Furniture and home decor that will still look great in 10+ years
August 29, 2017 12:42 PM   Subscribe

Starting to plan for finding, buying, decorating, and (possibly) remodelling a house soon and everything I see is already starting to look dated to me (more detail on what that is inside). However, I can't seem to figure out what the next 'thing' is - and I feel like if I knew, I could start to figure out my own style and how it relates and doesn't relate to that next big thing.

So what is still EVERYWHERE from low end to high end, but which already looks incredibly dated to me, include:
-Subway tile
-Hairpin leg tables and seating
-Mid-century modern reproductions or "inspired by" pieces
-Exposed filament lightbulbs
-rough-hewn wood with lots of "marks" on it
-lots of copper and glass

I have a very flexible aesthetic sense -I can fall in love with romantic cottage with roses one day and a glass and concrete box the next day - but lately I'm really into brutalist architecture. I also really hate anything kitschy or fake aged/distressed, for the most part, but shiny and super-hard edged is a turn off, too.

To give you an idea of what I'm working with, I'll inevitably end up with a Victorian terrace or a 1930s semi and a reasonable but not astronomical budget to update the kitchen, bathroom, decor, and to get some decent furniture.

Currently I'm still living with 15 years of accumulated, permanently borrowed, or came-with-the-house furniture that is comfortable but ugly, and a 1980s all-tan kitchen - the only thing that will be coming with is the mattress and the bookshelves (there are a lot of books).

Links to resources, articles, images, or even just your thoughts on what's next after hairpin legs and subway tile appreciated.
posted by cilantro to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
One thing I would recommend is to buy good quality, basic/clean shaped couches. I have a couple of Ethan Allen couches that are almost 10 years old and still look fabulous. In a few years, when I'm tired of the upholstery and of the slip covers (I bought the slipcovers from Ethan Allen too), I can have the couches reupholstered because the frames are solid hardwood. The sofas I have are so basic and clean lined that I have a ton of styling options open to me.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 1:19 PM on August 29, 2017

Have you looked at It was great when I was reno planning. I've recently been drawn to browsing Hurn & Hurn for housewares and accessories.
My main advice having been through two major moves and one reno in the last 5 years is not to buy all the major furniture at the same time. Pace yourself, let yourself live with what you have to see what next thing should be added to the mix.
posted by dotparker at 1:23 PM on August 29, 2017

I've never seen a normal home kitchen that didn't look at least somewhat dated 10 years out. I would even say that a person knowledgeable about home decor could probably date almost any kitchen to within a five-year period. Even if you figure out what the next new thing is going to be and you can afford it before it goes mass-market, you only buy yourself a couple more years of stylishness. Probably whatever you choose today, in 10-15 years you're going to look back and think "sure did do that reno in 2017!"

So just pick what you like, and if you suspect something is on the trendy side, try to make it something that's easy to change like a paint color or cabinet knobs, rather than something hard to change like countertops or floor tile.

Outside of the kitchen, though, can you just plan on not keeping everything exactly as is for 10 years? Like, buy stuff you like now, but expect to replace (or repaint/refinish, or change the legs, or slipcover/reupholster) some of it in two years, and some in five years.
posted by mskyle at 1:24 PM on August 29, 2017 [7 favorites]

Next on the way out? Anything labeled "shiplap".

Subway tile IS everywhere. After re-doing a bath with it 7 years ago, I still chose it again recently for a bath in our new old house, after seeing it in an historic home in Palm Beach County: 100 years later, it still looks clean. It can be changed up by swapping accents, including fixtures. The house we just bought is an 80's "brick" ranch, that looks like it might have been built in the 50's. So I want something kind of time-travelly.

I give 10+ years on the oversized natural-stone-looking ceramic tile I'm putting in our second bath, but in a decade it will be screaming "2015 era." But I like it, a lot. So I'm using it, knowing what I'm in for.

That subway tile will be being ripped out of everywhere (except my home) in 15 years time. 10 years after that, it will be back in style, but "retro". I'm thinking looooong term. And sticking a TARDIS in there.

Bottom line: choose what you love. What you really love will work together. But if you DON'T love that tile, you will second-guess yourself forever...I compromised on my second bath in the last house, trying to remain neutral, and have promised myself not to do it again.

