Previously on the blog, I talked about how having a mix of old and new pieces of furniture and accessories—collected over many years—can give a home a sense of timelessness. However, the key is striking the right balance between old and new. When you get the mix right, a home should provide a welcoming feel and not look like a museum or a hotel room that has no soul.
So, what elements are needed to create timeless appeal? Well, it’s all the small details that give a room a completed look. This can be adding trims to cushions or window treatments and having a mix of fabrics and colours, including pattern on pattern. Celebrated US interior designer, Mark D. Sikes, suggests each room’s fabrics should include: solid, geometric, stripe, small pattern, and large pattern elements. He is an expert at mixing it up, yet his rooms never look overdone. They have a ‘collected ‘and fresh feel. Having a blend of furniture styles as an alternative to a ‘three-piece suite’ can add interest to a room, and this can be achieved by having a common thread or theme through colours. You might have a sofa and one armchair in the same style, but a second armchair in a different style. Or, you might have a sofa and armchairs in the same style, but a sofa in one fabric and the armchairs in a second fabric. Having one fabric that has up to five colours is a great starting point for a unique design scheme. It might only be used for a couple of cushions, so if you feel less confident using a lot of pattern, you can still create a wonderful effect by using it in small quantities.
Sitting Room Design Scheme Example
An instant way to create a warm and inviting atmosphere is to use several floor or table lamps as an alternative to overhead lighting. A tendency in New Zealand has been to overuse recessed or spot lighting in living areas, which can make a room look like an operating theatre. A single pendant light can work well as a feature. It will illuminate one particular area but have it on a dimmer, and add ambient lighting through lamps, which can add soft light to corners that would otherwise be dark.
Achieving that collected or curated look can take time. Buying art, furniture or mementos when travelling is an ideal way to bring unique pieces into your home that your friends or neighbours are unlikely to have. Taking the time to visit art galleries and individually owned stores when travelling domestically will also introduce you to a range of art and homewares that might not be found in your local area.
Three Examples of Timeless Design – Mark D Sikes
Some key elements that Mark D Sikes includes in his own home are:
Accent lighting with a beautiful floor lamp.
An array of cushions that include a white contrast thin welt on the blue cushion on the dining chair, a double onion tassel fringe on the blue cushion on the sofa, and a ruffle fringe on the Lee Sofa chintz cushion.
Mixing old with new – an antique table stands against the wall, a contemporary side table is placed next to the sofa, and reflected in the mirror an antique stone fireplace with a modern painting on the mantlepiece.
Mixing up the elements – marble, brass, wood, pottery and an abaca rug.
Caroline Gidiere is another US interior designer who creates timeless interiors with a fresh vibe. Her home has been featured in Veranda magazine.
At the bottom of her stairs, an antique stool covered in classic Pierre Frey fabric sits under a mid 20th Century table. An enlarged photo taken in Paris’ Tuileries Gardens acts as a modern piece of art. A pair of gathered lamps adds symmetry to the setting. The custom Chinese Chippendale style bannister was inspired by an 18th Century home in Virginia. Painting the bannister black adds a modern aspect to the space. The Chinese theme is continued with the lantern light. And why not take it up a level with a red one? The single chair on the stairs removes dead space and draws the eye up.
Her dining room mixes high and low with De Gournay wallpaper and an antique sideboard together with a matchstick blind and hand-blocked organic fabric from Les Indiennes on the back of the antique chairs.
Ben Pentreath is an English architectural draughtsman and interior designer, renowned for his classic and timeless approach to design.
He initially became recognised for the architectural and town planning work he contributed to creating the town of Poundbury, which was an initiative of Prince Charles on Duchy of Cornwall land. The remit for the town was to have classically designed homes that utilised sustainable energy and were suitable for today’s way of life.
Pentreath has since developed a successful interior design arm to his business, enabling his clients to work with one business from start to finish.
The images above and to the right show contrasting styles, but both are lovely examples of timeless design.
The room above is filled with what might be considered clashing colours, but all the elements work harmoniously together. The antique chest of drawers is given a lift by the contemporary piece of art hanging above it. The orange lampshade might not be the first colour that comes to mind with the pink in the artwork, but it stands out as a vibrant piece in the scheme against the grey walls. Repetition is a key element in harmonious interiors and we can see this with pink being repeated in the art, furniture and accessories (Ikat lampshade and the cup used as a vase). Fresh flowers are a relatively inexpensive way to add colour to any room.
The image on the right shows how a neutral palette can create a soothing and harmonious space. The wooden panelling and leadlight windows in this heritage property is given a contemporary look by keeping the floor coverings to simple jute rugs.
In this image, he has combined a mix of contemporary and vintage fabrics on the cushions and sofa that complement the artwork. These sit alongside antique side tables and an antique chair.
The accent lighting is a mix of classic and contemporary, the coffee table has an Eastern influence and the wool area rug also has a vintage feel.
If you would like to further explore how these timeless design fundamentals could be incorporated into your upcoming renovation project, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org [or via our contact form].
Decor et Tissu provides interior design services as well as being the exclusive New Zealand distributer for a curated range of internationally sourced luxury fabrics and wallpapers.
Missed our previous blog post on timeless design and Decor et Tissu’s design philosophy? Click the link below to read now.