Good design is a smart investment. Many people resort to stores like Ikea or Cost Plus World Market because they’re attracted to modern design at a cheap price point – but that’s just it, it’s cheap. Items from these types of places are mass-produced, constructed with flimsy materials and only last 2-5 years. Seeking quality products that will stand the test of time is crucial so you don’t find yourself replacing items every couple of years, which ends up costing a lot more in the end.
Working with a designer helps you to acquire well-made pieces. Designers know where to find authentic furnishings, art and accessories so you can curate a collection of solidly crafted and artisan pieces that reflect you and your lifestyle. Rather than picking a sofa from a big brand’s catalogue a designer can direct you to a fabricator that takes time and care producing sound construction with custom fabric finishes so you get exactly what you need and want. They will also help you to find vintage pieces made of real wood instead of plywood or MDF.
As far as decorative pieces go, think of hanging a print you saw online in your living room. Now imagine that print manufactured thousands of times, which means it’s hanging in thousands of other people’s living room. The look becomes factory-like since it’s been replicated so many times. Aside from that, the art and objects from big brands can actually be very comparable in price to one-of-a-kind pieces. The big brands charge you like you’re purchasing art, when you’re actually buying a straight up copy, a replica rather than something made by an artisan. Sort of takes away from the idea of art as being unique, doesn’t it?
It’s also important to consider textiles as an investment. Materials can impact your lifestyle, mood and health. If you pick up bargain throw pillows for example you could be facing a few issues as they’re made from economy-rate fabric and filling. They could have dyes that aren’t set well which could bleed if you spot clean them and then seep onto your sofa or clothing. They could also be made of highly flammable materials which are not only dangerous around candles but aggravate asthma symptoms. Regardless of the hazards that come along with cheap materials they also don’t feel very good to snuggle up to. Imagine laying your head on chemically altered acrylic versus cotton or velvet. Your face (and nose) would be happy you went with the superior pillow.
Also be cautious of phony finishes. For instance some products may say their bronze, but they could actually just be an aluminum substrate with a dark powder coating. How disappointing to get such a lightweight piece with a top layer that chips off. Bronze should be heavy and durable – it can sustain years of use and maintain it’s allure whereas a copycat could scratch, bend or break.
If you’re not working with a designer who can help you locate quality items try your best to read descriptions and labels so you know what you’re getting before you make a purchase.