Invest in a blue chip: A case for retro. Anything retro should be considered a keepsake piece of furniture that has the potential to be handed down from generation to generation. The dining table that catches your eye at a market or auction may not be particularly fashionable or even fit into your present decor scheme, but don't let that deter you from buying something of quality and style from another era. It may well prove to be the best investment of all, escalating in value in the decades to come.
Swing‐arm sconce. A swing‐arm sconce designed to extend over the table (like the one shown here) is an unexpected alternative to the traditional chandelier, and can work even for renters if you choose a plug‐in version. Because the bulb is exposed, you'll need to use a lower‐watt filament bulb to create that lovely soft glow. But because one low‐watt bulb is not enough to light a room on its own, it is necessary to supplement with additional lighting – try a second sconce, or a pair of lamps atop a credenza.
Corner window seat and decals. Storage‐filled bench seats tucked into a corner are cozy and practical, fitting plenty of people at the breakfast table. Pep up the corner with a few fun and easy‐to‐apply window decals that pick up a hue in your bench cushions.