When you’re shopping for furniture, you’re likely to focus on three things: size, shape, and color. But the material that covers the item should be as carefully considered as the hue. That’s because the texture of a material can have a huge impact on your day-to-day life (as anyone who has had to suffer a static-attracting, synthetic-fabric covered office chair can attest to), as well as the overall look of your room. To put it plainly, certain materials just convey luxury much better than others. (Think of the difference between soft wool and itchy felt!)

We’re focusing on four materials that do wonders in making a space feel so much more sophisticated — leather, lacquer, antique glass, and modern metals — and how to use them in your home. Additionally, we’ve added a few picks for furniture featuring these materials, in case the mood for redecorating strikes.

Material: Leather

Leather Beds

Ralph Lauren Vintage Tufted Leather Sleigh Bed, Apropos Tufted Leather King Headboard, Quintus Tufted Leather Tilden Queen Bed

Where to use it: With the exception of bathrooms, we can’t think of a space that isn’t improved by the buttery soft material. One trend we’ve noticed is the use of leather as a covering for headboards. It’s an unexpected alternative to typical fabrics used in the bedroom.

Material: Lacquer


Hinson & Company Coree Lacquer Coffee Table, Hinson & Company Ivory Lacquer Coffee Table, Hinson & Company Gwin Lacquer Coffee Table

Where to use it: A pristine glossy surface is hard to achieve, which is why lacquered furniture has always looked so luxe in the first place. The depth of the shiny surface immediately grabs the eye, making this textural treatment better in smaller doses. (Though we’ll never ever deny the appeal of a lacquered wall or ceiling.) We especially love the idea of a lacquered coffee table as a focal point in a living room.

Material: Antique glass

Antiqued Glass

Hinson & Company Bronze Regency Style Lantern, Bungalow 5 Antiqued Wall Mirror, Hinson & Company Smoker Bell Lantern

Where to use it: As you’d expect, antique glass is showcased most beautifully as part of a light fixture, or when part of a mirror. Light enhances the subtle details within the glass, which are only achieved by the passage of time.

Material: Modern metals

Modern Metals

Vintage Occasional Table, Modern Metal and Frosted Glass Desk, Design Within Reach LEM Piston Bar Stools

Where to use it: We define “modern” metals as sleek and polished, rather than heavy and dark. Sculptural yet understated, these metals make an elegant support for tables and accent furniture.

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