Something I hear from friends who don’t plan on living where they are for long, or who are anticipating a change to their current space (like turning a spare room into a nursery), is “I don’t know whether I should spend money on this.” That’s always a tough call, a subjective one. But there are a select few versatile pieces that you can find a place for in practically any home, be it a small studio or an expansive family home, a modern city apartment or quaint country house. Don’t hesitate to spend on these nine items below—you’ll use them no matter where you live.
Every home should have at least one stool… and many more! They can be used as nightstands, side tables, or spare seating, and you can even corral a few together as a makeshift cocktail table.
Many think of a side table as a piece of furniture that frames a sofa, but the small tables also make great partners for beds, bathtubs, and armchairs. You can even use them as a plant stand. A side table is the ultimate wingman where furniture is concerned.
Despite their sleep-away-camp and military associations, trunks have countless uses beyond travel storage. We love to see them at the foot of a bed, storage spare blankets and moonlighting as a bench. They can also be used as side tables or nightstands beside a sofa or bed. Or, in a living room, a trunk is a perfect candidate for a coffee table stand-in. In all cases, they offer extra storage: Score!
People tend to think of tufted furniture as very feminine or French, and it can be, but it’s all about how you use it. We’ve seen tufting in the most modern, masculine spaces, as well as in totally shabby chic rooms. A tufted ottoman is a surprisingly versatile piece. You can use it as extra seating beside a coffee table, as a footstool next to a chair, or as a coffee table alternative. It will look inviting and chic in all instances.
A trestle table—or a sawhorse table, as they’re sometimes called—may not seem like the most dynamic piece, but you can use it as a kitchen island, a desk, a dining table, or even a console or entry table. Plus, with just three pieces, they’re easy to move around and store.
The most common use for a console table is as an entry table in a foyer, making it a place to stash, keys, mail, a purse, etc. But a console table does a marvellous job of filling up any stretch of empty wall. We also love to use them to abut the back of a sofa, displaying table lamps, books, vases, and other decorative accessories.
These round, medium-sized tables will last a lifetime. When you’re living small in a one-bedroom apartment, a bistro table makes a great kitchen table. In a shared living space, you can use it as a game table or a desk. And when you’ve upgraded to a house with a big ole foyer, it makes a gorgeous entry table.
Basic benches aren’t the most comfortable seating, or the most decorative, either. But they have so many uses! In a narrow lounge area, you can use them like a coffee table, as a place to set drinks, books, and accessories. In a living room, you can use them as seating to mirror a sofa or a pair of armchairs. Or, embrace their picnic table roots and use them as seating for your dining table.
There’s nothing like a cosy upholstered armchair. We like to think of it like a hug: something you can always use more of in your life. In a small living room, it can be one of your primary seating options. In a bedroom, it makes a great place to sit and unwind, or tie your shoes in the morning. You can even set one in a bathroom as the perfect place to escape. Invest in a high-quality, comfortable armchair now; you can always reupholster it if your style changes or if it becomes worn.