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Nine interior designers reveal everything you need to think about.

How do you ever know a decorative element is timeless and just a trend?

There are many factors that need to be characterized according to interior designers, which is why we asked them to share the details with us.

Below, nine designers reveal what they think about determining whether something is a classic or just a fleeting trend.

Think it can “carry over the years”

“Timelessness for me is about quality materials, lighting, furniture, etc., that work in every way and can continue through the ages. Most modern objects struggle to adapt to all design directions, as they are very characteristic of an era or theme. I try to stay away from anything super hot and special as it tends to get overused and wear out quickly. My view is that personal style is like choosing a wine: if you love it, it works for your taste and your senses, that’s all that matters.” – Samantha Tannehill of Sam Tannehill Interior Design

Look for quality materials and production

“In order not to fall into the trap of trends, I like to look for quality materials and production. Investing in natural resources woods, metals and stones can also become a smart investment. I once bought two vintage Finn Juhl rosewood chairs for a project in North London. Not only do they look better with time, but they have increased in value. Properly cared for natural materials can age beautifully and retain their value and classic charm.” – Susan Knof of Knof Design

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Try to understand it was ever designed

“The first way to determine whether an object is modern or timeless is to try to figure out approximately when it was designed. If you cannot approximate the time period, then it is considered timeless. For example: Look at a Persian rug, it looks just as beautiful in a room 100 years ago as it does today. That’s a big indication that it’s a timeless piece.” – Jil McDonald of Jil Sonia Interiors

Decide if it is flexible or not

“The best way we like to determine if a deco element is timeless or a trend is to think about whether the piece is very versatile or not. Timeless decorative objects tend to have clean lines, neutral colors and natural elements that let them fit somewhere for a long time. Earthy and natural tones such as wood, linen, stone and leather are the key materials we look for when choosing timeless objects.’ – Meagan Whalen of JL Design

See the design and proportions

“Timeless pieces are those that have classic styles and proportions and have been around for decades. If you flip through several coffee table design books and see the same type of lamps, tables or fabrics in all of them, chances are they have stood the test of time and will continue to be a feature of beautiful rooms for years to come.” – Jerad Gardemal of JF Gardemal Designs

Decide if you can build the rest of the design around it

“I think a good rule of thumb for determining whether something is timeless or modern is to ask yourself, ‘Can I use this design as a great foundation to build on in the years to come?’ For example, if I’m renovating a kitchen, I’ll want to choose timeless features that will only last for years to come. How do I find this out? Asking myself if I can keep all the basic design elements the same and make small tweaks over time that will keep the design always fresh. Is the design durable enough to withstand the waves of new trends over the years and not fail to look current? Then it is timeless!”. – McCall Dulkys of Interiors by McCall

Determine what it means to you personally

  1. “The ultimate answer to whether a decorative item is timeless or a trend is what it means to you personally. I always advise my clients to collect and surround themselves with things that are meaningful to them. I find it the most natural and organic way to style and decorate a home. Then, even if it was an item that was “trendy” at one time, it will look special. The first work my husband bought, a painting from my childhood and various pieces of wood collected from walks on the beach with my family, all belong to different decorative ‘genres’, they are timeless because of what they mean to me.’ – Amy Sklar of Amy Sklar Design
  2. “Finding a connection with decorative objects related to your personal history or to nature is a great way to ensure that your decor will stand the test of time. Whether it’s something you pick up during a trip abroad, something you made as a kid, or a sentimental piece from your grandparent’s basement, you can use these items to make your spaces more personal and to create a sense of timelessness.” – Nicole Cole of Vestige Home

Ignore the “rules” and choose a piece based on whether it brings you joy

“I don’t have many rules when it comes to decorative objects, except one: It should bring you joy. Honestly, it doesn’t matter if it’s a piece that will stand the test of time or a passing fad, if it makes me (or my client) smile, it passes. Books, art and objects collected over time from travels are all pieces that can work well in any space.” – Molly Torres Portnof of DATE Interiors

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