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Timeless Design with a Twist: Mixing Furnishings with Contemporary Style and Vintage Flair

Timeless spaces combine the very best of contemporary and traditional/transitional design styles by mixing classic aesthetic elements with more modern functionalities. Maurice Brantley, a sales and design associate at Copenhagen, says it best: “Creating a timeless living space through a methodical design approach imbues a dwelling with a sense of harmony and well-being for those who live in it.” Whether you’re looking to fully renovate your living room or simply update its versatility, we talked with Brantley about how to craft a truly timeless space; one that feels endlessly stylish, comfortable, and always like home.

Start with Statement Pieces

“Typically, I approach a design assignment with the anchor pieces that my client requires first,” Brantley begins. “This is usually major living room seating and occasional tables. Lamps, area rugs, and other accessories are the second phase of this design process to provide a cohesive and curated look.”

Starting with two to three of these primary pieces gives you a focal point to refer to, setting the style tone for the rest of the room. Statement pieces shouldn’t compete with one another but rather have a primary style or characteristic that ties them together, whether that’s a wooden frame or a neutral color palette. For example, choosing the Georgie sofa and loveseat as your living room centerpieces provides a starting point for your color palette in a buttery, cheerful yellow, complemented by soft curves and rounded lines.

Incorporate Furnishings that Bridge the Gap

Using versatile furnishings, whether for statement or supporting pieces, can do some of the hard work for you. Designed to boost functionality and style without unnecessary ornamentation, these items usually have a modern or contemporary base, like a sleek frame, and a more traditional shape or material to add depth and character. Brantley provides a few examples of his favorite transitional furnishings at Copenhagen: “The Rupert sectional combines comfortable and clean design with a natural leather that will evolve over time. Similarly, the popular Edge chair represents classic, Danish mid-century modern design at its finest.” Both Rupert’s combination of a clean, symmetrical silhouette with plush, warm upholstery and Edge’s use of meticulous craftmanship with walnut wood result in timeless designs that can help create balance in your living space.

Layer with Supporting Elements

When adding a supporting furnishing or accessory, consider how it ties together with everything else in your living space – this will help create a harmonious look and flow. If your main seating area is comprised of a sleek, ultra-modern sectional or sofa, pairing it with a curvy occasional table, like the circular Atari or triangular Dino can lend an element of softness, adding visual depth and warmth.

“Oftentimes, a client may choose to incorporate existing furnishings that may be more traditional in design, with newer, more contemporary options,” Brantley states. “By carefully selecting complementary colors and transitional designs, we can create harmony between furnishings from different eras.” This combination of distinctive design eras can keep your space from feeling too traditional or contemporary – grounding it in the middle of the spectrum and resulting in a look that heightens your home’s character.

If you have any vintage pieces that you want to keep, like an antique vase or inherited end table, add in a more modern design, like a steel console table to hold the vase or an LED table lamp to rest on the table. Placing these items together will contrast and highlight their unique qualities,  while using both in a way that makes sense stylistically and functionally.

Don’t Forget Color & Texture

Beyond shape and design, the color and texture of your furnishings also play a significant role in the timelessness of your living space. Being intentional in establishing your palette can help bring a sense of balance; an abundance of primary colors can look more retro while a lack of color variation can feel impersonal. Starting with a neutral base is a safe, easy option; walls, flooring, and larger furnishings in tones of white, black, beige, and grey can serve as your beginning canvas, as you slowly incorporate other color tones.

For the rest of your furniture and accessories, consider rich or warm tones as well as earthy hues, all of which add just the right amount of pop. Brantley states, “By selecting complementary colors between a leather sofa and fabric chair, we can achieve a sinuous bridge between two differing styles.” Take the Sophia sofa as an example; with its minimalist design and dark leather, adding in the dramatic flair of the Ludo swivel chair may at first seem too much of a contrast. But Ludo’s cool blue fabric and black accent piping perfectly complement Sophia’s grey leather, creating an intriguing pairing that highlights the design details of each. Brantley suggests using the same method with accessories: “Exciting pops of color in abstract wall art can easily pair with a neutral rug without competing for attention.”

Similarly, using a variety of textures in your living space adds visual depth and intrigue, as well as necessary warmth. Natural materials lend a more traditional look that is nonetheless timeless, like the stone top and walnut finish of the Bella Ruggente TV base. Pairing a design like Ruggente with a coffee table that has a glass top or chrome frame creates a texture juxtaposition that allows both to stand out. Adding texture can also be as easy as decorating a leather sofa with a few shag pillows or adding a throw on an ottoman.

Accessorize Accordingly

Mixing and matching different types of accessories and accent décor is key to establishing a timeless space. These smaller furnishings are often more detailed and impactful than their larger counterparts, especially if you have meaningful heirlooms. Try utilizing a mixture of abstract art pieces with unique styles to establish an artistic balance; an 80’s pop piece like the Flying Girl sculpture has a playfulness that works well with the asymmetrical shape of the Hawaii mirror. If you favor traditional realism, framed or canvas-wrap landscape works can be paired with sleek vases and bowls to keep that timeless balance. Brantley also suggests the Everett table and floor lamps to “convey an almost vintage flair” that can complement the “Caldera rug by Linie Design, with its random pattern of concentric circles.” Though all these accessories have distinct looks, pairing them together allows various aesthetic personalities to flourish.

By selecting versatile furnishings that combine styles, curating perfect pairings, incorporating pops of color, and adding depth with texture, you can achieve a timeless living room. This harmonious balance will help craft a space that feels both stylish and welcoming, even as your needs and preferences change over time. We hope you enjoy experimenting and don’t forget our sales and design associates are always here to help.