Invest in classic pieces that will last you a lifetime

plywood chairs

Someone recently said to me of plywood chairs (pictured) ‘Why on Earth would anyone pay so much money for a piece of wood? I see prices for those in the West End that are ridiculous. They’re so overpriced.’ My answer: ‘Because they will stand the test of time and pay for themselves.’

I’ll let you into a secret: Every time I buy something, I value you it by £1 per times used. A dining room chair will potentially be used at least once a day (if you’re good), and for those who don’t sit at the table, a couple of times a week. Add this to a chair that is well made, sturdy and not prone to breaks from scuffles and you have yourself a chair of high worth, definitely making up for what you paid for it.

When you next ponder on buying items, think in terms of the £1 a use. I do it with almost everything and it makes me appreciate the usefulness of items and whether I need them or not (perhaps not now, but this can apply to the future too! Think bottom drawer).

So, what sort of classic pieces do I mean?

  • A good dining room set of six chairs (you could store 2 or 4 when not needed) and a sturdy, robust table that will stand the test of changing styles. I mean classic. A barn wood table (pictured), a round classic shabby chic table and so on. If you can’t afford to invest yet, find a mix of chairs and a table from a flea market and give them a lick of paint. Knowing people, they’d have thrown out perfectly good furniture anyway so you might find your bargains lasting for years to come.
  • A good bed. Don’t compromise here because this is the sort of piece that people are reluctant to change if they aren’t liked (what with all the wardrobe manoeuvring, the money…) Gather a few styles of bed and a few styles of room that you like (different schemes, colours, accessories). Which bed fits the most schemes and which can you see being the most versatile. Got one? That’s your classic bed.
  • Coffee table. Actually, this one is neither necessary (unless like me you feel a living room is practically naked without) or needing to be classic in terms of quality. Unless you’re planning to make dancing on the coffee table a regular event, you needn’t worry a great amount about the quality. But do not compromise on the look. It must be classic in terms of image and versatile to fit into any future schemes so don’t take you decision lightly.
  • Sofas (or a couch for US readers!) Please, please don’t compromise comfy for image. You can always find a sofa that offers both! I suggest being a little obsessive over this one and visiting the showroom or wherever the sofa may be three or four times. Don’t be shy to lounge. Think about it, when do you ever sit upright in a sofa apart from at your in-laws or, of course, in the showroom? You don’t! So sit as you will (but perhaps check around to see if anyone is looking before you get too comfy!) Another note on this: choose a neutral colour and spruce with blankets and cushions in the future. If it is neutral, there is more you can do with it and the room in the future.

The bottom line with classic piece investment: Always think ahead! Ask yourself:

  • How many different schemes will this piece accommodate?
  • Can it be edited in the future if it, for some reason, gets boring or bruised? (Think paints, fabrics, papers. These materials shouldn’t be restricted to the obvious! Paste a chair with fabrics or wallpaper!)
  • Is it comfortable? Yes, it may look like it has jumped out of ELLE Decoration but will it start to annoy you when you avoid a particular seat because you can’t bare how uncomfortable it is?
  • Be open-minded. Usually the most classic pieces can be those you would not go for straight away. The designs and styles you like at a particular time may change and you must remember this.
  • Do not go for anything that is a current trend, unless this trend has been a long-running one. Shabby chic (unfortunately, but I will fight this off as long as possible) may not be around forever and you must remember times, tastes and styles move on! Will you find pieces to go with it in the future? I mean, do you remember black out lights? Yeah, me either.

Now, go forth and classify.barn wood table

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