Creating a timeless house – that still feels like home!
In the era of Pinterest, Houzz and HGTV (house porn), it’s EASY to get inspired, to see all of the wild and wonderful ways you can update and modernize your home. However, sometimes we can get a little TOOO inspired.
Creating a timeless home is about being inspired – with restraint. It’s about seeing the latest trends and applying them the RIGHT way so that in 5 years you aren’t kicking yourself for doing an entire bathroom in forest green (a trend of the ’90s) or all of your walls in shiplap (today’s trend). It’s about embracing what you love, what fires up your engines – without committing to it on such a large scale that your hubby has a jammer when you want to replace it in 2-3 years.
Now I’m not saying you can’t do those things, you CAN! However, if you are looking for style AND longevity, I have some suggestions…
BTW, if you’re a house flipper or selling in the next 2-3 years, then this info isn’t as important – trends will be more important. HOWEVER, if you’re in it for the long haul and the spouse has put a cap on HOW MANY TIMES you can replace your sofa – then you might find this info helpful…luckily, Tim hasn’t put a cap on me…yet.
Tip #1 Large Hard Surfaces Should Be Neutral
Hard surfaces such as flooring, countertops and shower surrounds can be SUPER expensive to replace if you get tired of last year’s trend. The key with hard surfaces is to go neutral. Now I’d like to say it’s hard to go wrong with neutral as it’s actually quite easy. In a world of products that are CHOCK full of undertones, do your research before you bite the bullet. Learn what TYPE of gray your carpet is (blue/green/purple) or what TYPE of greige your countertop is, this way you can make sure things are jibin’.
…BUT still, have some fun
If you have a smaller surface area, like a shower niche, backsplash (within reason) or a powder room floor, these are places where you can embrace trends a bit more.
If in 5 years you need to replace 25 sq ft of tile or 10 sq ft of countertop – life will surely go on. To ensure a BIT more life, keep the colours as neutral as possible and maybe think about pattern OVER colour, which leads us to our next topic…
Tip #2 Play it Safe with Pattern
Now I’m not one to talk, I LOVE a good pattern…to a point. It’s like, would I wear black and white polka dot underwear? Sure. Would I wear a black and white polka dot pantsuit? Well, depends on how much wine I’ve had, but generally speaking – no, and if I DID, I would regret it the next day.
See the hexagon tile in the shower reflection? That’s about as much hexagon I was willing to commit to in our greige inspired bathroom remodel.
…BUT still, have some fun
I’m not opposed to a pattern on a backsplash. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a pain in the BUTT to redo in 5 years, but it’s not terribly expensive in the big picture.
Whether it’s herringbone, chevron or hexagon, a pattern can be a great way to jazz up a kitchen or bathroom. Practising moderation would be a patterned backsplash in a neutral colour so that the pattern takes a milder front seat, rather than a PUNCHY one (you’ll get more life out of it for sure).
Tip #3 Practice Moderation
Seems funny coming from me, the gal who would drink wine with a funnel and owned 8 dining tables and 24 chairs at one time (one of those is a true story).
Moderation with wall finishes
Do I even NEED to bring up the sponge painting/faux finishing phase that we all went through (or those of us born pre 1980 anyway)? Speciality wall finishes have a pretty tight shelf-life. Now I will ADMIT, shiplap has been around for a bit and I don’t see it going anywhere soon, but I STILL wouldn’t go overboard. The exception to this is a farmhouse/country style home (a la Fixer Upper) which will always BE, a farmhouse country style home.
Having FUN with wall finishes
Pick one wall that is a natural feature wall (ie: behind the headboard, vanity or fireplace) and do something wild and wonderous on that. White shiplap, reclaimed wood, hexagon tiles, encaustic tile and wallpaper are just a few ways to add some modern personality to space without going over the top.
Moderation with flooring
So you like gray. Then I would suggest painting your WALLS gray, but maybe not committing to it on the floor. When it comes to paint colour trends, try to keep it at that – paint colour trends, not flooring trends. For some reason, we see paint colours and translate them to our flooring, whether it’s carpet, wood flooring or linoleum. The dusty rose and forest green of the ’90s was NOT limited to walls (unfortunately) and are still haunting the dreams of many of today’s homeowners.
For a timeless look, wood flooring should be a wood colour. And trends will come and go with regard to how light, dark, rustic, smooth, etc… the flooring is, I like to say that the middle of the road is best. Don’t go drastic one way or another and things will last a LOT longer.
