Ten Decorating Trends That Are Over (or should be)

DomesticArts, Interior Design, New Year

January is a great time to really examine your personal spaces and think about how you want to live and feel throughout the year. After holiday decor has been stored away, take some time to edit your belongings. Donate items that don’t speak to who you are. Take this opportunity to rotate things you love to different locations for a fresh look and feel.

1. Kitchy Farmhouse

When you start seeing home decor items pop up at discount stores like TJ Max or HomeGoods, you know the trend is dwindling (or more likely, has dwindled). Tasteful farmhouse style is tricky because the market is flooded with low-end objects. Keep things simple and use authentic pieces for a genuine feel.

2. Heavy Metallics

We’ve seen lots of mass-produced metallic home accessories in the last few years. A little bit of metallic in any room adds interest and a playful, reflective quality. Just be careful to balance it out with other textures so it doesn’t look to trendy or over-done.

3. Subway Tile With Dark Grout

Subway tile is a clean, simple, inexpensive material that works in a variety of settings. Unless you live in an urban loft or industrial type space, subway tile with black grout doesn’t work. If you still want to try the trend, use it in a small space like a bathroom wall so it can be replaced inexpensively if you don’t love it.

4. Kitchens Sans Top Cabinets

Many designers have eliminated top cabinets in contemporary kitchen design which is supposed to give a space a light, airy look. Just be honest with yourself about whether your life-style suits the trend. If you are able to be highly selective/disciplined about your kitchen wares, a kitchen with limited kitchen storage might work for you. If your kitchen cabinets are filled with a mish-mash of stuff you don’t necessarily want displayed on open shelves, upper, closed cabinets are still best.

5. Tiny Pendant Lights

Small, inconsequential pendant lights do very little to make a statement. When choosing lights to hang over a bar or island, keep the scale of your bottom piece in mind. Don’t feel obligated to go with the new trend of using huge pendants (which is a look that won’t be lasting either). Choose pieces that will give you adequate task lighting. Don’t go for tiny and precious or huge and trendy. Select something in the middle that provides a comfortable, visual balance.

6. Fake Flowers

While some high end silk trees are well-made enough to look nearly real, I implore anyone out there who is still decorating with silk flowers to abandon ship. No matter how lovely a room, silk flowers stand out like a bad nose-job and can simply ruin your space. You’re not fooling anyone with silk flora. Imitation  flowers look fake, are horrible dust-collectors and generally make a room stodgy.  Silk flowers are to real foliage as Velveeta is to an artisan, aged Manchego. A single bloom in a bud vase is far more lovely than the most elaborate silk arrangement.

8. Faux Art

You and your home deserve original art. Reproduction posters or mass-produced prints available at chain furniture stores won’t  inspire you or anyone else. But one of a kind art pieces don’t need break the bank. Consider custom framing old postage stamps, vintage vacation photos, kid’s art, a meaningful letter you’ve received, a gorgeous scarf… When you surround yourself with interesting pieces that communicate a personal narrative, your home will feel instantly enriched and unique.

9. Shower-Only Bathrooms

I’ve come across several beautiful homes lately that feature big, fancy showers but no bathtubs. If you truly hate baths and plan on staying in your home forever, certainly customize your space to reflect your personal needs. Do keep in mind that for re-sale value, you will attract lots more buyers if you have a master bath-tub (and tubs in guest spaces as well). The ritual of bathing is very important to lots of people and tubs are a pure necessity for anyone with small children.

10. Wall Decals

In reference to the anti-faux art note above, avoid decals like the Black Plague unless you are decorating a child’s room (although… still questionable) or maybe a dorm room. It’s better to leave a wall blank while you search for the right piece of art than to hastily use a sub-par solution.







Deconstructing Christmas

Christmas, DomesticArts

Every Christmas I promise myself when it’s time to take down the Christmas tree I will carefully and thoughtfully organize my ornaments. I vow I will store all like-themed decorations together so that if, one Christmas in the future, I want to style the tree in all angels or all Santas or all nutcrackers… the task will be easy. While some may have visions of sugar plumbs dancing in their heads, I have visions of opening beautifully ordered boxes of decorations each year I have carefully and lovingly stored the year before.

As is the case with most fantasies, my reality is grossly different from my well-intentioned imaginations. Yesterday afternoon I started pulling the tree apart. From the photo above you can see I still have my work cut out for me. Most everything is off the tree and I’m gripped with the familiar need to toss everything in big Rubbermaid containers without time or effort put toward organization.  As much fun as Christmas is to assemble, it’s agonizing to put away. Does anyone else have the urge to toss the whole tree with lights still attached? I’ll admit I’ve done it but the nagging image of our landfills jumbled with tree lights will dissuade me from doing it again.

As soon as I post this, I’m going to take a deep breath, get the Rubbermaid tubs from the garage and dump everything inside just to be done with it. The task of expunging Christmas is pesky, it’s true, but the promise of a de-cluttered home, all fresh with clean spaces where vignettes of decorations have been sitting for a month spurs me on. There is something about ringing in the new year in an orderly house that just feels right. It feels so right, I use it as justification for the atrocious way I heave all my treasured ornaments into boxes without much thought.

I’d still like to believe that, one day, I will rise to the occasion and fulfil a responsible post-Christmas clean-up routine. At least this year I’m still too driven by the out of sight/out of mind philosophy that has served me well for years. I suppose it’s always good to have something to aspire to.