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Why I Don’t Follow Decorating Trends

July 15, 2013

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Why I don't follow decorating trends and you shouldn't either.

Exquisitely Unremarkable Author as a young girl sitting in the kitchen
Me In Our Orange, Brown and Avocado Colored Kitchen, 1974

Growing up, if you asked my mother if she was interested in home interiors, she would say definitely not, which is funny, because we had a lovely home and she redecorated often.

In the sixties, she installed an entire wall of mirrors in the living room, ornate fringed drapes framed the windows and a mural of ancient Rome was plastered to the round wall in the entryway.

Perfectly on trend.
During the seventies, our groovy kitchen had bright orange countertops, loud floral wallpaper and colorful beads, a la The Brady Bunch, separating it from our dining room.

Blue Laura Ashley wallpaper was the update for the eighties with matching blue wall to wall carpet and floral couches.

My mom always leaned in to the popular style, that was for sure!

However, when the trends ended, the house looked dated and needed a complete overhaul.

Certain things were easy enough to change out, but that wall of mirrors plagued her until the day she sold the house.

It frankly didn't do much for the resale either.

Likewise, when we moved into our current home, we were plagued with hopelessly outdated bathrooms.

We've redone them since...

White towel hanging off of wooden countertop in bathroom

Now, I usually love “old” and “original”, they are essential adjectives in my personal decorating vocabulary, but these rooms were not kitschy or charming.

They were just terribly dated, rusted and UGLY.

Yet I'm sure when they were remodeled, they were the latest and the greatest for the era.

Which brings up a good question, exactly how long is a decorating era?

When you jump in and get trendy, how long can you expect your investment to hold up?

My sister recently renovated her kitchen.

When she went shopping she was told that stainless steel was outdated and granite was passé.

(I chose laminate countertops ~yes, on purpose! ~ so my new kitchen was already out of style on the day it was installed!).

Cottage Style White kitchen with red accents

When I went to replace my dishwasher last weekend, I was told the same thing about my bisque appliances.

This leads to more questions, like what is in then, if not stainless or standard colors, who is deciding this and how long will the new "it" be hot?

This is exactly why I do not follow trends.

Why I Don't Follow Decorating Trends and Why You Shouldn't Either

Of course, I'm aware of them and being a huge fan of interior design, I drool over the latest and greatest with everyone else.

I pin, I clip, I dream, but I rarely do. At least not in large doses.

I'm more of a taster.

If something trendy really catches my eye, I add a small, inexpensive element that can quickly be undone when I'm tired of it or it falls out of fashion.

Like my easy open kitchen sink skirt.

Honestly though, I decorate from the gut, I go with what appeals to me. I decorate with what I love, regardless of its popularity or mass appeal.

Floral Sink Skirt in the kitchen

My entire house has been deliberately decorated and what is trendy has never been a priority. 

Case in point, the aforementioned laminate countertops, I am not a big cook.

I really wanted mahogany counters, but was dissuaded by both price and function and my husband, who likes to point out that the pizza comes in the same box, regardless of what kind of countertops we have.

Very funny.

The next best option for me was a laminate in the same color as the cabinets.

(Although I did recently get a wooden countertop in my bathroom. That only took 7 years!)

I wanted a kitchen like my grandmother had, one that looked more like a sitting room and less like a prep area. I wanted the furniture and accessories to stand out, not the machinery or the shiny countertops.

It was a premeditated choice that was met with loud grimaces from everyone I told. The room however, is perfect.

It’s exactly what I wanted and even now, almost two decades later, I'm super happy with it.

Perhaps, it wasn’t the super stylish choice, as granite was all the rage then, but apparently I would’ve been ready for another trendy upgrade by now anyway!

Kitchen nook with round table and buffalo plaid curtains

Maybe I am just a simple, old fashioned girl. I certainly favor the classics, but they are classics for a reason.