The most valuable furnishing shopping advice that I have seen is to remind yourself that you don't need to have everything all at once. Be patient, because it may take you years to curate a collection of things you love. But have your funds (and room dimensions) at hand, so you when you see something that really makes you happy to be around, you will be prepared to nab it.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 1:27 PM on August 29, 2017 [11 favorites]

A few of the interior design blogs I follow suggest that the "Memphis" trend, aka colorblock eighties design, is coming next. Also, wallpaper is IN, everywhere from powder rooms to living rooms. Companies like Hygge & West and Cole & Son are just a few examples of companies I've been seeing a lot of lately from the designers I follow on Instagram.

Emily Henderson Style is a design blog I really like for breaking down design styles and helping you identify what you love. She recently had a style quiz that was fairly amicably divisive among her readership but it was really helpful to me to see various categories of style and what resonated with me. She has good photo sources, too, so you can click through to get other ideas of good blogs to follow. You might also be interested in following her recent home renovation posts, especially since she moved from a California modern to an English Tudor style and ended up with a blended design look--they walk you through her process and it's really informative.

You might also try browsing Dwell's photo archives--I think their stuff looks really clean and modern and leans a little brutalist. Apartment Therapy is also a good source for ideas and inspiration--they have a ton of great articles and house tours so that you can get an idea of what you like and what you don't, and a whole series on renovation. When we recently upgraded a lot of furniture I spent a LOT of time on Pinterest, pinning things I did like and things I didn't like and trying to find the common thread--that's another good way to get ideas and make sure you have a good idea in mind before you start trying to fill spaces with things that are 'good enough' but not exactly what you want (and the advice above to not buy everything at once is spot on).

Finally, I think in general you can't go wrong with clean lines and classic pieces as the foundation of your interior design, with on-trend textiles, art, and accessories. For my house that means white walls, birch floors, and mostly Danish modern and Shaker furniture with some round gold mirrors, fun throw pillows, and interesting rugs. If I get tired of the 'global + gold finish' look, I can easily change my color scheme and finishes. Speaking of color schemes, another tip is to make sure you have a dedicated color palette you're working with as you choose furniture, paint colors, and finishes--there's a good article about that here. This method might not as easy in a bathroom or kitchen, but the same advice probably goes--keep it neutral and advance your design vision through things that are easily changeable.
posted by stellaluna at 1:55 PM on August 29, 2017 [9 favorites]

I like Remodelista for newer trends that don't quite become mass-market. I find they don't even feature many surface treatments like tile and wallpaper, and maybe that's the essence of timelessness.
posted by xo at 2:25 PM on August 29, 2017

There is a timeless quality to leather that will probably pass the test of time. I am partial to clean lines like Pottery Barn's Turner Square collection. That clean line style would go well with the traditional housing you mentioned above. (I think you're wrong on subway tile. But probably not the others.)
posted by lstanley at 2:27 PM on August 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

It also depends on the style of your house's interior. My house was built in the late 1930's and has permanent design features from that era. So, I've landed in combining some stripped-down Art Deco pieces and Mid-Century Modern pieces as those two aesthetics work well with the features of my home. I find that if you buy quality pieces that aren't on the busy or kitschy end of things, that you end up with a more timeless look that works well together. When I finally redo the kitchen, I'll go for very, very basic cabinetry with no flourishes and a marble counter top for a classic look that still looks clean and modern.

IMO, settle on a guiding era or aesthetic and then stay true to it throughout the house. While your home may look like it's referring to another era, it won't be the same as looking dated or a collection of long-past trends. Switching out light fixtures, decorations/textiles, and things like knobs and pulls can update your look as the years go by, but the bones should be seated in a somewhat specific aesthetic.
posted by quince at 4:22 PM on August 29, 2017 [3 favorites]

Yep colors and hard surfaces with metallic accents. Somewhere between the 80s and the 50s. Colorful appliances, contrasting shiny white or other shiny surfaces, glass tables and metal furniture. Acrylics. I personally kind of hate the new look but it's coming.
posted by fshgrl at 4:36 PM on August 29, 2017

Concrete countertops probably won't be the next big thing, but if you like the brutalist look they could be your big thing.
posted by yohko at 11:45 PM on August 30, 2017

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