The thrill of vintage shopping is its unexpectedness: you never quite know what treasures you’ll find, or stumble across while searching for something else. We picked the brains of five design experts to see what they’re collecting, lusting over, and consistently styling in other people’s homes (or their own)—and the pieces they’re always gifting lovers and companions.

Photo by Brittany Ambridge. Courtesy of Young Huh.

YOUNG HUH reveals her current vintage obsessions.

“I’ve been keeping tabs on French tole flower light fixtures, Louis XVI chairs and interesting decorative stools. When building a room, there are some repeat hits I tend to incorporate—pieces by French interior firm Maison Jansen, Italian designer Aldo Tura, and the British designer and architect Robsjohn-Gibbings.”

Photo by Christopher Jamar Payne. Courtesy of Michel Smith Boyd.

MICHEL SMITH BOYD shares one classic design piece worth the hype.

A Serge Mouille three-arm multi pendant light. It is easily one of the most versatile pieces you could ever own. I recently used the white version in this year’s Hampton Designer Showhouse. While that space was deeply based in French and Italian mid-century, I’ve used this chandelier in rustic and modern spaces alike. Its sleekness transcends any one period, and it elevates even the most unassuming spaces. I like to outfit mine with silver-tipped bulbs to create an inviting glow.”

Photo by Alanna Hale Photography. Courtesy of Noz Nozawa.

NOZ NOZAWA on a recent obsession that would have surprised her ten years ago.

Bombe commodes! Actually, antique and highly ornamental French and Italian furnishings in general. Ten years ago, I was heavily into the mid-century modern era … I couldn’t have predicted that my tastes have become more expansive and eclectic, where I basically love things from across the world and across history. I’m curious and follow what I’m intrigued by. I can even learn to appreciate the aesthetic of a movement I wouldn’t viscerally gravitate toward, simply because I understand it. When it comes to enduring classics, though, I don’t think you can go wrong with a vintage rug … I love the way old rugs wear and age, like a patina that represents life having been lived in the rooms they belonged to. They were basically all handmade, so choosing a vintage rug elongates the lifespan of a piece that had tons of work and effort put into it.”

Photo by Liz Daly. Courtesy of Chloe Warner.

CHLOE WARNER’s go-to design gift for lovers and friends. 

“I have searches set up on Chairish for Spode ceramics and Nejemi pottery. I love giving gorgeous vases to friends. I’ll often add a little plant or some flowers from my garden. I love flower-specific vases: narrow necks, lots of little holes. Vases with personality. As far away as possible from the clear glass cube vases that used to come basically free when buying flower arrangements.”

Photo by Laure Joliet. Courtesy of Martha Mulholland.

MARTHA MULHOLLAND on her game-changing decor investment.

Behold, the accent chair. I never, ever stop finding amazing chairs, and always buy them and force them into clients’ bathrooms, bedrooms, entry halls, and kitchens. Pairs of lounge chairs and sets of dining chairs are easy—everyone needs them and understands how to use them, but those random, lonely little chairs you see languishing in antique malls are my favorite. People often think they’re extemporaneous, but in fact they are the most useful of surfaces: a place for a guest to rest toiletries when visiting, gather mail or pile pillows when making the bed. Single accent chairs can also imbue a room with needed character, eclecticism and a sculptural quality. You always ‘need’ another chair!”

January 26, 2022

Dennis Sarlo is the executive editor of Chairish and a lover of all things design-related. Prior to joining the team, he served as the executive editor of Dering Hall and was the first site director of Architectural Digest. He was also part of the founding team of travel startup Jetsetter. He lives in New York.