In discussing the “trendy-ness” of the fashion industry versus the trends in home design in last week’s column, one thing seems to be very clear. You can buy a really “in” outfit this year and feel really ridiculous next year. (Remember the Nehru jacket?) The good news is you don’t have to wear it every day, or at all. The same isn't true unless you are fortunate enough to have multiple homes in various styles and can travel freely to enjoy them.
In the 1970’s, when I was teaching at the Willsey Institute for Art and Interior Design, the tomb of King Tutankhamen was discovered and Bloomingdale’s sold everything Egyptian, including Tut toilet paper.
Designers were ordering acanthus leaf wallpaper and everyone got on the bandwagon. By the time the public caught up, my fledgling designers along with them, Bloomingdale’s was on to China and the next year-India.
If you love to hang with the “in” crowd, let me not discourage you, but a word of advice. If it’s throw pillows, small accessories and toilet paper, go for it. Keep away from expensive purchases or you’ll literally be playing into the retailer’s hands. They want you to buy what’s new and “in”, so next year you can do it all over again. If you don’t, you’ll be stuck with the flavor of the month for longer than you expect, while the industry goes on to something new.
So how can you keep up with the trends and have a home that doesn't look dated? Here are some tips that have been my guideposts over the years in keeping my clients’ homes timeless:
- To develop your own best taste, learn about various styles before you buy. Look in magazines and quality furniture stores. Visit designer show houses and home shows. See what appeals, and then seek out and sit on the furniture. See how it feels and ask yourself if you’d love it your home in ten years from now.
- Think about how you can personalize your home as well as make it a classic (in whatever style you choose). Is it with family heirlooms or your own collectibles? Present them well and they can be a welcome accessory.
- Start by de-cluttering and organizing, (that again!) and never allow your home to fall into major disrepair. Stay on top of things and attend to minor repairs immediately, planning and saving for bigger projects as you go, so a major redo doesn't hit you all at once.
- When redecorating, keeping what’s newest doesn't mean it’s the best. Think twice about discarding that old mahogany armoire and saving the newer mica bedroom set!
- Look under things-especially your broadloom carpet. If your home is old enough, you might uncover a great hard wood floor.
- Re-upholster small items (i.e.; dining room chair seats) and all new accessories to update your home. If you've chosen wisely, that’s all your home should need.
- Remember-good taste, in any style, never goes out of style.