Every year, interior design magazines regale us with lists of last season’s trends and predictions of what’s to come — some of which promise a fair amount of staying power, and others of which seem predestined to look tacky and dated before their time has even come. For some stark examples, just look back at the 1970s and examine which trends came back around and which were consigned to the trash heap of history, from macrame wall hangings and parquet floors to wall-to-wall shag carpets and dark faux wood paneling.
Of course, it’s all subjective. One person’s nightmare of a pastel pink 1950s bathroom is another’s sweetest dream. Even conversation pits, formerly regarded as faux pas reflecting a dire need for an immediate renovation, are regaining a little bit of popularity among bold homeowners who like their common areas to promote face-to-face interaction above all else. But once the hype has passed on the latest look, virtually every hyper-trendy interior design element goes through a period in which it’s just plain tired. The question is, are you willing to replace elements that are going to look passé in a matter of months, or hang onto them through a sort of stylistic hangover that could potentially last for decades?
In 2018, some of the biggest interior design trends included marble everything, rose gold accents, terrazzo tile, ikat patterns, brass, jewel-toned upholstery, and minimalist art. Now, according to tastemakers like Elle Decor, all of these things are out in favor of maximalist art, bold and colorful Memphis-style graphics, acrylic furniture, and all-black bathrooms. But how soon do you think it will be before these trends are cast aside for the next shiny thing?
It’s fun to dabble in whatever the cool kids are doing, but if you really want to keep up with the times without creating all the waste that comes with redecorating, consider using trends as accessories against a backdrop of more classic elements that fit your personal style. Not all of us are designers, so it’s okay if you need some guidance to feel confident in your choices, but there’s a lot to say for a more intuitive approach that allows you to trust your own instincts about what truly makes you feel happy within your own home. That way, you end up with something that really says “you” to anyone who enters, rather than the simple amalgamation of a thousand different Pinterest images.
Another way to avoid becoming the interior design version of a fashion victim is to go the Coco Chanel route and carefully curate the things your rooms are “wearing.” Overdone motifs can easily overwhelm a room, especially if you’re going with a niche theme like “nautical,” “shabby chic,” “hunting lodge,” or “Parisian café.” Of course, the same can happen with popular styles like industrial, Scandinavian, and midcentury modern. For that reason, you’ll find that a little subtlety goes a long way towards achieving an overall effect that feels much more timeless and resistant to the whims of outside influences. But if kitsch is your intention, go for it.
Quality and sustainability will always be in fashion. If you can find trendy pieces that can be repurposed or recycled when they’re no longer cool, it’ll be all the better for both your ever-evolving style and the planet. But focus on avoiding the waste associated with frequent replacement and items with short life spans, and you’ll avoid a lot of the pitfalls of following trends, as well.
Ultimately, every rule is made to be broken, and if the outdated Tuscan kitchens of the mid 2000s, chevron print, or faux shiplap are exactly what warms the cockles of your heart — well, just have fun with it. And who knows? As the wheel of trends keeps turning, you might find that it’s not long at all before you’re accidentally hip again.