Tag Archives: lighting design

10 Interior Design Trends That Will Stand the Test of Time

indoor plants

If you’ve ever flipped through a design magazine from the 1970s, you know how dated certain design trends can become.

We may not love them now, but shag carpet and mustard yellow walls were once the hottest trends. Will the same thing happen to today’s trends? Is there a way to know what has staying power? Can you design a room that looks great now, tomorrow, and in 20 years?

I’ll answer those questions and more in this post. We’ll look at the top 10 design trends that will stand the test of time, but first, let’s go over three important characteristics of any truly timeless design.

Characteristics of Timeless Spaces

1956 home wallpaper 1956 living room

Photos: Bill Bradford, Bill Bradford

Both these living rooms were featured in Better Homes & Gardens in 1956. You’d probably guess they were both designed in the 50s, but one feels much more pleasant and liveable today than the other.

Let’s see why that is…

Timeless designs aren’t based on passing fads. Design trends that truly stand the test of time are simple, functional, and in balance with their environment.

Simple

Think quality, not quantity. You’ll notice that the most timeless designs from past decades aren’t cluttered or over the top. They’re simple and straightforward with just one or two main focal points in the room.

Functional

A timeless home is one that someone could live comfortably in now, 50 years ago, or 50 years in the future. Of course, function can change over time (imagine living without a microwave!) but you want a home that’s mean to actually be lived in, no matter what decade you’re in.

Balanced with the Environment

In a timeless design, everything is in proportion. For example, a giant, puffy sofa in a tiny room just doesn’t look balanced. Similarly, ultra-modern Scandinavian furniture may not feel right in an old-fashioned Victorian style home.

Think about fashion: Oversized or tight fitting clothing may be in style for a few years, but clothing that fits right and feels comfortable always looks good.

10 Design Trends that Stand the Test of Time

Now that you know how to go about designing spaces that stand the test of time, let’s look at a few of the building blocks you can use to put it all together.

Keep in mind: There are endless ways to create a timeless design, but if you’re not sure where to start, these 10 ideas will help.

1. A Classic Color Scheme

mediterranean timeless home

The safest way to ensure your colors won’t look dated in a few years is to choose neutrals like beige, off-whites, and grays. Those colors have been in style for hundreds of years and they most likely will be for hundreds more!

Timeless doesn’t have to mean boring, though. Why not throw in an accent color or two? Navy blue and dark green are two timeless colors that look great with neutrals. Or you may want to get creative and throw in a brighter color. When incorporated tastefully, even the boldest colors can be timeless.

2. A Single Focal Point

mid-century modern kitchen focal point

Those three timeless characteristics (simple, functional, and balanced) can be hard to achieve in practice. An inside designer secret is to choose a single focal point for the room (or two if it’s a bigger room).

A focal point can be almost anything, including:

  • A piece of furniture
  • An architectural detail
  • A beautiful view
  • A favorite piece of art

It may also depend on the room. In the living room the focal point might be a fireplace, a coffee table centerpiece, or patterned throw pillows. In the kitchen it might be a bold backsplash or a colorful appliance.

3. Your Favorite Art

wall art home

A piece of art can really help set the tone of a room. Contemporary art can bring an old-fashioned room into the 21st Century. A classic painting or sculpture can add some old world class to a more modern design, like in the room above.

Art is easy to change out. Even if your furniture or paint colors get a little outdated, you can always update your art!

Plus, there’s nothing more timeless than a beautiful piece that you know you’ll continue to love for years to come.

4. Indoor Plants

indoor plants

People don’t always think about plants, but they are one of the most timeless elements you can add to a room. Plants are refreshing, uplifting, and can even purify the air!

Plus, some plants are surprisingly resilient and don’t require much maintenance. Check out this list of house plants that won’t die on you from Today.com.

5. Good Lighting

good lighting living room

Good lighting is always in style. I love the effect of natural light, so I take advantage of windows and skylights whenever I can.

That’s not an option for every room, though. Luckily, light colored walls and ceilings help too, and the right ceiling light can make all the difference.

Tip: Paint your ceiling the same color or a 50% lighter version of your wall color. This eliminates the harsh line from wall color to white and give a feeling of height and expansiveness to any room.

6. Marble

marble kitchen countertops

Trying to choose a kitchen countertop or bathroom tile that won’t go out of style?

Marble is always classic. Elegant, smooth, and cool to the touch, marble is a natural stone that’s lifted from the Earth in whole slabs. It’s a natural and authentic material that’s always both traditional and stylish.

7. Crown Molding

crown molding timeless home

Crown molding is usually applied along the corner where walls and ceiling meet. If it fits your home’s style, it’s a great way to add character and smooth the transition from wall to ceiling.

Crown molding is a common feature in traditional homes. You’ll find it in almost any Victorian-style home, but designers and architects have been using crown molding since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. It hasn’t lost its popularity since.

