When I wrote the post about how to design a cohesive home that flows, it got me thinking about another topic I’m often asked about: when should you follow a trend you’re really loving, versus options that are more timeless or more likely to withstand the test of time? Choosing finishes and furnishings can be overwhelming because certain home purchases are expensive and pretty permanent. From the type of millwork you install (pretty permanent) to paint color (much less permanent), I wanted to share some tips on how to make the best classic choices for your home today- and for years to come! I’m breaking down how to experiment with trends, while designing a home that is aesthetically pleasing and representative of your personal style long term, saving you money over time. Click through for the post!
Start With Your Inspiration
Before you really dive into choosing finishes, begin by creating a design plan for the space. Wherever you like to find inspiration, do that… get your creativity flowing. For me it’s traveling and getting outside! You can also easily translate your Pinterest inspiration into real life by paring down all the photos that inspire you, to determine what exactly it is you’re gravitating toward. This is the fun part! I love laying out all the elements together and swapping things to create the overall feel of a space. I do this with physical swatches and by making moodboards. This is a great time to think about how the space looks both in the present, and ask yourself the tough questions about how you might feel about your design choices in the future. I often look to historic homes and designs for timeless inspiration. A great example is the subway tile in our guest bathroom. I would say subway tile is everywhere, ubiquitous, and trendy. However, it’s a material that has been around forever! It’s less about the material being trendy and more about installation and how it’s interpreted in the design plan. I used trim pieces, contrasting tile, and lots of tricks to make basic, trendy subway tile feel timeless.
Focus on Styles That Speak to You
When you are thinking through a design plan for a space, you should always start with the end in mind: when the project is over, will the space make YOU happy? Is it functional? How do you see yourself using this room in five years? Does this room or area in your home really embody your personal style and function the way you always dreamed it would? Picking finishes for a space doesn’t have to be complicated, as long as you are choosing elements you truly love. Don’t feel like everything has to match perfectly, either. You can mix metals and finishes in the same room and still have a space that works. In fact- layering is a great designerly way to achieve a classic look.
Remember That Risk Taking Often Results in Reward
Tackling a large scale renovation, like your kitchen for example, is an expensive endeavor. Depending on how long you plan to live in your home, it’s probably a project you will only tackle once. That can be intimidating for many people, as you want to make sure you get it “right” because you won’t be renovating it again. However, I don’t think that means you have to play it super safe with your design choices. Maybe you’ve always dreamed of a dark and moody kitchen (guilty!) or you’ve wanted to switch things up with contrast trim (me too!). Whatever it is, I say go for it- design is a lot of things, but serious isn’t one of them. As long as you feel super confident and happy with your design choice, odds are- you’re going to love it now and later on. Remember this… your home is yours to create.
Keep it Cohesive
Regardless of the style you’re going for, whether it’s more modern or leaning toward traditional, everything should feel like it “belongs” under the same roof together. Find ways to create a cohesive home- with a color scheme, by installing fixtures of similar styles (light fixtures, faucets, etc), or even with artwork and textiles. Again- it doesn’t have to match perfectly, it just needs to feel like it’s all part of one big, happy family… and most families are eclectic, so you have room to play!
Think Long Term
Deciding if you want to take the plunge on a big renovation project can feel intimidating, particularly when you want to make sure it will add value to your home. A lot of times, you have to balance the design you love with the resale value of your home, if you plan to sell in the future. That might mean choosing “safer” or more classic options now, and then taking bigger risks down the road in a home you plan to live in forever. I’m a fan of selecting classic finishes that are permanent (like kitchen cabinetry), and using furniture & decor to play, push design limits, and get creative or implement a trend I’ve been loving. Decor is easy and relatively inexpensive to swap out, but base items (like millwork and cabinetry) are not.
Remind Yourself That Following or Liking a Trend is Ok
I know I’m constantly preaching here on the blog to follow your personal aesthetic and preferences rather than jumping on the trend bandwagon. However, trends aren’t necessarily a negative thing… as long as you are aware of how they play into your home design. They can actually help you discover new things, hone in your personal style (figure out what you like and don’t like), and keep your home feeling fresh and exciting. If you are going to implement a trendy item into your home, just consider how it plays with your existing aesthetic. Can you elevate it to really make it your own, and feel more unique? Is it an inexpensive item that can easily be donated once it has ran its course? Is it a quirky item you’ll continue to love long after it’s trending? Just weigh the pros and cons before spending money!
I’ve said this multiple times and I’m sure I’ll continue to sound like a broken record, but a home should reflect its inhabitants. There are no right or wrong rules when it comes to interior design, and creating a home you LOVE living in- it’s the most fun and rewarding process to create your sancutary. My personal design philosophy is to keep things timeless, but interesting. I don’t have an endless budget, so I am very careful as to what I bring into our home and I always consider longevity, but also enjoy getting creative and experimenting with trends…. because at the end of the day- trends cycle back around and have been apart of design for many decades (ahem… the pleated lampshade kick I’m currently on). Just a little design perspective to think about on this Tuesday!