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19 Design-y Décor Ideas (From an Architect) for Under $301

Photo: Courtesy retailer

As an architect, I have the great fortune of working on high-profile projects with custom furniture and luxurious materials. I don’t have that same luxury when it comes to my own home, so I’ve gotten creative about finding more affordable pieces that allow me to incorporate of-the-moment design trends, like curved forms, offbeat colors, and rich textures, on a more, shall we say, modest budget.

I first saw this on Instagram and immediately had to take a second look. The sharp console is constructed of six lozenge shapes; we’re seeing this geometry in absolutely every design magazine right now. The natural texture of the wood is balanced by the clean concentric lines. It’s one of my favorite pieces from Amazon’s very good, limited-edition run of Jonathan Adler.

I love the pure geometry of this piece; one rectangle, one triangle, and one circle slot together to make a statement that looks different from every angle. For our hospitality projects, we’re often looking for sculptural little side tables that can work together, compositionally, with a lounge chair, but this one’s also great as a plant stand — or even a stool — in a pinch.

Another standout piece from Amazon’s Jonathan Adler collection is this multicolored mirrored accent table. Group a few together for a coffee table stand-in, or stick with one if your apartment’s on the smaller side. The reflective detail will bring a little shine to your space — and the mirrored surface will make your room look larger, too.

Arcs, arches, and the aforementioned lozenges are ubiquitous in interior design right now. There’s still a lot of life left in this trend, as the look only recently found its way to mass market retailers like Target. On a recent hospitality project, we mixed these pillows in with custom ones from Zak & Fox and Maharam, and they looked right at home. The color’s sophisticated, and the lumbar shape serves as a nice counterpart to more typical square throw pillows.

The silhouettes, colors, and materials of the 1980s are back with a vengeance, and I’m particularly excited about loud and colorful marbles. I spend a lot of time at stone yards selecting slabs of marble for projects, and I dream of finding a slab of deep green marble with blue undertones to use with walnut and brass for a kitchen island. For now, though, I’ll settle for this amazingly affordable bookend.

Velvet, as well as its plusher cousin mohair, instantly elevates sofas, chairs, and pillows. The material also ages beautifully and is easy to clean. I especially like the luxurious but affordable cushions from Woven Nook. They come in a range of offbeat and striking colors; this cozy-feeling blush would be great for a hygge winter.

From candles to vases to this pretty little side table from Target, stacked totem-like shapes are everywhere right now. I’m a sucker for metallics, and this lands just on the right side of tacky for me.

For a recent project, we worked with weavers in Denmark for six months to create custom pieces, but this much more affordable version is honestly 90 percent as great at a tenth of the cost. While it’s certainly on-trend, it’s also a piece you’ll want to keep for a very long time. At work, we often pair these with a long dining table or place them at the foot of a bed.

Architects love terrazzo for its endless variations; we’ve used it with tiny flecks of mica for poured flooring in retail stores; with giant pieces of pink aggregate for café spaces; and with subtle tone-on-tone coloration for tiles. For those a smaller touch of terrazzo, I recommend these, which can serve as candleholders, mantle decorations, and tablescape décor. I love their brass belts, which are reminiscent of the brass divider strips we’d use for poured terrazzo surfaces.

Drawing from the skinny-leg furniture from Scandinavian furniture leaders like Hay and Muuto, this bench has a great balance of spare and soft. I love the asymmetry of the front and back and the great coral pink color of the padded top.

A study in balance of form and material, this travertine side table looks far more expensive than it is. The creamy warmth of the stone pairs well with more strong-willed tones and textures. We frequently use travertine as a complement to bold colors and materials like walnut and blackened steel.

Editor’s Note: This side table is sold out at Anthropologie, but this stone and metal side table, also from Anthropologie, has a nice balanced look. If you want straight-up travertine, here’s a cube from Pottery Barn.

This affordable yet elegant planter elevates any old Ikea snake plant. When we’re starting on a project, the first thing we do is bring in as many plants as we can. They add life to shelves, fill odd corners, and produce a biophilic human response of calm and focus. This planter has made an appearance in many recent projects alongside woven baskets, bubbled glass, and other textured vessels.