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Classic Style — Participation Required

by | Sep 11, 2007 | Authentic Living, Decorating Inspiration | 43 comments

Classic Style -- Participation Required


Now that we all agree (well, everyone who commented yesterday, I am sure there are plenty that disagree!) that timeless beauty (with room for a little trendy flair in a few accessories perhaps) is the way to go for our homes, we need to come up with a list of classics. The things that you can always use in your home design or architecture that will have a timeless appeal.

For each of us, the definition of what is classic or what is a favorite might be a little different, but that is why today, VIEWER PARTICIPATION is required. You view my post, you comment! Got it? Good! If I don’t see 500 comments here, I’m coming after you, no lurkers today. I want everyone’s favorites that have stood the test of time.

I want us all to stretch our appreciation to include a wider range of classic style for the home. And maybe learn about a few classic things we didn’t know about before. It can be things like pedestal sinks, ironstone, hexagon tiles, black & white, slipcovers, white porcelain clawfoot tubs, swing arm lamps, whatever seems timeless to you. You can list one or more things. Don’t be shy, this is not a scientific poll. It is just for fun and no one will judge you for your thoughts. First 10 people to comment get bonus points. Designers, you participate too! Everyone!

Ok, here we go!

P.S. That classic dreamy porch is from cottage living design assistant


  1. Shannon

    That porch is definitely DREAMY! In puting my new house plan together the front porch aspect was the one thing I wanted but didn’t really get….not the way I wanted it anyway. Putting a plan together is hard to do and get everything you want out of it.

    No, I am not a party planner, but I do get told that I should be. I personally just don’t think that the community in which I live has people that would be willing to pay for those kind of services. Who knows. Maybe I’ll give it a shot when I have both of my kiddos in all day school.

  2. DebraK


  3. Julie

    This probably isn’t what you were looking for but first and foremost for me is family pictures. Nothing says home to me more than displaying old photos, new pictures, whatever. Also, I have 2 small lamps on my buffet that only use 4 watt bulbs. They have beaded “fringe” hanging on them and even though the base is green and shade is marbled gray with pinkish roses – I can pretty much set them anywhere in my house. A good china closet – candles – a mantle clock – the bible

    I’m no decorator and those who are are probably just cringing right now. But I love those pieces and no matter the style I would ever choose – those will be there.


  4. Dawn-Hydrangea Home

    Hi Melissa,
    I have to say (and not just because I design them), but florals (fresh or realistic) beautifully warm up a room, giving it a very pleasant homey feel. And thanks so much for coming to my tea party so I could find your amazing blog!

  5. Dee

    Flower and candles.

  6. melissamichaels

    Thanks! You guys are doing well! Keep ’em coming, it is so fun to see everyone’s ideas!

  7. janet

    Off the top of my head…old brass beds, quilts or matelasse (sp?) coverlets, mahogany dressers, bookcases ( built-in and free standing), books, family photos, transferware, toile, oriental rugs and I guess that is it for now. You have got me thinking now and maybe I will come up with more later.

  8. Rhoda

    Hi, Melissa! i’m trying to get caught up from being out of town. Thank you for faithfully coming by to visit me. I’ve enjoyed reading back on your previous posts. Those things about you were really interesting & now I feel I know you better. I love Dateline & 48 Hrs. Mystery too!! As well as HGTV or DIY (when there is something decent’s not as good as it used to be!).

    OK, for classic style, I can’t agree with you more. As I’ve gotten older that is my main objective when I decorate now…keep it classic & timeless for the most part & I’m trying not to add a lot of trendy stuff to my decor. Here’s what I love…toile (already mentioned, lots love it!), mahogany, cherry, walnut OLD furniture. I have lots of older pieces that I just adore & would never trade them in for new things. Hardwoods, transferware, black & white things, leopard print in moderation, architectural fragments are great additions, I’m a sucker for little old tables or chairs, needlepoint, tapestries, lamps (new or vintage), creamware, and I know there’s much more, but that’s my list for now.

    This was fun! Classic is’ve got that right.


  9. Rhoda

    Had to come back & add a few more from my list of classics on my blog…oil paintings (new or old), fleur de lis, majolica, tole trays, urns, & beadboard. How’s that for classics! Love all of these. You can’t go wrong with all these things in your decorating arsenal!


  10. Linda

    Hi, just found your site- it’s great!
    I’d add fresh flowers ( tulips,peonies and garden roses, especially),orchids, family pictures in silver frames ( in moderation) and Rigaud candles.

  11. The Peak of Chic

    Great post!!! I just did a post a few weeks ago on items that to me are classic, so my list is a little specific. Rigaud candles, Tiffany bamboo flatware, Chinoiserie, animal prints, brass lamps (stylish ones!), Porthault linens, butler’s trays, Chippendale chairs, ….. Do you want me to be quiet now??? :)

  12. Leslie

    Satillo tile. Have it in my kitchen and family room. It was put in 15 years ago, although it could have been 50 years ago. That’s timeless!

