An important tenet of decorating is to incorporate varying materials and textures to add interest and contrast. We’ve talked before about the perfect pairing of hard and soft surfaces, linens with silks, velvets and leathers, and metallics with unvarnished wood. Too much of the same style and material in your decor choices can make a room unmemorable and uninteresting. With that in mind, we wanted to add one more material to the mix: lucite.

If you’ve been living in an apartment for a few years now, or grew up in the 70s, you’re probably already very familiar with lucite in interiors. This material is a decorating miracle- you get all of the stylish edge with the benefits of taking up little visual space! We love mixing in a few pieces of lucite to balance out heavier items like sofas, armchairs and mirrors. There are many reasons to use lucite, which we break down for you in the slideshow above, but what we love most about it is that it is such a great unexpected contrast to the other more typical materials and fabrics. It’s also a fantastic way to take some of your more classic furniture into the 21st century by giving it a fashionable edge.

Remember that lucite can vary in price depending on the thickness and quality. So if you go to one store meant for contemporary apartment living and see a coffee table for $300 and then walk into a high end design store, finding a gorgeous lucite console for $1500, don’t be surprised. The second style is probably a very thick, heavy piece that will show its superiority time and time again. We appreciate all options, and believe that there’s a place for $300 lucite coffee table, just as there’s a reason to buy $1500 lucite console (or even a $400 vintage bar cart). As with all things in decor, evaluate your budget and consider how important this piece is and how much you love it. It might be worth trading out other pieces for a few budget finds.