How to Decorate and Design with Trends for a Home that LASTS!
When it comes to what’s trendy or in style, beauty SHOULD be in the eye of the beholder. I mean, really, just because ‘they’ think it’s outdated, doesn’t mean YOU think it’s outdated. In fact, you might still love it, in which case it’s totally in style – YOUR style.
Which is why today, we’re going to chat about the best way to decorate with trends so you don’t get over your head and out of money with projects that don’t always have a great return on investment.
But, before I get carried away (even though I will anyway), let me just say that PERSONALLY, I only decorate based on trends for two reasons…
1. I LIKE THE IDEA, IT JUST HAPPENS TO BE TRENDY AS WELL
If it’s a trend that HAPPENS to tweak my fancy (and a cute lil’ fancy I have), I’m going to do it because I LIKE IT, not because it’s trendy and my FRIENDS will covet it (okay, maybe I do a bit of that too).
2. I’M CONSIDERING RESALE
If I plan on selling my home in the next five years (which is ALWAYS on the table), then I’m DEFINITELY thinking of trends as what I choose will either put money in my hot lil’ pocket or EAT IT UP LIKE CANDY!
We ALL know when this next bathroom was designed (the early 2000s) – how many trends can YOU spot?
There were 8 trends by the way – EIGHT!
BTW, notice the vase on the counter? That’s my booby vase – I found it at a thrift store and it has two legit boobs on it (sorry the photo isn’t clearer, it’s really quite lovely).
This next photo shows us when the previous bathroom was updated (about four years ago – sans booby vase)…
Again, more trends, but we had resale in mind and they’re still kickin’!
‘Trends’ are generally covered under that one word when there are actually two types…
1. THE LARGE-SCALE, IMPRESS YOUR NEIGHBOURS, EXPENSIVE TRENDS
Large-scale trends are often expensive trends as they’re the ones your husband will murder you for ever wanting to change. I mean, HEAVEN FORBID you ever paint those oak cabinets – Harold would have a fit!
Let’s look at some examples of large-scale trends…
- Architectural Elements (interior or exterior)
Most of the elements in the above photo are EXPENSIVE trends, but while they’re on-trend, they are MOSTLY timeless as well, making them super smart choices. The only thing that could limit them in the next 10 years is if a NEW owner preferred a warmer palette – but you can’t make EVERYbody happy, which is why there’s wine.
In this next example, the choices were DEFINITELY more limiting – too detailed, specific and layered for long-term appeal. Even JUST the beige tile would’ve been a better choice (although would be dated based on today’s standards for tile size/colour – seriously, you can’t win).
This is why SO many of my Online Paint Colour Consulting clients are having a HECK of a time updating their homes that were built 10, 20 and 30+ years ago – the things they want to change were EXPENSIVE trends at the time, ie: certain granite countertops, tile with beige tones/travertine, forest green countertops and coloured carpets in blue, green or rose tones (personally, I still have mad love for travertine). Had they gone more timeless with their large-scale finishes and chosen to go trendy on a SMALLER scale, their home would’ve had more staying power.
Do you follow me on INSTAGRAM? I’d love to see you there for today’s trends and NON-trends!
2. SMALL & MEDIUM-SCALE, ‘DECORATIVE’ TRENDS
Small and medium-scale trends are usually more manageable and easier to change out on a
daily, nope weekly, okay fine monthly, yearly basis. Really? Who leaves things for YEAR without changing them? Right…most of you. It’s just me who likes to change things based on her monthly cycle and what matches the label on my fave wine of the month.
In this next example, it won’t be fun to paint the island the next ‘colour of the year’ (well, if you’re me it WOULD be fun). However, most of the other elements in the room have a timeless appeal – the floors aren’t TOO light, the countertop isn’t TOO specific and the shaker-style cabinets will always be workable.
SMALL-SCALE DECORATIVE TRENDS
- Toss cushions
- Area rugs
- Plants/flowers (who can forget the faux ficus of the 90s – wooooof)
- Kitchen faucet
- Cabinet hardware
- Painted feature doors
- Peel & stick wallpaper
- Paint colours (not including your main exterior colour or interior trim)
Did you know I have a SHOP page? Check it out HERE!
Remember when shag area rugs were popular like 5-10 years ago? And HOW EASY was it to change that shag rug out for the next new texture or pattern? EASY PEASY!
I’d also like to take a moment to thank however did the TEXTURED CEILING IN OUR FAMILY ROOM. Not only is the texture annoying, but it’s also painted, so I ain’t scrapin’ that off anytime soon #thanksforthat.