The earthy simplicity of a wood floor, the crisp sophistication of black and white tile and the ethereal vibe of white bedding, they looked as good in a room one hundred years ago as they do today.

Sure I can add a pillow or rug in the latest pattern, or make new curtains a popular print, but only if I am really inclined to do so, if it would make me happy to look at it, not just because it’s hot.

So what do you think, am I missing out on all the fun by sticking to the classics?

Do you employ trends in your décor?

More importantly, did you see the phone on the wall behind me?

Man, I'm old!

Kim Signature

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  1. I love your white kitchen and do agree that you have to go with what you love, trends are okay as long as you like them. Your kitchen is the most used room in the house so you have to be comfortable working in it. You looked like one happy little girl sitting by your orange colored counter top!

    1. Haha! I guess 1974 was a good year! I do love my kitchen and, you are right, you must be comfortable in your own spaces~ trends or not! Thanks for the comment!

  2. I too, love your kitchen, so inviting and totally timeless. The photo is adorable, and what a cute little top you have on.

    I feel like the ONLY way to decorate, is to surround yourself with things YOU love, and people you love.


    1. I love how you included the people you love in your comment. That is really the most important "décor" in anyone's home and life. Thank you for that powerful reminder! :)

  3. Hi Kim. Yes, I saw that phone on the wall. We still had one in my home in 2005! I think you new kitchen has a leg up on your mom's!


    1. Tammi, I vividly remember trying to stretch that phone cord around the corner so I could get some privacy when talking to my friends! Ah, the good old days! :)

  4. Love the phone. Brings back great you said of trying to get privacy when I am sure my mom heard almost every word...if only we could go back to the simplier facetiming or texting. Man i sound old!

    Love you kitchen it looks warm and inviting as well as crisp and clean. So if my kitchen is already outdated what IS in besides granite and stainless?

    I know I didn't buy your old house, but in 2004 when I moved in here we had a kitchen wall phone and mirrors in the living room. Maybe your mom and the previous owners of this house were "besties!"


    1. Haha! Maybe they were besties, talking on the phone and looking in their mirrored walls all day! :) As far as what is in style, it is either graphite or colored appliances (or cover them up with panels)and porcelain and concrete counters. Who knew?

  5. Hello! I came over from the Shabby Creek Cottage and I agree with you. My hubby and I are slowly decorating our home and as we switch from our old college furniture to bigger, better pieces we go for simple lines, colors we both like, and pieces that can grow with our family. I tend to go towards classic, antique pieces that have stood the test of time. We have many family antiques mixed with more modern furniture. We keep our house colors simple (for the most part). I always figured if I want to follow the trends, I will change throw pillows around. It's cheap and easy compared to painting or redecorating entire rooms.

    1. I agree, Megan, that's the way to do it! Your taste changes and fads come and go, but if you stick mainly with classic items you have a base to build on...and if that includes a few really trendy pieces that make you happy, awesome! Good luck with your decorating! It really is the fun stuff and thanks for popping by!

  6. Love your kitchen! As I was reading I thought someday my kids would be complaining about my stainless steel and cover up our precious wood with carpet or something else new that comes along. As far as trends, I usually start following them after they are on their way out. Great post...thanks for stirring my memories. (I was 14 in 1974) :)

    1. It's funny isn't it, how everything comes back into style eventually? My kids are wearing clothes that were "hot" when I was growing up, but they think they have invented it! I am sure you're right, carpet will come back around and bright colored kitchens as well...though it is fun to look back now and laugh! Glad you like the post, Cindra! :)

  7. Your home is lovely. I also tend to stay with the classics and add trendy things that are easily changed. I love the look of planked walls right now, but I do not relish the idea of ripping those suckers off in the future. I have no idea who decides what is out and what is in but I'm pretty sure I know why... money. Those talented folks who can up-cycle/recycle for pennies are the smart ones.
    Did using the dowel with the chair cover help?