8. Soaking Tubs

soaking tub

There’s nothing more timeless than a luxurious, relaxing bath at the end of the day. Soaking tubs have been around forever and they’re still available today in a variety of sizes and styles.

Maybe you’ll get yourself a traditional freestanding claw-foot tub, or maybe you’ll opt for a big spa bathtub that’s built into the wall.

9. Natural Materials

natural hardwood floors stone

We’ve already talked about marble, but there are plenty of other natural materials that can help your home feel timeless and authentic.

A few examples are:

  • Hardwood floors
  • Natural fibers like cotton for window curtains, cushions, and more
  • A stone fireplace
  • Brick walls or backsplash material

10. Vintage Meets Contemporary

vintage furniture

Fads come and go, which is why committing wholeheartedly to one trend may not be your best bet. Incorporating a mix of vintage and contemporary pieces is a great way to add some variety and keep from looking dated.

Just remember to keep everything in balance with the environment and you’re sure to end up with a beautiful, textured, and dynamic space.

Putting it All Together

Let’s look at another example. This photo is from a home design magazine in the 70s (which is why the photo quality isn’t as good).

timeless 70s home
Photo: army.arch *Adam*

The room is simple, functional, and well balanced with its environment. Even though it’s over 40 years old, it incorporates nearly every every element we’ve talked about in this post.

  • A simple, neutral color scheme
  • A focal point (the view out the big glass doors)
  • Indoor plants
  • Great natural lighting
  • Natural materials, like wood and brick
  • A combination of old fashioned brick and “contemporary” 70s furniture

This space still looks like fresh, beautiful, and livable, because the designer stuck to classic trends and avoided many of the passing fads we all associate with the 70s.

My Final Piece of Advice

Remember to have fun with your home’s design. The most important piece of advice I can give you is this: The design that will truly stand the test of time is the one that fits your lifestyle and that you’ll still be happy with 10 or even 20 years down the road.

Is there a color or a piece of furniture you just love, even though it’s not the least bit timeless? I can help you figure out how to incorporate it into your home in a way that won’t look dated later.

 

Make Your Home a Happier Place with These Design Tricks

blue color living room design

how to make your home a happier place

Can the state of your home make you feel happy, calm, and improve your mood?

We’ve written blog posts about how different paint colors make you feel. We’ve even written about the psychology of interior design. What we haven’t done yet is talk specifically about happiness.

Let’s look at a few design tricks you can use to make your home a place where you and your family love spending time!

We’ll dive into color theory, feng shui, the role of lighting, and easy fixes that have been scientifically proven to increase people’s happiness at home.

Let’s get started.

Colors

Does color affect how you feel? Absolutely! It might not have a huge affect on any given day, but it can over time, and you spend a lot of time in your home.

Do you find yourself feeling bored, depressed, or lethargic around the house? If so, warm, lively colors can lift your mood. If you tend to be anxious or frustrated, cool, peaceful colors might bring some much needed calmness to your home life.

At the end of the day, you should choose colors that make you happy, regardless of color theory, but let’s look at a few commonly used colors and the effect they may have on your emotions.

Calming Colors

Blue

  • Lowers blood pressure and heart rate
  • Helps you sleep when it’s a bedroom color

blue color living room design

Photo: Eoin Lyons Interiors

Green

  • Soothing and refreshing
  • Helps your brain avoid distractions, making it a great office color if you work from home
  • Makes you feel more rested and recuperated

Energizing Colors

Red

  • An exciting color that raises your heart rate
  • Stimulates conversation
  • Not great for the bathroom or bedroom, but perfect in any room where you need a pick-me-up

Yellow

  • A sunny, cheerful color
  • Great to wake up to in the morning

Purple

  • Stimulates your brain and increases creativity

White

  • Brightens rooms by reflecting light
  • Makes rooms feel bigger and more open, helping you feel more energized and less stressed

white open living space home design

Photo: Bonnie Forkner

Keep these colors in mind, but also know that it’s more about shade than the color itself. A color like green can be relaxing or invigorating depending on whether it’s warm or cool.

If it’s warm (has more yellow than blue) it can be cheerful and energizing. It’ll have a more calming effect if it’s cooler (has more blue than yellow).

Lighting

living room natural light

Photo: Melanie Coddington

According to the ancient Chinese practice of feng shui, the act of arranging your home so that environmental elements are in balance, lighting is very important.

Our brains know how much sunlight we’re getting. Too much or too little can affect your mood and disrupt your natural sleep rhythms, and it’s hard to feel happy when you’re not well-rested.

Try to let plenty of natural light into your home. Big windows and skylights will help keep your energy levels up. Good lighting can increase your concentration during the day and stop you from tossing and turning at night. If natural light isn’t an option, try halogen bulbs. They mimic natural light and can help keep your internal clock on schedule.

