Buying a sofa or dining room table is a huge investment, which is why you always want to do your homework first — and we want to help. We asked a few of our go-to designers which pieces they always recommend people pass on and some of their answers seriously surprised us.
You know, the sets that come with the bed, nightstand, dresser and more. Caitlin Murray of says they just end up feeling uninspired. "You could get a much more interesting room, for a comparable price, with a couple of trips to local flea markets and thrift stores," she says.
When done right, designer says these pieces can be flattering and useful. But they sometimes have the same issues as open shelving: "If you're the least bit inclined to untidiness, it's not for you," she warns. After all, it's critical to keep glasses, bottles and utensils dust-free.
Even though you can't beat the storage in these pieces, they end up dominating the room and lack flexibility, because they're too big to rearrange, says Kristina Leigh Wiggins, author of . Even worse? "When you grow tired of them, they can be very hard to sell," she says.
Whether it's a couch or a faux antique side table from a super store, designer says to stay away. "Furniture should have a soul!" she says. "A room can be just as comfortable and just as functional with antiques." Barfield says you should view furniture purchases as investments.
While Mark Riddle, a lead design associate at , admits these sets are quick and easy to pick out, they're also often bulky and matchy-matchy. "Let your personality come out when choosing other pieces to compliment your sofa," he says. "It might take more time, but it'll speak more to your personality."
"People often gravitate towards glass items, because they are easy to clean and wear well," says Alison Davin of . "However, reflective surfaces have little to no impact in a room." Not to mention they can be dangerous. To lighten and brighten a room, she suggests using mirrors or metallic accents instead.
Fancy living spaces are (mostly) outdated, according to Sarah Fishburne, Director of Trend and Design at . Instead, open spaces that serves as a living room and family room is big. "This space can contain upscale furniture and doesn't have to slack on comfort," she says. Sounds like a win-win.
Fishburne also says big statement furniture is out. "Instead, people are purchasing small love seats, coffee tables and armchairs," she says. "This speaks to the trend of consumers veering away from large homes with too much space to smaller homes too."
Making a room appear bigger and brighter has a lot to do with how wall space is used, says Cheryl Eisen of . "Hutches are very old school and take up a large amount of vertical and horizontal space, so unless you have a massive room, the piece will swallow the whole room," she explains.
Sure, these iconic chairs are the very definition of comfort (just ask Dax Shepard), but Eisen still isn't a fan. "As far as I've seen in my career, there's no real way for a pleather recliner to look aesthetically pleasing," she says. She recommends a comfortable sofa for a home movie theater experience instead.
Nothing personal, but interior designer isn't a fan of this traditional design. "I think they're really impractical, they just look so dated," she says. She also says deep furniture pieces are impractical. "I work in San Francisco where space is at a premium, so those big pieces just don't work."