MEDIUM-SCALE DECORATIVE TRENDS
- Light fixture styles and finishes
- Bathroom fixture styles and finishes
- Kitchen backsplash
- Fireplace surround (not including a full-scale floor to ceiling application)
- Painted kitchen island or bathroom vanity colours
- Furniture pieces (depending on the quality you buy)
- Pre-pasted wallpaper (because it can be a total bugger to remove, otherwise it’d be small-scale
TIMELESS ELEMENTS vs TRENDS
What makes something TIMELESS, with staying power for 10+ years? Well, that’s an ENTIRE blog post unto itself (which I’m sure I’ll write). However, what makes it timeless for YOU, is choosing hard and soft furnishes that YOU LOVE regardless of whether they’re featured in House & Home or your fave HGTV show.
TRENDY PATTERNS AND TEXTURES
REGARDLESS of what the trends are, I always tread carefully when it comes to patterns and textures on LARGE-SCALE and expensive items.
Certain patterns and textures are DEAD giveaways of certain eras (think sponge paint and leopard print).
If you love a certain pattern or texture forever and ever AMEN, then fill yer little boots. However, if you’re fickle about trends or considering resale, I HIGHLY recommend reserving most of your key textures and patterns for the SMALL-SCALE, easy-to-change surfaces in your home.
Which is why when it comes to pattern and texture, I’m more inclined to commit on small or medium-scale surfaces/finishes, which would give me more flexibility to change in the future. For example, shiplap is definitely a trend that adds texture and interest to a room – as well as colour if you’re so inclined! It also wouldn’t be the end of the world to remove it in five years, do a little patching and move on to the next fun idea!
See the whole home HERE
Let’s break this next room down to see some examples…
- Fireplace stone (although it wouldn’t be a TOTAL beast to replace)
- Linear gas fireplace insert
- Leather sofa
- Built-ins painted a dark colour (I love them so hard)
- Toss cushions
- Area rug
- Accent chair
- Home decor in built-in
- The pointy plant, whatever it’s called, it’s trendy
TIMELESS ELEMENTS (BTW, they also happen to be the most EXPENSIVE things to replace)
- Medium-toned flooring – THE MOST EXPENSIVE THING!
- White windows and simple mouldings
That to me, is a WELL-BALANCED design, nodding towards today’s trends without MURDERING your home and its future potential. I’m not here to tell you NOT to decorate and design based on today’s trends, I’m just talking about ‘thinking twice’ before committing to a trend, to see if it’s REALLY the best choice for you and your
bank account, marriage, home.
HOW TO DECIDE WHETHER TO CHOOSE A TREND OR NOT
There are FIVE questions you should ask yourself before committing to a trend:
1. If I get bored in a year (or five, whatever the time-frame is that you’re usually wanting a change) will it cost me a FORTUNE to replace this?
2. If I decide to sell in 3-5 years, will this trend HELP or HINDER the sale of my home based on my target market?
3. If I have to update this surface to get my home ready for the market, will it make me money or just COST me money?
4. If I want a change, will it be HARD for me to do? For example, if you can tile your own backsplash then it wouldn’t be a big deal to change it. However, if you would hire out for the job, that could play a part in your decision.
And the most IMPORTANT question of all…
5. If it weren’t a trend, would I still like it (if you aren’t selling in the near future)? If you like it JUST BECAUSE it’s trendy and you’re seeing it everywhere, be prepared to change it in the near future – because trust me, it’ll go faster than me after my morning coffee.
There are some SERIOUS timeless elements here
Now, let’s take a look at some ideas! But, before we do that, let me just say ONE thing (a long-winded Ginger rant).
The design industry should SUPPORT the idea that large-scale trends should have a longer lifespan, not just for the WASTE of it all, but for the common-sense of it – most people can’t afford to change their homes every 3-5 years to stay valid in the design world (which is why you shouldn’t decorate your home based on large-scale trends UNLESS you’re thinking of resale). TRENDS and what is in & out should be based on SMALL to MEDIUM scale trends, with the goal of encouraging individuality, creativity, affordability and ACCESSIBILITY to everyone wanting a beautiful space to live in.
And in the words of the great Britney Spears, let’s hit that baby one more time…
What’s ‘in & out’ should be based on SMALL to MEDIUM scale trends, with the goal of encouraging individuality, creativity, affordability and ACCESSIBILITY to everyone wanting a beautiful space to live in.
