Do you Follow the 10 Year Rule?

You know the stuff you pull out when your friends or family come over that was a gift and you don’t want to hurt their feelings to suggest you don’t like it, so you display it when they arrive? How about the one-off candle holders you get as presents (everyone gets those). Or, just about anything you are simply not thrilled with anymore. When I sense that is the case with a client or perhaps it’s just dated, I’ll ask “How long have you had this?” if the response is “more than 10 years”, that’s when I say “Then let’s get rid of it, that’s long enough”.

Interior Design by Marian Hall via Cote de Texas

After 10 years, most everything is dated anyway, unless your home is filled with antiques. Joni from Cote de Texas recently wrote the best post ever on creating a timeless room. It’s the continuation of a series she is compiling on the Top Ten Design Elements that creates a beautiful room. Click here to read.

Joni goes on to say “One question a designer gets asked over and over again is, “I want to decorate my room, but I want it to last, I don’t want it to look dated or trendy in five or ten years.” I always say – impossible. Everything dates in ten years. Each decade is easily identified by its furniture styles and fabrics. The only way – the absolute only way to avoid having a totally passé look in ten years is to decorate using classical antique shapes: use Louis XV and XVI chairs, use antique English side tables with barley twist detailing, bring in antique consoles and cabinets. Simply said, the more antiques in your room, the less trendy it will be and the more current it will look for many years to come.”

Image via Katiedid

Is this look expensive? Yes, I just about fell over when I found out how much it’s going to cost to recover the chairs I bought for my dining room.

So over to you my lovelies, what do you think contributes to a timeless room?

A note based on the comments: I’m not saying everything that is dated should be toast every 10 years, I’m really talking about gifts that are 10 years old that you may not be in love with in addition to mistakes or furniture you may have inherited that no longer make you happy! I’m simply suggesting that 10 years of looking at it is plenty long enough.

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me for on-line or in-person decorating and colour.

Related posts:
10 Things I Learned (so far) from my Designer; by a Happy Client
Design Lessons from Elizabeth Stevenson
Which Colour Sofa should you Buy?

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  1. I recently picked up a book on design that was written in 1993 and was surprised how fresh some of the rooms still appeared. I think one of the keys to a timeless look is to avoid choosing patterns that are of the moment for high ticket items and opt for solids instead. You can always add in pattern with pillows to update the look.

  2. Mother always said, "things either wear out or ugly out. Your job is to not live with ugly."

    We have had a lot of our furniture for years. Some of it is at least 35 years old. We chose to buy classic designs. The curtains, pillows, accessories, and such are what I change out from time to time. Right now the living room – family living area is in the process of accessory/art work change. We have had a framed antique tapestry for over 35 years. It is still lovely but I am feeling the need for a change.
    For those of us who do not go for trends the 10 year rule does not have to be followed. For those who follow trends 10 years is most likely a long time.

  3. Well said. I'll never get tired of those Louis chairs. And antiques are even more amazing when upholstered in a more modern fabric or painted a new color 🙂

  4. I don’t follow the 10 year rule when it comes to saving things or stick to trends though I might use one aspect of a trend that appeals to me. If I really don’t like something I get rid of it fairly quickly. Storage space is valuable in my smaller home so it’s only for things I love but don’t have a perfect place for at the moment. We have furniture from decades ago and newer items. We are in the process of repainting (new color) and rearranging the living room and I’m finding some accessories that I had stored for years suddenly look fresh and new again with new room colors.