Choosing Timeless Home Accessories

Photo courtesy of m_bahareth via Flickr
Photo courtesy of m_bahareth via Flickr

If you are like me and get your decorating ideas from pouring through the latest home design magazines and going for occasional strolls through stores like Z Gallerie, you know that home accessory trends are just as fickle as accessories in the fashion world.

Photo courtesy of shOdan via Flickr
Photo courtesy of shOdan via Flickr

Sure, I admit I’ve gotten caught up in latest trends in home accessories – my living room at one time paid homage to the sea, awash in coral sculptures and delicate seashell specimens displayed on gorgeous stands. The good news is, I lived about three miles from the beach, so it wasn’t THAT much of a stretch. The home furnishings in the room were beautiful and looked to be straight out of the pages of one of my magazines.

One major problem with following any trend occurs when the winds of design change shift and you are left with yesterday’s accessories and furnishings. It is as frustrating as it is expensive. So, I decided jump ship and now stick with the basics--classic home accessories that never go out of style. That way I can throw in a trendy item here or there, but the look is always…timeless!

Photo courtesy of m_bahareth via Flickr
Photo courtesy of m_bahareth via Flickr

General Advice

First, here are four general tips to help you in your quest for timeless home accessories to complete your room design:

1. Simplicity is key. Clutter is not your friend – besides, it’s a royal pain when it comes time to clean the house! With that in mind, keep your room decoration scaled back. Choose larger items that make a bold statement versus a collection of smaller chotchkies that lose visual impact. Simplicity in design is also a good rule of thumb. Pack away those ornate and overly adorned accessories.

2. Inject your personality. Exquisite home accessories can be soulless. My magazine-like living room was lovely, but it had no personality. Home accessories should suit YOUR style and personality, not the whims of designers who arbitrarily decide what is hot and what’s not. Draw inspiration from your personal interests. Items collected from travels are great additions to a room.

3. Patience is a virtue and nobody’s perfect. Realize that you will not achieve the perfectly accessorized home overnight. Heck, you may never get to that point. The fun is in the acquisition of pieces collected over time. It is like a treasure hunt – never go out with the express intent of finding a specific item. The joy is in the serendipity of stumbling on something that “speaks” to you!

4. Change happens. Even when decorating with timeless home accessories, it doesn’t mean that at some point you won’t get tired them. Be prepared for that eventuality. Carve out a closet or space in the basement for accessories that you can rotate in and out. Don’t get carried away and rotate the entire house, stick with the living room and your bedroom.


Let's get down to the nitty-gritty! Consider these eight design idea gems to get you on the road to creating a comfortable home with timeless home accessories:

1. Candle Holders. This is an old tried and true. Candlesticks or holders look fabulous on a mantel, on the hearth or clustered on an oversized coffee table. Remember, less is more and bigger is better.

2. Chandelier. Rooms with high ceilings beg for some sort of lighting suspended from above. No need for crystals or elaborate gold filigree. Sell your dated ceiling lights on Craig’s list and look for a simple carriage lantern, drum shade or classic fixture that will transcend the trends.

3. Mirror. Don’t forget wall décor.An oversized mirror is perfect for a small room. It will add a sense of space and if placed correctly will reflect the outdoors in. A mirror also adds light to any space. Keep the mirror frame style simple –it can pick up the wood tones or metallics in your room.

4. Plants. Greenery (of the real or silk variety) adds life to a room and will look beautiful for many years. Buy the tallest floor plants your space can handle – a high ceiling will dwarf most average size trees. Make sure your container is in proportion to the plant size. Think about smaller plants for side tables. To me, nothing is more timeless than a boxwood in a white ceramic urn – great for a side table.

5. A pair of lamps. A pair of substantial lamps will add symmetry to traditional rooms and will provide ambient home lighting. I’m reminded of my favorite lamps. The pair of cream-colored, ceramic ginger jar lamps have served me for decades. I periodically add new lamp shades to update their look!

