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Melissa Penfold’s advice on what to really invest in when decorating


Deb loves the fact that Melissa Penfold’s blog is accessible and practical. The articles cover high-end decorating to affordable IKEA items. They both agree, it’s not always about buying the most expensive pieces, it’s about getting the look right. Deb asks Melissa, “When do I say, this is an investment piece, a key piece as opposed to cheap and cheerful?”

Melissa’s ever practical advice is, “The more expensive – the more useful and beautiful it needs to be.”

“For example, a really good sofa will anchor your room, so put your money into a ‘soulmate’ sofa.”

“Put your money into your staples. A good dining table, a lovely mirror.  I think buy two pieces of really good quality furniture a year, because in twenty years’ time you’ll have a really good collection of furniture that if you wanted, you could sell at Sothebys for example.”

Some of Melissa’s tips on where to spend:

  • Spend as much as you can afford on your floor. You can sit on a box on a beautiful floor and be happy, but nothing will ever improve a cheap floor.
  • Invest on door hardware, light fixtures, and faucets. Details that get used daily need to be not only good-looking, but durable. And you should never skimp on things you notice or touch every day.
  • A rug that’s too small. Don’t float little rugs in big spaces. Large rugs can be expensive but a rug that is too small for the space can make a room look wrong, disjointed and unfinished.
  • Invest Where It Matters. If you’re on a budget, invest in the pieces that anchor a room. It wouldn’t be a bedroom without a bed, it wouldn’t be a living room without a sofa, and it wouldn’t be a dining room without a dining table.

About Melissa Penfold

Melissa Penfold is a journalist and author, and often described as Australia’s foremost authority on style and design. With a career in the lifestyle industry for over 25 years, she has an unparalleled reputation as one of the country’s most respected and trusted journalists and style influencers. Melissa has two best-selling books on the subject of Australian Style and Melissa Penfold’s Little Black Book: Sydney’s Shopping Secrets, which are the golden standard of reference books for architects, designers, stylists and magazine editor’s around the country.

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