More and more, we are seeing a surge of homeowners and designers who are taking a stance against what we call Fast Furniture & Decor. (Hooray!) Fast furniture and decor (like fast fashion) scratches an itch for shoppers to source mass-produced items for a certain phase in their lives and easily cast it away when the new design trends are broadcasted. I think we've all been guilty of doing it during one stage of life for another, and I get it. It's on a website, on a shelf, and at your dwelling in an expected amount of time. You save money by putting it together yourself. It looks good and stays in one piece for a while... until it doesn't. Why not consider pre-loved items that are affordable, built well, and bring a timeless vibe to your home?
Planning to use vintage, antique, or even just secondhand furniture and decor is a longer play. It takes a little bit of grit and a whole lot of patience to find just what you're looking for. Deliberately designing with and sourcing secondhand starts with a plan and a vision. If you have an idea of how you want your space to look and function in the end, you're much less likely to become derailed in the process.
A helpful technique to start the process is to gather imagery of interior environments with furniture and decor you are drawn to. This can also include photography, textiles, or art pieces as they have the ability to inspire and drive a strong design direction. Next, think about how the space will be used. (Read our previous blog post on universal design conversations.) With these two components in mind, think about the floor, ceilings, and walls. "If I place a comfy chair in this location to chill in, what is my view? What do I want to look at while sitting in this chair?" If it were me answering this question, I would probably say I'd like the chair to be ultra comfortable and to be put in a place with a view that supports a sense of calm--- soft colors, warm textures, accent lighting, and biophilia. I'd want a reading light next to the chair and a side table with a surface at the height of the comfy chair's arm to put my coffee cup on. I'd want to look at a piece of artwork on the wall across from me and have light filtering curtains drawn across the windows that move gently with the breeze.
Working through this visioning process gets you the beginnings of a shopping list. The specifics of the shopping list come next, which will narrow the options and identify size and scale. To avoid the uncomfortable massing of big pieces in a small space or too many small pieces in a big space, get out your measuring tape, pencil, graph paper, or contact us for some help. This part is all about the art of balancing room flow, scale, and functionality.
I recently had a conversation with a client who wanted to hunt for all the items on her own but needed help with layout and development of the shopping list. She sent us dimensions of the space, window locations, photographs, and descriptions of the activities she wanted to the space to support. After reviewing the floor plan, we finalized the shopping list with key pieces she would need to source at her own pace, with her budget in mind. (Below)
If you're considering a refresh at home, consider secondhand. You'll have a home with furnishings and decor that are unique to you and sustainable for the environment. Need some help? Follow the blog as we will be featuring interviews with talented designers from Maine to Rhode Island every month, starting in October. Happy hunting!