Trends come and go. But timeless design never goes out of style. For that classic look that stands the test of time, we’ve got 14 timeless design techniques to create that perfect chic home.
1. Play with symmetry
While decorating styles are fleeting–in one season, out the next–symmetry and balance will always be timeless. The human eye is drawn to them. And both belong at the very top of your list of design techniques to create a chic home.
How do you create symmetry in a home? Start by doubling up on items that together fill a whole room with matching halves. Single focal points are the goal, so create yours with pairs that accessorize the item in the middle.
Matching vases or lamps on either side of a mantle, for example, can accessorize whatever you choose to create your focal point in the center. Matching chairs positioned on either side of a single sofa create the same effect, which is a symmetry on each side of the room.
And where you can’t create a mirror image, just remember to create a natural sense of balance, trusting your eye to dictate where the items belong.
2. Less is more
We’ve tried to make clutter work for decades. But we’ve always reverted back to the clean, clutter-free, and pulled-together look that creates a truly timeless living space.
Simple and streamlined are the secrets to decorating your chic home, which together create visual interest as well as breaks and soft places for the eyes to land. Your instinct might tell you to fill up every blank space or empty corner. But resist the urge because less is more.
3. Find a focal point
Timeless rooms have plenty in common. And one of the most popular design techniques featured in the chic home is a strong focal point. As pleasing to the human eye as symmetry and balance, focal points give your eyes a place to rest.
Your living space may already have a built-in mantle or large picture windows that serve as a natural focal point. But you can also make one out of furniture, artwork, or architectural elements.
How do you locate an area to serve as your focal point? Let your natural eye be your guide, find out where it wants to go, and arrange your furniture around the focal point. Just remember to stick with one focal point. Too many competing focal points can bring confusion and chaos into your subconscious mind and reflect those negative vibes into your living space.
4. Neutral wall and furniture colors
Neutral wall and furniture colors that complement any style or palette form the foundation for the timeless living space, enabling you to change up other colors in the room without repainting.
Neutral shades create the most flexible wall colors and furniture. Ready to switch up your look without decorating around your sofa color? Just pair your neutral-colored sofa with colorful new pillows, rugs, and accessories. Now your living space can remain timeless for the long haul without going stale.
5. Select timeless colors
While on the topic of colors, remember that some classic hues stay popular for the long-term even as trends pass. Again, the neutral colors are key, including blacks, creams, and beiges. However, count on navy blue, and darker shades of green for a safe color that stays in style. And sometimes two timeless colors work magic together: the trendy combination of navy blue and black, for example.
6. Stick to classic patterns
Classic patterns always create a more timeless design than trendy prints. Decorating your living space with damasks, botanicals, stripes, and plaids, as a rule of thumb, achieves more of the timeless look you want than chevrons, animal prints, strong geometrics, and other trendy styles that can change with the times.
How many patterns belong in your living space? As a rule, stick with at least three patterns, in different scales, distributed evenly throughout each room. Experiment with one large and two different medium patterns, for example, or one small and two different mediums. Load up too many patterns on one side of the room and you can lose the sense of balance and symmetry the human eye craves to discover in a chic home with a truly timeless design.
7. Buy furniture with clean lines
There’s a reason furniture with clean, simple lines finds its way into chic homes featuring a timeless design. Understated, sophisticated, and versatile enough to complement most design styles, neutral fabrics free from ornate details or unusual shapes create the type of comfortable, well-constructed furniture pieces that never go out of style. And if you’re feeling the need to throw in some ornamentation, focus on the small things such as turned legs, tufting, and nailhead trim for that classic and timeless appearance.
8. Use natural materials
Home decorating has long been inspired by the nature we see around us, and there’s no reason to expect this to change in the future. It’s not surprising then, that timeless decorating often makes use of natural materials, like wood, stone, baskets, and plants. Natural elements are one of the keys to creating a cozy and completed space. Just remember that balance is everything in design, so you never want to go completely overboard using any one material.
9. Avoid the trends
Trends and timelessness rarely go together in the same sentence. Trends come and go but timelessness is eternal. In fact, any trend that lasts more than a few years is quite uncommon. That’s because trends have expiration dates, which leaves your living spaces looking dated in a hurry. However, there’s a secret to designing a timeless, chic home with the latest trends: small doses.
Rather than dress your large sofa or window treatments in the most popular color of the year, consider welcoming the color in pillows, throws, and other small, subtle, easy-to-swap items. The less visual space you give to trendy colors, the better you can create the timeless home that stays that way for the ages.
10. Blend the old and new
Rather than tie your decor to any single decade, blend old and new pieces for a timeless design that spans multiple decades. What’s more timeless than an antique in a modern-day setting? Mix classic and modern pieces to achieve a lived-in, interesting, and sophisticated appearance. And don’t be afraid to pair your favorite vintage pieces with contemporary accents.
11. Hide the technology
The modern home features no shortage of technology. However, the best thing you can do for your timeless living space is hide whatever televisions, stereos, speakers, and other devices are taking away from that chic home decor you admire so much.
How can you hide your technology? Start by decorating around your devices (“camouflage” is a good way to think about it), especially the ones that are focal points of your living space. Most of the time, hiding the television is the most challenging task. But you can usually keep most of your other devices behind closed doors and out of sight.
12. Focus on quality
If there’s one thing you do for a chic home with a timeless design, focus on quality from the furniture and fabrics to the accessories and more. There’s no need to wipe out your bank account. However, invest in the best possible quality you can afford. Otherwise, you risk having lower-quality furniture not just fall apart but also give your living space an overall shabby look and feel.
Another big timeless vibe killer is cheap fabric. You always want your fabrics to not just last for the long haul but also evoke a sense of character and purpose. In fact, any cheap item you welcome into your living space moves you further away from your goal of creating a chic home with a timeless design. And don’t be afraid to experiment with vintage and upcycled pieces, as long as those items are made with quality in mind.
13. Embrace built-ins
The popularity of timeless built-ins in chic homes spans several decades. These highly functional storage options work wonders in helping you feel cozy and grounded in a living space. When the goal is timeless and enduring design, you simply can’t go wrong with a built-in.
Experiment with built-in bookcases around the fireplace, library shelves in your home office, and even mudrooms and window seats. And there’s no need to throw out your dated built-ins. Just slap on a fresh coat of paint and even your oldest built-ins can look and feel revived and modernized.
14. DIY crown molding
If there’s one thing newly-built homes lack, it’s the character and architectural details of homes built decades past. And nowhere is this fact more apparent than in the trim and millwork. Crown molding tops the list of traditional details that feel timeless and classic in a home. Designed to elevate living spaces with soft, elegant transitions between walls and ceilings, crown molding makes your room appear more polished. And the cost-effective nature of modern crown molding means this once-luxury item is now an affordable design element with a DIY ease of installation.