Use these classic designer decor ideas to add beauty and character to your home. Includes tips for avoiding trends, and home decorating ideas that will never go out of style.
Some things never go out of style, and it’s those classic and timeless ideas we want to bring into our homes. Things like gorgeous wood floors, brick facades, bookshelves, and wrap-around porches. What follows are 14 designer decor ideas that are tried and true, and each one can be adapted to your own tastes and preferences.
How To Avoid Trends
Remember when gray was absolutely everywhere? For a few years, I felt very out-of-style because I had no gray in our home. And then…it just faded away. I always liked it, and still do. But that trend came and went, just like all the rest.
Because that’s what trends do. They come and go. Some last longer than others, but eventually, they all disappear. Do you remember stirrup pants? If your answer is yes, there is no need to say anymore!
I’m not saying trends are bad…believe me, I had some stirrup pants! My advice is to use them only if you genuinely love what that trend is. Here are a few ways to avoid trends, or at least limit your exposure to them.
- Use social media sparingly.
- Be secure in your own personal style.
- Remember less is more.
Social media can mess with our minds, our confidence, and even our mental health. The comparison game is very hard to avoid. So just use social media as entertainment, and for inspiration.
Knowing your own personal style, and decorating your home with furnishings you love, will guarantee that you won’t fall under the spell of trends. Just be confident, stay within your budget, shop your favorite brands, and the rest will fall into place.
Less is always more…and this is especially true when it comes to trends. It’s perfectly fine to treat yourself to that very cool accessory you just saw at Pottery Barn. Just don’t buy the whole room!
A Neutral Backdrop
Beginning with a neutral backdrop will always allow you flexibility, and it will never go out of style. Go neutral with your big ticket items like a sofa, rugs, or window treatments. Neutral walls are also a good idea. For those of you who love color, bring it in with accessories, pillows, throw blankets, and fresh flowers.
Mix + Match Fabric
Decorating with mix and match textiles is the most basic and timeless way to bring color into a space. Decorative pillows, cushions, and throw blankets are great ways to add your own unique style. The general rule of thumb is that any patterns can be mixed, as long as there is one consistent color. So go ahead and combine plaids, floral prints, stripes, or geometric patterns. When making your design choices, just stay with one color palette, and make sure that your chosen color is repeated in each fabric.
Wood floors have been in homes since the beginning of modern civilization. In recent years, other materials have been used to manufacture flooring that looks like wood, but these materials are less expensive and sometimes more durable. No matter what kind of floor you choose, as long as it looks like wood, you will have an important decor element that will last for years, and that’s definitely not a trend.
I believe that every space needs symmetry. It’s so important to me that I repeat it several times, in every room. It grounds the decor, and provides balance. The perfect way to provide symmetry in a room is with matching lamps. It’s a look that works with any decor style, and in any room. It’s absolutely timeless, and always appropriate. (I’ve had my set of lamps for years, so I don’t have a source.)
Baskets have been around since the beginning of time…and they aren’t going away anytime soon! Using baskets in your decor adds amazing texture, and provides much needed storage. Not only are baskets practical, they are beautiful. That’s a look that will never go out of style.
Architectural details in a home make such a difference, and there are so many ways to add them.
- Crown molding
- Board and batten
- Picture frame molding
- Generously sized baseboards
- Generously sized door + window trim
Shiplap and beadboard may seem trendy, but in reality, they have both been around for many years. If you are a Downton Abbey fan, you may have noticed that in Violet’s drawing room at the Dower House, there is board and batten on the walls.
If you have DIY skills, these details can be added to your home’s decor for a reasonable amount of money. If you’re like me, and have to pay for labor, it will be pricier, but still definitely worth it. One of my favorite projects was installing board and batten in our dining room on Sutton Place. Even though we paid for labor, it was a masterpiece, and totally worth the end result.
Although not everyone likes “old stuff,” sprinkling vintage accessories around your home will give it a sense of history, and add an old world charm that can’t be achieved any other way. Some of my most cherished accent pieces are vintage items picked up at Goodwill or my antique mall. They add character to already beautiful spaces, and they tell a story. In my opinion, you can’t get much better than that.
Blue + White
Sometimes referred to as Chinoiserie Chic, decorating with blue and white is a classic style that has been around for centuries. By using different shades of blue, along with whites and ivories, you can build your own signature look. Blue and white is used for coastal decor, French country, farmhouse, and more. It is a combination that is literally perfect for any home, in any location.
My very first exposure to blue and white was more than 40 years ago, when I saw a bolt of blue and white toile fabric. It was love at first sight! Blue and white is present in every room of our home, and I could never live without it.
A Touch of Black
“Every room needs a touch of black.” I don’t know who said that, but it’s true! It adds sophistication and contrast. Black can be incorporated into your decor with metals, fabric, or accessories. Here are some quick ways to add black on a budget:
- Cabinet knobs
- Coffee table tray
- Metal on tables and lamps
- Chairs or barstools
Choosing countertops is a big decision. They are a high-ticket item in any kitchen renovation. The one color you will always be safe with is white. It’s an ideal color for any kitchen, no matter what style it is, or what other colors are incorporated. White countertops are a flawless design decision, and one that will stand the test of time.
Open shelving is an impeccable choice that fits with any style decor. In other words, you can’t go wrong. It can be free-standing, built-in, or installed on your walls. It is perfect for large and small spaces alike. When we lived on Sutton Place, I had twin built-in bookshelves in our living room that I miss every day. To make up for them, I added the open shelving pictured above to our current home. It’s not quite the same thing, but it gave me display space, which I love.
What you display in your open shelving, and how you display it, is a personal choice. A Google search will serve up many formulas crafted by interior designers, and lots of advice. The two most important aspects to keep in mind are balance and blank space. Don’t overcrowd your accessories, and stick to odd numbers. (Truth be told, I don’t always take my own advice!)
Hanging plates on walls has been around for years, and there is no evidence that this lovely decor idea is going away anytime soon. I’ve been in love with plate walls since the days when the only place you could find decorating inspiration was in magazines and large (very expensive) decorating books. Sometimes thought of as a trend, I believe a plate wall is a time-honored detail that works with any decor, and in any home. They can be big or small, and they can be used in any room. Basically, the sky is the limit!
Glass Front Cabinets
Glass front cabinets are an enduring home decor element that provides natural light and interest to any space. They are especially beautiful in kitchens and pantries. Adding glass to cabinetry is an easy and inexpensive thing to do, and it provides display area for the treasures you love.
SHOP + SOURCE
Click the links below to be taken directly to the product listing. Every effort has been made to provide sources for the items found in this post. Where actual items were no longer available, I’ve provided similar options. If an item is out of stock but may be restocked, I left it on the list.
*Affiliate links included. See my disclosure statement. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
- Paint color at the Sutton Place house: Sherwin Williams Alabaster
- Paint color at our current home: Sherwin Williams Snowbound
- Wood and metal etagere bookcase
- Beige/ivory rug in living room
- Ivory tufted chairs
- end tables
- coffee table
- blanket ladder
- blanket ladder basket
- faux eucalyptus in blanket ladder basket
- striped recliners are La-Z-Boy from a local furniture store
Following Your Heart
Decorating with things you love, and following your heart, will always result in rooms filled with warmth and personality. You will never go wrong by using elements and ideas that have proven their longevity. Just have fun and enjoy the process!