Get timeless style with beautiful basics

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  • Evolve your style around simple staple pieces

    Having a strong foundation of basic pieces in your home will allow you to dip into decorating trends as they come and go. Simplicity means versatility: you can always spin a new look around a few timeless pieces. Avoid choosing trend-influenced finishes and, instead, try to stick to untreated hardwoods, metals, marble, stone, glass, ceramics, wicker and rattan, cork, linen, cotton and wool. Look for plain designs in goes-with-anything shades of white, black, grey and warmer neutrals, plus washed-pastel shades of blue, green and nude pink.

    A modern, modular sofa can be tucked into a corner or used to zone a seating space in a larger room: a design with a movable footstool section and removable covers will give you flexibility. A plain, square coffee table can be worked into any style of scheme – avoid solid designs that will block sightlines across the centre of a room. Look for a simple, straight-legged sideboard in classic oak as it will work in other rooms and with various decorating schemes. Update around your classic foundation pieces with trend-led side tables and lighting.

    A gentle palette of mixed neutrals in warm taupe and fresh tea rose will create a tranquil scheme for a living room.

    Create a soothing bedroom space with matt textures, but add subtle glamour with metal, marble and glass. Upholstered bedheads tie you to a specific colour scheme and can discolour with age, while metal beds can either be very hard and contemporary or overtly traditional. An iconic vanity unit, such as the Ercol piece used here, will add some simple elegance to any bedroom scheme. A removable mirror means it can also be used as a desk or console. Simple bentwood tables add a modern edge to any style of room.

    Freshen and add definition to a cosy, neutral bedroom scheme with hits of pure brilliant white on paintwork, ticking fabrics in putty and neutral tones, and hints of blush pink.

    Buy an extending table table made from a hardwood, such as oak, as soft woods, like pine, are less hard-wearing and scratches can’t be sanded out. Even if you don’t have space to extend your table now, it’ll stand you in good stead later. Choose simple wooden chairs in iconic designs that don’t date, such as Bistro, ladder-back, bentwood, wishbone, carver. If you can’t afford a full set, buy two for the head and foot, then mix with other designs for an informal look.

    Use soft, neutral tones to let the natural patina of oak furniture stand out. Touches of copper will add sophisticated polish to a gentle, unfussy decorating scheme.

    For a home office, choose a sturdy, streamlined desk that will sit
    unobtrusively in a bedroom or living space. A modern, open utility
    shelving unit can be put to use here, or in a kitchen, utility or
    playroom in the future.

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