5 Rules of Timeless Design

Trends may come and go but there are certain elements of design that will never go out of style. If you want to create a classic look that will stand the test of time make sure you follow these 5 rules of timeless design.

1. Consider Symmetry

When creating a classic look one of the main things to consider is symmetry. The human eye is drawn to symmetry and balance which means that no matter what happens with decorating styles, symmetrical rooms will always be pleasant to look at. In order to achieve symmetry, you'll want to double up on items so that you can create matching halves that make up a whole room. That said, not everything has to be a pair.

For instance, you'll still want a single focal point, but you'll want to accessorize that focal point with pairs.

So on a mantle, for instance, place matching vases, lamps or whatever else you'd like to use on either side and then place a single item in the middle. Or you may still only want a single sofa, but you'll want to place matching chairs in front (or on either side). 

The idea is to more or less create a mirror image on each side of the room, or at least balance what's on one side with what's on the other. Symmetrical rooms naturally create a sense of balance, so let your eye dictate where things should go.

2. Create a Focal Point

A strong focal point is important in any room, and timeless rooms are never without them. Much like symmetry, focal points are important because they're pleasing to the eye and give it a place to rest.

Sometimes focal points occur naturally in a room, such as with built-in mantle pieces or large picture windows, but if your room doesn't have one don't fret. Focal points can be created with artwork, architectural elements, or pieces of furniture such as media units. Have a look around the room and get a sense for where your eye naturally wants to go and then create the focal point in that space.

Then once you've decided where you want it to be, make sure that all the furniture is arranged around it. But whatever you do make sure that you've only got one—competing for focal points are confusing to the subconscious and create a sense of chaos.

3. Use Classic Patterns

Part of what gives a room timeless style is the use of classic patterns such as damasks, botanicals, stripes, and plaids.

As a general rule, it's best to stay away from trendy prints such as chevrons, animal prints, and strong geometrics. That's not to say they can't look beautiful in traditional spaces when thoughtfully administered, but there's no guarantee that these trendy prints will stand the test of time. Remember also that it's best to use at least three patterns in a single room, and vary the scale of all three. For instance try one large, one medium, and one small; one large and two different mediums; or one small and two different mediums.

It's also important to distribute the patterns evenly throughout the room. If the majority are all on one side of the room the whole space will look unbalanced, and it will wreak havoc on the room's symmetry.

4. Stay Away From Trends

Trends are anything but timeless. In fact, it's rare for any trend to last more than a few years, and they pretty much have built-in expiry dates.

A trend whose day has come and gone can immediately date a room, and no matter what else you put in there it will be tough to overcome.

That said, you can still have fun with trends in small doses. For instance, if there's a particularly trendy color you really want to use bring it in using small, easy-to-change items such as pillows and throws. Don't invest a lot of visual space into something that's trendy such as a sofa. If you want a timeless look keep it small and keep it subtle.

5. Use Quality Items 

Without a doubt, the number one thing you can do to create a timeless room is to use good quality furniture, fabrics, and accessories. That's not to say you need to spend your life savings decorating your home, but you should always buy the best quality you can afford.

Low-quality furniture isn't just likely to fall apart in a few years, it will give your room an overall shabby quality. Likewise with cheap fabric. It gives the entire room a low-quality vibe.

High-quality items, on the other hand, will last for many years and will give your room a strong sense of character and purpose. If your goal is to create a look that's timeless, filling it with inexpensive things is not the way to go. You can certainly still include vintage and upcycled pieces, but always keep quality in the back of your mind.

No matter what your preference is when it comes to color and style, it's possible to decorate in such a way that your home will have a timeless quality.