Who wouldn’t want to go shopping alongside an interior designer? Although it’s true that pros generally purchase most furniture and other decorative items from trade-specific vendors, many also rely on tried-and-true retailers accessible to the general public.

We asked 11 designers to share their favorite pieces that anyone can buy, and why those items never let them down. Here are their picks.

Case goods

Why not invest in a piece that can serve multiple purposes? Designer Peti Lau likes the Jonathan Adler Channing Three-Drawer Console ($1,995 at jonathanadler.com) because, with its drawers and narrow footprint, it can “function either as a desk or a console.”

“I like the simple white lacquer and silver metal finishes, which give it a more timeless look,” says Lau, who does work in Los Angeles, New York, London and Thailand.


No room is complete without layers of lighting, including overhead fixtures and task pieces. Picture lighting is a simple way to bring a museum-like feel to any home. Priya McCulloch, a designer in Tucson, Arizona, suggests the Chapman & Myers 18-Inch Cabinet Maker’s Picture Light ($399 at circalighting.com).

“I love using these for built-in bookshelves or to highlight art,” she says. They also are available in bronze and antique or polished nickel and “add a classic touch to any space,” McCulloch says.


A statement-making light fixture will shine in any room. McCall Dulkys, a designer in Memphis, Tennessee, has incorporated the expansive AllModern Whit 3 Sputnik Modern Linear Semi Flush Mount Light ($700 at wayfair.com) in many spaces.

“I love using it over dining room tables, as the massive width often spans along the entire length of the table,” she says. “It’s perfect for modern or midcentury-modern spaces in black, and the white could even be used to add a touch of modern to a coastal home.”

A new lampshade is a less-expensive way to make a major style statement. Laura Hur, a designer in Kensington, Maryland, is partial to the linen shades, handmade in Denmark, from the Etsy shop LeKrazyHorse (etsy.com/shop/LeKrazyHorse). They can give an old lamp a chic update, she says. She also likes that they are pleated, because “they bring a sense of texture, movement and playfulness to any space,” she says. “Pair one with a sculptural ceramic base, and it is suddenly much more interesting. Pair one with a playful squiggle base, and it feels like a party.”


A go-to accent chair is a must for residential and commercial spaces. Blanche Garcia, a designer in Montclair, New Jersey, says Blu Dot’s Puff Puff Lounge Chair (starting at $1,195 at bludot.com), available in multiple fabrics and colors, is a current favorite. “It’s sculptural with a stunning tomato-red velvet fabric, and, for the price, it just can’t be beat,” she says. Whether paired with a neutral sofa or jazzed up with a vibrant throw pillow or two, the piece can be styled to appeal to minimalists and maximalists.


An area rug can cozy up wooden floors, be layered over wall-to-wall carpeting or be used to create a distinct zone within a larger space. Desiree Burns, a designer in Boston, keeps coming back to West Elm’s Jute Boucle Rug ($599 for the 8-by-10-foot size at westelm.com). “It’s great quality for the price point and goes with just about anything,” she says. Burns has used it for coastal bedrooms and more contemporary living rooms, “and it’s always a winner,” she says.

If you find yourself dealing with messes fairly often, there’s something for you, too. Christine Turknett Ho, a designer in Austin, Texas, says she is “obsessed” with Chilewich’s Basketweave Woven Floor Mats (starting at $130 at chilewich.com) for the dining room. “They are super durable [to combat] any food spills, and the designs are timeless,” she says. Turknett Ho has one of the mats in Oyster, a neutral gray that, she says, “plays so well with other colors.”



Functional pieces such as glassware, towels and wastebaskets don’t have to be boring. Designers know that artful details are essential for finishing a room.

One way to add both style and comfort is by incorporating plush towels. Benjamin Johnston, a Houston-based designer, says RH’s Ultra-Soft Turkish Towels (starting at $21 at rh.com) are a go-to. “It’s that little touch of luxury that makes getting ready for your day all that much more enjoyable,” he says.

Plush doesn’t have to stop at towels; many designers enjoy incorporating plush materials throughout the home. For example, Seattle-based designer Pallavi Kale likes to include alpaca throws, such as the Jenni Kayne Home Alpaca Basketweave Throw ($295 at jennikayne.com), in rooms she styles. “They are soft and warm for snuggling,” Kale says. “You can also use them to add a layer of texture to your couch, bench or the foot of your bed.”

Hallie Henley Sims, another Houston-based designer, says she likes to “make sure no details are overlooked, even when it comes to wastebaskets.” One of her favorites is the whimsical Bunny Williams Shopping Bag Waste Bin ($179 at ballarddesigns.com). It’s perfect for a powder room or home office.

And the right glassware can make you want to throw a get-together as soon as possible. Shannon Claire Smith, a designer in Washington, D.C., recommends Crate & Barrel’s Lucia Glasses ($15 each at crateandbarrel.com). “The pieces are a great price and are great everyday or elevated occasion glasses,” Smith says. “They can skew casual enough for a glass of wine on the patio or be set on a table for a formal dinner party.” They are available in four shapes: red wine, white wine, champagne flute and coupe.