Why Following Home Trends Isn't Good For Anyone
An argument against following the trend cycle.
Trends are impossible to ignore. Every season (or sometimes practically every week), stories are published talking about some iconic new design that you need in your home. From colors to textures to shapes, there is always something that is declared as fresh, popular, and necessary to keep up with the status quo. While I do appreciate the constant changing landscape of design and valuing new works from creatives or respecting those from the past, I also don't think religiously following trends is a particularly valuable or healthy practice.
Trends can definitely be fun to play around with. We loved when millennial pink came into the design space and defined itself as a new neutral in our time. If anything, we partially credit that to how we are redefining gender norms in our time. We're also so appreciative of the mid-century revival that came around once Mad Men became a hit back in 2007. Turning back to design greats and occasionally repainting your walls can be fun. Yet turning over your home every few weeks isn't practical.
"Unlike fashion, it's prohibitively expensive to buy new furniture or re-tile your bathroom every season, so you want to make sure you follow your heart and choose furniture and finishes that will last," shares Leah Harmatz, owner of the S.F.-based interior design studio Field Theory. "I tell my clients to invest in a few key well-made, thoughtfully designed pieces that they love (especially anything vintage or handcrafted that tells a story), and it's more likely they'll still feel a connection to their space for many years to come."
However Harmatz says that doesn't mean you should avoid following the latest design movements altogether. "It's impossible to live in a box and ignore trends happening around us, but that's ok — trends can be a helpful guideline if you're trying to figure out where to start in decorating your space," she shares. "For example, gallery walls are trendy, but no two are alike — you can always incorporate art that's meaningful and personal to you. And the good news is that trends are cyclical — your '70s pink and brown-tiled bathroom and your grandmother's quilts are back in style!"
Another factor to think about when it comes to trends is how they both benefit and exploit designers. Once a certain work from a studio gets designated an "it item," the creatives quickly see a spike in sales. Yet at the same time, many bigger home retailers will develop extremely similar copies that can be made with cheaper materials and labor to sell at lower price points. While the quality might not be up to par with originals, these items can rob sales and intellectual property away from designers.
This can be a difficult situation to act consciously on as a consumer. At one end, you can truly love a certain trending style and truly want to place it in your home. Yet at the same time, budget limitations can get in your way. Now you have to make a decision. You can buy the fast-fashion-style alternative to an item, save to purchase the real thing, wait to purchase it secondhand, or let go of the dream item. It's a hard call to make, yet the most important thing to remember is what that item might mean to you and your home.
"As we are designing our house, we have to pick things that actually work and last, and work with the architecture of our house, our personalities, and how we live," shares Eric Trine, founder of design studio Amigo Modern. "Those decisions have almost nothing to do with trends — it has everything to do with deep investigation and personal experience on who we are as a family, and the life we want to live. We have picked things in our home that might align with trends, but we didn't pick them because of trends. When the things start trending down, we still have to live with it all."
So as you move forward in your journey of decorating your home, know that it's fine to see what's trending that season. In fact, we encourage taking a look! As you develop your personal style, designs might come along that inspire you creatively or feel like a perfect complement to your home. Yet take everything with a grain of salt. Invest in items you appreciate, but know they might be considered outdated in a year or two. But if you love an item, you won't care if magazines might say it's passé. Embrace your choices and curate a home that works for you.