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Design 101

The New Classics: The Timeless Pieces That Will Always Be A Great Buy

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: the portland dining room reveal + how to create a room that is interesting yet sophisticated

Buying anything for your home can be well, nerve-wracking. I mean will it look good? How long will it hold up for? Will it go out of style just like “someone’s” once beloved zebra print rug from middle school? These are all great questions, but we here at EHD want to instill “buyer’s confidence” and say, “see ya” to any potential feelings of remorse. How EHD? HOW?

Now, we’ve designed a lot of rooms in our day and have noticed some consistent trends. Well, actually some anti-trends. What I mean by that is there are pieces that Emily and our design team (and honestly the whole of the design world) keep coming back to. Why? It’s because they are special but simple and modern yet classic. Not a trend at all, really. Just really good design. So we are calling it. Let me introduce The New Classics. Pieces that you can buy with total confidence because these puppies are TIME. LESS. Consider them inducted into the “Style Hall Of Fame.” You have our word.

The Round Throw Pillow

Emily Henderson New Classics 12
photo by tessa neustadt | from: a baby girl’s blush and green nursery

Let’s start simple, eh? No one is saying there is anything wrong with squares and rectangles, but Emily fell fast and hard for the simple round pillow when she was designing Birdie’s first nursery. It added the perfect amount of quiet visual interest that a stylist like her dreams of. And that was only the beginning of this budding love affair.

Why Is This A Safe Bet?

Emily Henderson New Classics 5
photo by tessa neustadt | from: how we styled our living room and kitchen to sell

A circle is one of those shapes that very few people take issue with in home decor (sorry triangles). It feels fun, but sophisticated and is literally the shape of the earth, sun, and moon so it’s not going to lose its popularity anytime soon. And I am telling you that if your bed, sofa, or large chair is in need a little “life” then get a circle-shaped pillow. If you are wanting to guarantee its style longevity and versatility then opt for a solid, more neutral color or simple patterned pillow. Here are some of our favorites on the market now:

New Classics Pillows

1. Round Hand Crochet Pillow | 2. Monte Pom Pom | 3. Anchal Crescent Pillow | 4. Cotton Canvas Round Pillow | 5. Blue Round Pillow | 6. Velvet + Wool Circle Pillow | 7. Monte Cushion | 8. Lush Velvet Pillow | 9. Cowhide | 10.  White & Yellow Pillow | 11. Grey & White Monte Cushion | 12. Vegan Faux Leather | 13. Fringe Throw Pillow | 14. Block Color Pillow | 15. Shelly Round Velvet Pillow

Emily and the design team have used #1 and #4 and they are great. I know that #9 is a bit crazy but in the right home, I think it could be so awesome.

More rooms with this little superstar: Our Master Bedroom – Finally! | Makeover Takeover: Jess’ Living Room | 14 Rules For How We Style The Perfect Bedroom (+ 3 New Reveals) | Target’s New Threshold Collection is Hitting the “Elevated Praiare” Trend Hard and Good | Reveal: A Budget and Rental-Friendly Living- and Dining Room

The Live Edge Table

Emily Henderson New Classics 7
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: a modern and organic living room makeover

I truly don’t think there is one person that has seen Emily’s live edge coffee table (the one above – at the time borrowed by her best friend, Corbett) that hasn’t at some point deeply coveted it. We still get emails asking where she got it or if they can buy it off of her. Anthropologie PLEASE BRING IT BACK. But it is this exact reason that (modern) live edge tables, in general, are here to stay… They are stunning.

Why Is This A Safe Bet?

Emily Henderson New Classics 6 1
photo by zeke ruelas | from: moody mid century home office

Beautiful wood will never go out of style. It just won’t. And when you add just the right amount of an organic shape, it is magical. Plus a live edge table is an easy way to add a little visual movement in your space. The last thing (in our opinion) you want is a room with all hard lines.

Emily Henderson New Classics 9
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: how target’s fall threshold collection nails the “updated classic” trend

The trick is to make sure they don’t look “too alive.” Like, a light to minimal sheen in terms of finishing and zero visible sap. Otherwise you’ll end up with the kind of table that is only ever “kind of” appropriate for the most mountain-y, log cabin home or restaurant. We have picked our top nine, perfectly sheened picks for you to feast your eyes on and potentially buy (only if you want to):

New Classics Tables 2

1. Buckland Coffee Table | 2. Organic Coffee Table | 3. Chilton Table | 4. Avery Wishbone Dining Table | 5. Buckland Accent Table | 6. Sansur Coffee Table | 7. Allard End Table | 8. Wood Slice Coffee Table | 9. Harbor Coffee Table

We have used #1 in a ton of rooms and can vouch for its awesomeness. Aside from that, we are a bit partial to  #4 and #8 🙂 But you honestly can’t go wrong with any of these picks.

