Looking at Trends

Looking at Trends

Photo is from IIDA's website!  "Color Blocking"  Summer, 2011.

Trends, fashion, style:  all Design-y words, all different.   First: Trends!

Trends are pretty uncomplicated—that’s what “people are doing”.  It can apply to what kinds of food they eat, what kind of shorts or casual shoes they are wearing this summer, whose music they listen to, and what people are buying for their homes.
In Interior Design, what items you choose, the colors you choose, the paint you use and the accessories you buy are all influenced by current trends.  You will notice as soon as you start to shop—especially if you are looking on your own in mostly retail outlets.  James Swan, Interior Designer extraordinaire, posts photos of interiors pretty much daily on his Facebook Fan Page: “101 Things I Hate about your House” .  SO many of the things he hates were once REALLY “in” and now look anything from funny to hideous.

We need to be careful of trends, but mostly for only one reason: if trends are “in” and then they will (in a bit) be “out”.  I have blogged that (from time to time) you need to “change up” your home.  If you do that, I predict that the trendiest items are first you’ll change.  If you are an adult (really) you’ll likely recall those who decorated in the 1980’s using the mauve or peach with gray colors, over-sized detailing on sofas and chairs (fat arms, “rolled” back, pseudo-Deco), and lots and lots of laminate (that’s Formica) and I used it too—and still do in moderate proportions.  Check out the “Recycled Art Sale” at the Highland Park Art Center for wonderful works in formerly “in” styles and colors (as well as some unknown artists and some awesome items, too).

Now that the McMansions are not really being built any more, trends are in a transitional mode.  Large-scaled dark furniture won’t work in smaller spaces without looking intimidating and overbearing.  Ornate construction details will fall the same way.  Brown won’t ever “go away” completely because it’s the natural color for most woods, a wonderful color for natural leather and a perfect manly choice.  Pantone (color designers—really—and predictors of style) and major paint manufacturers are showing and predicting bright, not more browns, to take hold.  Check out Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore’s websites for “in” colors.

Product trends are slower in emerging.  I get MANY e-mails daily from furniture manufacturers, lighting companies and tile designers.  Dark, rusty wrought iron with dark linen shades?  Nope.  CB2 is good.  Little tumbled-marble mosaics, not so much either, but there is something classic about marble, so maybe...

The good thing about working with trendy products is that they are easy to find, and easy to find at a modest price point.  Mass production will obviously cut costs of what we buy.  I think that the overstuffed leather recliner or sectional sofa look has evolved into tighter shapes and firmer styles.  That’s OK, too, and I think some of the all-leather stores have closed.  And the Crate and Barrel/Pottery Barns have to reassess their lines from time to time too.

“Disposable Furniture” is a term I use a LOT.  Trendy things can (and likely should) fall in that category.  Just think of those purchases realistically and remember that when it looks old and worn, it was planned to wear out and get replaced.  Check out Jim’s FB Fan Page…hopefully your house wasn’t photographed.

Sometimes, new Design is “ground breaking” and becomes classic.  More on that next time…this is getting too long!

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