You’ve probably heard the phrase “timeless interior design” used to describe homes. But what exactly makes a timeless home?
The timeless look often brings to mind images of classic and traditional interiors, but it’s so much more than that. While there may be furniture and decor with a clean-lined classic look, the idea of a timeless home comes down to a space that has lasting appeal and style. Think designs made with quality materials that stand the test of time, patterns that never go out of style, colors that blend with any decor, and furniture that have tried-and-true silhouettes.
Even so, it can be difficult to put the idea of timeless style into practice in your spaces. To help with that, we’ve rounded up our top designer tips to inspire you to create a timeless design aesthetic in your own home.
What is Timeless Interior Design?
To sum it up, timeless design is a look that’s not tied to any specific era, design movement, or trend. In fact, it exists outside of the trend cycle but it always feels fresh and stylish.
That means timeless interiors are often designed with versatility and flexibility in mind so that it can evolve seamlessly over time—they shouldn’t be so rigid that you can’t change anything in these spaces. A great example of this? All the interiors from Nancy Meyers’ films: They’re comfortable, welcoming, and full of style and personality without feeling dated. It’s easy to see why even interior designers love getting inspiration from Meyers’ movies.
Keep reading to get our easy tips to create a timeless design look in your home!
1. Choose Furniture With Clean Lines
Opt for foundation furniture with simple forms, which will always stay in style. Upholstered seating, tables, and large furniture that have clean lines never feel dated or “over”, and they have sophisticated looks that will work with furnishings and decor in any style over time.
Adding furniture with detail, like a sofa or chair with turned legs or a table with ornamentation, isn’t a no-go, nor is picking furniture from a specific era. But if you’re going for timeless appeal, try to keep to furniture that doesn’t have too many flourishes that reference specific design eras.
2. Look to Classic Silhouettes
You can’t go wrong with designs that have classic and traditional silhouettes. These include furniture, such as a tufted sofa, a farmhouse dining table, wingback chairs, and the ottoman coffee table. They feature shapes that have stood the test of time, so they’ll never go out of style. Not to mention, they’re foundational pieces for timeless interior design.
Anchoring a room with one of these pieces is an easy way to instantly create a timeless look. Or you can also group several of these tried-and-true silhouettes together in a seating area. Either way, always start with larger furniture pieces with a classic shape to ground a space.
3. Keep Your Tones Neutral
If you’re looking for a color palette you can easily create a timeless design aesthetic around, stick to neutral hues. Neutrals are your friend because they will work with any style of furniture and interior. It’s a color scheme that can unify different design elements.
The neutral approach holds true for walls and floor finishes as well, so keep these to white or wood tones. It will allow you to incorporate new colors seasonally through pillows, drapery, and rugs. If you want more color, leaning into earth tones is a safe bet! These saturated warm colors bring in colors from nature and they can add some oomph but won’t trend out over time.
4. Layer Natural Textures
A timeless home is often rooted in quality natural materials, drawing inspiration for furniture and decor from nature and our surroundings. So play up natural elements, such as wood, stone, linen, and greenery in your spaces, which make for universally timeless touches.
Try to steer clear of engineered and highly polished materials that can signal specific design styles or eras, such as acrylic or Lucite (Retro ’80s vibes), tubular steel (Industrial Modern feeling) or even colorful velvet (Hollywood Glam for days!). Keeping to natural materials will prevent your interior from leaning into any particular design aesthetic too much, ensuring a timeless look for years to come.
5. Consider Less Is More
A timeless home is not just about the style of design you bring in. Yes, it’s about investing in the right furniture that will last for decades, but it’s also about having fewer decor pieces that keep clutter at a minimum over time. When your rooms are too layered or overly styled, it starts feeling more maximalist, which is a popular look that many people love, but it has a more eclectic look.
Keeping that in mind, resist the urge to fill every corner and pile your surfaces with accents. A well-curated and organized space is just as important as having clean-lined furniture when it comes to a timeless look.
6. Blend Old With New
Mixing vintage and antique pieces with new furniture is a key tenet of timeless interior design. The old-meets-new combination ensures that your space spans many decades instead of looking like it’s referencing one design style or era.
Look for vintage pieces that have a classic look and mix it with some clean-lined modern pieces. The streamlined look of the furniture will blend nicely together. Try to avoid combining opposing design styles, which will end up looking more eclectic. If you need a little guidance, check out our tips mixing antiques into modern spaces
7. Work in Traditional Patterns
Classic patterns like gingham, stripes, plaid, damask, and toile are popular among interior designers for a reason—they instantly provide a timeless interior design look. They also never go out of fashion, which is why they’ve been used for years and years in traditional and classic interiors.
The trick to decorating with these traditional patterns is to add them through accents, which will allow them to shine without feeling stuffy or overly refined and formal. In small doses, they’ll feel both old and new at the same time.
8. Skip the Trends
The one seems obvious, but it’s worth repeating. Trends are fun and can breathe new life into a space but they usually are the opposite of timeless. If you’re committing to create a timeless design look, pieces that feel trendy—like the edgy industrial side chair or the sculpture-like floor lamp—are guaranteed to feel dated over time. Keep your furniture classic and clean-lined.
All that is not to say you can’t play at all with trends. Just do it in smaller ways, like a pillow with a stylish or unique pattern that you can easily swap out or an of-the-moment art piece you can replace with something down the line.
9. Add Built-Ins (Or Fake Them)
When it comes to large-scale design elements, built-ins have timeless appeal by default. They’ve been used in homes for decades (if not centuries) and they always bring a classic look to rooms.
If your home doesn’t come with built-ins or if it’s not in your budget, try faking the look with a series of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. Then style them minimally with decor inspired by nature (to nod to natural materials) along with neutral accents (for an airier look). A balance of practical items, like baskets and trays, with decorative accessories is key for a tastefully styled built-in.
10. Hide Your Technology
With any timeless interior, the furniture and decor is the main focus of the space. So try to avoid putting electronics and technology front and center in the room if you can. Find a way to conceal (or disguise) large TVs, stereos, and wires, whether it’s within a media cabinet or keeping it to an entertainment room. This will help to bring a more elevated, timeless feel to your space without taking away from having technology in our lives.
11. Aim for Quality Pieces
High-quality furnishings are essential if you want to create a timeless design look. This means durable pieces made with quality materials that have staying power and can stand the test of time.
While your furnishings don’t all have to be investment pieces, they should all feature exceptional craftsmanship and design that’s visible. These can include a well-made wooden desk and a tightly upholstered chair or sofa or a handwoven rug. They are sure to outlast more trendy pieces that can wear easily and quickly cycle out after a few years.
12. Follow Your Muse!
Last but not least, what truly makes a timeless home is a space you’ll love for years to come. So the most important rule is to decorate your home to be a comfortable and inspiring place you love spending time in.
You shouldn’t feel the pressure to design your interiors based on what Pinterest, influencers or magazines say is on-trend. Be your own muse and follow your instincts to choose pieces you absolutely love living with. This will ensure the space you create is one you love and that will always be timeless
Browse our gallery for more timeless interior design inspiration!
Try On A Timeless Look In Your Home