7 design trends that are surprisingly timeless

Photographed by Vincent Dilio and interior design by Michelle Zacks. From an interior designer winds back the clock on this elegant West Village townhouse

They say nothing stands the test of time, but don’t tell a designer that. One of the hallmarks of transformative and boundary breaking design is its ability to outlast popular trends and fluctuations in style. Consider timeless creations like Marcel Breuer’s Cesca chair, the highly coveted design dates back to 1928; or Mario Bellini’s Camaleonda sofa for B&B Italia, a ’70s icon that consistently appears in contemporary living rooms today, and you get the idea.

Of course, that’s furniture. When it comes to designs for the home, things take a trickier turn. While some homes aim for a singular, specific style that’s reflective of its owners’ tastes and personality, in truth, it’s hard to design a home that’s not somehow reflective of its era. Sure, there are enough interior design styles to borrow from so that not all homes look the same, but we’d hazard a guess and say that no one is truly immune from design trends, colour trends or even fashionable shapes and materials. So, this begs the question: are there any trends that are timeless?

Well, technically, no, since the concept of a trend suggests something changing or moving. But bear with us, because some trends are more classic than others. To prove our point, we asked five interior designers and architects to point out some of the design trends with surprising longevity. Ranging from durable materials to classic patterns and long-lasting metals, consider these tried-and-tested design accents to turn to when you’re looking to create a timeless home.

Photographed by Vigo Jansons and interior design by Theresa Obermoser Design

  1. Textured walls
    As we reported late last year, textured walls have made a major comeback in recent years. And New York-based interior designer Michelle Gerson agrees. “I think that the use of textures on walls, from Venetian plaster and decorative paintings to wallcoverings, is here to stay,” she says.

Interior designer Theresa Obermoser loves the textured walls trend too. “I think trends become timeless when they serve a purpose and tell a story,’ she says. In a recent project—the fit out of a members club, Am Hof 8, in Vienna (pictured above), the designer used microcement on the walls. “It gives the walls and floors an interesting warm, rustic finish and makes each room more sophisticated and adds character.” Another great thing? “It’s very easy to clean,” she says.

Photographed Brittany Ambridge and interior design by Michelle Gerson.

2. Stone all the way

Natural stone—from marble to travertine—has been a mainstay of contemporary homes for some time now, and thankfully, will never lose its tactile beauty says Celeste Robbins, principal of Robbins Architecture. “What’s popular now is powerful veining,” she says. “While the trends may fluctuate from quiet limestones to rich, animated stones, I hope the art of nature will always be part of the life of a home.” Robbins argues that natural stone is timeless and brings warmth to any project. “You cannot replicate the nuance, depth, and art of natural stone—whether antique or Mies van der Rohe—it brings richness to any architectural style,” she adds.

Gerson seconds that. “The incorporation of natural elements, especially statement stones and marble, has had—and will continue to have—longevity. People are really embracing statement stones and using them to add a real punch to their interiors, while still staying neutral,” she says. 

Photographed by Nicole Franzen, interior design by And Studio and styled by Katja Greeff. From a quiet and calm West Village brownstone inspired by modern Belgian design

3. Layered lighting

Designer Michelle Gerson is a big proponent of layered lighting for classic appeal. “Not just chandeliers, but lighting used to enhance ceilings, bookcases and niches, giving them a glow on top of traditional lighting,” she says. In fact, it’s a timeless design trick that uses light to subtly accent various spots in a home.

Photographed by Nicole Franzen and interior design by The 1818 Collective.

4. Stripes

“Stripes are both timeless and trending,” says Kristin Fine, interior designer and cofounder of The 1818 Collective. “Obviously they have been around forever, but I think the trend part is how people are using them.” Fine suggests experimenting with hand-painted, imperfect lines or flipping the stripe from vertical to horizontal for a more modern take on the classic nautical look. “[Give] the classic stripe a dose of ‘now’ via creativity or irreverence,” she adds. “I love how a stripe gives rhythm and can be used myriad ways—on tiles, paint, fabric, furniture, stone and even art installations.”

Photographed by Nicole Franzen and interior design by And Studio. From an interior designer’s calm and character-filled Jersey City brownstone

5. Brass bandwagon

“I love metal and using brass,” says Victoria Gillet, owner of her eponymous design studio. “I mean, who can resist its irresistible golden radiance? Whether you’re a fan of vintage vibes or have a penchant for contemporary aesthetics, brass is the go-to material that effortlessly adds a touch of opulence and splendour to any space.” Gillet loves how the material adds instant “grandeur, luxury, elegance and sophistication” and argues it’s a trend that will stand the test of time.

“But here’s the real magic of brass: it ages gracefully,” she adds. “Over time, it develops a natural patina that tells a unique story of its journey. This ageing process gives brass a sense of history and character that’s hard to beat. It’s like adding a dash of antiquity to your interiors, creating a captivating blend of old-world charm and modern allure.” Gillet also highlights brass’ durability, and its ability to last generations.

Photographed by Timothy Kaye, interior design and styling by Mim Design. From a sleek contemporary upgrade breathes new life into a classic Victorian home

6. Velvet goldmine

Another fabrication that gets Gillet’s tick of approval? Velvet. “It’s like the cool kid in class who effortlessly adds a touch of luxury and elegance to any space,” she says. “What’s so awesome about velvet is its versatility. It’s like a chameleon that adapts to any style you throw at it—whether you’re going for a vintage vibe or a sleek modern look.” Highlighting the fabric’s soft texture, Gillet loves how velvet brings depth and warmth to any room. “And here’s the best part: velvet is built to last,” she continues. “With a little TLC, this fabric will stick around for years, keeping its plushness intact.”

Photographed by Nicole Franzen, interior design by Jesse Parris-Lamb and architectural design by The Brooklyn Studio. From a historic Brooklyn townhouse that blooms anew

7. Wall murals

Theresa Obermoser is convinced these are here to stay, and work hard in all types of timeless interiors. “In my first year of interior design, I was convinced this was just a trend and will be over soon,” she confesses. “Now, 10 years later, they did not go anywhere. Why? Because murals tell a story, they allow you to live a fairytale and it is up to the designer to make it look classy and cool.”  

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