    1. Sylvia, you were so helpful with that dowel suggestion! It anchored everything, so the fabric stays in its place! It was just what I needed~thanks! I hear you with the ripping things out! I wanted to use a beautiful glass tile when we renovated our bathroom, but I just didn't see it in there for the long haul. I went with a boring white subway tile, but it looks clean and classic and I update it regularly by swapping out the towels and accessories! Thanks for checking in! :)

  8. Trends they come they go but classic stays around forever!! I agree with you I only decorate my home in what I love and not by what's trendy. Love your kitchen with the cabinet doors and glass. My home was built in 1968 and my kitchen definitely looks it, but since I can't afford to gut and start over I bought Rustoleum cabinet paint to redo my cabinets and will buy Gianni counter paint to redo my counters. I'll be putting glass in the middle section of my upper cabinet doors and theb frosting them. Hopefully between doing this and changing out my sink and faucets this will update them enough to bring them out of the 60's era.

    1. Thanks for all your kind words! The 60's is a tough design era to love ;) but it sounds like you have a handle of how to make it into something you love! I think that when we redo room ourselves, although a lot of work, it becomes a part of us and that makes us love the space even more! Good luck!

  9. I couldn't agree more. When I forget, my husband reminds me that we're designing OUR dream of a home, and not anyone else's. He knows what he likes, and I like what he knows. :)

    1. We only have guests in our homes for such a short period of time, but we live there 24/7! It should be a place we are totally comfortable!

  10. I agree with all of your tried and true classics! Thank you so much for sharing at Monday Funday this week! Have a good one!

    Take care,


  11. I agree with you about trends. I try to keep my paint and style timeless but do love Ikat and other more trendy prints and bring these in with pillows or accents. x

    1. I actually love the way a classic room looks with a few unexpected trendy pops! Something unexpected always makes the room so much more interesting!

  12. Haha! We had a phone just like that with a cord long enough to stretch across the entire downstairs! I'm with you on the trends. I'm not necessarily a 'safe' decorator, but I like to fill my home with pieces I love regardless of the trends. Your kitchen is beautiful!

    1. Thanks Christy, I really do love my kitchen. Although the one trend I do embrace is updated telephone technology!

  13. But hold that your kitchen in the picture? It's drop dead gorgeous and the look that everyone wants. You are a smart girl!

    1. Thanks Stacey, but don't look too close! It doesn't have granite counters or stainless steel appliances or a Viking stove or a farmhouse sink...and you'd be amazed how many people point that out to me when they come over for dinner! I'm glad you think it's pretty~ You made my day!

  14. I'm smiling in my antique white kitchen with butcher block colored laminate, almond appliances and wall phone :^) I will have to admit though, you kitchen is a lot prettier...even though mine often sports red curtains etc., I have a lot more....etc..
    I'm glad I have a cohort in "parading" my own drum!!
    Blessings to you,

    1. Jaybird, I say, whatever makes you happy! I really believe that the best decorating comes from filling a room with things you love. Of course, the magazines are filled with gorgeous spaces, but I'd rather hang out in a room with my kids' report cards on the fridge! ;) Kim

  15. I like what you are saying here. My wife and I like the look of darker woods and a more rich color palette. We don't care for the popular whites and grays that seem to be popular now. There is an argument for resale value, but you need to ask yourself why you are redecorating. Is it for the purpose of selling the house or for the purpose of enjoying your home. Some people move every few years, and in that case you are kind of stuck with updating. However if you are moving into your "forever" home, then why do you care about copying popular trends? You should design for your personal taste. After all, you need to live in the house afterwards, and it would be better to enjoy it then to tolerate it just to match a trend.

    1. I agree 100%!! You should love where you live and make the space a place that brings a smile to your face everytime you look around. Besides, trends change quickly. Already realtors in our area are saying that shiplap is a huge turnoff. To me, a little paint is easier to change than a paneled wall...then again, I just painted a wood floor. So clearly I don't care about resale! Thanks for weighing in and ps- I'm a huge fan of dark wood and rich colors!