"It's What's IN" -- or Beyond

A client once told me that she was not interested in buying an (affordable--for her) antique light fixture for her foyer because in a couple of years she would be bored and want to replace it; even a "reasonable" antique was not worth the expense.  What??? 

Why not look at a pile of magazines, walk into chain stores and buy what you see right there. What's "on the floor" is likely to be what's popular now, so why not just get it? 

Well, popular is not necessarily good when it comes to style.  As in couture clothing, someone DOES determine what will be "shown" from season to season in the Interior Design world (sorry, don't know who is on that committee).  And, as in clothing, sometimes these "decisions" seem incomprehensible. 

If you are looking to do what is best for you:

1.  I was taught that furnishings are made to last about 7 years... I hope for 7-10 without updating.

Decide if you are interested in longevity or if you are going to be replacing in a few years.  If you're in a first apartment, it's reasonable that you won't stay and what you buy now might not work out later.  If you are in your "feet up" house (next time you move, you will be carried out "feet up") seriously consider buying for the long term.  Remodeling and reupholstering can later transform something weary into something new -- inside and out'.

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2.  Set a budget.  Once you have a number  you can decide if more items for less money is more appealing than buying for the long term.  You can buy as you are able, increasing you budget--and let it take longer.  Also, decide if you are able or willing to keep anything you own and maybe rework it.

3.  Get some serious advice.  If you can afford a real Designer, get one.  At least, talk to knowledgeable sales people if you're shopping retail.  Some salespeople/decorators have good training.  Don't  let anyone talk you into what you don't want.

LOTS of "in" design elements are awful.  I have to measure my words in this area, but some of the color trends that have emerged from year to year during my career have been nearly offensive.  The oversized furniture  of the McMansion era and somewhat earlier are so "out" now that showrooms at the Mart showing these lines have shrunken down to much smaller spaces or closed entirely.    If you are brave, you can hang on to those things.   It is somewhat possible that they will be "retro" or "vintage"  sometime, but you'll have to wait at least 20-25 years, right?                

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Too much of almost anything is bad.  Too much tumbled marble : no; too much dark, ornate, carved cabinetry is oppressive.  Too many round, clear light bulbs are passé -though there are new similar chandeliers that are cool.  Shag carpeting was in, out, and is now back in high quality, but if it's from 1970, it's probably gross.   Laminate (the material called "Formica") everything is gone, but the material has always been around in measured amounts.  Ditto: shiny brass, chrome - both finishes are always available.

I could go on, but most anything that is "in" will be "out" sooner or later and what you do in your home is pricey enough that you need to be careful. 

Contradicting myself, and though I don't promote it, I will say that if you have the means to replace often, and the interest  to make your home a perpetual project,  follow my client and buy the "disposable" furnishings;  just pay attention that you have done just that!    

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