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decorating without trends in mind

Why I Stopped Decorating With Trends In Mind

In the early 2000s, it was a Tuscan renaissance gracing suburban kitchens across the country, with grape and vineyard motifs embossed in backsplashes and decorative plates alike. The 2010s brought a resurgence of farmhouse style, with black and white spaces and barn doors making their way into even the most modern of homes. And now, design trends can be so niche and short-lived that we find ourselves combing stores for the latest and greatest, but donating the items just a few short months later.

It can be exhausting to keep up with trends, and we're surrounded by them in all we do. Beauty, fashion, and food all see surges of certain trends coming into popularity and eventually phasing out, and interior design is no different. Trends in interior spaces are far more complicated, though, as home purchases tend to be a bit more of a commitment—and definitely more expensive than an oat milk latte.

With so many trends coming and later going, how can we keep our homes up to date while also keeping them practically decorated?

Modern dining room with black chairs and wooden table.

Design: Candace Mary Interiors; Photo: Martin Vecchio

"I try not to fall into design trends that are seen everywhere by truly taking into account what works best in the space," designer Candace Griffin of Candace Mary Interiors shares with us. "If the space is calling for a current trend, I try to think about ways it can stand the rest of time and build the design around those elements."

As a home décor enthusiast, I am constantly consuming when it comes to the latest and greatest in home décor trends. My Instagram and TikToks are filled with aspirational home photos and videos that I'm constantly saving for inspiration. But, one thing I can't help but notice in consuming this content is the speed at which it becomes outdated. What is trendy and cool one month is no longer in style the next.

For me, chasing trends is a bit out of my league. I would much rather invest in a timeless space I'll always love.

For example, this past summer, every space I saw was bold, bright, and '80s inspired—think black and white checkered rugs, disco balls, and plastic blow-up chairs. And now, a few months later, I haven't seen a single space that looked this way. In fact, accounts I follow that published their spaces with these décor details have now morphed into subtler spots.

I think this ebb and flow of trying new trends is great for certain decorators. But for me, chasing trends is a bit out of my league. I would much rather invest in a timeless space I'll always love rather than sifting through my old dorm décor to find that disco ball I bought at Urban Outfitters—just to retire it again a few weeks later.

gender neutral bedrooms

Design: Candace Mary Interiors; Photo: Martin Vecchio

One solution to trying trends on for size? Start small. "Think about what works best for you and the way you live," Griffin advises. "What décor motivates and inspires you? When you’re investing in larger pieces, go for items that you won’t tire of in 2 to 3 years' time. You can always play with trends in accessories and soft goods, prices that aren’t as much of an investment." 

Many other designers also find it exhausting to keep up with trends at times—though many admit they embraced them at one point or another in their spaces.  

Sarah Reed, co-owner and designer at Arbor and Co., shares with MyDomaine how trends have made their way in and out of spaces she's designed throughout the years.

"There are many trends that came and went over the past decade, but the ones that stand out the most—only because I've tried them all—are the use of shiplap literally everywhere, the good ol' painted accent wall, and industrial style—think exposed pipes and beams," Reed says.

She admits that she chose to incorporate these elements simply because they were a hot commodity at the time, but that there were probably other options that would've spoken more personally to her style.

"I’ve phased out of the use of shiplap and accent painted walls for sure," she notes. "I think there are far more creative ways to elevate a wall or a simple room. Even wood-slatted walls are being used more in my designs instead of the classic shiplap."

Cozy and personal bedroom with décor on shelves.

Arbor and Co.

One key to combating trendy decorating is to find what truly suits you and your lifestyle. There are many pillars of design that decorators come back to again and again: minimalistic Scandinavian, sleek and modern, cozy and transitional, or even rustic and coastal. Think about what style resonates with you, what textures spark joy, what décor choices in your home are made to withstand time, and which ones you wouldn't mind swapping with something new.

For example, though the Scandinavian look is experiencing an uptick in popularity, this style inspires Reed at this time—an example of interior design that is growing in popularity but is still resonating with her personally as a designer. Lesson to learn: sometimes, trends aren't all bad if they resonate with you for a long while.

"I have thoroughly embraced the minimal-Scandinavian style in my own home, as it fits my lifestyle properly and makes me feel calm," Reed shares. "I, for one, love this trend and hope it sticks around."

Cozy white living room with patterned rug.

Arbor and Co.

Another key to combating trends is personalization. What is meaningful and special to us will never go out of style—and Reed agrees. "Getting inspired by trends is one thing, but be true to your own needs, wants, and spaces," she advises. "I am constantly inspired by other designers and trends, but I’m not afraid to try or execute some off-the-wall ideas that aren’t exactly on-trend."  

Sallie Lord, the founder of GreyHunt Interiors, notes that there are ways to incorporate trends in moderation and plenty of ways to play it safe—so that a beloved trend can be introduced and later phased out, if necessary. For example, the barn doors in this space read anything but rustic in their all-black coat of paint.

Glam black bedroom with sliding barn doors.

Design: GreyHunt Interiors, Photo: Ash & Co.

Another trick is to take a trending décor element and create something unique with it.

"We are always looking for unique ways to bring in a bit of everything in our designs so the end product doesn’t look too trendy or dated, but is the perfect mix," Lord says. "It is key to incorporate trends in small doses for a more timeless effect. I love using subway tile, but stack it in a pattern for a fresh take."

White bathroom with herringbone pattern subway tile.

Design: GreyHunt Interiors, Photo: Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Ultimately, designers agree that trends come and go, but there are some worth embracing if they are functional for your space.

Find what is functional for your life, what makes you happy, and what actually makes you feel design-excited.

"See what really speaks to you," Lord suggests. "Find what is functional for your life, what makes you happy, and what actually makes you feel design-excited. If it feels like something you will really love for many years, then invest in it and do it right. If it’s more of a trendy color, try painting it on the wall or a pillow punch that can be easily swapped out and changed."