Undecorated Rooms | Timeless Interiors


Tonight’s post was inspired by some images I’ve found recently that aren’t your typical, “every hair is in place,” styled to the hilt kinds of rooms. These spaces could’ve been decorated yesterday or 80 years ago, or even longer in some cases. It’s impossible to tell and there’s something about that, that I find immensely appealing; truly timeless. Each has its own unique beauty, be it from wealth or a more bohemian background. Nothing is canned, manufactured, commercial or staged. The inherent beauty comes without any apparent effort; It just is. These are undecorated rooms. I think as designers it behooves us to look at these kinds of spaces to see what it is in them (or not in them) that we can bring to our own new designs to make them look as if they genuinely evolved over time. That is not an easy thing to do.



This old wallpaper and the colors are absolutely sublime!


Is this not the most divine kitchen cabinet you have ever seen? I’m pretty sure that it’s genuinely from a decade a while back. It could be replicated today, but it would require a superb craftsman!


love this unique shower stall! Exquisite!


Undecorated Rooms

  • have either true vintage or antique furnishings or new furnishings that look old
  • often have peeling paint and/or plaster walls, even some decay and definitely the patina that only can come with age. (or a very good artisan!)
  • feel scrubbed but old
  • are not contrived. Pieces don’t necessarily match, but they look good together
  • almost always have a lot of old books
  • feel aristocratic— like old money
  • never look dated and are free from the popular trends of the day
  • are sometimes a bit messy

Sometimes a little clutter can be elegant.

Best Wishes,

7th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2020 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Valarie Edwards - October 25, 2014 - 3:42 AM

    I just came across your site for the first time tonight and spent the entire evening reading your entire website. I especially like your insight on HGTV. There is very little I find satisfying about watching HGTV, except for House Hunters International. I especially like the post you did on undecorated rooms. Those rooms seem to reflect more of the homeowner style even if done by a decorator, versus looking like a decorator did everything down to the magazines on the table and there’s no part that reflects the heart and soul of the homeowner. Keep up the good work thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Jane Duchene - August 1, 2012 - 11:18 AM

    Clutter can be elegant. I love that you actually said that. It’s wonderful to see examples of homes that haven’t been impeccably merchandised and pared down like Coco Chanel’s famous, “always take off the last thing”. Also, loved your photo showing framed artwork in a variety of styles. I had been pining after the West Elm look, and I think at last. I’m over it. I’m a fan, Laurel.ReplyCancel

  • Loi Thai - July 27, 2012 - 2:33 PM

    Those rooms are all beautifully layered with books, artwork and objects. More please! Love them all….
    Cheers to you, Laurel!

  • l o v e l y t h i n g s - July 27, 2012 - 9:35 AM

    I love rooms that look as though they have been “collected” along the way. Stacks and stacks of books…and the magazines stacked below the black desk…beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Christina @greige - July 26, 2012 - 11:52 PM

    Thank you for your sweet comment on the blog today it made me giggle! These are some of my all time favorite spaces that you have included here. I love when things look great even if they seem unplanned.

    Have a great night!