trend alert : avoiding buyer’s remorse in our homes

Remember the first time you heard a great song on the radio? You loved the song because it was catchy and it had an awesome tune. You loved that song because it made you happy. You just loved it. It’s as simple as that.

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And then the local radio station, as well as everyone else and their grandmother decided to run it into the ground, because apparently everyone loves it. Even that obnoxious mom in your child’s class at school. You could swear you heard her humming it the other day. And six months later, it comes on in the car for the fiftieth time that hour, and you’re kind of over it…in fact, that song kind of drives you bonkers now. And you realize, much to your dismay, that it’s because everyone else likes it. It kind of made it not so special anymore. You hipster, you.

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Trends in the home are kind of like that song you loved. In fact, any time something I really like is labeled as a trend, I find myself cringing a little on the inside. I kind of hate the word and it’s connotations. Trends are a part of our every day lives and a necessary evil…they drive our economy and the design world. They inspire and fuel our choices. They’re not bad in and of themselves, but when something is labeled as “trendy” it feels loaded. It automatically becomes temporary. Fleeting. In an ‘everyone has it, and you’ll be over it in six months’ way. I’m not saying this is always true. But sometimes it’s a dirty label that makes it feel that way.

Here’s where we’re challenged by trends: Where do we draw the line between choosing things that we really love, and keeping spaces fresh, while also creating homes that withstand the trials of time?

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I don’t know about you guys, but I find myself truly challenged by that. Everything is temporary. So I get it. But sometimes, its easy to become disenchanted by the over saturation out there. While the optimist in me wants to tune it out and carry on with my own designs and ideas {And trust me, I do} I realize that to a degree, it’s important in doing what I do, to pay attention to trends. Sometimes I completely overanalyze everything I do on a practicality level. Sometimes, I have to tell myself to stop over thinking things.

Some people are over the top about trends in the home, while others are too paralyzed by fear to do anything fun, for fear of what their mom might say… So today {feel free to play!} I thought it would be fun to discuss our own trend policies in our homes.

Here are a few self-discovered truths on creating my own home, that I like to adhere to.

1. Mind the Spectrums. 

I truly believe that it’s all about moderation. There are spectrums of saturation when it comes to trends, and their use in home decor and design. Growing up, our parents were purging their homes of dark, paneled walls complimented with those awesome tweed, plaid sofas. Accented, of course, with avocado green appliances and shag carpet. The avocado green invaded those homes. While I realize that things do change over time with styles and some of it is inevitable, what I’m learning is that it’s all about thinking smartly now, so it’s not a huge hit to take, later. I saw this quote in the most recent Domino, and couldn’t agree more:

Whether it’s handmade, vintage, antique, modern, or repurposed + upcycled steampunk…  Fill your home with multiple styles, and you’re less likely to tire as quickly. Mix it in, and you won’t feel overwhelmed, or regret it later. One piece is much easier to replace, than fifty. It’s all about moderation.

2. The Classics Keep Bouncing Back. 

While the process of trends are a vicious cycle in the design world, the classics keep bouncing back for a reason. Yes, everyone has now officially used chevron. But is it over used? I don’t know. Here’s where art history can be your friend: did you know it was used in the Taj Mahal? And the Taj Mahal is a symbol of one man’s undying love…so in my book it never gets old.

Someone labeled stripes the other day, as a trend. And I kind of wanted to throw up in my mouth a little. I’ll argue you under the table: when used in moderation, stripes never get old. They may as well be an element of nature. ;}

Classics are classics for a reason. Think aged brass, glass doorknobs and reclaimed wood. So if a trend comes back in the form of something classic, embrace it. You can’t go wrong in my book.

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3. Baby Steps + Small Doses

I touched on this in step no. 1 above, but I’m pretty sure my mom threw out her flame stitch sofa circa 1990 for a reason. Though I personally think it’s right around the corner in terms of all things home trends, great comebacks of 2014, I’ll be skipping the hunter green and burgundy variety this time around.

