Home & Style

Design Scout: Inexpensive Accent Furniture

My Notting Hill blogger Michele Ginnerty shares her picks for occasional tables—all under $200—that can stand up to your priciest pieces.

The advice to wait until you can afford quality furniture is sound—but what if you’re impatient and there’s nowhere to place your drink while sitting on that investment sofa you saved up for? While low price tags can mean cheaper looks and poor quality, inexpensive furniture doesn’t have to be a temporary substitute destined to be discarded years later. There are some great new pieces to be found for under $200 that will more than hold their own alongside your high-end furniture. The key is to focus on casegoods—think side tables and accent pieces made of wood, metal, or other durables—as opposed to large-scale upholstered pieces.

When hunting for inexpensive accents, keep these tips in mind:

  • Look for pieces made with materials that look good even in less expensive versions. Metal, glass, and carved solid wood are good candidates. Avoid poor-quality veneers and most particleboard construction.
  • Steer clear of furniture that shouts trendy shapes or colors. Classic elements and styling create a look that is timeless.
  • When you examine the piece, ask yourself: “Could I modify this in a few years with paint or new fabric?” While we may be hesitant to refinish an investment piece, it’s easy to breath new life into a metal side table with a can of spray paint.
  • That said, don’t be too picky when it comes to fabric on stools or ottomans, where it’s designed to be easily removed. Trade out the cheap fabric for a designer remnant, and you’ve got a high-end look.

Check out the slideshow above for some of our favorite accent pieces under $200.

About our new blogger: Local resident Michele Ginnerty started the interior design blog My Notting Hill New Year’s Eve 2007 as part of a resolution to more actively pursue her love for the world of interior decorating and design. While her primary work for the past 17 years has been running her own management consulting firm, her remaining free time has been spent tracking the ever-changing world of design. My Notting Hill has been a natural extension of that passion, focusing on up and coming designers, trends, home decor stores, DIY projects, and the ongoing search for aspirational home interiors. Michele is excited to join the Open House blog, bringing Washingtonian readers weekly coverage of beautiful homes as well as inspiring ideas and helpful tips from the design community. Check back next week for more from Michele!