Other times, you don’t want natural light. When you’re taking a nap, suffering through a headache, or going to bed before sunset, darkness is preferred. Be prepared for those situations with heavy curtains in the bedroom.

Also consider light switches with a dimmer option. They’re great for the environment, too!

Plants

indoor plants

Photo: Matthew Millman

Not only have plants been proven to make people happier, they can also improve your health by purifying the air. Scientists recently identified English Ivy as one of the best air-filtering houseplants of all time. It’s extremely easy to care for. Plus it looks great in a pot, growing up an indoor trellis, or hanging in a basket.

Studies have also shown that flowers can boost creativity and productivity. That makes them perfect for a home office, living room, or kitchen.

Cleanliness

Some people thrive in chaos, but for most people, mess causes stress and guilt. A disorganized living space can make us feel overwhelmed, disorganized, and out of control. It’s a cycle that’s hard to get out of, but don’t give up.

Feng shui offers plenty of wisdom on this subject too. It’s all about eliminating clutter and keeping things that bring you joy. What could be happier than that?

Sometimes it’s not really the mess that’s stressing us out. We actually just have too much stuff and not enough space. Consider donating some of the things you don’t use if clutter is a problem for you.

Going through everything can feel like an impossible task. But it’s really not that hard! Get the entire family together and spend a weekend getting the house into shape. Save time with these 10 cleaning tips.

beautiful spotless home clean

Photo: Jennifer Pacca Interiors

Then create a plan for maintaining your newly clean home — whether it’s weekly chores or a big monthly clean-up, do whatever works for you. Here are some ideas:

Daily rules: Minimize huge, time-consuming clean-up efforts by setting simple rules, like “no food in the bedroom,” “empty the dishwasher every morning,” or “wipe down countertops every night.”

Weekly chores: It can help to take turns tackling weekly duties, like taking out the trash, cleaning the bathroom, and vacuuming rugs or carpets.

Monthly clean-up: The more the whole family keeps up with daily and weekly duties, the less you’ll need big clean-up efforts. Still, getting help can take a lot off your shoulders when it comes time to clean the microwave or make a Goodwill run.

Electronic Devices at Night

Here’s something you might find surprising. Using your smartphone too close to your bedtime can actually interfere with your sleep.

bedroom dog

Photo: Helen Norman

Looking at a phone screen, computer, iPad, or TV increases electrical activity in your brain. That’s the opposite of what you want when you’re winding down and getting ready for bed.

For a better night’s sleep, keep electronic devices out of the bedroom if you can. If that’s not an option for you, at least try to stop using them about half an hour before bedtime.

Listen to Your Instincts

I hope these tips help make your house — and most importantly YOU — happier! Just remember that everyone’s different. The things that make your neighbor happy might not work quite as well for you.

Even a home that’s technically “perfect” won’t make you happy if it doesn’t reflect your lifestyle, personality, and the things you love.

The happiest home is one that you love spending time in!

If your home needs more than a few quick fixes, we’re happy to help! Get in touch today and we’ll set up a time to chat about your options!

More Resources

Featured in Good Housekeeping

7 Big Mistakes You Make Lighting Your Home

Screenshot 2015-03-26 15.15.15

3. You forget about where shadows might fall.
Place a light in the wrong spot, and you could create more of a problem than a solution.

“In bathroom, try sconces on either side of the mirror, instead of a single light above.” says Erin Davis, of Mosaik Design & Remodeling. “Overhead lighting can cast shadows on your face.” If you must go with an overhead light, choose a longer, horizontal fixture (instead of one with one single bulb) to help fully illuminate your face.

Read entire article here.

Easy Lighting Design Solutions

 

One of the most common complaints from our clients is that their lighting design is either outdated or inadequate.  In most cases it is both, so when designing a space, the lighting needs to be addressed both functionally and aesthetically.

Correcting these problems doesn’t have to involve a lighting designer or a large budget.  For instance,  you can add small recessed can lights to a dark hallway or bring  a dark corner to life by hanging an interesting pendant.  When installing a hanging fixture like a pendant or a chandelier, it is best to anchor them with a table, seating area or bed.

You can also add interest to a space by installing  art or “spot” lighting.  This can be a simple can light with a recessed “eyeball” trim or a spot light installed on the ceiling so you see the beautiful art, not the source of light.

A final trick to freshen up a space is to replace existing lighting such as pendants above an island, table lamps, chandeliers or boring, flush mount ceiling fixtures with fun, unique fixtures.  You will be amazed at how much a space can feel updated just by improving your lighting or adding an amazing light fixture.

Remember to always install dimmers on your lighting.  Not only does it give you control over how much light you want, but it is very sustainable to be able to dim your lighting.