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Furniture inspiration from six inventive homes

How furniture designers, stylists, and creative directors furnish their homes

Living room with wood-paneled walls, tongue-and-groove beamed ceilings, brick fireplace, cork flooring, built-in shelving, and furnished with a sectional sofa, wood coffee table, lamp, and sculptural chair.
Midcentury furniture fills this virtually untouched Joseph Eichler home in Palo Alto.
Daniel Dent

So you’ve found your dream apartment or house, but now there’s the question of furnishing it. If you’re in need of inspiration, we’ll direct you to our House Calls column, where expertly designed interiors offer a host of ideas and surprising combinations, courtesy of their owners (or renters)—who just happen to themselves be furniture designers, stylists, or creative directors.

But don’t let their professions intimidate you: Having a well-furnished home doesn’t mean that it has to look perfect. In fact, our favorite spaces are downright eclectic in their mixing of materials, colors, and periods. To begin, consider the space you’re working with. Then figure out what vibe you’re going for. The next step? Let yourself go wild.

Below, six interiors that take their furniture game to a whole new level.

Furniture can be fun

Wing Ta

The suburban Minneapolis home of photo stylist David Anger and his husband Jim Broberg is filled with midcentury modern furniture, but the colorful space still feels contemporary. A Danish sofa reupholstered in yellow fabric updates the classic silhouette, while unexpected materials and shapes, like the cork stool, curvaceous Arne Jacobsen-designed Swan chair, and floppy pouf bring vibrancy to the room. Graphic art prints, striped rug, and a Noguchi floor lamp add even more depth.

Gabriela Herman

Creative director Dan Pelosi’s Brooklyn home is maximized for entertaining—which is why he custom-designed a large dining table with legs placed more inset to accommodate his guests. As for seating? His collection of pairs of chairs, from the humble metal folding chair to the Marcel Breuer’s Cesca to Blu Dot’s Real Good chair, lend an eclectic air to the already colorful space.

Avant-garde pieces can be homey

Ball & Albanese
Ball & Albanese

How do furniture designers furnish their homes? For Brooklyn-based Ben Erickson of Erickson Æsthetics, getting the space right was the first step. He transformed a rundown midcentury cabin in Montague Township, New Jersey, into a weekend retreat for himself and his family. But first, he toned down some of the walls, formerly clad in knotty wood panels, by plastering some of them with textured drywall, letting his own wood-centric pieces pop more. The leather-seated EÆ Lounge chair, for instance, and the Tripod stool, each feature metal accents. But combined with more traditional silhouettes—and rustic environs—they complete the space rather than stand out.

John Sorensen-Jolink of Coil + Drift filled his ground-level apartment in a Brooklyn townhouse with his dynamic creations. A former modern dancer, Sorensen-Jolink imbues his furniture with an understanding of movement, form, and space, and combines different materials into striking objects—like the minimalist leather-and-ash Soren chair, travertine-and-steel Dusk coffee table, carved walnut June mirror, and the Bishop task floor lamp that has a blackened ash base, brushed brass neck, and steel shade. And while they may sound intimidating by description alone, the pieces create a comfortable but elegant home.

Classics carry on

When Paul Savidge and Dan Macey bought Louis Khan’s Esherick house in Philadelphia, they knew they had a gem on their hands. Preservation and stewardship of the locally certified historic home were of the utmost concern, and its interior decorating scheme reflects those values as well. Classic midcentury pieces rendered in wood and textured fabrics fill the warm space and feel right at home.

Daniel Dent

Amy and Sean Keeler began collecting midcentury modern furniture before they ever laid eyes on their virtually untouched Joseph Eichler home in Palo Alto, California. So when they purchased the 1,800-square-foot home, they moved right in with their furnishings—most of which had been in storage. Despite their combined years, however, both the home and its decor feel, well, timeless.