More rooms with this stunner: How We Styled Our Living Room To Sell | Mountain House Reveal: How We Designed Our Super Kid-Friendly Family Room | How To Design A Pass-Through Room: The Portland Family Room | A Modern And Organic Dining Room Makeover | A Spanish Living Room | Mountain House Reveal: Our Light-Filled Neutral & Textural Living Room

The Modern Spindle

Emily Henderson New Classics 3 1
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: 14 rules for how we styled the perfect bedroom

Our hearts were truly stolen by the rise of the modern spindle bed. It perfectly bridges the gap between the past and future and shows off the beauty of great craftsmanship (especially when made by actual craftsmen like EHD’s favorite Thos. Moser).

Why Is This A Safe Bet?

Emily Henderson New Classics 4 1
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: 14 rules for how we styled the perfect bedroom

Well, this general style is not new and with this modern makeover, it has legs to run till the end of time. This style of bed looks sophisticated but not stuffy. Plus since it makes such a visual statement you don’t need much else in your bedroom. Just add some simple pieces like a nightstand, dresser, cozy linens, and you are set.

New Classics Beds 1

1. Foreside Bed | 2. Yuri Bed | 3. Stella Metal Bed | 4. Lenia | 5. Mid Century Spindle Bed | 6. Dellah Sprindle Platform Bed | 7. Culla Bed | 8. Kalmar Bed

Like I said, Thos. Moser is the top of the line so #1 is our all-time favorite, but #3 and #7 are wonderful (and more affordable) options.

A few more rooms with this beaut: Mountain House Reveal: The Coziest Upstairs Guest “Bunk” Bedroom | Our Master Bedroom Reveal | Sara Updates Her Childhood Bedroom 

The Broken Line Rug

Emily Henderson New Classics 2
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: reveal: a budget-friendly living and dining room (with 80%) thrifted finds

When we were discussing this post, Emily threw out the question, “What is the new beni ourain rug?” We took a second and then decided it was the broken stripe rug. We aren’t saying that a beautiful beni ourain rug isn’t still awesome, but the new kid on the block is here.

Why Is This A Safe Bet?

Emily Henderson New Classics 15
photo by tessa neustadt | from: 1 bedroom 4 ways with citizenry

Simple stripes are classic but can get a little visually bland, no? But a broken stripe pattern still honors the classic look but with a modern twist. This twist makes “the stripe” feel fresh but isn’t SO crazy that you will be asking yourself in a few years, “what was I thinking? Was my brain broken too?” It’s also cool and works with a ton of styles. Here are the ones we currently love:

New Classics Rugs 1

1. Williamsburg Area Rug | 2. Staggered Stripe Rug | 3. Broken Stripe Rug | 4. Emily & Meritt Striped Rug | 5. Nurae Rug | 6. Kye Rug

I don’t know which is my favorite because they are all great. #5 is obviously a home run because we featured it in the Atlanta project and loved it. Ok, #2 and #4 are pretty special too.

Marble Base Lamp

Emily Henderson New Classics 10
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: 4 ways to style that credenza for “real life” + shop our favorite credenzas

Marble is one of those materials that belongs in every room, no matter the style. It’s the style ninja, crushing (in a good way) any room it comes across. But where we tend to notice it is most commonly used is the lamp.

Why Is This A Safe Bet?

Emily Henderson New Classics 14
photo by tessa neustadt | from: the griffith park master bedroom reveal

Marble-base lamps are low pressure because they are small but can easily become the star of a room. And if you think wood is never going to go out of style, then marble is its partner in crime. It’s a classic, natural material that adds great texture to a room. We are keen on the modern, clean-lined pieces in particular. If you go too decorative, you run the risk of “the shape” going out of style. Here are our picks:

New Classics Lamps 1

1. Ionic Table Lamp | 2. Modern Marble Accent Table Lamp | 3. Kizu Table Lamp | 4. Mid Century Table Lamp | 5. Aitana Table Lamp | 6. Stacked Marble Table Lamp | 7. Sphere & Stem Table Lamp | 8. Domes Black Marble Table Lamp | 9. Gold and White Marble Accent Lamp | 10. Arum Table Lamp | 11. Rest Lamp | 12. Pillar Marble Table Lamp

Emily loves and owns #8 because it’s stunning. Then we also love the contrasting colors of #4 and #6. But if you were twisting my arm then my vote is #10… if I had the $$$.

