In an ideal world, everything you filled your home with would be something special. The sort of considered designs that you’ll keep forever. But that’s certainly not always possible, so where to focus your attention? Which items are the most worthwhile investing in? Read on for our top ten.
Dressers have proved themselves as perennial favourites. Offering storage and display space as well as a focal point for a room, they’re as useful now as they have been in homes for hundreds of years, and not a bit out of style either, so you know you’re in safe hands investing in one of these for your own home. Choose a timber one – be it an antique or a new design like ours – and it’ll age beautifully. And as the years go by, you can refresh the paint colour, change the handles and even move it to a different part of the home (they work everywhere from kitchens and dining rooms to living rooms and hallways) to give it a whole new outlook and lease of life.
Of all the pieces of ‘furniture’ in your home, kitchen cabinetry has to be the hardest working. It’s used day in, day out by every member of the family, and has to stand up to the messiest room in the house as well. So, it needs to be durable and function effortlessly. And it should look good too, being the heart of the home and on show to just about everyone who stops by. Which is why, even if this home isn’t your forever home, we think kitchen cabinetry is a worthy investment. The cabinetry in our collection is also built in such a way that you can easily move it, be that from room to room or to a different home altogether, as our founders did with their Chichester kitchen.
If kitchen cabinetry needs to be durable, it’s nothing compared to what garden furniture will come across. Between baking summers and freezing winters – and all the rain in between – if outdoor pieces aren’t well made, they’ll very quickly show their age. By choosing materials that have proven their worth outside – like all-weather wicker, teak, powder-coated metal and granite – and caring for them well, your garden furniture won’t tire so quickly.
A sofa or armchair in particular. Much like with your kitchen cabinetry, where you put your feet up in your sitting room is something you hopefully get to enjoy every day of the week. Instead of compromising on the style of sofa or armchair that you really want, invest in what’s going to make you happy. One that’s made to exacting standards inside and out – because we all know it’s what’s on the inside that counts. The comfort you’ll feel from it and the way that it elevates the look of the room is something you’ll truly reap the rewards of.
An extending dining table
The beauty of an extending dining table is that it can flex as your needs and your home change. So if you’re planning on moving to a larger (or, indeed, smaller) home in the future, or if your family’s likely to expand, there’ll be no need to trade in your old table for a new one purely because of size. And even if your dining area is spacious, you might not want a dining table that seats eight, ten or twelve people when there’s only two of you eating at it day to day. An extendable dining table gives you that freedom to make your home a place just for you or for many.
The switches and sockets, the bases and shades, the layout and the layers of light sources – lighting is one of the most transformative elements of interior design. It completely changes the mood and the texture of your rooms. See it as so much more than functional.
We probably don’t need to tell you why this one’s a worthy investment. Look out for natural materials wherever you can because they offer the best temperature-regulating and moisture-wicking properties. Mattresses that contain wool and horsehair are also a good bet as these two materials spring back to shape time and time again. And always, always pocket springs. This is also the item it really pays to try out in person before you buy.
And a bed
A good mattress will be let down by a bad bed. Apart form anything else, if you’ve gone to the expense of a really great mattress, it’ll be damaged if you don’t give it proper support. We always favour beds with sprung slats over divans because they have a good amount of give that complements the springiness of your mattress – try our Chichester or Francisbed bases if you’d like to use a separate headboard – and we use beech wood to make our own because of its durable flexibility. The most important thing is that they provide consistent, even and well-spaced support for your mattress, so if you have an older bed with missing slats, it’s time for an upgrade.
Imitation flooring can be lower maintenance and easier to clean, but your feet will feel the difference with every step and your eyes will remind you of the fact it’s not the flooring you truly wanted with every look. Your flooring is what grounds the room, literally and creatively. It’s its anchor. On the whole, natural materials (which is what we use for all of ours) wear better and signs of age become marks of character, making it far less likely you’ll ever fall out of love with it too.
So far, almost all the designs on our list have been bigger purchases, but there are a few smaller pieces where it’s worth seeking out the very best quality you can, and one of those is tableware. Firstly, you interact with plates, mugs, bowls, cutlery and glassware every day, so it’s important you like the look and feel of them. Consider how a piece feels in your hands – is the handle comfortable to hold, is the cutlery well balanced? Then, choose materials that will be practical. All our crockery, for instance, is made from stoneware (we upgraded every piece a few years ago) because it’s durable in the dishwasher, can be popped in the microwave, and is much less likely to chip than earthenware. Whether it’ll fit in your dishwasher is another concern, particularly for dinner plates and stemware. Finally, think about how versatile it will be. We’d suggest getting a well-made, fairly plain set of crockery that’ll work for any occasion (try Lewes, Bowsley or Sutton) and adding more decorative pieces (like Lulworth and Olney) from there.
For more on why it’s worthwhile investing in well-made and considered pieces for your home, read this article on the art of buying well by interiors writer Jo Leevers.