10 ways to create a timeless home
Endlessly chic homes that stand the test of time don’t happen by chance. It takes thoughtful consideration and expert advice to build a space that’ll still look fabulous decades down the line. Here, 10 pro tips for mastering timeless looks from Mark Michaud, senior designer at The Art Shoppe. The third-generation family-run furniture destination has been a Toronto icon since 1936, and recently upgraded their showroom to a gigantic new space in the Castlefield design district.
1. Steer clear of blatant fads. Particularly for major furniture pieces, Michaud recommends sticking with neutral hues and natural materials like cotton, linen, wool and silk: “Classics are classics because they stand the test of time, much like a basic black cocktail dress that you can dress up or down,” he says.
2. Think in specific styles and time periods. For example, if you’re partial to 18th-century Georgian design, try not to mix in French baroque influences (“English and French never did get along,” says Michaud).
3. Mix and match. Combining antiques with contemporary pieces is always encouraged. For example, a vintage chest can look extra-fashionable underneath a piece of modern art. The Art Shoppe was the first to import modern European furniture, antiques and Art Deco pieces—and its new 70,000-square-foot flagship carries a particularly eclectic selection of contemporary and traditional pieces.
4. Contemplate scale. This means choosing pieces that are proportionate to one another. For instance, an armchair next to a sofa should have the same seat height. “I can’t stress this enough,” says Michaud. “You want pieces to appear as if they had been custom-made to inhabit the space.” Similarly, a grand Rosedale living room requires a larger sofa than a 750-square-foot condo. For more technical stuff like this, it’s important to bring in an experienced eye—which is why The Art Shoppe’s interior design department offers complimentary design services with any big purchases.
5. Layer neutrals. As much as you may be tempted to go wild with bright colours and bold patterns, too much colour rarely stands the test of time. “My stance is don’t be afraid of colour, but you must respect it and use restraint,” says Michaud. He suggests layering light neutrals with deeper tones and saving bold shades for accents. “Timeless appeal is always achieved through understated elegance,” he says. Cynthia Rowley and Kate Spade, two coveted designer lines sold at The Art Shoppe, make beautiful pieces in muted tones—like this gray sofa or charcoal armchair—that would last a lifetime.
6. Use pops of colour. If you can’t stick solely to neutrals, Michaud recommends picking one brightly coloured accent piece (a reading chair, for instance), and balancing it out with similar tones in accessories, artwork or carpets. The Art Shoppe’s storewide summer sale, which is on now with everything up to 50 per cent off, is a great way to score deals on swanky statement pieces, like this handwoven fuchsia rug.
7. Add architectural mouldings. An often-overlooked part of décor, ornate mouldings can provide lavish old-school touches to more modern homes. “Classical versions can help marry the past with contemporary design,” says Michaud.
8. Thoughtfully position mirrors. Mirrors provide a great sense of depth and can make a cozy room seem bigger by reflecting light. That said, Michaud warns against positioning them anywhere: “You don’t want them to reflect any awkward spaces or corners,” he says. Instead, set up a mirror so that it reflects an aesthetically pleasing part of the room or scenic window view. “That way, it becomes a piece of art,” says Michaud.
9. Avoid clutter. When accessorizing, less is usually more. Except when you have a collection of curiosities, in which case they’re most effective when displayed together in a curio cabinet or on a glass-topped table.
10. Pick your pieces. A truly timeless interior should always reflect the personality of whoever lives there. “It’s most important to choose pieces that immediately resonate with you,” says Michaud. “Otherwise, you can have a pretty space that lacks any real depth or character.”