Going Against the Flow of Design Trends

For a while now I have felt that decoration and design in the macro sense is a little lost.  Some say it’s a great time in decorating because anything goes. But, I feel completely different about it.  To borrow a phrase from the legendary decorator Mario Buatta, “There is a lot of schizophrenic decorating going on.”  And it seems that the more crazy the decorating is, the more people applaud and reproduce it.

Perhaps you can tell by now that I do not like design trends.  Actually, it’s a personality trait of mine that I am contrarian.  So, if the herd goes left, I will go right…or up or down…depending on where the design herd is headed.

This room cannot decide what it wants to be. Is it SoHo loft or Miami Vice White Lacquer?

Many of the home décor magazines are featuring homes that look like they were “curated” (a buzzword used a lot right now in decorating) with fabrics, furnishings and object d’art that are not cohesive or promoting one point of view.  My point is not to discuss what qualifies a room as schizophrenic, but to help you see why you should not religiously follow this, or really, any other trend.

Getting Trendy With It

Following trends is a full time job for many in the media and that’s what sells magazines.  Talking about what’s new and next gives lots of content magazines and websites to promote brands and tout their advertisers. You and your home are not vying for new advertisers.  So, if you look to all the new trends that are happening in design and adapt your room to those trends, then you will have a conflicted room, and one that will be out of style in 5-4-3-2…..

Tory Burch’s home in Architectural Digest, for Nashville interior design and timeless interior design for your home, contact Eric Ross Interiors today!

In Tory Burch’s home, shown here by Architectural Digest, follows very few design trends, but is impeccably designed.

What is a trend anyway? A trend is defined as “a general development in which something is developing or changing.” Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for new products and color forecasts, but if you follow all this new over a short period of time, you will never have an authentic looking room. It is like trying to hold sand with your hands. You cannot fully capture something that is fluid. You will have someone else’s idea of what your home should look like, and, if you are following several different sources for trends, you will have several peoples’ ideas of what your home should look like.  This is when your room will show symptoms of CVS or Conflicted Vibe Syndrome.

Here is a checklist to help you know what trends are for you in order to keep your rooms timeless

  1. Do I want to look at this item every day?

When I am selecting furniture, fabrics and finishes for my projects the first thing I think of is, how long is this going to last the client.  Will she want to look at this large scale print on the drapes for 10 years, or would a solid fabric for panels and a printed valance be easier to live with?  The answer is different for each client, but I do ask that question.  I have a time frame of 7-10 years that a rooms should look great.  If it doesn’t pass that test, then I move on.

Using this print from Lee Jofa on the valance and the pin stripe on the panels provides an overall calming look that can be lived with long term.

  1. Does this item make me happy to look at it?

Nothing makes me happier than looking at beautiful rooms.  Truly, after 20+ years of decorating professionally I still jump up and down when I install a window treatment.  Seeing how all the fabrics and colors come together in a room among the upholstered chairs, sofas, pillows, ottomans and drapes is such a wow moment for me.  This should be the same experience you have every day when you enter your rooms. When looking for new items, look for colors and patterns that make you smile.  This may sound silly, but you should get a charge out of the items you are purchasing because they make you happy, not because you’ve seen them in the latest issue of Elle Décor.

  1. Does this item, or collection of items, express who I want to be to the world?

One of my beliefs is that your rooms should represent who you are on your best day.  It’s like dressing to go to the Oscars.  You wouldn’t put on your pajamas, you would select the perfect outfit that shows your best version of yourself.  That is what you rooms should do too!  So, only collect items and display them in a way that makes your room look amazing. If you have a collection, display them together for maximum effect.  If you love French things, put a bombe chest in the room, even if French decor is out of vogue to the masses.  But remember, have other French things in the room so that the items all support each other visually.

This clients collection of needlepoint pillows and dishes are the perfect accents to balance this room and lend authenticity to the design.

  1. Is there a visual precedent in which to introduce this item in the room?

Perhaps a better way to put this is: Is there a context in the room to support this item?

In this ladies study, we’ve introduced a new rug that plays off of the textures of the antique tapestry and pillows and also compliments the grasscloth wallcovering. Balanced and Beautiful!

If your rooms are modern, then by all means inject modern furniture, or even an antique with clean lines.  This means looking for a cohesive and rhythmic arrangement of furniture and objects. This creates a balanced design scheme that is easier to live with over time, making it less likely that you’ll tire of it and want to redecorate.

  1. Do most of the items support each other in their overall arrangement in the room?

Tribal art and Monets do not go together in any universe, unless the Met is having a sidewalk sale.  If you want a tribal room in your house, then go all out in that room, but please do not have an African war mask on your French mantelpiece.  This just feels inauthentic and confusing.  When crafting your room, be sure to look for similarity among items.  That is a true tell of a masterful decorator.

In conclusion, you don’t have to embrace macrame wall hangings just because the magazines tells you to.

Mrs. Roper can keep her macrame dream catchers to herself.

This is not an exhaustive list and I’m sure some of you will find offense.  My intent is to give you a basic framework from which you should add something to your decorating mix, or to let it pass the way of macramé wind chimes. (Think about how ridiculous–and ineffective– a macramé wind chime is.)  By keeping in mind these questions you can create beautiful, thoughtful rooms that will stand the test of time.