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How to Design Like a Grown-Up

Just as every structure needs a solid foundation, your home’s interior design needs an anchor to create stability and durability. Certain high-quality items will set the stage and are worth investing in, even as your décor evolves over time. So where does a homeowner begin? Think about three S’s: splurge, save and sustainability.

Let’s start with those splurge-worthy anchors. 

SOFA — A sofa is a major focal point in a living space. It is where guests gather and families relax. Since seating is generally used more than any other element in the home, it is worth investing in the highest quality sofa you can afford. The weight of the piece is an easy indication of quality. Sofas made with plywood or particle board won’t last. A sturdy frame made with quality hardwood, frame joints that have been wood glued and dowelled, premium cushion filling and quality spring units are elements of a high quality sofa. Consider investing as well in a performance fabric, an easy-to-clean option that wicks away stains. 

STATEMENT LIGHT FIXTURE — A dazzling chandelier or pendant lighting can immediately elevate the look of everything in the room. Think of scale — the larger the better, especially with chandeliers. Dimmable chandeliers and pendant lights made from high-quality materials such as crystal, Murano glass, premium metals like brass or gold, and fine woods tend to be more expensive, but will last forever. 

RUG — A beautiful rug is a foundational layer that can make the rest of your room pop. With rugs, it is worth splurging on size. Investing in a bigger rug is always a good idea; the bigger the rug, the larger your room can feel. Rugs should either have two legs of the furniture on them or all of the legs. The cost of rugs depends on construction, materials and size. A handmade rug is something to consider if you are looking for a unique rug to be a family heirloom. High-end rugs are made of natural materials such as wool or silk and have high-weave density. Not all luxury rugs need to be hand woven. Modern rugs made of wool blended materials can be just as visually stunning. 

ART — A piece of original art immediately makes your interior unique, as a viewer sees something not found anywhere else. When displayed in your home, original art can change the feeling one experiences in that room, making it more comforting and personal. Art can also tell a story — where you traveled to find it, what color palette speaks to you or simply a reminder of a place you love. 

In the save category are items that are essential in your décor, but where you may find some bargains and still have the opportunity to create a unique style. 

SIDE TABLES — Side tables are highly functional, serving as a place to set down a drink or book. They complement larger pieces of furniture and are a good place to get away with going lower-end. 

CONSOLES — These are generally decorative and don’t experience wear and tear, so thinking less about durability and more on style is an opportunity to save. Console tables typically have an airy design with only small drawers and open shelves. 

COFFEE TABLES — Generally made of one or two solid materials means you can get away with saving on these. Coffee tables are a great place to dress up with some beautiful accessories such as a piece of art, a bowl or some beautiful books. 

LAMPS — Decorative table lamps and bedside lamps need not break the bank. Stylish and affordable lamps are available at a variety of price points and can be switched out easily as trends change. 

RUGS FOR HIGH TRAFFIC AREAS — Entryway rugs or kitchen runners that are easy to clean are the best choices for these areas. Rugs made from man-made materials such as nylon or polypropylene are some of the most common rug types on the market. They are made to withstand heavy foot traffic, are easy to clean and stain resistant. Best of all, they are very affordable. Stay away from jute or sisal which are difficult to clean. 

Sustainability is an emerging trend in furniture production practices. Studies have shown that creating products of high quality and built to last can have significant environmental benefits. Keeping cheaply made furniture out of landfills is a growing concern among customers, especially younger ones. According to the EPA, furniture waste generated by Americans in 2017 totaled a staggering 12.2 million tons, and 80.2 percent of it went to a landfill. To respond to this demand, a growing number of companies are participating in green initiatives and adapting their manufacturing processes. Some offer options to buy back or trade in furniture. 

Some companies now offer furniture buyback programs. Others repurpose and upcycle, allowing worn pieces to get a second life. A number of vintage markets and companies in our area offer upcycled and antique furniture. Check out Estates Revisited in Lynchburg, Virginia Found Goods in Hurt, or Black Dog Salvage or TXTUR in Roanoke, to name a few.  

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