It’s all about being able to Go simple and classic with your big ticket items, and work the fun in with your small ones. Choose your ‘pricey’ pieces that will be a tried and true shape. The kind that you can re-cover in twenty years and hand down to your children. That being said, I also find that the less money you spend on the trendy stuff, the less difficult it is to switch it around. The more fun you can have with it in your home. Handmade items are the same way, and they have your own personal look. You’re less likely to grow tired of the things you poured your own blood, sweat and sheer determination into. When it’s your own creation, it becomes an extension of you. And while you’re not chained to it forever, it certainly exudes its own look. The masses and can’t ruin that for you. Because you made it.

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Back to my original song vs. trends analogy: Tiring of a song doesn’t really apply to your favorite song of all time. You have your list of those classics. The ones that take you back, hold sentimental value and you love, simply because you always will. You could never tire of them. In the same way, choose things for your home because you love them, and you can’t go wrong. Sometimes its good to stop thinking so much and follow your instincts. You’ll build a home that you love, and curate pieces that you cherish. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. And don’t forget to have fun.

Just don’t play it too many times. It may get stuck in your head. ;}

So spill it. What are your trend policies in your own home? What are some self truths you’ve found to be valuable over the years? Do you love them or avoid them like the plague? I’d love to hear!

Have an inspired day, everyone!

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39 Responses to trend alert : avoiding buyer’s remorse in our homes

  1. I loved this post as one who just got her first yardage of chevron fabric in the mail this week and recovered a chair seat in it. I’ve been LOVING the chevrons for so long but afraid to incorporate any of it for fear of going overboard and looking like everyone else. I want my home to be a unique, timeless representation of ME, not what everybody else is doing. But I just couldn’t hold off any longer. And hey…its only one chair cushion, right? Its all about moderation:)

  2. mila says:

    THANK YOU for this post. I really needed this today after debating and over thinking some fabrics I’ve really wanted for a while now. I’m off to purchase what I originally wanted, but was not sure I really wanted after someone said something to me. Long story, but thanks.

  3. Janet says:

    I’ve always been a big believer that you should purchase classic pieces. This just confirmed my old school belief. I heart this post. Happy Friday to you!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Fantastic post! I couldn’t agree more! :)

  5. Sarah Roya, says:

    Timely post. I dreamt of penny tile backsplashes and big fat gray and white horizontal stripes last night, both of which are classics that seem a little trendy. You can’t go wrong with fresh clean classics, even if someone calls them “a trend”.

    Now, what about color? Do I love deep saturated indigo-ish navy enough to paint my kitchen island that color or is just that time of year when every shade of blue reminds me of the ocean and swimming pools and jumping right in? Too trendy? Maybe…..

    Love your site!

  6. Buy what you like. You will never go wrong. I will never tire of chevrons. Ever!

  7. Kathryn says:

    I was reading a different blog the other day where they were smashing all over chevron. I was very dissalussioned because I really like it and think its classic too (yes, in moderation). Thank you for setting it all straight!

  8. Laura says:

    Very good post!! I think a lot of the wisdom that comes with making these decisions comes with age & experience. (I know that sounds overly philosophical when we’re talking about decorating a house, but it’s true!) When we’re younger, we want to fit in, so we buy trendy stuff. Thus our parents with their gold shag carpet, avocado appliances, dark paneling, & plaid tweed sofa. (My parents had all of those!) But as we get older we appreciate the classics more. I find that true in more areas of life than just decorating. It also makes me feel old. ;-) And p.s. I had to google flame stitch to know what you were talking about, and when the images popped up, I laughed out loud. :-) And another p.s. I am now obsessed with Chesterfield sofas, thanks to you. Haha! But that is a classic that will never go out of style; I mean, look at how long they’ve been around!

  9. I’m in the boat today where I bought fabric to slipcover cushions. It’s taken me a couple of months to get around to sewing them and now I want something very neutral.

