Home trends come and go: That shag carpet or barn door might have seemed like a great idea at one point, but now, alas, it’s an outdated eyesore.
Given how quickly tastes turn, homeowners hankering to decorate their space might often end up paralyzed with fear that whatever they invest in now won’t stand the test of time. But here’s some good news: Certain trends do endure. And, if you know what they are, you can design your home in a way that’ll last for the long haul.
To help, we’ve asked home designers to identify the most timeless trends they stand by when decorating a home in this room-by-room series, “Timeless Home Design Trends.”
Today’s project? The living room—a space where the pressure’s on, since it often functions as a space to entertain, a makeshift home office, and much more. If you want to make sure you get your money’s worth and can enjoy what you buy for decades to come, stick with these tried-and-true ideas.
1. Sisal rugs
Oriental carpets are classics in their own right, but if you have to pick just one floor cover, let it be sisal.
“These rugs are timeless because of their natural look and the fact that they work with many styles of furniture, floors, and all kinds of colors,” says Amy Bly of Great Impressions Home Staging and Interiors.
This one ($599, Crate & Barrel) comes in five shades and six sizes and sports latex backing to prevent slippage. And if you’re dying for a fun hue in your space, top this plain Jane with a brighter textile like a kilim or other colorful weave.
2. Exposed brick
Count yourself lucky if you have a wall of bricks in your home as this look isn’t easy to pick up at a big-box store.
“Exposed brick is very popular, and most people find it appealing because of the rustic look and aesthetic,” says Bly.
“This material is a timeless trend because simply looking at it gives you a sense of history and permanence,” adds Ana Cummings of the eponymous design firm.
3. Ripple-fold curtains
Drapes play a big role in living room design as they both decorate the windows and add color.
Ripple fold is the classic look you’ll see most often because it features beautiful flowing fabric that’s simple and elegant.
“Hang these with drapery poles placed up high, right under the crown molding, and you’ll make your windows appear extra tall,” says Debra Kling of the eponymous color and design firm.
4. Built-in bookcases
Built-ins are useful, of course, but they also serve to anchor a room, adding an architectural element by framing a wall and flanking other impactful items like a large TV or piece of art.
“And having a spot for everything makes a room feel more livable,” says Cummings.
5. Velvet furnishings
Anna Brockway, co-founder and president of Chairish, is a big fan of velvet in the living room.
“This fabric, along with mohair, is very luxe and adds a sumptuous texture and rich color to any space,” she says.
This well-priced pair ($289, Wayfair) could work as side chairs on each end of a couch or as extra seating to pull in when you’re having a crowd.
6. Oversize art
Whether you have a modern living room or a more traditional space, placing a big piece of art over the fireplace or couch is a classy—and classic move.
“From contemporary abstracts to classical motif scenics, oversized art makes a room feel important, and the right piece can add drama and significance to your vignette,” says Brockway.
7. Gallery walls
“A gallery wall feature will never go out of style because it’s one of the only ways to truly add one’s personality to what is typically a bland surface,” notes Cummings.
Think of this combination as your own fingerprint, and put together any look that speaks to you, including traditional framed prints or photos, china platters, a collection of hats, or other mementos that hang easily.
8. Floral fabric
We’ve long brought nature into our homes, so keeping up the tradition with florals in the living room makes good sense.
“Having these types of elements in our interiors not only reminds us of the glory of a summer day but they play into our wellness and psychology—because how can you not be happy when you see a gorgeous floral?” asks Cummings.
This pretty find ($24.99, Target) is gently priced and can quickly brighten a couch or accent chair.
9. Chesterfield sofa
It’s a pricey pick to be sure, but this sofa is an investment you’ll never regret. Buttery smooth leather, shiny nailheads, and stylish curves add up to a winning look that fits all kinds of living rooms.
This particular couch ($4,995, Williams Sonoma) comes in five different leathers and a dozen colors, and you can select antique bronze or polished nickel accents.
10. Accent chairs
Choose from a slipper chair, ladder back, wicker seat, or peacock for an accent chair that adds interest and utility in the living room.
Kling likes a swivel chair, preferably in a barrel shape, as shown ($369.99, Wayfair).
“You can never have too many accent chairs—and when they’re not in use, they can act as perches for other things like stacks of books,” says Cummings.
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