We all know how enjoyable it can be to redecorate and source fresh furniture and décor to fit evolving stylistic preferences or new spaces. But what’s more special are those tried and true items that manage to make the cut in one home after another—because they’re just so magical.
We spoke with 12 designers regarding the types of décor, or specific décor pieces, that always earned a spot in their own houses and proved ultra-versatile over the years.
Vintage Trunks and Décor
“Vintage or antique casegoods always stand the test of time and move easily from home to home. Gorgeous wooden pieces in good condition in pretty stains or neutral paint can easily transition into different spaces and work with a variety of décor and style.” —Claire Staszak, principal and owner of Centered by Design
Mid-Century Modern Coffee Table
“We have a vintage mid-century modern slat bench coffee table that my husband purchased before we met. He’s super proud of his pre-designer-wife vintage find, so no matter how we design our space or where we’ve moved, it’s made the cut as either a cocktail table at our sofa or a bench at the entry.” —Beth Dotolo, co-founder and principal interior designer at Pulp Design Studios
Art From Abroad
“The art we’ve collected on our travels always follows us from home to home. A painting from Montmartre, a photo of the ocean from a gallery on the Cape, and many more. The same goes for heirloom pieces, like our six-foot round antique mirrored dining table and a pair of gorgeous wing chairs, as well as all the silver bits and bobs that could use a good polish and deserve a place of pride in our new butler’s pantry glass shelves. It wouldn’t be our house without these pieces that we've inherited or collected over time together.” —Sandra Funk, CEO and principal designer at House of Funk
Warm and White Console
“I have taken this console with me from my last four homes. It is an antique that was given to me by a client that was trying to clear out her basement. I fell in love with the clean lines, compatible measurements, and warm, white color tone. It has moved with me so many times the back legs have broken off completely, and it has now been repaired on three occasions. In my current house, it is at the top of the stairs to greet me every time I enter the bedroom level of the house. I would love to carry it to our next home.” —Tracy Morris, founder of Tracy Morris Design
Faux Flowers and Plants
“An item I frequently use for décor in my home would be faux flowers and or plants. I love adding natural elements in my home, and flowers and plants can add color, texture, and interest to any room. Plus, faux pieces preserve their look over time and are completely maintenance free.” —April Gandy, principal designer at Alluring Designs Chicago
Antique Cocktail Table and Rug
“I have a vintage Hollywood Regency brass rams-head cocktail table that will never leave my possession. Also, I have a beautiful antique rug that I found in Paris, and the colors and the memory of finding it make me so happy.” —Lisa Gilmore, founder and principal interior designer at Lisa Gilmore Design
Woven Seagrass Wall Mounted Mirror
“The Cassandra Modern Classic Round Woven Seagrass Wall Mounted Mirror has become a staple in my home. One of my first purchases when I built KKH, it transitioned from our first office into my current living room. I personally love a round mirror as well as anything with neutral textures, so this piece quickly became a favorite.” —Kathy Kuo, CEO and founder of Kathy Kuo Home.
"One of my favorite pieces is a landscape painting by Matthew Frederick that's been with me through several spaces. It used to hang above the fireplace in our mid-century home, came with us to our interim rental during the renovation process, and now sits to the right of the fireplace in our completed home. What initially spoke to me about the painting was the color palette, and I was inspired to draw on these colors when selecting finishes and materials for our current living room." —Regan Baker, founder of Regan Baker Design
“I have never really thought about this consciously before, but I always do a velvet sofa. I have one in my current home, gravitated towards velvet sofas in my past apartments, and used them in a lot of our projects without thinking about it. Velvets are soft, comfortable, durable, and stand the test of time. Velvets also can work for all sofa styles and can swing both traditional and modern.” —Kati Curtis, founder and principal at Kati Curtis Design
“We often talk about animal print as a ‘neutral’ because it works with solids, stripes, floral, toile, and graphics to add depth and balance. That is so true, because I’ve had a vintage animal print sofa in my living room for years. Despite changing the pillows, chairs, rugs, art, and drapes in that room multiple times, the constant is the sofa. I also have a vintage Japanese tansu that I’ve configured as a dresser, sideboard, pair of nightstands, and coffee table in my home. Can you tell I move my furniture around a lot? The tansu was my late mother’s, who was also an interior designer, so this piece is something I will always treasure.” —Liz MacPhail, Interior designer and founder of Liz MacPhail Interiors
“The swivel chairs in our living room have been with us for about 12 years now. I purchased them as floor models without the swivel and decided to keep the neutral textured fabric in which they were upholstered. When we moved, I knew I wanted to keep them, and the scale worked well for the new home’s living room configuration. I decided to add a swivel mechanism and reupholstered them in a durable navy velvet. They are super comfy, and the swivel made them much more versatile.” —Abbe Fenimore, interior designer and founder, Studio Ten 25