  10. Emily says:

    I just wrote a post this morning about how design is always evolving – I’ve been afraid to really do much in my own home for fear of missing a trend or being the one that gets left behind with shag carpets :) I finally realized that the important thing is just to start. Even if chevron is “over” I still like it so I’m putting it in my house – all in moderation! Thanks for sharing this today, and giving me some needed perspective!

  11. Jena says:

    GREAT post!!! Perfect analogy to songs. Just great information.

  12. Kylie Jensen-Smith says:

    I couldn’t agree more! What a great post. X

  13. Allis says:

    We have a super tight budget, so I’m never really able to run out and grab something for the home that’s “trendy”. Usually I have to wait for everyone else to get tired of it, first. ;) Then I can pick it up secondhand, at a thrift store or a garage sale. Ha!

    Really, though, because of this, I stew over trends for a ridiculous amount of time. I’ve seen the chevron thing go round and round and now every time it pops up on Apartment Therapy it seems half of the comments are about how much people are tired of chevron. Truth is that I just got my first-ever chevron rug for our house. I put it in our boys’ nursery. (Seen here: http://remyperdiem.xanga.com/761907633/new-digs/) I LOVE. IT. And I’m pretty sure I’ll love it for quite some time, if only because I thought about it for forever and ever before actually being in the position to get it for myself. :) Everyone else may be tired of it, but my long wait just confirmed for me how much I really wanted it. :)

    I think it’s generally a good policy (design-wise) to invest in the things that you’re able to obsess over for a ridiculous amount of time before actually getting access to them (like your new chesterfield.) Like getting a tattoo–if you draw it on yourself every day and still aren’t tired of seeing it after a year or two, you’re probably good to go. ;)

  14. I think you are spot on. Trends are one of those things that are meant, like all else, to be used in moderation. If you give your self a classic, neutral backdrop, then you can have fun incorporating trends that inspire you. If I can make something that is trendy, cool. If I can paint it a trendy color, cool. If I don’t love it ten minutes later, cool. I’m only out some inexpensive supplies and a little time. I will admit to being one of those that hasn’t jumped on the sunburst mirror, chevron or ikat trends. They just do not appeal to me. And the flame stitch sofa? I think that is precisely why I don’t like ikat. Its just too similar in texture. And the sunburst mirror is far too similar to a huge brass sun plaque that my parents had for years…that I had to polish. My reluctance to sign on to the chevron bandwagon has aboslutely nothing to do with childhood though. It is that song you speak of that is overplayed and become dull as a result.

  15. Erin Young says:

    I struggle with this every single day. I am in the process of trying to make our house more “us” and less what I thought a “grown up house” looked like. It is hard b/c people say age and experience are what you need….neither of which I have. I wish there was just a “timeless list” that I could refer to. :))

  16. Jenn says:

    GREAT food for thought! Regarding antiques and Ms. Blair’s advice…we accepted several antique (or solid wood) pieces as newlyweds. Here we are ten years down the road and we have a coffee table, desk, lawyer’s bookcase, victorian sofa, and three chests that we don’t want/need for various reasons (no space, not our style, etc. – or maybe they just don’t serve our family well anymore), but, we are in this awful place of hurting feelings and trying to figure out what we do with it. This is random…I’m just a bit overwhelmed right now with how much stuff we have because we took it because it was offered. So I’d just add to Ms. Blair’s advice – make sure it really is pretty, something you LOVE, otherwise, pass. This really had nothing to do with trends…sorry. :)

  17. I think the problem today is, as you said, the over saturation. The classic, clean, neutral spaces are now considered trendy…..and the rustic, reclaimed cottage look…..and industrial…..and vintage……and clean and modern with a few antiques in the mix…..ay carumba. Because of so many eye candy sites (pinterest, apartment therapy, design blogs) that we have access to, people are realizing that ANYTHING they do could be considered “been there, done that.” We all want to be individual, but here’s the problem: we all like the same things.

