There is one element of design that has remained constant and long-lasting: natural materials and by default – neutral colours. If we look at the ancient designs that remain relevant in these modern times, we see that all of them share these features. So why are we always drawn to trends? That’s a larger answer for those in the field of psychology, but our simple response is that it’s fun! We, humans, are collaborative and creative beings who love to explore the arts and create interesting and beautiful things. What better way than to add some personality and expression to your home? There is a special place for all that fun, but it isn’t in your foundational design. Start with the basics and build to create a timeless design that is both elegant and timely – and also fun.
There’s an Elephant in the Room and its Name is Budget
You’re right if you think that timeless design comes with a higher initial investment. Using natural materials and clean lines requires a lot of design, engineering, and talent. Anyone can put together a piece with busy add-ons, but to create something that is simplified yet fully functional is difficult and valuable. Here’s the thing – if you pay for a piece that will last you 20 years through endless trends without the need to replace it, is it truly expensive? When we consider pieces for a space, we consider their longevity. How long will this piece be functional?
You make similar considerations in your wardrobe. For example, a smart pair of black trousers that you can pair with a multitude of dress shirts, jackets, t-shirts and accessories are going to be far more valuable than a trendy ripped pair of jeans. Those jeans may very well flatter you beyond belief, but they cannot be upscaled, so their functionality is limited. If you break down the cost between the usability and functionality of these two bottom-covering apparel pieces, you will find that the trouser is far more functional and therefore it will be less costly per use. We’re not telling you to break out the spreadsheet, but if that’s your speed, we won’t judge. After all, we are spreadsheeters always.
When it comes to larger, foundational design elements, the value of a timeless piece will always outweigh the immediate investment. A trendy, less costly piece may do for the now, but in five years, will you still want it in your home? Will its materials stand up against your lifestyle? Design decisions should always be made with long-term thinking in mind.
What are these Foundational Elements We Speak of?
These are the long-term investment elements like flooring, countertops, cabinet choices, furnishings, lighting and built-in options. You can have all the fun you want with your art pieces, decorative accent pillows, bedding, feature walls and beyond. Those things can be replaced without even a wink for most homeowners. However, having to rip up your tiled, seafoam green countertop from the 90s is not something you want to have to relive with each passing trend. Anything that cannot be easily replaced should remain a neutral colour and be made of a natural material.
Breaking Timeless Design Decisions Down to a Science
Sorry to disappoint, but there’s no mathematical formula – not really. We can speak of the golden section, the rule of threes, and symmetry (all very mathematical and worthwhile design rules that we employ) but there’s something about timeless design elements that just ‘feel’ right. Like nature, timeless design is, has been, and will be right for a given space. It comes down to a mix of natural choices and what will work long-term for you. If there’s one thing we know for sure, simple is always better.
Use nature as your inspiration, but not necessarily organic shapes. Nature is full of geometric and mathematical symmetry and that tends to be what works in design long-term.
- Select neutral stone countertops and backsplashes.
- Natural wood with simple stains and finishes that bring out the tone of the wood will always add warmth to a space.
- Metals add a flash like jewelry and though they have had their moments in trends (brass in the 90s, silvers and mixed metals in the 2000s), their use remains timeless.
- Bring in that colour! While we don’t suggest bringing colourful elements into your foundational design elements, we do have an affinity for colour accents. After all, nature is abundant in colour.
- Neutral walls and cabinets will reflect light in your space and act as a canvas for your pops of colour.
It’s Really That Simple – No, Really!
That last heading is a bit misleading. As we mentioned at the beginning of this blog, making things simple requires a lot of effort. Odd how that works, isn’t it? Over-complicating design comes first and simplifying takes extra care and consideration to create seamless elegance. We do that at KHD. We’ve already been through the complications and now we know what works, the right vendors to use, and the trades who have the skills to implement simple design. Simple means that each element shines, and they need to be just right for the space, the function, and the homeowner. It also means that you can see each and every imperfection if it’s not done right. That’s why we’ve done all that work for you. If this blog inspired you to implement a timeless design, let us know! Explore our services and when you’re ready to experience the full breadth of the hygge experience, let’s talk.