As the late Ada Louise Huxtable – pioneering architecture critic and writer for The New York Times – famously said: “If you wait long enough, what is admired will be relegated to history’s dustbin, and if you wait even longer, it will be rescued and restored.”
Certainly, the endeavour to remain abreast of the styles, shades and sensibilities having their crowd-pleasing moment in the interior spotlight can be as costly as it is counter-productive. Must-have design and decor can return to style oblivion faster than you can google “Japandi” – a hybrid of Japanese minimalism and Scandinavian nature-inspired functionality, of course!
But can it be that some interior “trends” will, in fact, stand the test of time? The style experts do believe so.
According to Kate Walker, founder and director of KWD, the tactile beauty of earthy organic finishes – from marble countertops to oak flooring – cannot be contested.
“Natural materials, like timber and stone, will never date,” says Walker. “They maintain their integrity and longevity, and age beautifully. Texture adds warmth and personality without having a use-by date, and natural textures always maintain their appeal. If you do decide to go with a synthetic material, make sure it suits the style of the home.
“Neutrals and tone-on-tone colour palettes also age gracefully,” Walker adds. “Pops of colour generally date a design.”
Above all, Walker recommends taking the time to research thoroughly before embarking on a full or partial home makeover.
“If you are honest with the design aesthetic that you choose, and the style has integrity, it will never date,” she says. “However, when an interior is confused in its style, or you mix trends, it is destined to date.”
Fads may come and go, but feature lighting will always make a home glow, according to Wendy Davey, principal designer of Cranberry Design.
“Good lighting makes a home feel lived-in and warm,” says Davey. “Table lamps, floor lamps, pendants over the kitchen island, beautiful feature lighting in a bathroom and gorgeous bedside lighting all look great but are also super-necessary.
“Another feature ‘trend’ we use in all of our projects is a huge classic rug,” Davey continues. “A beautiful classic Persian or traditional rug looks good in any space, be it ultra-contemporary, Hamptons or elegantly classic in style.”
Interior designer Carolyn Burns-McCrave of Burns McCrave Design is a strong advocate for a “trend” that has been a decorating hit for centuries – a gallery art wall, also known, “if you want to get fancy” she says, as a salon hang.
“Grouping art to form a large, cohesive whole dates back to 17th Century France – so I’d call that decorative staying power,” says Burns-McCrave. “Not only is a gallery wall timeless, creative and visually delightful, it’s a design device that lends itself to any interior genre or aesthetic. It’s the ultimate ‘go to’ when you have more imagination than budget.
“You may choose to link your pieces with a common thread – be it colour, style, era, subject or frame choice. Conversely, you’re free to mix and match pieces that make sense only to you, giving your home a personality and soul that embodies your own personal style. And style that speaks to you, like a salon hang, will never date.”
“This can be a real trap if interpreted too literally, and can date a property or create divisive emotive responses,” Walker says. “If you are keen to add colour to a room with paint, choose a colour that you really love, or that suits the aesthetic of the home.”
“Every few years, a new technology introduces a man-made material or finish, and these definitely date a design. Choose natural materials over synthetic to avoid the transience of these trends.”
“This an example of a new technology that didn’t really translate in terms of design longevity,” says Walker. “The concept’s appeal was short-lived and didn’t add any authenticity or integrity to the kitchen. Natural stone, however, will continue to be relevant.”