Saturday, January 16, 2021

When Designers Make "Trend Predictions"...

 I love to read all of the "design trend predictions" that come out the beginning of each year. 

I read them all - from independent bloggers, to well known, high-paid designers, to magazines and companies in the industry who have product to sell based on these "predictions."

I just find it interesting but I am, by no means, going to change up anything major based on a trend. 

I'm not trendy - just let me put that out there up front. And you can honestly find an article to say one thing and then the opposite...

Case in point. Pantone released a mid-tone gray as one of it's two 'Colors of the Year' but I can pull up at least 3 articles that say 'gray is on it's way out!'  My thought on this is A) don't use the color of the year, the mid-tone gray, if you don't like it and B) if you have a house full of gray tones and love it then don't listen to the naysayers who say gray is on it's way out.  In other words, you should love your home and the colors in it regardless of predictions or trends!! If you stay true to your personal color story you will be "in" one year and "out" the next- ha!

I met with a delightful lady to do a consult in the late Fall. She was lovely, her home was welcoming and charming (on steroids charming - soooo charming) but she loves and has a lot of red in her home along with a muted creamy wall color. Touches of green and lots of pattern. Beautiful art. Sounds delightful, right?  She thought she needed to change it up because it was dated. We ended up discussing minimal changes to just freshen a few spots up and make things slightly more functional for her- not the major gut job she thought she would be advised to do! But this home was absolutely, exactly Grandmillenial style. Perfectly done. Except that it wasn't the trend she was following, it is her home that she has lovingly collected and decorated this way for decades! A great illustration of the point above, these things come and go. When "granny chic" moves on she will still have a home full of colors and treasures she loves!

I like to read the trend predictions for inspiration (you never know when something might spark a little change in your home) and it is fun to be "validated" when you are on trend!! A few years ago a delicious coral color was Sherwin Williams Color of the Year. Yay me! My bathroom cabinet was painted that color - but it had been for years prior to that. Nice to feel like I was "on it" design wise but it is also STILL that color!! I didn't change it at the end of the year to be on trend with the new Color of the Year! You're in, you're out. Que Sera!!

Soooo, what are some of the predictions that I have seen so far in 2021 ??? Oh, I also love it when an article says "I think this trend is here to stay or this trend has been around for a long time and probably won't change." To me that constitutes something classic that has been deemed a trend for a short period, gains a lot of popularity and is often overdone and then trend followers move on while people who enjoy the classic look continue to embrace it. 

Anyway. Here we go: 

1. White Kitchens. They come, they go. I think there will always, always be people who want a classic white kitchen - trendy or not. I've had a white kitchen for 40 years and probably always will. The curtains and accessory colors might have changed a little bit over the years but basically my kitchens are always white. I just saw a bunch of articles that white kitchens are out and a couple that said white kitchens will always be crisp and classic and never 'go out of style.' Basically "ditto" on the white walls conversation! 

PS. My island is a SW navy blue that was a color of the year at one point ;)

(Sorry about the Christmas touches but my kitchen is rarely photographed - it's always in use and therefore neverrrrrrr clean enough!)

2. Bamboo, Rattan, Cane Furniture. OK, if you've been here a second you know I love, love bamboo, rattan, cane furniture and accessories!! I personally cannot get enough. This goes back to my early childhood staying in Charleston/Low Country homes - in town or out at the beach. Formal or very casual. Recently decorated or family pieces. It was always in every home and I loved it. For years now I have been seeing rattan, bamboo or cane furniture (new or vintage) touted as here to stay or a trend that's going to last.  I think this type of furniture or accent is a classic touch and you can use quite a few pieces or just that one fabulous, textural accent piece.

3. Functional Outdoor Spaces. I love to be outside - this doesn't mean it always has to be an activity. I love to dine outside, relax outside, work at a table on the porch. You name it. So for me this is a no-brainer. I'm always perplexed when I see a deck or a porch without a comfy chair or a little table to have coffee. It does not need to be expensive to outfit an outdoor space. Do I dream of ordering everything in the Serenea and Lily, Ballard or Frontgate catalogues and having a perfectly decorated space? Yes! But in fact, thrifted items that you can be relaxed about in all types of weather are a great start and can give you that evolved, European outdoor space feel. They do it so well. And contrary to what I usually think, this is a good place to buy a few things from a big box store if you need to. The prices can be very low for sturdy outdoor furniture. Depending on your climate you can really stretch your outdoor time with a heater, firepit or cozy throws. I do all three and we use our screened porch every month of the year!