    {linking over from pinterest – gasp! – and had to jump in. great post}

  18. Ann says:

    I like clean lines and light, neutral colors on walls, floors and furniture. I like my patterns and colors in my accessories. I can always change those out pretty inexpensively when I get bored with them, or with a change of season or holidays. Not to say I haven’t done some questionable decorating that has made my husband of 35 years smile sheepishly then turn around quietly and go into the garage to find something to do! LOL.

  19. Meredith says:

    I absolutely agree – it’s all about moderation. I also think, though, that you have to consider your own Personal Style in the equation. Something that’s trendy for one person may be a foundation piece for another. Every trend is taken from a particular style. As an example, for a lot of people, white-painted “shabby” furniture was a trend a few years ago…for others, it’s part of their personal style forever. So even if it is trendy, if it’s who you are, go all in – no regrets!
    Of course, you touched on one of the “problems” – that when a part of your own style becomes the current trend, your style loses some of its special uniqueness. (For me, it’s birds. I’ve loved them for years and years and they were always a special touch in my designs. Now, the market is saturated with them, and I look like I’m being trendy in stead of unique. But, oh well. I’ve just used it as an opportunity to get more!

  20. Laura says:

    I feel the same way. I also think the bottom line is do what you love, buy what you like and enjoy! Growing up, my mom had a large school chalkboard that she pulled out of an old schoolhouse. I have been writing on it since kindergarten and it’s now in my kitchen. While it may be trendy now, it really has always been around. So really, these “trends” aren’t anything new, just maybe reinvented. I think we can get inspiration overload with Pinterest, Polyvore and other sites so you just have to take a step back and be true to yourself. If that means wanting to try that “trend,” go for it.

  21. Geez, I feel like it’s been forever since I came over and commented! I read all your posts….just haven’t had time to get over and comment. I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, I like trends and I like my clothes and decor to reflect it. So be it, when it goes away or I don’t like it anymore, I’ll just paint over it or sew a new one! ha. Great post. I found my moms hope chest in the shed the other day and I use to think it was so out of style but now, those modern looking little chests with the tiny short legs are back in! I don’t know what you call them but it’s kinda cool looking . This post just made me think of that…. I don’t know why.

  22. Oh, ps. your link on Tony’s Evenpar front webpage under clients isn’t working. I was looking through his clients and their templates hoping to find ideas for him for my site. It looks like the website address is correct though. Might just be me.

  23. Moriah says:

    What if I am on the other end of the spectrum? I always take the safe route then after my DIY or semi bland purchase, I realize it was too safe and am sad that I didn’t go a bit further. I am no designer, but love the little pops. Playing it too safe means never taking on a trend. Maybe for fear it will be the wrong one. Any suggestions?

  24. Jenn says:

    I’m SO with you! I try to keep my big items really neutral. I think when we initially bought our house I went a little trend crazy, even though I knew it wasn’t what I loved. After a long time of trying to work what I loved into the trendy stuff I’d purchased, instead of the other way around, I finally just said “forget it” and over the past few years have been transitioning my house back to what I love and working the trends in where they fit, and I love it, but it’s been an expensive mistake. Now I keep my large pieces neutral and timeless and work in the trendy little things IF THEY GO. There are some things that I love that just won’t fit into the overall feel of what I like, so I have to just admire from the computer screen :D My bottom line: DO WHAT YOU LOVE, don’t worry about the trends whether that has a good or bad connotation to you. It’s YOUR home!

    And I LOVE the quote about the antiques and PRACTICE it–much to my husband’s dismay ;)

  25. Spot on. Growing up my parents found a little old school desk with the attached chair at a thrift store and put in my room. I adored it! When they finally made some money and could afford to remodel, around my 6th grade year, they got rid of it because it was not trendy. I was not consulted in this decision and I was crushed! I was stuck with white laminate furniture :( But the other day I found a darling school desk circa 1972 at good will and I snatched that bad boy up! As two people commented on how amazing of a piece it was, and “for only $9?” I guarded that baby with my life until I caught a floor clerk’s eye and got them to put it in back at the loading dock while I paid. School desk are not trendy, and probably not all that cool to anyone but me and my childhood recollections, but I adore it and it will make my home just that “my home.” And then when it does become trendy I can be like, “oh yeah, thanks, I’ve had it for years.” That’s how trend-setters are made, by buying/making/wearing/doing/decorating with what they love.

