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Beware the design trend trap

In 2003 there was a film released that sums up trendy home design for the next decade: Under the Tuscan Sun. Do you remember it? A woman moves to Tuscany, falls in love then subsequently blanches the entire United States in warm yellows, beiges and tiled floors. Designs had a very old European feeling, but mostly feel about as authentically Italian as an Olive Garden.

Design Trends Through the Years

Under the Tuscan Sun was followed by 50 Shades of Gray walls, carpet and cabinets. Do you remember that? I'm not exactly sure how grey was supposed to make us all emerge from the Great Recession, but somehow it did. Enter shiplap and all things Farm House a la Fixer Upper. I don't know about you, but I am a city slicker and have never lived on a farm. Fortunately grays turned into whites, and everything feels a little lighter and fresher.

What's the latest trend you ask?

The Pandemic put a rain cloud over the entire globe. So enter the rainbow and all things rainbow shaped. We have arched doors, arched furniture. All the arches to remind that you only get rainbows after it rains. Everyone knows that.

But now that it's a couple years removed from 2020 lockdowns, I got my rainbow shaped picture frame on sale at Home Goods. God I love Home Goods. So many great items at low prices. But do you see, rainbows are already on the surplus shelves.

Do you remember when everything was round in the 80s? The post-pandemic arches remind me of all the rounded corners and walls. Have you ever tried to furnish a room with curved walls? It is a nightmare. Or have you gotten a bid to remodel an octagonal kitchen? I do not recommend. Also, when you walk into those homes, you probably say to yourself, "This is so 80s." I know I do.

Beware the design trends

Trends are by definition trendy. It's tempting to just go with what's in style, but you really need to make sure you absolutely love it. Depending on how far you take it, you will be living with a trend for years (maybe decades) after the design was last featured in Sunset Magazine.

Eventually every kitchen feel out of date, but some more and faster than others. You want it to be worn out before it feels out of date. Design trends are like fast fashion. Everyone is constantly discarding them and installing the next best thing. But in your home, at least mine, that's pretty unrealistic, wasteful and would be ridiculously expensive.

When you're investing thousands in your home, trends set a trap. You want it to feel current and up-to-date. You aren't doing this remodel so your home doubles as a backup set to That 70s Show.

Trends look and feel like a certain decade like "That 70s  Show"

So here are a a few ways to be on-trend that can be easily updated when the next thing inevitably comes along. In general, these items don't include drywall, cutting or actual renovation.

Easy was to stay on trend

The key to tactically stay on trend is to apply the trend in places that can be easily updated.

You don't need to go overboard.

Try these

  • Light fixtures

  • Cabinet hardware

  • Faucets

  • Paint colors

  • Furniture (tread lightly)

  • Throw pillows (go for it)

  • Area Rugs

Where to avoid them

  • Cabinetry

  • Architectural features

  • Installed flooring

Trends aren't permanent, so your trendy design elements shouldn't be either. It is way easier to replace an area rug or throw pillow than to rip out your kitchen. See the difference?

Tread lightly on the trends and make sure you absolutely love a look before you make it part of your home. Ask yourself, do you really, really love it? Or do you like it because its familiar and you're seeing it everywhere. Ubiquity can go two ways: something becomes a classic with staying power - like a white kitchen, or it becomes tired and everyone moves on.


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