14 Designer Decor Ideas That Are Not Trends

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.

designer decor ideas tulips in mason jars

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.

tufted chair with vintage dresser and plate wall

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

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.

Matching Lamps

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.)

striped chairs with stacked baskets between declutter your home

Basket Storage

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

Architectural details in a home make such a difference, and there are so many ways to add them.

  • Crown molding
  • Beadboard
  • Board and batten
  • Picture frame molding
  • Generously sized baseboards
  • Generously sized door + window trim
  • Shiplap

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.

neutral shelving with ironstone and dough bowl 2022

Vintage Accessories

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:

  • Candlesticks
  • Cabinet knobs
  • Coffee table tray
  • Metal on tables and lamps
  • Vases
  • Chairs or barstools
designer decor ideas white countertops

White Countertops

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 designer decor ideas

Open Shelving

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!)

Plate Walls

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

*Affiliate links included. See my disclosure statement. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

designer decor ideas hydrangeas in vases

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!

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30 Comments

  1. You have created a beautiful, timeless home. One that is comfortable and livable. I love all your color choices.

  2. Georgia Bingham says:

    Unfortunately we all can’t have that blank slate. It’s difficult to start new and many of us have been in the same home for 40+ years and if we’re lucky can get an update here or there. I like the neutral palate and incorporate it where I can but it’s easy to get bored. Just need the check book to support it!

  3. Stephanie says:

    Ann,
    I have read this entry before but enjoyed reading it again as a refresher. It is such a good and concise article on decorating. Thank you!

  4. Good morning Ann
    I love the lamps on the chest of drawers in your foyer, are they still available on line? I remember your blog discussing battery operated lamps some time ago when you had just moved! I still love the look!
    Thanks Ann,
    Carol

  5. I love exactly all these classic elements which is why I’ve been a longtime follower for so long. My favorite of these pics is the amazing chest, platewall, & lamp combo in the entry with the board & batten (the dowager’s drawing room seems more Tudor paneling than b&b). With classic design the family pieces mix right in with new-to-me thrift store finds.

  6. Stephanie says:

    Ann,
    I enjoyed reading this post. Lots of good information. Thank you!

  7. Ann
    Gray will never go out of style because it is considered a neutral color. I have blues and grays throughout my home and every age group that comes here compliments on the color. So if you would like to try it, you won’t be sorry. Decorators alway tell us so is going out of style but that isn’t necessarily true. Follow your heart. ❤️

    1. Thanks for your opinion! I agree that gray is a neutral. But you have to admit, that a few years ago, it was everywhere. And it was definitely a trend. I have some gray in our current home, and I love it!

  8. Great advice! Thanks Ann!

  9. This is a marvelous post! I, too, like gray but it has not been a part of any room in my home. While I don’t wear browns, my home is in browns with copper trim in handles and knobs and a real copper cover for my mantle (thanks to a son who works with metals). Your shared thoughts about decor and being individual choices was appreciated. Too often we look online and feel we’re not doing the ‘proper’ thing when it’s our family’s personality coming through in our decor. After 50+ years of marriage, I think feeling comfortable in my own skin with decor is where I am now . . . blessings!

  10. I love your posts. This one really hits home. I am trying to replace family and living room throw pillows but not sure how to put designs together. Happy to know all patterns can go with same color palette. My go to color is green and flowers. Thanks for your help. Vivianne

  11. I absolutely love your new logo with a painting of your home.
    I always know when I see an item if it says “welcome” and it will fit somewhere in our charming barn.
    Thank you for saying, Follow Your Heart❤️

    1. Great post today! I stared at that plate wall for such a long time……it’s stunning! I love your style.

  12. Great read. I love what you’ve done with your entry! Absolutely beautiful!

  13. When I read some decorating blog posts…they make me feel bad about my home. Why? Because my home is not trendy in the least. It actually has most of the things you talked about. No board and batten, sadly.

    So….thank you Ann for this post….because, it makes me feel good about my home! Enjoy your day! ;)

  14. Hi Ann,
    Thanks for another great post.
    Could you please share information about your plantation shutters, source, installation etc. I am considering them for my home.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Jane…you can’t go wrong with plantation shutters. Mine are Mirasol. They are faux wood. I ordered them through a good friend who is an interior designer. I think you can also get them at selectblinds.com. My daughter got her shutters through Lowe’s. It looks like the brand they carry now is Allen + Roth. My daughter-in-law got her shutters through Blinds To Go. They both chose the white faux wood as well.

      1. Thank you for the information about the plantation shutters! I really appreciate it.

  15. Ellen J Sorce says:

    I love this today. I did a redo of my living room this summer and am now freshening up my kitchen. (BTW, I too have never been a gray fan.) For me, if I love it and it makes me smile, then it’s right for my home.

    Thank you, Ann!

  16. I always enjoy your posts, but today’s really hit the mark for me. We are just beginning to make some needed and wish list upgrades. I was having trouble making some decisions about the kitchen (due to the “domino effect” a few would start. Your helpful hints with pictures of your home helped give me some insight for the direction and courage to get started. I like your perspective and common sense with your artistic flair approach. You present ideas without being judgmental to others taste or choice. Thank you, for the “nudge” I needed. Wishing you a beautiful day.

  17. I love the plates on the wall. My mom had some on her wall for years. I decided to change it up without telling her so I changed their little circle into a waterfall from above the door and down to the original wall and circle. I’d found the plates that I added in their feed barn! Turned out, she had thought the plates had been given away or lost. They were from her first set of china when my parents married back in 1962. She liked my changed design, but she loved that I found her precious dinnerware.

  18. What size are your pillow covers on your couch? I would like to order from the Etsy link you mentioned. Thanks, Leigh

    1. Hi Leigh! I ordered a 22 inch, 2 that are 20 inches, one 18 inch and a lumbar that’s 12 x 20. I really like the quality and the price is pretty good!

  19. Totally agree with the social media comment. That applies to some of the blogs that I have stopped subscribing to. I cannot afford to keep up with all the items they find to purchase just to change a look for the season. That I why I love your blog so much. You have affordable ideas that I can use.

  20. Are your striped chairs recliners? If so, could you share the source. Thank you.

    1. Hi Maureen! They are made by La-Z-Boy and I ordered them through a local furniture store. You can find something similar anyplace where La-Z-Boy is sold. They have a good selection of recliners that don’t look like recliners! We’ve had our set for over a year and we love the chairs.