How often have you looked around your house or apartment while social distancing and thought, “Wow, I really should have spruced this place up before I got stuck here for so long?” If you’ve been putting off redecorating or investing in new furniture, there’s no better time to use that extra cash you’re saving on not going out to snatch some new pieces sure to bring a fresh look and feel to your home.
We talked to CLIPP, LEED AP, and NCIDQ certified Interior Designer Jennifer Jean Morris, owner of New York's JMorris Design (@jmorrisdesigner), and asked her which brands were worth looking into for those who are ready to take their living space to the next level with pieces from brands such as those below on the current furniture and housewares market. Taking those suggestions into account, we also scoured the internet for others in the same vein and compiled a list of must-haves both dramatic or subtle that you can incorporate into your favorite room for a beautiful upgrade.
If you like what you see here but your tastes veer even more offbeat, check out our long list of other oddities and treasures that will help you build a modern-day Cabinet of Curiosities.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing, expert advice and our own research. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Offset Coffee Table
A coffee table is usually a natural focus point and in addition to basic functionality, your choice can provoke thought or conversation when company is over, or it can create gorgeously relaxing lines for your everyday life.
“Colony is a woman-owned business that sources and sells a wonderful curated collection of rich, interesting furniture and lighting fabricators,” Jennifer told us about her first pick for lesser-known names in the business of beautifying homes. “In their line is Grain Design. I love that this company commits to making positive environmental and social impacts. I also love their well-proportioned sculptural furniture.”
The balanced chaos of this almost beetle-like table has an off-kilter grace that will instantly elevate any room’s atmosphere. It’s quite the investment piece, but for someone looking to step it up in their home, this is a pristine choice.
Batterbee Decor Black Mirror Shelf
As suggested in the description, this wall mirror would be a phenomenal addition to a gallery wall surrounded by similarly ornate pieces to enhance an opulent, maximalist space.
Each piece chosen and enhanced by Batterbee is unique and holds a bit of vintage charm, made modern by a new paint job and excellent curation on the show owner's part. This piece is also customizable and hold different accent colors depending on your chosen scheme, so don't be afraid to reach out and ask for different details when grabbing this mirror or another gorgeous item in the shop.
And did we mention the price? At just $150, this mirror is an absolute steal but look around and you'll see most pieces average under $100 so you can add expensive-looking style to your home on a very tight budget.
Dazzle Decoy: Type 1 by Asher Israel
Another worthy investment piece comes from the Jennifer-approved, impeccably tasteful designer Asher Israelow. A born New Yorker, Israelow studied at the Rhode Island School of Design with degrees in fine arts and architecture and currently works in the Brooklyn Navy Yard creating astounding pieces meant to last for generations. This quirky bit of decor is a throwback to classic cabin decor but updated with slashes of yellow and blue to obscure the traditional aura and make it pop on a bookshelf or among your other conversational artifacts. Israelow's price-upon-request furniture is breathtaking, so be sure to browse through the pages and pages of impeccably crafted sample pieces as well.
Love Line Wall Art
Minimalism lovers who want something fresh and unexpected on their walls will love this airy, unusually romantic wall piece featuring two lovers in an intimate embrace outlined in abstract black metal. Less work than a painting to hang and with more space to show off your walls, it’s ideal for a loft or apartment done in clean, contemporary style.
Rustic Kitchen Island Made From Reclaimed Pine Barnwood, Made to Order
The kitchen is the heart of the home, so why not dress it up wit a stunning reclaimed pine table built to add comfort, class, and beauty while remaining fully functional?
Multiple sizes are available, as well as custom options for those with specific needs, and free shipping is offered to select customers in the Eastern Time Zone outside of major metropolitan areas. You can also choose different stains and finishes, as well as wood types if pine doesn’t suit you. Every table is one of a kind and will last a lifetime.
Asher Israelow Cutting Boards
If you’re currently drooling over Asher’s ducks and othr designs but looking for something a bit more classic, you may consider a more reasonable cutting board from the designer that carries the hallmark American black walnut and solid brass construction but at a fraction of the price while still being cold enough to draw together a gorgeous look in your kitchen in an unexpected place. The boards are available in a variety of sizes that go up incrementally in price (up to $180) and are ready to serve your every chopping need.
Feehan Mirror by the Egg Collective
Jennifer’s recommendation for the Egg Collective comes with the information that they “the most highest quality and natural materials” and make their beautiful products, like the mirror here, “in collaboration with small scale fabricators.” A substantially sized piece with an unassuming shelf (four inches deep) gives not only a bright, open feeling to the space in which it’s hung, but also provides a bit of storage or room to decorate the mirror should you prefer your clean lines accented with a bit of character. Just over three feet high and two feet wide, this will surely lend a chic depth where it’s placed, and bonus: great Instagram selfie potential.
Konekt Stone Candle Holders
Started by a mother/daughter duo who make “whimsical and tactile pieces,” as Jennifer notes, Konekt is a furniture design company that aims to “engage the senses” and appeal to those who want expert craftsmanship with an element of uncommon intrigue. There are several shining stars on their site which convey a casual, rustic elegance, like the Stone Candle Holders here that dress up any side table or credenza. They come in a natural or gilded finish, so you get to determine how luxe you want your outdoorsy accent to be.
While this list mostly caters to those preferring an understated but rich look, we wanted to include a couple of real scene-stealers that still come from less mainstream sources and grab the eye for an almost arthouse effect, like this Nersi sofa from Brooklyn dealer Sentient. Unconventional lines and a bold, passionate red (available in wool or leather) create warm intensity in any setting, while plush cushioning maintains a welcoming feel, a difficult task for such a museum-worthy piece.
Locust Wood Chair
Sentient offer plenty of pieces that qualify as living art, and this Locust Wood Chair is yet another example of one sold by the store that’s most likely to knock your nature-loving socks off. Stability comes from a cross-section of locust tree and white oak branches add strength to the legs. An upholstered seat comes in a variety of color options in leather or fabric, so this rustic-chic fantasy throne can be customized perfectly to complement and upgrade any relaxing spot in your home.
Article Coconut White Rocking Chair
There’s an innate comfort about the smooth motion of rocking back and forth in a well-built chair, and this stunning neutral piece is the perfect place in which to do so.
Deep, soft seats envelop you while the sturdy frame avoids creaking as you sway for an immersive relaxation experience. Article’s rocking chair is ideal for nurseries but will carry any family well beyond the early days of child rearing and become a lasting staple in your home.