When recently asked to contribute for Vogue’s article on “Decorating Rules in Your 20, 30s, and Beyond,” I got to thinking about what one should be buying as he or she approaches each decade. As someone who has lived through most of the decades listed in the title of the post (ahem…), here are my suggestions, and I would just encourage you to take my word for it…
Before we begin specifying decades, it’s never too early to start collecting art. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should move you. I’m a firm believer that aside from it providing personality to any room, art is good for the soul. Its visual impact is as important as a collection of good books.
In your 20s: Buy a good chair, and preferably, a pair if budget allows. (Mine were a pair of Brno chairs I still use today) Chairs are functional and sculptural. They’re portable and necessary in almost every part of the house, so chances are high you will be able to reuse them anywhere you call home. Another investment piece I wish I’d made in my 20s is a silver gallery tray. Use it on your vanity in your 20s, as a place to hold your mail in your 30s, and as a serving piece in your 40s.
In your 30s: It’s time to invest in a good dining set. This means a set of at least 6 chairs, a dining table, and a buffet. Even if you only host dinners on Easter and Christmas, it is an indication you’re firmly planted in adulthood.
In your 40s: it’s time to start purchasing antiques, if you haven’t already. Consider a Biedermeier secretary, a pair of Murano lamps, or better yet, an antique Oushak. These should be the purchases that become eventual family heirlooms. And one piece of advice when it comes to antiques: never sacrifice quality for quantity. As I was once told, “If you buy the best, you only cry once.”