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These 8 Foundation Pieces Are Basically a Capsule Wardrobe, But for Your Home

Words by Olivia Lidbury
a room with a large rug and a black door

Design by Light and Dwell; Photo by Amy Bartlam

Just like that tailored black blazer or great pair of jeans in your closet, there are a handful of foundational pieces that every home should have.

The principles aren’t dissimilar to that of a capsule wardrobe, where enduring, versatile items (think: a timeless trench coat or a crisp white shirt) provide the ultimate building blocks. These classic items anchor a room, provide unwavering appeal against trendier choices, and act like the last-minute accessories that polish off a great outfit. 

So what are those cornerstone pieces when it comes to decor? We canvassed our Experts to find out, and the answers are reassuringly cohesive. Sharing a mission to create warm and tactile spaces with impactful lighting, these tips can apply to any interior—from a bijoux apartment to a country estate.

Layered Textiles

a living room filled with furniture and a potted plant

Design by Chango & Co; Photo by Sarah Elliott

‘Layering’ is an art interior designers have mastered to perfection, especially when it comes to soft furnishings. In essence, if you think it’s time to stop at three pillow styles—you should in fact keep adding. "I love mixing velvet, linen, sherpa, or shearling to create a cozy feel,” says Molly Kidd, Principal Designer of Light and Dwell

Alice Gaskell of Alice Grace Interiors also has a soft spot for velvet, setting the following scene: “the invitation of comfortable seating, with cushions in warming fabrics and a snuggly blanket tempts you to take a seat and stay.” Susana Simonpietri, Creative Director of Chango & Co, always advises splurging on soft goods: “A good throw or a super soft pillow can immediately take a room from stark to cozy.”

Persian Rugs

a bed room with a neatly made bed and a night stand

Photo courtesy of House Nine Design

The must-have accessory on the interior crib sheet is a Persian rug rich in detail and provenance. “Highly regarded for their quality and durability, with the right attention and care, they can be enjoyed for generations to come,” says Jojo Barr of House Nine Design. And like a sought-after designer handbag, “they can even increase in worth if properly maintained, so they make great investments too.”

Statement Art

a room with a table, chairs and a painting on the wall

Design by Katie Rosenfeld; Photo by Read McKendree

Original art is the no-fail item that every space needs, according to Katie Rosenfeld. Susana agrees: “Not only does art ground a room, it’s a standout moment in any setting and adds personality.”

Low-Level Lamps

a bed sitting in a bedroom next to a window

Photo courtesy of Becca Interiors

It’s time to use lighting sources as liberally as the aforementioned pillows. “Use options for each corner of the home, from candles to table, wall and floor lights all with warm light bulbs to create corners of atmosphere,” imparts Alice.

Becca Casey of Becca Interiors suggests carefully considering the style of each fitting to reinforce the overall aesthetic: “Whether it’s a vintage factory light or a polished brass midcentury piece, these simple influences immediately translate a room’s look.”

Woven Baskets

a table with a mirror and a basket on it

Photo courtesy of House Nine Design

From powder rooms to snugs, no setting exists where Jojo hasn’t prescribed a woven receptacle for good measure. “Be it on the floor, a coffee table or a shelf, baskets are not only useful but create a natural layer of texture to any interior.” (But be warned: once you get the basket bug, you can’t go back).

Book Collections

a living room filled with furniture and a lamp

Photo courtesy of Alice Grace Interiors

It’s official: a backdrop of analogue spines add effortless sophistication to a set of shelves. “Ironically, while we have more and more exposure to electronics, I’ve been increasingly drawn to the use and power of a hard copy—it can never be beaten,” says Alice. “It encourages you to slow down and add a story to a room and offers insight into your passions and your interests.” Rotate a stack of photography books on a coffee table and swap phone-scrolling for an old-fashioned browse.

Neutral Upholstery

a living room filled with furniture and large windows

Design by Light and Dwell; Photo by Paige Rumore

Here’s the confirmation that vanilla doesn’t mean boring. "Neutral upholstery stands the test of time,” affirms Molly. “It can be styled with antique pieces which tell a story like a coffee table, dining table, or vintage rug that all make great anchors to any space."

A Sculptural Vase

a vase filled with flowers sitting on top of a shelf

Photo courtesy of Alice Grace Interiors

Is your shelf or side table missing that certain something? Add a ceramic into the mix “Sometimes it might be all a space needs,” says Alice. “A beautifully shaped vase, perhaps with a single branch or flower, highlights the opportunity to bring something natural inside.”

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