Have you ever been inside a house that didn’t hang together very well?
I don’t mean one where you feared for your life because the ceiling was sagging, and a bit came off the house whenever someone pressed the doorbell.
I mean a house in which every room felt radically different. The kind of home that looked like it had been put together using leftover rooms from other houses. That kind of a house?
Maybe you’re a bit worried now that your house is like this?
In this article, we’ll look at how that can happen, and what you can do about it.
A house that consists of a mishmash of styles can happen when the owner chases the latest design fashions. All the TV programmes, magazines and weekend supplements are overflowing with the latest trend. Neo-noir Swedish birch beading. Or contemporary invisible. Rooms in which everything is either glass or painted white. They look empty, until you smack your shin off a coffee table you didn’t see because it was camouflaged so well.
The result of chasing design trends is a house with no overarching identity—other than maybe ‘schizophrenic’. And it’s rarely a place that is welcoming for either guests or the people who live there. Not only because it jangles the senses constantly as you move from one design trend to the next each time you go through a door. But equally because none of the design trends sit well with the homeowner. They looked good on the pages of a magazine, but in their house…?
The hunt for perfect interior design
So what’s behind this desire to chase the latest trend in interior design and décor?
One of the most common things is the desire to have interior design that is contemporary. Nobody wants their home to feel as if it’s stuck in the 1970s. We like our homes to feel modern—if not on the outside, then certainly on the inside. One way to achieve this is to follow the latest trends by watching TV makeover shows and studying home interiors magazines.
But trends can change quickly. They definitely change more quickly than you can keep up with. No sooner have you completed one room in the latest style than another trend has taken its place on the page and screen. So the next room in the house gets a completely different makeover to the one you’ve just done. And so on…
Rather than referring to the previous room to help you design the interior and décor for the next one, each room becomes its own standalone project. The rooms end up like disconnected islands under the same roof.
“Just go for timeless interior design”
Minimalist design was in for a while, but it isn’t for everyone and can leave a house feeling cold, rather than welcoming Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash
One solution is simply to choose a timeless design that will gracefully tie all the rooms in your house together.
After all, what is a timeless design? Some will say it’s when a design style is ‘classic’. Others will say it’s when it ‘stands the test of time’. But neither of these phrases really means anything. Of course, there are interior design styles that are classic and stand the test of time, but they are red herrings. What matters is you. And none of the classic and timeless interior design styles from the past were created with you in mind.
So choosing one of these styles because it is seen as timeless is just as bad as choosing one that has only just made it on to the interior design blogs and influencer Instagram feeds.
What makes a design contemporary or timeless isn’t fashion. It’s you.
Choose contemporary and timeless interior design
Adding textures that appeal to you to your rooms is one way you can make your house softer and more welcoming Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash
In fact, it’s you who can make interior design both contemporary and classic. It’s your superpower. (Admittedly, it’s not one that’s going to get you into a Marvel movie, but a superpower nevertheless.)
The fundamental thing I always say to my clients is that the design of their home should come from within, not from without. Forget what you see elsewhere. Design the interior of your home around what you feel. In particular, what you feel now.
Your current needs are what will make your interior design contemporary. It’s serving your needs of today. For example, vegans very rarely need a double oven. Not because there aren’t delicious oven-based vegan recipes to be made, but because few vegan dinners require two ovens. Whereas anyone who has ever prepared a traditional meat roast dinner will tell you a double oven is a godsend.
Equally, if you eat out a lot and never entertain at home, do you need a honking big dinner table taking up half your kitchen or living room? (Or, again, a double oven?)
Creating your interior to meet your actual needs will make your home so much more welcoming. Instead of serving the latest design fashion, it is serving you and your daily lifestyle.
And that’s when contemporary becomes timeless. Interior design that supports your lifestyle and needs doesn’t have to be changed very often. It fits you as comfortably as a worn-in pair of shoes. That sense of comfort is what makes interior design timeless. The design itself might not be the latest trend, but the familiar feeling of peace you get from it makes it something you wouldn’t want to be without. This is what gives it longevity.
What makes interior décor timelessly contemporary?
Photo by S&B Vonlanthen on Unsplash
Here’s my biggest personal tip so your home gives you that timeless comfort.
It’s something you probably already do, every year.
At Christmas, you add rich textures and colours to your house in the form of decorations and a tree. Doesn’t your home always feel that bit more welcoming during Christmas? It feels softer, warmer and cosier. And when all the decorations are packed away and the tree is brought to the collection point (or put back in the attic), your home immediately feels more businesslike and colder.
I’m not saying you should leave your decorations up all year round, by the way. Can you imagine? Santa’s face everywhere for 365 days a year?
But I am suggesting bringing some of those rich colours and natural textures into your home décor on a permanent basis. And it’s often the small things that made a big difference.
Do you mind if I do a quick promotion? I often get asked to help people put the finishing touches to their interiors. They’ve completed the design, but something is lacking. It’s often these small flourishes of colour and texture that are missing. So I’ve developed a bespoke way to help you do just that—and more. You can find out more about it here: Finishing Touches.
Here’s my final thought. Don’t chase current trends and don’t be rule-orientated when it comes to your interior design. Except for one rule. And it’s this: if it looks right to you, it is right for you.