Fresh and fun updates are fab, but some pieces should be bought – as well as built – to last. Just in case you’re not sure what they are, we’ve compiled a quick rundown of worthy investments – and why – as well as what to look for when choosing your long-term loves.
Timeless, multi-functional, low-maintenance and versatile are all things to keep in mind for this shopping trip, but above all, if you’re buying ‘forever’ furniture, you need to fall in love first.
- The sink-into-me sofa
Unless you’re plonking it in the playroom, a premium sofa is a purchase you want to buy once, and buy well.
Often the anchor point of your most lived-in room, a solid sofa should be your happy place to come home to for years to come. Firstly, unless you know hot pink chevron is and will always be your favourite look and the centre of your decorating world, opt for something in a solid colour that has enduring appeal, is easy to update with seasonal cushions and throws and won’t be out of fashion in a flash. Neutrals and leather are obvious choices, but blues, mustards and greens can also have longevity – so long as you love them.
If you’re buying leather, opt for quality grain options and be sure to maintain with leather conditioner. For upholstered couches, seek out sturdy steel or timber construction, superior lacquered finishes, durable fabrics and stain-resistant options – it’s always much cheaper to buy a plethora of decorative pillows than to re-upholster a substantial sofa.
Pay attention to the foam within the cushions and consider paying more for higher quality options to avoid that sad, saggy sofa look in 12 months’ time.
- The durable dining table
When picking your perfect dining table, travel ahead in time a touch to consider the size and shape that’ll grow with your needs – extension tables are an oft-forgotten treasure – and remember that it’s easier to chop and change your chairs to update your dining décor than to regularly buy new tables!
If you’re unsure whether to go large or small, we’d recommend bigger as almost always better, so buy the biggest table your space can handle…..you can thank us later. As for the tabletop, opt for a hard-wearing new generation laminate or a timber with a quality, scratch-resistant finish (or if you like the lived-in look, a timber that ages beautifully, such as teak); consider concrete for timeless, contemporary style, and only pick glass if you’re comfortable cleaning it.
- The sleep-like-a-baby bed
So this one’s really not rocket science. You spend a fair bit of time in bed, after all. Besides buying the best quality mattress you can manage, when picking a bed frame it’s worth investing in quality timber or new generation laminate construction and then updating your look with your bedlinene and accessories.
An alternative is to stick with a conventional ensemble base and choose a timber or upholstered bedhead to mount against the wall instead. If this is the way you want to go, be sure to choose a superior quality upholstery fabric that’s easy to spot clean – carting your bedhead to the drycleaner isn’t exactly convenient.
- The live-in-it leather armchair
Every home should have at least one of these – somewhere – whether in the bedroom, study, guest room or living area. If it’s well made and the leather is top-rate it will last for decades, age beautifully, can work with any interior from contemporary to country, industrial to mid-century modern or anywhere in between. And let’s not forget, it’s also supremely comfy to curl up on. Enough said.
- The ultimate-underfoot rug
You can have myriad cheap rugs and recycle them every year or two – but that’s not what we’re talking about here. Sometimes it’s worth investing in a gorgeous, quality rug, especially if it’s large and going to be a feature of the room.
Jute is hard-wearing and fab for high traffic areas but wool is the gold-standard for long-lasting rugs (especially hand-tufted or hand-knotted) as it’s naturally stain-resistant, can be revived with vacuuming and feels warm and cosy underfoot.
On the colour front, choose carefully so that you can update your cushions, throws and occasional chairs without having to change the rug. Neutrals or solid colours are safe bets, but subtle patterns can hide imperfections or stubborn stains that do eventuate and animal hides are fabulously hard-wearing so don’t rule them out either – taupe, charcoal, monochrome, petrol, cream and blues are popular, long-term picks.
Original art or large prints can really make a room, with an adored artwork hung above the sofa an ideal way to take your interior from drab to fab in a flash. If you’re choosing an original piece or sizeable print, make sure you LOVE it, and that you feel the colours will tone with your key furniture items and textiles for years to come (unless of course you’re the bowerbird brand of decorator in which case go with what makes your heart sing and you’re bound to pull it off).