October 4, 2017

Tips and Trends from Cristina Miller of 1stdibs

Cristina Miller, SVP of Dealer Relations at 1stdibs, brings us her tips on mixing and matching styles to create one chic, contemporary aesthetic.

by New York Spaces

Tips & Trends on Designing Modern Spaces
By Cristina Miller, the SVP of Dealer Relations at 1stdibs

Not all furniture is created equal: When it comes to contemporary furniture, bravura or iconoclastic design can sometimes make it difficult to measure the quality of a piece's craftsmanship. Design for design's sake has little value if your couch or table is wobbly, warping or on the verge of falling apart. As with antiques, there are a few telltale signs of great construction in a contemporary piece: materials that are solid and elegant, edges that are crisp, joints that are tight, and finishes that are beautifully applied. Keep an eye out for these elements, and look to see if they've been deployed in the interest of advancing the design: Are the heavy materials supportive? Do the lighter materials float? Does the use of surprising materials like Plexi or concrete add to the overall grace of the piece? Only move forward with your purchase if you can answer yes to most of these questions.

Love Glass Stone Chair
Love Glass and Stone Lounge Chair.
double row dresser
Double Row Dresser.
Lantern Floor Lamp 1stdibs
Lantern Floor Lamp.

Practical doesn't have to mean boring: Today's designers are working with a variety of materials—like rattan and even rubber— that are durable and surprisingly stylish. Not only will the materials stand the test of time, but beautiful, innovative design always ages well.

Outdoor Landscape Sofa
Outdoor Landscape Sofa.
margot decanter glass
Margot Decanter and Eight Dearborn Mini Glass Set.

Take materials to the max: Rich, luxurious materials—like plush velvet—feel far from ostentatious when placed by a discerning designers' eye. A luxe contemporary piece will certainly make a statement no matter which room you place it in.

Have mercy light
Have Mercy White Light Have It.
Lunar Marble Table
Luna Full Moon Marble and Brass Side Table.
Edra Boa Table
Edra Boa Sofa Covered in Velvet.

Trust your gut: It's good to do your research and know your options, but ultimately, follow your heart. The furniture you live with should reflect your taste -- whether you veer towards adventurous or stay on the safe side.

Casey Lurie Studio Modern Primo Shelf in Walnut with Brass Hardware.
Contemporary Pillar Side Table in Turned White Oak.

Go organic: We're seeing more and more organic forms as well as materials and furniture that reference creatures great, small, and extraordinary. Whether it's a chair made of terracotta or depicting a great animal, these creature comforts certainly stand out.

The Rhino Chair
The Rhino Chair.
Chris Wolston Terracotta Plant Chair.

Do it for the story: An object's backstory often brings a piece to life. Part of the fun of collecting contemporary design is knowing the cause or compulsion that drives its creator. For example, designer Meredith Thayer drew inspiration from her travels in Bolivia and Peru to create the Aya rug.

Aya Rug
Aya Rug.
Parrot pillow
Hand-painted Parrot Silk Charmeuse Snake Pillow.

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