5 Things the Most Timeless Living Rooms All Have in Common — These Ideas Just Won't Date

How do you make your living room feel enduringly stylish? We look at 5 of our favorite timeless designs to find the secret

A timeless living room featuring decor and furniture
(Image credit: Tom Ferguson Photography. Design: Luke Moloney Architecture)

Curating a space that feels enduringly timeless is a challenge because by definition, timelessness is the antithesis of following trends. If a lasting and enduring sense of style is your priority for your living room, it requires careful thinking to ensure you're not falling into the trap of flash-in-the-pan design fads. But how can you tell what is a trend that is having its moment in the spotlight, and what is a look that is here to stay?

A good starting point is to identify what the truly timeless living rooms all have in common. I've rifled through my favorite living room designs to find out. It seems that a muted and relaxed color scheme, a mixed approach to decor and furniture, and simplicity are clear hallmarks of timelessness. Here are the designer's top tips.

1. Mixed materials

A timeless living room with floor to ceiling windows

(Image credit: Tim Lenz. Design: J PATRYCE DESIGN)

The architecture of this living room offers glorious floor-to-ceiling windows that fill the room with light, and intricate millwork that calls to the home's historic past. 'We mixed classic elements with more modern touches to honor and balance the architectural features like expansive ceiling heights, the original staircase and the brick wall reimagined,' says Joan Enger of J. Patryce Design.

'Oak herringbone living room flooring replaced uneven pine floors throughout the parlor level in addition to substantial new moldings and crown which felt like they always belonged.'

The older elements fuse with the glimmers of modern design, like the light fixture by Urban Electric, grounding this space in the modern day but harking to centuries past.

2. A muted color scheme

A timeless living room

(Image credit: Malissa Mabey Design: Susannah Holmberg)

This project by Susannah Holmberg is a wonderful example of fusing the old with the new. Timelessness comes from a sense of history, but is brought to the modern day with touches like mismatched lamps and a range of seating styles that create a cozy, jumbled effect.

'What is old, can feel new again,' says Susannah. 'Our clients wanted a budget-friendly update to their historic Tudor-style home to bring it in line with their crisp, color-loving aesthetic.

Color plays a significant role in bringing a timeless elegance to the space. 'We added pops of interest, like blue velvet lounge chairs, a graphic paint detail on the living room ceiling trim, and a color palette of blues, sea greens, whites, and high contrast black.'

3. Vintage and antique finds

A timeless living room featuring furniture and decor

(Image credit: Tom Ferguson Photography. Design: Luke Moloney Architecture)

To foster a timeless feel, Luke Moloney of Luke Moloney Architecture celebrated furniture and decor from across different eras. The result is that the space doesn't call to any one particular era of history, instead, it presents a mixed treasure trove from throughout the ages.

The architectural footprint of the room is emphasized with moldings and the marble fireplace is ornate and original. 'New joinery is pulled in from the edges of the room and is crisply detailed and modern.

'New light fittings are contemporary, selected to harmonize with the older architecture. It was important to leave a bit of wobble in the house so that when finished, it didn't feel new. There's still a sense of history in the place,' says Luke.

Muted colors also help keep things tasteful and stylish. 'A good warm white never goes out of style. It's adaptable, never dominant, but always chic,' says Luke.

4. Old meets new

A living room with hidden entertainment system

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen. Design: Husband Wife)

Designed by Brittney Hart and Justin Capuco of design studio Husband Wife, this family apartment in Cobble Hill is proof that historic roots aren’t required for a charactful, timeless home.

Embracing the small and nearly blank slate, Brittney and Justin brought the home to life, with custom-designed millwork infusing the space with character, and objects and vintage furniture like cast iron busts, and vintage Parisian stools offering hints at a storied past.

In the living room, a wall of aluminum stores the family's contemporary entertainment system, with clever storage below to hide away the technology. Meanwhile, the living room color scheme feels calming and subtle, with yellow window trim ushering in a joyous energy to the space. Although contemporary, the finish is timeless, and the design fuses the old and the new for a seamless finish.

5. Texture

A timeless living room with ornamental fireplace

(Image credit: Adrian Gaut. Design: Studio Zung)

A retreat nestled in the heart of Tribeca, exquisite pieces add a sophisticated yet approachable charm to this living room. The designers at Studio Zung prioritized a relationship between the older details and the new decor, with restored details such as crown molding and patterned red oak flooring working with more modern touches. The result is a room that feels sleek and sophisticated, yet grounded in history.

'In this inventive interior reimagining of a Romanesque Revival pre-war building which previously served as a whalebone cutting facility, simple textures merge with the natural curvature and the direction of light,' says Sarah Hahn of Studio Zung. 'There is sophistication yet approachable charm to the living spaces,' she says.

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Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.