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Furniture Basics

Classic choices to use in your home


often get the same request from friends, relatives, and clients: “Just tell me what to do!”

Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all response, but sometimes I can share some general concepts or products that are helpful in simplifying and designing a space. Here I’m walking a client or friend through a classic floor plan, sharing my tricks and tastes for each room. Come with us.

1 Bedroom

Beds: For really good sales, go to PB Teen — they have beautiful upholstered beds that come in twin and full.

Nightstands: I love a cleanlooking, contemporary nightstand. Target, Wayfair, and West Elm have really nice 20- to 24-inch options. Some of Ikea’s nightstands are low but very cute. Desks: In boys’ rooms, I love an industrial-looking desk with a hanging bulb look above it. For a girls’ room, a round brass mirror and a glossy desk (shout-out to Ikea) is amazing.

Shelves: Floating shelves over a desk are a great option. Make sure to reinforce them if you plan on using them for something heavy, like books.

2 Living Room

Chairs: I like a rounded swivel kind of chair — plenty available on Wayfair and West Elm. One chair I love from Wayfair is the Garren Armchair by Everly Quinn. It comes in so many colors and looks so elegant.

Rugs: Check out Wayfair and Target, or Neiman NY. If you’re going really inexpensive, choose a more muted tone. With less expensive options, the color often doesn’t look as saturated as it does online.

> Personal fave: I love Target for rugs and lamps!

3 Dinette

Tables: Ikea has great dinette tables that come in chrome and white glass, or chrome and clear glass; they’re inexpensive and very durable. CB2 also has some great dinette tables.

Chairs: If you’re looking at vinyl chairs on the sale sites, there are so many different taupes and grays and blacks and whites. You can do really well if your budget is tight and you need quite a few. If you have a bit of wiggle room though, since these are the chairs that are used the most in your home, they may be worth spending more on. Look for something that has good reviews or is higher quality.

4 Dining Room

Chairs: You can get a great-looking dining room chair on West Elm or Wayfair. Always read the reviews! Anyone who’s unhappy likes to voice their opinion. Today’s chairs are sleek, petite, and square. If you’re able to go the customized route, always do vinyl on the seat if possible. Think of our lovely friends like ketchup and chrain.

> Favorite dining chair: Finley in velvet is a favorite of mine from West Elm. Really great quality and a reputable company, so you can trust the customer service.

Sideboards: Great for storage and lighting candles. Many items on Overstock and Wayfair are super inexpensive because they don’t come assembled, saving you a lot of money. Companies like West Elm and CB2 have good options also. Using a sideboard with a mirror above it adds a nice amount of depth to a smaller room.

5 Playroom

Storage: Ikea makes an amazing cube system, Kallax, that comes in white lacquer, black, or pewter green, with coordinating baskets in plastic, wicker, wool, fabric, or wood. I love the wood look. The gray wool is also great. It doesn’t take up that much space, and you can fit a lot in there. I like to mount it to the wall so it shouldn’t tip when a kid climbs on it.

Storage benches: I love using these opposite a couch in the playroom for hiding unwanted mess.

Chavie Alter is a residential interior designer from Brooklyn with 12 years of experience. She works primarily in the Tristate area but has clients all over the US. She’s known for her attention to detail, her positive attitude, and her meticulous aesthetic.

(Originally featured in Family Room, Issue 007)

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