As far as tile, vinyl and carpet go, if today’s trend happens to be a neutral (which it is – gray), then you will get a pretty decent life out of it. It’s when an actual ‘colour’ is a trend that it becomes more of an issue for the long-term. That being said, many of the gray laminates are ALREADY falling out of favour.
Having some fun with flooring
The smaller the flooring space is, the more room you have to be creative. Go all jazzy jeff on that little powder room, or grab that laundry room floor by the coattails and live out your wildest fantasies (without being awkward about it). Those floor spaces tend to be more controlled, in that they don’t sprawl out into other spaces or cover a lot of sq footage and are, therefore, easier to replace if you get tired of what you did.
See how this E-DESIGN consultation turned out HERE!
Moderation with paint colour
When it comes to colour you don’t NEED to practice (as much) moderation. Why? Because it is one of the LEAST expensive ways to change a space! So if in 6 months or 6 years you get tired of your blue/green walls or your navy blue room, you’re only a gallon or two away from it being fixed.
Check out this GORGEOUS farmhouse dining room blog post to see the before and after photos
…BUT fun is good too
- If you want to embrace colour, do it on a room-by-room basis. Don’t do your whole home in today’s popular blue/green, choose a few rooms and layer the depths for interest
- A feature or accent wall is a great way to add today’s personality to a room, without killing it for tomorrow. The key is to wrap the other walls in a soft, simple neutral that is a constant, that doesn’t need to be changed when the feature wall is – the more simple that neutral is the better so that it stays versatile and flexible
See the gorgeous before and after photos of this bedroom here
Tip #4 Keep Large Soft Furnishings Simple
Soft furnishings are things like sofas, chairs, drapes – basically anything with fabric/leather on it. There are 2 levels of soft furnishings up for grabs here:
- Big and expensive soft furnishings: Sofa, sectional, chairs and some area rugs and drapes
- Small and affordable soft furnishings: Toss cushions, drapes, area rugs, towels, bar stools, dining chairs with fabric seats (that can be recovered), throw blankets, ottomans, poufs
It is SO easy to go overboard with colour – I would know, as my first sofa and chair set was bright red and yes, I did regret it. Now the tricky thing is that if you want to create a timeless home for YOU and you’ve always LOVED red and have NEVER tired of it – then absolutely, you get that red sofa. However, if you can see yourself maybe getting a bit tired of a particular colour after a few years – then don’t commit to it on a large scale. And just because you’re SUPER jazzed about it now, doesn’t mean you will be in 5 years.
The bigger and more expensive your furnishing is, the more simple it should be. Sofas and sectionals should be neutral. And this can be gray, beige, cream, brown – whatever you like. Now is that to say that your gray sectional will look good forever and ever amen? No, but it will have a HELL of a better chance than a teal one. A great example of this is my Mom’s old beige sofa and loveseat (she’s cringing right now btw). Seriously, she had those things for 25 years. The only thing I’ve had for 25 years is, well, nothing, I’ve had nothing for 25 years other than underarm odour and a perverse sense of humour.
So ANYWAYS, this sofa set was a medium-toned beige in a thick corduroy type of material. And dammit, if it didn’t stand the test of time! The colour and pattern made it easy to move from home to home, without clashing with the new decor or changing trends. Had it been red, blue or dusty rose, it would’ve been gone many moons before (this is not it in the next photo, I can only embarrass my Mom SO much).
So, LONG story short (as usual), if you are purchasing large, soft furnishings, they are an investment – don’t base your choice on today’s colour fetish (or any fetish, really, ya weirdo…)
The exception to this is an area rug. Most often, it’s the area rugs with the widest variety of colours in them that stand the test of time!
This is a great way to embrace a popular colour – by combining it with OTHER colours so that if your tastes change, you can tweak your decor to suit a different colour!
Tip #5 Embrace ‘Decorating’ Trends
When you focus on the ‘design’ of your home, going timeless is undoubtedly safer. However, when it comes to DECORATING you can fill ‘yer boots with trends and have some fun with it!
Add a Gallery Wall
Gallery walls are a great way to jazz up ANY neutral wall or boring room.
Add some fun with fabric!
Toss cushions, towels and linens in today’s hot patterns, textures and colours can add personality to a neutral palette without going too far.
Now, of course, I could go on and on…and on, but that covers a WHOLE lot of ground and should get you off to a good start!
Want ideas on the best timeless looks for you and YOUR home?
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