All of the furniture and accessories on this screened in porch have been thrifted. When something wears out we repaint, recover or go thrifting for a replacement. This porch gets a ton of use and wear but it doesn't matter because none of it was costly!

We also added this a few years ago and it has added  a lot to our backyard experience.

4. Rooms That Function for Your Needs! Do not let the name on a floor plan dictate how you use a room! When I was young I never understood why we couldn't set foot in our "living room." Shouldn't you be able to "live" in it???  We turned our (according to the floor plan) Formal Dining Room into a Library almost 15 years ago (We needed to give our stacks of books a home and know where they were when we wanted to relax and read!) They are rarely big enough for large tables anyway. We have a large eat in kitchen and we had a table that seated 12-14 on our Screened In Porch which is where we have always entertained! I also love when people take the kitchen table out of the small dine-in area in a kitchen and put two comfy chairs and a drinks table. So great for someone chatting with you while you cook. Thirty years ago I  had a friend whose big family always congregated at her house for meals constantly. She sold her matched Living Room furniture and turned her Living Room into a very large Dining Room with a long table. They loved it and their family used the heck out of that room that had sat unused prior to that. People thought she was crazy to sell her 'nice' furniture - I thought she was genius! We put French Doors on our Formal Living Room the week we moved in and for over a decade it housed my husband's business office. I use the space now as a studio (on a good day) and storage dump (on a bad day!) We have zero reason to devote that space to formal living room furniture. Some people do!! Some people put exercise equipment in it! No right or wrong - just make those rooms work. 

Our Library - no longer the Dining Room. You can read more about the process here and here.

5. Accessories, Plants, Flowers, Foraged Blooms and Branches. Accessories should be things you love not things purchased for a look (in my opinion!) So if you spend time in nature and go hiking and pick up rocks then display them in jars or bowls. I have seashells galore. And we have a beach sand collection (in a vintage wall cabinet in our kitchen!) Do you love books?Stack them up! Clocks? Group them together! Art? hang those gallery walls anywhere that gives you pleasure! Blue and White Chinoiserie pieces?? There's one that's been popping around on the trendy list that is a classic! They are an example of something that has been collected for hundreds of years and used in decor without a break that became trendy a few years and very popular. Many of us have pieces that came through our families and we will always use it in our homes.

And plants, blooms, flowers and branches?? Always, yes. Bring in living and green as much as possible! It's always a good thing!

6. Black and White Check Floors. (or maybe checked floors in general) I have not seen this on a single list this year or in the recent past but I'm throwing this one out there as a classic that shows up from time to time as a trend! I've seen a ton of painted black and white checked floors on blogs and Instagram in the last year or two. I even painted my powder room floor that we redid in 2020 with a black and white check. Black and white checked floors have been a design element for centuries.I fell in love with them, as a teenager, on my first trip to Paris. They were everywhere. Our first home, a 1904 Farmhouse Victorian, had black and white check flooring in the kitchen. I loved it!! I put black and white check tile in my master bathroom in the 90's. Still there. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was painting check floors during the big country decor days of the 80's - think Mary Emmerling influence. It was considered a trend then but it's classic in so many decor styles - country, Parisian, farmhouse, etc. 

Seriously the hardest room in my house to photograph but you can see more here.

So, for whatever my opinion is worth, I say to read the "trend" forecasts but remember that your home should please you and work for your family - whether you are currently 'on trend' or not!

So, how do you feel about design trends vs. classics?  Do you read the forecasts? What did you think about the forecasts for 2021?? How much we are home and how we used it over the last year will probably impact how we design our spaces. Do you agree? Have you made any changes? I am curious!


  1. Amen to every word you have said here. Of course, I'm 57 and have seen trends come and go. I will confess that I've gone over to the pretty simple/lots of white side in the last few years but it feels good and we are enjoying the tranquility of it. I do still absolutely love lots of color, texture, and yes to plants! Your style is really beautiful and definitely has me thinking about more color.

    1. Thank you!! I do think age has something to do with it for me too. I just want what I'm comfortable with and creates a low stress environment/lifestyle!