIP: A traditional mirrored frame with bevels and facets will be the most timeless.
A Pair of Chairs
Whether you host massive family gatherings or intimate dinners, every home probably needs at least two great one-of-a-kind vintage chairs. While mixing and contrasting your furniture gives great creative results, having at least one matching pair gives lots of options: they can be part of a living room set, serve as end chairs anchoring a dining table, or be broken up to give differing rooms a sense of continuity.
LOOK FOR: Sturdy construction – good bones can be reupholstered later.
TIP: Seek out reputable manufacturers that have perfected just a few classic models over years, as these are proven to stand the test of time.