Photo courtesy of uitdragerij via Flickr
Photo courtesy of uitdragerij via Flickr

6. Books. How easy is this one? If you are not a voracious reader, simply shop garage sales and thrift stores to find hard-bound books to add that lived-in quality to a room. Look for book covers in colors that coordinate and constrast with your furnishings. Vary the way you display them. Stack them one on top of another and place others between a pair of eye-catching bookends.

7. Large urn or floor vase. Choose a weathered Tuscan finish or a high gloss Asian inspired lacquer – whatever style works with your décor. Don’t bother adding silk flowers, reeds or bamboo. A large floor vase makes a statement on its own. Like lamps, symmetry is timeless – so if the budget allows, buy a pair!

Photo courtesy of CileMontgomery via Flickr
Photo courtesy of CileMontgomery via Flickr

8. Throw pillows. I know pillows are not something you would normally consider a timeless accessory that lasts for years, but here are a few tips to ensure you can enjoy them for more than just a few seasons. Purchase high quality down inserts -- they won’t lose their shape and can be fluffed up after many a lazy afternoon nap!

Whether you are handy with a sewing machine or not (enlist the help of a local seamstress!), start by selecting durable upholstery fabric in classic patterns. Sew custom zippered pillow covers that can be removed for regular professional cleaning. Regular cleaning refreshes the fabric and extends the life of the pillow. When the covers finally do wear out, simply create new ones!

© 2010 lindacee

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What's Your Favorite Home Accessory? 12 comments

fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 6 years ago from Southern California

Oh how I agree with this hub. I watch the DIY shows constantly and they always decorate with the latest and most modern up to date styles. And I always wonder how will they look at it a few years down the road. Especially when they make permanent changes like the new style tiles. Just think a few years ago laminate counter tops were all the rage, now it's granite, and so on. There is nothing you can do to insure that you'll like the styles you put in your home years later. If I could afford to I'd change my décor at least every five years. I understand this is not the whole tone of the hub, but that's my take on it. Anyway this is a very good hub.

lindacee profile image

lindacee 6 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Thanks fastfreta! Yeah, I agree with your point in regard to redecorating or renovating--it is virtually impossible to know what's in the crystal ball. Guess the best bet is to be as neutral and safe as possible--it is boring but you're not as likely to fall into the trend trap. Surfaces like countertops are especially difficult to choose. And you have to wonder if all of these beautiful stainless steel appliances will look outdated in a few years (remember avocado green!)Ha!

edelhaus profile image

edelhaus 6 years ago from Munich, Germany

great hub! You're a girl after my own heart. :-)

lindacee profile image

lindacee 6 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

edelhaus, thanks for the sweet comment! It's always nice to find a kindred decorating spirit!

Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 6 years ago

Thanks for the tips. I love candle sticks, plants, and books -- and you gave me knew ways to look at them and use them for decorating. Thanks!

lindacee profile image

lindacee 6 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Truckstop Sally: Thanks for stopping by! I always love to get inspiration for decorating and I'm glad I could help you! I will check out your hubs as well!

Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

Yep, books (if creatively displayed) can make a simple room look pretty cool. When we first moved into this apartment, my bf wanted to keep most of our books in the closet in my office, but I said no way! Instead, I put almost all of them in the living room along with our framed photos and knickknacks. I think they make our living room look a little more classy. :)

lindacee profile image

lindacee 6 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Om, I couldn't agree more. I try to display books in every room (short of the bathrooms and kitchen!) They really do make a difference in the overall look. Thanks for reading my Hub!

profile image

Joshua526 5 years ago

The tips are really cool. Simplicity is really beauty.

lindacee profile image

lindacee 5 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Thanks Joshua526! Yes, simplifying your life and possessions is the key happiness and beauty! Thanks for reading my hub!

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

As they say, 'tis a gift to be simple. Looks like you have a gift for it. :)

lindacee profile image

lindacee 5 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Thanks, RTalloni! Sometimes it's really difficult to restrain myself, tho.

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