Here is a blog from my wife Stephanie about decorating and the do’s and don’t with design trends:

I think I can safely say that many women (and now, some men too!) love to stay up to date with the latest trends in fashion. Every season the magazines and TV shows tell us what the latest “must haves” are that will ensure our look is current. And in general, a good wardrobe can consist of an array of classic pieces into which the latest trends can be incorporated seamlessly. If we are really good shoppers, the latest trends can come at great prices so that our wallets don’t have to suffer for the rise and fall of trend after trend.

Unfortunately – or fortunately for the retail outlets – this idea of seasonal trends has transcended its way into home “fashion”. The home/fabric/textile designers look at the runways to find inspiration for the new home looks. What a great idea from the marketing machines. For those who consider their home the next frontier to keep up with the Jones’, there will always be a new look to inspire and amaze you.

But what about the average homeowner; the fashion equivalent to the working mom with 3 kids and no time or money for herself? Without serious consideration and planning, following trends in home fashion may hit you where it hurts the most – your finances – both today and in the future. Your home is an investment, and you should try to do everything in your power to increase your home’s value. Especially when you decide to sell your home, you want as much equity out of it as you can. If you get stuck in a trend that cannot be easily replaced, you risk diminishing the value of your investment in the eyes of others.

Buying a house is the most emotional purchase people make, and they want to have that “feeling” that the house is right for them. So you don’t want to make your house so personal (and/or dated) that it’s only right for you. Most people can’t see past your possessions and decorating, so everything you do either works for or against your bottom dollar. As you set out to design your space, follow the basic principles of good fashion and you just might be able to master the use of trends instead of them mastering you.

Point 1: It’s easier to change out of a trendy blouse than it is to change your sofa. Much like the little black dress or your favourite power suit, most furniture would be considered investment pieces that need to last longer than the average trend. Consider the flowered, multi-coloured sofas that many people bought in the 70’s & 80’s that now live in someone’s basement. Stick to neutral colours for anything you want to have last longer than 3-5 years.

This is true for wall colours and coverings as well. Many designers will tell you that a can of paint is the cheapest way to freshen up a room. Though it may be cheap, it’s a lot of work. After you’ve put the kids and pets out of the room, moved the furniture, taped, primed and painted, (or worse, hung wallpaper) you realize you don’t want to do that again for a very long time. Neutrals don’t have to be beige; any colour with a greyed undertone can be a neutral if used properly in the space. For more information about coloured neutrals, check out the following links:

Point 2: Themes are never a good idea. Period. You may love wolves, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the best idea to wear them on your sweater, or put them on your bedspread. Same goes with other popular ideas such as palm trees, roosters (let’s say the whole farmyard) or NASCAR. Themes are an unoriginal, one-dimensional reflection of your personality. Right or wrong, people form opinions about you from the way you present your home. If you love cats, tell people you love them, instead of hanging their image on every wall of your house.

Point 3: Mixing more than one trend is risky business. Some people may be able to pull off a Twiggy dress with Ugg boots and a Louis Vuitton handbag, but I have yet to meet that person. Same rules apply at home. Your design should respect the architecture of the house as much as your personal style. If you live in Miami, a Palm Beach design might look relevant, but not in Ottawa. Santa Fe design should be left in New Mexico. Pick one style that compliments the design of your home, and carry it throughout. That is the best way to make your home feel cohesive and pleasing to the eye.

Point 4: Have fun with accessories. Your little black dress is the perfect canvas for the wildest, trendiest shoes, handbags, or jewellery. You can switch them out easily as the trends or your mood changes. In your home, if you’ve set a neutral canvas in your permanent fixtures and investment pieces, you have all the flexibility you need to have fun with trends in home accessories. Items such as throw pillows, curtains, area rugs, vases, and picture frames can all be found at great prices and in a variety of the latest styles. You will have no problem expressing your personality and style without the risk of getting stuck with them past their expiry date.

You can decorate your home to look timeless, express your personality and ensure its saleability at the same time. By making a plan and following these simple guidelines you’ll be well on your way to being the envy of all your friends!

Stephanie O’Leary, ASP
Accredited Home Stager & home décor Specialist

3 replies
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