Get Inspired: 40 Years of Style

This year is our 40th anniversary of inspiring home furniture! It’s hard to believe we mailed our first 2-page black-and-white catalog in 1983—we’ve grown and changed so much over the years.

Believe it or not, there are many pieces we still love from those early days, so we thought we’d celebrate some of our favorite rooms from the last four decades as well as some of our long-time favorites from the collection.

Louis Chairs
Louis Chairs arranged on pedastools

There’s no word to describe the Louis Chair other than “timeless.” Whether it’s a cane-backed Louis with rush seat (featured here in our Fall 1986 catalog), a Louis bergere chair with curved leg, or a square back Louis in check, we’ll never tire of this 300-year-old design.


Slipcovers have been a staple on our pages since the beginning because they’re just so functional.

We love how striking and clean they feel on the cover of our Spring 1988 catalog. We may prefer a more fitted, streamlined silhouette now, but in our world, a slipcover should be a staple in everyone’s decorating arsenal.

Plaster Accessories

Plaster Chandelier

In our very first issue, we introduced a collection of plaster accessories and furniture bases designed to pair with glass tabletops.

We’ve always been drawn to plaster for its classic appeal, matte texture, and found nature. You can still find capitals and busts in our collection today because they’re so versatile.

Glass Top Tables

Glass Top Coffee and Side Tables

A glass-topped table launched our whole business, so you can imagine our love for this style runs deep.

Today, we pair a glass top with a woven base (like our Tangiers Dining Table) instead of a plaster base, but either way, they’re durable and work well with small spaces and open floor plans.

Skirted Tables


Utterly classic and versatile, a skirted table works anywhere—as a side table, a nightstand, or as a large table in an entry hall.

They’re great for hiding all manner of sins, showcasing a fantastic fabric or texture, and offering plenty of surface area for books, lamps and accessories.

Original Home Office

Home Office

Stroll through the Ballard Designs office here in Atlanta, and you’ll notice that more than half of the staff works from one of our Original Home Office stations. That’s how much we love this collection!

You’ll see partner’s desks, corner units, counter height stations, and every other combination in between and in every finish.



We don’t think we’ll ever tire of buffalo check and gingham. They’re graphic but simple, and bring a little bit of nostalgia to a room.

Large or small, we’ve got you covered with tablecloths, seat cushions, drapery, pillows, and everything in between.

Burlap and Upholstered Headboards

Burlap and Upholstered Headboards

Burlap feels dressed down, so we love using it in combination with something more formal or buttoned up.

It works beautifully with a tailored headboard like our Camden, which we’ve been featuring for over 15 years! A soft arch on a headboard never goes out of style, and who doesn’t love an upholstered back when you’re reading in bed?

Animal Print

Animal Print Lampshades

They come in all shapes and sizes, and we’ve used almost every iteration of zebra, cheetah, leopard, and even Dalmatian over the years.

Basically, animal print is our neutral, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Parsons Chairs

Parsons Chairs

Simple silhouettes never go out of style, and there’s no simpler piece than a Parsons Chair.

There’s a Francophile at the heart of every Ballard Designs lover, so it’s no surprise this iconic style came out of Paris in the 1930s. We’re pretty sure they’ve appeared on the pages of nearly every catalog, and we still find endless ways to upholster, monogram, slipcover, and trim them!

Celebrate Ballard Designs’ 40th Anniversary With Us!

Ballard Designs Home Store

Want to see the timeless anchor and decorating pieces we’ve mentioned throughout this post for yourself? Come visit us in-person at one of the Ballard Designs storefronts and unleash your inner decorator with our FREE Design Services Team!

Celebrate our 40th Anniversary with us by reading more:


Kelley Bostian

Kelley enjoys a light and livable home and is always searching for that perfect finishing touch. Here on How to Decorate, it's his goal to help you bring your own unique design vision to life.