This Is My Golden Rule for Telling If a Trend Is Truly Timeless

published May 2, 2024
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Eclectic living room with pops of color throughout and checkerboard rug on floor.
Credit: Anna Cirenza

Decorating your home can be overwhelming enough, but with the barrage of info and images flooding your feeds, it can seem near impossible to decide what you actually like and want. And when new trends pop up, you might feel the need to commit to them, only to regret it when their shelf life expires.

It took me a while to develop a method of sorting through the trend cycle to figure out what would stand the test of time. My golden rule? If you can find it in vintage or thrifted pieces and classic design, chances are it’s worth bringing into your home (if you genuinely love it). “So many trends are really just modern iterations of designs that have reappeared throughout history,” says design influencer and stylist Kate Pearce.

 “When applying trends to my own designs, I always ask myself, ‘Is this something that has been popular more than once in the past?’” She points out that checkerboard patterns and arches that are so popular now date back to classical and neoclassical periods. They reappeared again in the early-to-mid 20th century and are making another resurgence now. “That’s a pretty good track record!”

Credit: Hannah Baker

Surprisingly, I find that sometimes a way to make a trend feel fresh is to bring it in through a thrifted or vintage piece. I wanted to hop on the checkerboard trend, for instance. Still, I didn’t want to put it everywhere — I stumbled across this hand-painted crock at my favorite thrift store in Athens, Georgia, and the exterior was painted with a checkerboard pattern. Now, I display it on top of my cabinets with the rest of my favorite ceramics and serving pieces.

As my feed got more and more checkerboard-heavy over the past couple of years, I didn’t get sick of my own little touch of the pattern because it felt classic and not forced. That’s another thing — if you’re on the fence about a trend, try incorporating it in a small, subtle way first and see how you like living with it. 

That’s not to say that bringing in a modern iteration of a classic design is a bad idea. I’m a sucker for scallops, another timeless trend, and there have been so many beautiful ways I’ve seen this incorporated in fresh ways that I can see aging gracefully. “Trends get a bad rap, but I think they can be key to making a design feel fresh and modern as long as they are used correctly,” explains Pearce.

She prefers to mix period styles in her personal approach to give a space dimension and interest, and believes this gives them a timelessness that is lost to overly trendy spaces or those that adhere to one time period. For example, if your base is mid-century modern, feel free to add details like a scalloped coffee table and a checkerboard rug. There are no limits — as long as you love it, you can use it.