A couple more rooms with this fav: Our Living Room, Dressed Up For The Holidays | Makeover Takeover: Jess’ Living Room

There you have it. Five new, but highly regarded pieces that we are confident, if purchased, you will love forever. Time will only tell when we will be ready for our next batch of “Hall of Famers.” But for now, let’s chat about our five stars. Do you agree? Do you have any products that fall into these categories you want to share with the group? Do you think we missed any? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

Love you, mean it.

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4 years ago

Great post! Very informative!
It would also be fun to see these items as they were used throughout past decades, or to see vintage items styled in a modern home. I think this would really help to enforce the idea that these pieces truly are timeless. Thanks for the suggestions on current items…I look forward to shopping for some of these!

4 years ago

Great post! I especially appreciate that you point out which items you all personally have experience with and can vouch for!!

4 years ago

Please make this a series!! Or at least do it quarterly. What a great idea! I was also surprised as what you picked, not that they aren’t modern classics, but literally bc i wouldn’t have thought of them. I am curious to know what else fits into this category. I kept thinking of things that maybe other people view as classics, but can seem dated, like sleigh beds…or… I’m stuck for other examples, but you know what I mean?

4 years ago
Reply to  Sahaja

Or like my brass bed…

4 years ago
Reply to  E

Ah, wish I had one of those?

4 years ago

I’ve been in the market for a new area rug for a while and have been agonizing over what style/pattern to go with. Now I think I know what route I will go….thanks!

4 years ago

I am currently in the market for a new bed and I have been trying to decide between the Perkins white oak spindle and the Grove from Room and Board. I have bead board paneling in the master bedroom and I’m worried the spindles would look too busy against the bead board. I have a modern cottage with a scandi vibe for reference. I’d love to hear any ones thoughts on this as it is an expensive decision!

4 years ago
Reply to  Jess Bunge

Thank you Jess!

4 years ago

Such a great list! I am constantly trying to discern what has staying power, and what is just a fleeting trend. Thanks for this!

Annie K
4 years ago

Question: Do I remember correctly that there was a time where marble was considered “eighties” and “over the top,” or was it just certain kinds of marble? Obviously it’s so big and everywhere now, but I have a faint recollection of a late 90’s distaste for it and white painted brick. If so, we’re all screwed 🙂

4 years ago
Reply to  Annie K

So true! My brother got some marble tile on clearance and decided to do a fireplace marble surround in it. It was mid 1990s. And I thought it was horrible! But maybe he just didn’t do it right. Marble in my 1912 Craftsman seems appropriate in bathrooms and kitchens (but not the fireplace).

4 years ago

For the past several years I’ve been drawn to natural wood tones, like a light maple bowling alley floor, or Scandinavian cabinetry, or kindergarten furniture. Several of your picks are natural wood — light and clean and lovely. How about a post on how to bring those natural wood tones into your home? I’m hoping we’re getting away from slapping a coat of paint on beautiful wood furniture, or staining floors really dark.

4 years ago

The grey pillow from west elm reminds me too much of the Death Star, but love the rest

4 years ago

Love this post! What a great idea.

4 years ago

You neglected to mention the IKEA Stolkholm rug; it comes in 2 sizes and 3 different colorways and is more affordable than some of the others. All wool too!

LA Lady
4 years ago
Reply to  Jodie

I was going to say the same thing! At one point, it seemed like every designer had used IKEA’s Stockholm rug, e.g., Orlando here…

4 years ago

I love the idea of this post, and hope you do more of these. It would be helpful, though, to see these items styled in a variety of homes…I think it would prove the point better. Like “here’s a marble based lamp, and it looks in both a california-Scandi home, but also this more traditional home.” But overall cool idea, and an approachable way to give decorating advice, which is why we’re here!!

