Design Dilemma: Timeless vs. Trendy | Home Design Find
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Design Dilemma: Timeless vs. Trendy

Timelessness, not trendiness, makes for sustainable design that need not change from year to year. But does timelessness mean tradition? Can you be timeless but cool and funky at the same time? And what is timelessness, anyway?

To our mind, timelessness is design that allows an owner’s personality to shine through unobscured by momentary trends. It does not mean that a home must be filled with antiques. It also does not mean that a home must be safely conventional.

So here are a few thoughts on making your home timeless but not boring:

1) Accept that you are a product of your age. You live in the real world. That means you will be influenced by the trends, colors, and design ideas that you see around you, and that’s okay. After all, timelessness is a moving target. What is considered timeless today might not in 10, 15 or 20 years time. So if you come upon a trend that you really like, embrace it. That’s part of the fun. Just figure out how to translate that trend into your own home in a new and original way. Below, the mid-century arc lamp and low-slung leather couch are of the moment. But an oriental rug, antique chest and framed photographs and art prints help give this interior a timeless appeal. Funky graphic pillows are more trendy and “now” but can be switched around at a moment’s notice.

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2) Context is everything. The reason that some environments look kind of silly is that they are totally wrong for the context. For example, if you live in a low-ceilinged 50′s style apartment complex in West Los Angeles, decorating your space as if it were a 17th century French chateau is just not going to work. Instead pick up cues about your home’s design decor from the surroundings themselves. Don’t deny, be inspired! Incorporate a few elements reminscent of the French chateau, but don’t go whole hog, and respect the environment you’re working with. Would the daring dark walls in the interior below work as well in an interior without the high ceilings and architectural details? Probably not. At the same time, a low-slung modernist couch works perfectly well in this townhouse outside London.

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3) Embrace constraints. Not having enough money or space isn’t a bad thing. It’s an opportunity! Constraints help us to think outside the box, so instead of buying everything at once in the same style we are forced to live with things  and collect slowly over time. Over time, our tastes will change and styles will change. Our interiors will develop that layered look that makes them more interesting and… well, timeless. We also get a better handle on what we actually need and what we can live without.

4. Simple withstands the test of time. Shaker style furniture, for example, is clean and simple, thus effortlessly fitting into  all types of decor. Think simplicity in line and concept, and you can’t go wrong.

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5) Rely on what you like. One reason rooms feel trendy is because there’s no sign of individual personality. So individualize your home by choosing furniture and accessories chiefly by what you like and not “what goes together.”  Trust that you can find a way to integrate what you like into a cohesive design. Below, homeowners were able to integrate their love of fun, happy colors to beautiful effect. Nothing seems particularly trendy, aside perhaps from the popular pendant lamp over the dining room table.

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Images: via Aphrochic.com, via Designspongeonline.com, viaApartmentTherapy.com

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7 Comments so far to “Design Dilemma: Timeless vs. Trendy”
  1. Decofabulous Says:

    Great post!! In my experience a home is always a work in progress, growing and changing along with the people living in it. I moved in to my apartment ten years ago and although I have kept most of the original items, the style has evolved and it looks very different now.

  2. Cindy Says:

    Great information. Many times we get hung up on doing what's "in" now. The problem is you will need to change it every year if you attempt to do your whole room or home in the now TREND. This can get quite expensive. The advice in this article is perfect for addressing trends that can be quickly and inexpensively changed.

  3. Sally@DivineDistractions Says:

    What a good, educational post today. I think many of my clients are afraid that I'm going to insist that they throw out all they have and design a room around my own esthetic. I always tell them that i can create good design in any style that THEY like. Your post really drives that important point home. I'm going to foward it on! Thanks for the great pics and important content.
    Sally

  4. Weekend Links March 19 | CoolBoom Says:

    [...] Design dilemma: Timeless vs. Trendy. [...]

  5. Matthew Mohr Says:

    Ah, that would explain the slightly nauseated feeling I get when I walk into a commercial furniture store and all the 'rooms' are laid out like cookie-cutter sets.

    The timeless approach makes a house a home. Great advice!

    To add a tip, using variations of the same color within a room furthers that layered look, just as the green-gold pillows compliment the painting in the dark-walled room.

  6. MLuxe – Distinctive Home Style » Blog Archive » Link love: timeless vs. trendy design, feng shui basics and more Says:

    [...] Design Dilemma: Timeless vs. Trendy Home Design Find Here’s some useful design thinking: “Timelessness, not trendiness, makes for sustainable design that need not change from year to year. But does timelessness mean tradition? Can you be timeless but cool and funky at the same time? And what is timelessness, anyway?” [...]

  7. Toronto Julie Says:

    To combine many trends and styles can be an amazing play. It depends really on our taste, what we like and what not. This post is great, because it shows us how to make over our homes and flats into modern, stylish places with the something special. I like the idea to mix old and new, it looks very interesting. The first interior looks so sophisticated, chic and glamorous, just a gorgeous place for an elegant modern woman. I’m pretty sure that everybody can create place like this in his own home with a little bit fantasy.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Best regards,
    Julie

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