  26. Ali Thompson says:

    so many truths in this post! well said. and i’m with you on the stripes! love a striped anything.
    new to your blog & had lots of fun perusing!
    xoxo
    ali

  27. Angie says:

    I like trends in accessories moreso than with entire homes. I am so sick of seeing the same thing all over the place, like the room remodel online that is surprise, gray walls and a white slipcovered sofa. I feel like sometimes people don’t let their individuality show when they are only concerned with keeping up with the trends. I love fresh and light, but I tend to love warmer hues, and with so many bloggers only keeping up with the “trends” it is harder to find the real life inspiration.

  28. Morgan says:

    Oh how I wish I had thought this way when we were first married! We purchased a huge dining room table and chairs that were very trendy. Now, I want to paint all of it!!! Fortunately, since then, we’ve made some better decisions with all our large pieces…live and learn I guess. :)

  29. christa jean says:

    Well said!
    Now, one year into living in our new home, my husband and I have had these same questions. What started as a plan to paint chevrons on a wall in our living room, then moved to doing a wall in our bathroom in pearlescent glaze, then went to adding it in black and white on our headboard. Hahaha. Probably three places is a little overkill. Thankfully, we haven’t proceeded yet. We will narrow it down to one area and be ready to paint over it when a new idea takes our fancy!

  30. Kara Dolchan says:

    Every ten years the trends change in a dramatic way. Fads are even more fleeting. Go into any new home built 1960, 1970, 1980,1990, 2000. You will see every finish from the color of the door knobs to the ceiling finish and cabinetry styles ARE different. They mass market to make sure their homes sell. SO, yes the trend your scared of now, will change in ten years and again another ten-ish. You may even still love it when it is considered outdated. The point is. I long ago decided, during college courses in Design, Merchandising and textiles, that if I don’t do what I love now, then I can’t enjoy it. In ten years I will be a different person and I will probably like different things. So give yourself the freedom to change and change your environment. Don’t live in fear of change, because change is the best part of life. Everything gives energy and believe in th power to rotate that energy for old items to new as you need in your home. It is when you live in a sterile, frozen environment that your energy drains away. Fill it with what makes you smile and continue to evolve it as YOU decide. By all means consider your budget and pick basic pieces and add in the fads as you desire.

  31. Kara Dolchan says:

    Oh and a good rule of thumb is fashion cycles about every thirty years with a ” twist”. I was told this in my intro course of design and I am shocked to see how true it is. So in 2040, if your still into pastels and every one wasn’t from 2020-2040 they will be back with a new twist, maybe a new complimenting color and art design compliment, but back and you will be trendy again ;) there is no element that hasn’t been done before aka why there is such a draw to the eclectic now and because we are coming off a recession. Expect bold vibrant happy colors to really take off as we continue to pull ourselves up and out. Economy and tends do coincide… I loved this post to read and consider!

  32. Valerie says:

    So many good points. My favorite being: “…choose things for your home because you love them, and you can’t go wrong.” That is my whole philosophy on trends right there. For me, I hate clutter. I have no special attachment to things… not even things I spend lots of time making. Much to the frustration of my husband. If I am not completely in love with something when I finish it, I don’t keep it for long. I love large open spaces and I have 6 people in a 1600 sq ft house, so I don’t have room to keep things I don’t love. My designs are simple, usually nature oriented, and almost always basic on the bottom layer so I can change the ‘pop’ elements whenever I feel the urge.

    Although I did just buy this huge shag green carpet at a garage sale for $20 the other day… It’s quite ‘poppy’. ;)

    Thanks for your posts. They make my day bright. Can’t wait to show you the hideaway we are making… railings and side walls are going up tomorrow. :)

    Blessings,

    Val