  13. Becky

    No lurking here! ha! Timeless: hmmmmmmm……
    Vintage textiles – old quilts, embroidered towels, tatting, crochet, cross stitch, feed sacks, Vogart pillows.

    Dishes: Ironstone, Restaurant China, grandma’s tea cup, vintage salt and pepper shakers.

    Furniture: Your favorite old chair – perhaps one that you had as a child. An old hall tree, mirrors, buffets, Queen Ann legs.

    Frames: Gesso, Victorian, Black Forest, Tramp Art.

    I agree with you. Classic pieces never go out of style and add such warmth and character to a home. Your posts are always intriguing. Love that porch!!!!

    Have a lovely day,


  14. Andrea

    Wing Back chairs. Just having my favorite re-covered!

  15. Mélanie

    It is a wonderful american porch !! We all have our definition of classic ..

  16. Daisy Cottage

    Great post, as always, and wonderful, classy things have been listed so far – I think books in a home to be read, loved, displayed are classic AND as long as the homeowner’s heart and soul is reflected with their decor and belongings then that is classic to me.


  17. Fairfax

    Old family silver. Family portraits (either your family or instant ancestors). White candles.

  18. Alice

    I could sit on this porch forever, sipping tea and watching the world go by. Thanks for stopping by my blog. As soon as I ever get time, I’ll add you to my favorite’s. I haven’t added any to date, just need to find the time to sit down and do it. In the meantime, I’ll surely return to see what delights you have posted.

  19. Kathleen Grace

    I would have to say, wood floors, Porch swings, rich color, lush draperies, white anything….so much to choose from, I may have to think about it and come back.

  20. Robin

    Vintage textiles, mica lamps, old photos, tole trays, vintage advertising signs and old street signs, old Hitchcock furniture, rocking chairs and a fragrant home.
    Love the blog!!

  21. HOBAC

    Classics…hmm… Billy Baldwin Tuxedo sofa – will last a lifetime and never dates; traditionally upholstered French or English armchairs; rush matting and antique rugs; cork; linoleum; card lmpshades; Colefax & Fowler fabrics; split bamboo blinds; 2 dog beds and 2 dogs to make the whole thing look like it has been there forever.

  22. Vee

    Hmmmm, let’s see. Books, lots of books with great covers because I’m judging books by their covers these days. And linens. Beautiful crisp linens. I’m from New England so I also love to see white painted woodwork.

  23. Victoria

    Monogramed china,sliver,napkins,pillows…you get the idea. And built-ins like window seats,corner china cabinets,bookcases. Plus walking sticks, and the three T’s toile,tole and transferware. Lovely old oil paintings and botanicals and I could go on and on and it looks like I have. Chow

  24. tracy

    hmmm, the things that have been in my home for years & I never grow tired of…

    my antique dresser purchased for my brother as a baby but I decided it was better suited for me (aged 8), photos of my family & of my husband & I, favorite books on display, my greatgrandmother’s quilt, cherished glassware handed down from grandparents.

    I love vintagey florals & toilles, botanical prints, candle holders, dried flowers, clusters of my favorite things on an end table, glass bottles & Ball jars (filled with water & cranberries during the holidays), tea cups, really anything I feel is pretty & makes me happy to look at.

    my overall decorating style, while it hasn’t changed dramatically over the past 20 years, does change somewhat with the seasons, and with my need to make (small) changes in my life. It may be as simple as a new paint color, or a new throw over my comfy chair, but I can’t ever just let things be. Odd, though, because my grandparent’s house never changed once in my whole life, and that’s one of the things that I loved best about it.

    I’ve been in my house for just about a year, and still don’t feel I’m finished putting it together yet. One of these days, I’ll start posting more house photos on my site! Or else, just close ups :)

  25. Penny, Mosaic Artist

    Wicker chairs, hardwood floors, copper pots, quilts, leather chairs, farm tables, teapots, linen, chandeliers….(mosaics? lol wishful thinking!)

  26. Dasha

    Unclutteredness. Pretend its a word :)

  27. kara garber

    no bed in a bags for me! mix it up is the best!
    here are my top picks:
    1. shutters on a house (ask my husband about this, ok don’t ask)i know that’s on the outside of a home.
    2.candles year round: seda france in japanese quince or french tulip
    3.anything vintage or antique (i’m the gal that looks @ the props in pottery barn, but doesn’t purchase their goods.
    4.fav timeless items: italian chandeliers, the perfect french chair, european pine furniture pieces (painted or unpainted)religious prints, nesting tables.
    5.i love “things” to have a sense of history to them, makes for an interesting home.
    thanks melissa for another delightful post.