4 years ago
Reply to  ASL

So glad you liked it! Great suggestion too – we’ll definitely try to incorporate more styles in these types of posts 🙂

4 years ago

If you have the budget, anything made by Thos. Moser is timeless. I have living room furniture from them that I bought 12 years ago, and it never looks trendy or dated. It’s just amazing craftsmanship! I’d also say that Shaker style is timeless. It works in the farmhouse, the antique filled home, the transitional home, and mid-century modern home.

4 years ago

Genuinely curious — how do people keep their light colored/white rugs clean? I love the look and I see them everywhere in design photos, but it seems so impracticable for daily living? I could never keep my white bathroom rug looking truly white for more than a week before it needed washed and ultimately replaced it with a darker colored one. Maybe people with white rugs have mysteriously cleaner feet than my household or don’t have pets?

4 years ago
Reply to  KAH

A mystery I too would love an answer to… Emily’s had a few white rugs in her life, but she’s a brave soul. I have one leather hide rug in white (a hand-me-down from Em), but it’s about the easiest thing in the world to keep clean.

4 years ago
Reply to  KAH

In my experience, if the rug is made of high quality fibers, it’s easier to maintain a white or light color. Seems counterintuitive to spend more on a light color rug but it makes a huge difference. Other tips: keep shoes off in the house (or have a dedicated pair of house shoes) and vacuum ideally every day (I know…) but if not every day then as often as you can. Also, not having any children helps keep rugs in general looking nice and crispy too haha.

4 years ago
Reply to  KAH

Don’t wear shoes in the house and don’t have pets. ♡

4 years ago

I know it is extremely beautiful, but I take issue with the live edge table. By its very nature, it needs to be made from a REALLY big tree. Take a look at the coffee table and imagine it as a slice of tree trunk. See how big that tree is? Do we want to be cutting old growth trees (that could be rare rainforest) in order to have a beautiful thing in our home? It is so beautiful but it just makes me sad to see it.

4 years ago

When I first saw live edge a few years ago all I could think about was back in the seventies when every body in Florida had a cypress coffee or end table.
It was not a fond memory.
Fast forward…..last summer at a artisan show I saw a table with a live edge and the base was an antique Singer sewing machine base. The craftsman was retired and this was his hobby. His prices were amazingly affordable. I rubbed my hand over the top. I talked to him about where he gets his wood. I so wanted to talk myself into that table but where would I put it. I still have a kitchen island in storage that has an original bowling lane
for the top. So I passed the little table up.
How many times have I wished I bought it since then? Too many!!! It would have been perfect to use as a desk for a lap top!!!

4 years ago
Reply to  Loretta

When I was in Louisiana recently I was talking with someone who does old cypress tree recovery from bayous (known as “sinker cypress”). It was really fascinating to hear about. He said that cypress is an incredibly strong wood that resists rot when exposed to water, and cypress tress that have been at the bottom of swamps and bayous for years are perfect for building and furniture. When recovered carefully, it’s perfectly fine to remove from the bayous, which eliminates the need to cut live trees. It’s like tree recycling.

4 years ago

Thank you for concrete examples, your reasoning behind choosing them, photos of each, and sources! This is what sets EHD apart from any other design blog of which I am aware. I always learn something when I read your design articles. Thanks for doing this for us!

4 years ago

I love all of these ideas but I’m so over live edge. It’s just everywhere and has lost its allure for me. I’m glad I didn’t splurge on the pricey live edge dining table I longed for a few years ago!

Paige Cassandra Flamm
4 years ago

I have been loving the modern black dining chairs lately! It’s making me want to update our current set!


4 years ago

I’m so into them too! I’ve been dreaming about the ones in Shay Mitchell’s AD house tour since it came out:

4 years ago

Thank you so much Emily for featuring our handwoven pillows 🙂

4 years ago

Great post! Thanks so much. Just got the live edge coffee table from Chairish. Have been looking FOREVER for something just like that in the right size. Thanks so very much for sourcing it:)

4 years ago

Great post, and SUPER useful to me!

I’m wondering about wishbone chairs. I love them so much… Are they truly timeless, or is the same me who at one time loved chevron speaking?

4 years ago

Totally agree that high quality wood will never go out of style. We just got a beautiful walnut dining room table but now we need chairs!? Any ideas?

4 years ago

Great post! Totally agree that high quality wood will never go out of style! We just got this high-end dining room table and we love it! But now we need chairs! Any ideas!?