Now, let’s take a quick peek at some small and medium-scale trends that won’t necessarily have STAYING power, but will give you the satisfaction of a FRESH space, without breaking your kid’s piggy bank open every time you’re hankerin’ for a change.
AFFORDABLE DECORATING IDEA #1 – TOSS CUSHIONS
Seriously, I change my toss cushions more than I change my underwear #jokingnotjoking. Not only are they an affordable switch (if Home Sense is your second home), they can totally shift the personality of a room!
It’s like a revolving door of toss cushions and decor in our home, the only thing that’s semi-permanent is Tim (wink wink).
AFFORDABLE DECORATING IDEA #2 – ARTWORK & MIRRORS
If you like originals, this could be a slightly more EXPENSIVE venture, but with places like Home Sense and Wayfair, it can be EASY to liven up a space with new artwork, framed photos or a mirror.
Check out ARTWORK that caught my eye HERE in my SHOP page!
AFFORDABLE DECORATING IDEA #3 – AREA RUGS
As you all know by now, I have a ‘FEW’ fetishes, including white wine, Cornuts and Ryan Reynolds (in no particular order) and I also have a MAJOR soft spot for area rugs.
Whether you want TEXTURE, COLOUR OR PATTERN, area rugs are a GREAT way to infuse your personal style into a space – and then you can roll around with Ryan Reynolds ON them while drinking wine and eating cornuts!
See the FULL before and afters of this space HERE
And anyone who tells me they don’t use area rugs because they want to see more of their beautiful wood floors needs three slaps with a wet noodle. Area rugs ENHANCE wood flooring, giving it something to PLAY with and bounce off of. They also ground a furniture arrangement – just sayin’.
AFFORDABLE DECORATING IDEA #4 – LIGHTING
Whether it’s your bedside lamp or dining room chandelier, updating one or MORE light fixtures in your home is a great way to shift the energy and style of a space without spending a fortune.
Just look at the honky thing that was in this entryway before (sorry about the blurry photo, but you get the point)…
And while we changed MORE than just the light fixture (this is our previous home), this foyer has a way more timeless appeal. Golden-doodles are also very on-trend, or at least Doug likes to think so.
In this next bathroom, these rustic wood mirrors (and light fixtures) will be pretty affordable to change out when the owner wants a new look…
AFFORDABLE DECORATING IDEA #5 – TRENDY PAINT COLOURS
Oh, you HAD to see this one coming. And it does have a few parameters around it for sure…
COST PROHIBITIVE PAINTING PROJECTS
BUDGET-FRIENDLY PAINTING PROJECT IDEAS
1. A SINGLE ROOM
Painting a room is a HUGELY satisfying project, whether you do it yourself or hire out. It’s also a great spot to EMBRACE today’s trends as if you get tired of a colour or want to sell your home, it’s not a big deal to have it changed.
In this next example, obviously, the furniture and decor changed, but the rest was JUST PAINT!
2. YOUR FRONT DOOR (inside OR outside)
Hands-down, painting the front door is my FAAAVE weekend project and it doesn’t even need to take a whole weekend or full bottle of wine – it can be done in an afternoon with a sippy cup!
Before, this front door was oooookay, but no screamin’ glory…
And AFTER, ain’t she PURDY?
E-DESIGN: Front Door Paint Colour Package
Remember, you can do the inside too!
3. FEATURE OR ACCENT WALL
Whoever said feature walls are not in style needs a donkey kick. It’s all about the RIGHT COLOUR in the RIGHT PLACE. I’ve had feature walls in ALL of my homes and will never say no to the right one!
4. KITCHEN ISLAND OR BATHROOM VANITY
Kitchen islands and bathroom vanities painted wild and wonderful colours are SUPER trendy right now. And while they aren’t projects for the faint o’ heart, they are manageable even if you have to hire someone to do it professionally.
Read more: Ideas to Update Oak or Wood Kitchen Cabinets
What I would be CAREFUL of is the whole ‘upper and lower cabinets different colours from each other’ trend. It looks cool, but is VERY trendy and will make its way out (and isn’t as easy to change). The exception would be cottage style homes which will always suit a more unique look.
5. FIREPLACE SURROUND
Gone are the days where everyone and their dog need a white fireplace surround and it’s a GREAT time to embrace a little depth and drama on your main focal point!
This next bad boy is clad in reclaimed wood! Wait, that’s not REALLY a painting project…but it’s still badass AND affordable!
So, there you have it! Hope this blog post gave you some great ideas to do – or NOT to do!
Check out my Online Paint Colour Consulting and E-BOOKS!