It might be an overstatement to say that there are pieces of furniture out in the world that will ‘never’ go out of style. If interior decorating eventually takes on the seamless sci-fi influences we see in movies such as Blade Runner or even The Fifth Element, it’s unlikely we’ll see an Eames chair placed in the middle of the living room. But there are certain timeless furniture pieces today that you can expect to suit a range of interior designs, even when we are all living on Mars.
10 timeless furniture styles
1. Mid-century sideboard
One of the most iconic examples of Danish design is the mid-century sideboard, often produced in teak. With its origins preceding WWII, designs such as the above were representative of a new desire for affordable, comfortable, elegant, often futuristic and (most importantly) mass produced furniture.
Interest in mid-century furniture decreased during the 70s and 80s, as designers explored more radical expressions in their furniture (especially with the popularity of plastic), but has now seen a resurgence in support in the past ten years.
The simplicity and elegance of the mid-century sideboard, its suitability for use in isolation, as well as its textural qualities, means that even if interest does begin to drop off, such furniture’s adaptability to various interior design styles will ultimately see this sort of furniture maintain its presence in the long term.
2. The Chesterfield
The Chesterfield couch has its origins possibly in the 1700s, with the commission of a couch by the Earl of Chesterfield at the time. There is no clear evidence that this is true, but the iconic deep-button design and low seating of the couch (apparently intended to make it easier for a gentleman to sit upright without creasing his clothes) is as popular today as it ever was, and shows no signs of disappearing.
The success of this style of couch is its ability to suit a variety of interior design styles, from both tradition to contemporary, as well as warm up a design with its textural qualities.
3. The Western Futon
The traditional Japanese Futon is nothing like what you see today in most furniture stores. For Western cultures that are unaccustomed to sleeping close to the floor, the traditional, mobile Futon mattress of Japan has been amended to create a new style of popular bed frame and mattress. Low to the ground and often ‘framing’ the mattress, a bed like this can suit a variety of interior designs due to the malleability of its design. Designers continue to incorporate different styles and materials in the construction of such beds, allowing them to create furniture that will continue to be popular for as long as we continue to enjoy sleeping horizontally.
4. Trestle dining table
As opposed to glass or mid-century dining tables, a trestle-style dining table has a timelessness because of its adaptability within various design styles. It is perhaps a common thread through so many of these timeless furniture styles that they are made of timber. A timber furniture piece is grounded/connected to the natural world in a very visible and tangible way, helping it suit a variety of interior design styles and maintain its popularity throughout various trends.
5. Freestanding bath
The Freestanding bath is not a new concept; as in, this-thing-has-been-around-for-thousands-of-years not a new concept. The history of a freestanding bath is evidence itself of its timelessness, and a variety of designs, such as baths with feet, can be used in any design.
Remember that freestanding baths may be beautiful, but for those families out there with kids who like to splash around and throw their toys, they are not the most practical option.
6. Wall-mounted desks
As interior design continues to develop, and it can be assumed it develops in a way that doesn’t revert solely to previous design eras (i.e. French provincial design), then it’s also safe to assume that space-saving designs, such as wall-mounted desks, will continue to feature within the home. Wall-mounted desks can be incorporated in a number of ways to add to the architectural flow of a building, such as the above desk, which echoes the design of the floating staircase by seemingly floating itself.
7. Bookshelf and its ladder
Bookshelf ladders are a rare but timeless furniture piece that will continue to exist as long as we have a shelf that is out of reach. Their popularity in modern interior design is peculiar because they hark back to the past, so when used in contemporary design can act as an anchor, or an echo, of this past, contextualizing the space.
The bookshelf itself is set to stay. While the introduction of e-readers was said to spell the end of paperbacks, this was quickly shown to be wrong, with book sales actually increasing after an initial slump. Much of owning a home is in creating a feeling of solidity and place, which is why so many people love collecting and displaying books, which ground them to their home and to their memories (books instantly take us back to being read stories as children, so have an emotional quality to them in the home).
8. Fainting couch
Another blast from the past, but much more diverse than a simple ladder, fainting couches come in a range of shapes and sizes. Modern fainting couch designs may lose some of the undulations typical in traditional designs, but this is not to say that traditional fainting couches can’t be used in isolation or with other traditional ornaments and furniture types in contemporary interiors.
9. Timber design
While not a specific piece of furniture, timber in our furniture designs should hopefully continue to play a significant role as a construction material due to its ability to help humans feel a connection with the natural world, as they continue to live within safe and programmed environments.
10. Hat stand
A house is not a house if you don’t have a hat and coat stand. The tree-like shape of most stands grounds their design in the natural world, providing them with a sense of continuity and as such, creating a timeless furniture piece. Until people stop wearing coats, scarves, and hats, expect to continue seeing hat stands in some form within the home.