  28. Sandi

    Okie dokie…let’s see. I’ll list mine:
    Old worn wood floors, where you can see where others have gone before you.
    Quilts made from my mother’s childhood clothing
    Beds with lots of pillows/
    Pictures of family members I never had the chance to meet, yet seem such a part of who I am.
    Any house that says, “Time put me together, not a showroom floor.” I love when every itme in a house has a story that goes behind it’s purchase or discovery.
    Could I go on and on….yep! but I’ll stop for now.

  29. Debe from Texas

    LAMPS! The warm glow of a beautiful lamp makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. It isn’t green but I love having lamps on all over my house.

  30. Teresa

    silver. tarnished and loved. urns, candleabras, cups, pitchers, trays, etc…must have silver. can’t even get enogh of it these days!

  31. Sarah Jennings

    Great post! Some classic things: beautiful Charleston style lanterns flanking the front door; monogrammed towels and stationery; bergere chairs; Chippendale chairs; silk drapes; grand pianos.

  32. Terri

    Oh, I am late in the game and everyone has such great ideas. For me, the classics are:
    Custom millwork, high baseboards, a big walk-in pantry, 9 foot ceilings at least, wrap-around verandas, rose bushes, iron fences, red or grey brickwork, wrought-iron bed frames, great mantlepieces, paintings both modern and historical, quilts your Grandma made, duvets and featherbeds, wainscoting, pedestal sinks and clawfoot tubs, black and white checkerboard floors, un-carpeted foot-worn stairwells, wide cut wood floors, old red barns, weathervanes, heavy cotton tea-towels, linen dresser and table runners, bergere chairs, oval mirrors, a bench seat at the back door, a high-backed rocking chair, a pot of tea on the stove, sleeping dogs and/or cats…

  33. julie

    anything you find to be pretty and useful, mixed textures, finishes and colors (and, really, all colors “go” togehter), never ever try to “match” anything…vintage silverware, well-worn wood furniture, vintage linens, any classic chair, ironstone, original artwork, cats & dogs, hardwood floors, etched glass, little nooks.

  34. Sophiehoneysuckle

    OOh what a fabulous idea for a post! I’d have to add vintage-style floral wallpaper, chandeliers, and white wicker!

  35. Posey

    Everybody has great ideas, but some of the classics for me are…fireplaces with wood mantels, old wood floors, a front porch and a back screened-in porch (wish I had one!),a welcoming entry hall with a wood staircase,claw foot bathtub, walk-in pantry, lots of blue, definitely blk/wht family pictures in black frames and mementos from family happenings!

    Melissa, this was a great idea, love reading your blog!!

  36. Marilyn

    I love your blog! I think lamps, pillows and rugs have stood the test of time! The colors may change along with the style but they are the epitome of “classic”!

  37. Beck

    I’ve got to love photos, candles, travel momentos, family heirlooms, fresh flowers, mohair throw rugs, books… these things all make a house feel like a home.

  38. cherry

    Wow kinda late to the game. Most have been said I think. A good solid ticking (stripes) in general never go out for fabrics and go so well with florals. Silver of any sort. Nice trim work, beadboard. Silhouttes. Wicker or baskets for texture…linen…love linen. Books, china, trays. I agree if it is something that you love and it creates a warm and inviting atomsphere it is classic for you. I do think some “classic” such as too traditonal can get boring or to stuffy. So a little whimsy to me helps keep things from getting to serious. cherry

  39. Sue

    OK, here’s my take on classic in list form. Georgian style, detailed trim moldings proportionaly placed, beautifly proportioned rooms, dark wood floors, old oriental rugs, classic tile work, furniture in the style of the l8th century cabinet makers, tailored upholstered seating and curtains, well fitted kitchens and pantries, beautiful china and silver, fresh flowers in lovely containers, hand stitched pillows and door stops, lamps from ginger jars or of brass, pictures in gold frames of ancestors or landscapes, pictures of the flora and fauna found in your garden. I could go on and on but that’s my take on classic decorating but as has been said in other comments, everyone has their own list of the classics that they like to use.

  40. Emily-Sarah

    I love history, especially family history, and so I am the keeper of all things. Relatives know this and whenever a piece of furniture needs a home, I get it. We have my parents’ 1960s solid cherry table that a man made just for them; my great-aunt’s parlor sofa and matching chairs; an antique bedroom suite that was my grandparents’ neighbors; a 1956 Hotpoint stove. And on and on the list goes … everything here has a story.

    As my toddler becomes more “independent,” I find myself adding odd things to how I define “classic style.” We live in a 1941 home where nothing is “square” or even … and so when he dings a wall instead of getting uptight, I see these marks the way they’ll look in the future: evidence of life here! I think not being so rigid that we “fix” every dent or scratch can become, to a degree of course, a small part of that style.

  41. Vintage Furniture

    Hey, I really love old retro stuff and vintage furniture is one of my favorites. The old stuff was made well and lasts, not like the new cheap stuff.

  42. retro

    I do love the classics.

  43. Mrs. Q

    Crown moulding (wish I had some…eventually maybe…lol) and black and white photos of beloved family members.


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