The 5 Elements of Timeless Interiors from Designer Laura Umansky
As a residential interior designer, my goal in every project is to transform the items my clients love most into an exceptional, cohesive design. Timeless interiors, ones that never go out of style, are luxurious and bold. They are reflections of the homeowners, providing a gorgeous backdrop for the memories that build a family’s legacy.
My signature Classically Current style is client-centric. Instead of prescribing to one particular aesthetic, I take inspiration from the iconic designs of the past, update them with a modern edge, and make sure that my clients’ collections and passions are discovered throughout. I like to say that I respect the unspoken design rules, but I know when to break them. And I have a few rules of my own when it comes to creating timeless interiors.
1. Use natural materials to create texture
Have you ever walked into a room and felt like everything within it was just perfect? I’d say that 99% of the time, that feeling is due to textural layering. Layering different textures within a room conveys warmth and depth. I prefer to layer luxe, natural materials like marble, wool, and silk. And I love to surprise my clients by incorporating these in unexpected ways. Nothing wows like hand-painted, silk wall coverings!
At the end of the day, your home is a sensorial experience. You should be seeing it and feeling it, engaging with the design in unique ways. My recommendation is to use the highest quality materials and match them to the function of the space. A bedroom, for example, should feel soft and inviting. Think: organic cotton, feminine shapes, and then for a little edge, something in gold.
2. Source heirloom-quality pieces that speak to you and are built to last
Everything you bring into your home should be meaningful in some way. Sometimes, it’s completely dependent on its function, like an appliance. And other times, it’s a low need, high cost item that makes you swoon whenever you look at it. My Classically Current style is about intentionally selecting pieces with your family’s legacy at heart.
This can be achieved in a variety of ways. First, think about your furnishings. I love working with Century Furniture, for example. They are family owned, innovative, and use sustainable materials. When I bring them into a project, I introduce the respect and quality of the brand into that space. But the same can also be said about antiques, art, and anything that carries a venerable provenance that resonates with you.
Consider the history and story behind the pieces you bring into your home. Whether it’s a classic Degas painting or a piece of 14th century ceramic pottery, these things aren’t just objects. They’re a part of the artist’s legacy and once in your home, they become a part of yours as well.
3. Metal finishes never go out of style
If you look back through the history of design, the one element that has never gone out of style is a fine metallic finish. Metal is glamorous, bold, and has been associated with luxury since the beginning of time. When I use metals, I am never afraid to have them take center stage in an unexpected way.
From bed frames to range hoods, metal can be used to add a dramatic flair to create truly timeless interiors.
Just like you aren’t completely dressed until you finish off your outfit with beautiful accessories, your interiors need a touch of metal. Using a brushed finish is the perfect way to give the piece a more contemporary vibe. Or you can select an antiqued finish to make it feel like an antique heirloom. You can’t go wrong!
4. Neutral Base + Pops of Color = Timeless Interiors Color Palette
One of the most effective ways to make a statement is with color. Using a neutral base or contrasting neutrals like black and white creates the perfect canvas for showcasing eye-catching designs. Plus, it ensures that the individual colors aren’t competing with each other.
A neutral base allows you to use your art collection, décor, and floral arrangements to incorporate daring pops of color. Whether it’s a hand-painted wallcovering, a graphic print rug or an upholstered chair, they contrast beautifully with the neutral base. It’s the perfect way to create a vivid design that will continue to surprise and delight you for years to come.
5. Blend masculine and feminine styles
The most interesting interior designs are ones that blend masculine and feminine styles. The soft, gentle curves and romance that characterize feminine styles balance out the sleek, structured, moody tone that’s traditional of masculine looks. It’s a contrast that captivates all the senses.
As I design homes for families, and of course, the couples in those families, blending their styles keeps the design authentic. The tension between feminine and masculine styles adds complexity and depth. Mix moody colors with curved chairs. Pair square tables with round mirrors. Combine clean lines with organic, free-form shapes. Be bold and show off your personality!
At the end of the day, your home should be curated with intention and thoughtfulness. I bring meaningful pieces into my clients’ homes, considering both form and function, but also what’s whimsical, interesting, and of course, personal. Don’t be afraid to layer in your antiques, your art, and the items that truly speak you. Luxury is a home that lasts the test (and trends!) of time.
About the Author:
Laura Umansky, an industry leader, and top Houston interior
From a young age, Laura has been heavily influenced by her environment, always organizing and arranging her possessions with meaning and purpose. In 2006, she founded Laura U Interior Design to arrange her clients’ most beloved collections. With intention and thoughtfulness, she creates Classically Current timeless interiors that are bold, luxurious, and timeless.