Fads and Trends: Where They Come From, and Why They Matter

Calling something a fad or trend isn’t a complement. Used dismissively, it suggests a short-sighted, insignificant, or immature choice.

As a stager and a decorator I guide clients on making costly and meaningful decisions about their spaces, possessions and acquisitions. Money is always important, and costs need to align with expectations.

Fads and trends are real and valid! Similar, both driven by two universal human conditions: 

  • Boredom! We seek different, the latest and greatest to be entertained and amused.
  • They reflect something real going on in our lives, in our world

But different, as the more you spend, the longer you expect it to be around

  • Fads are fun, and often short lived. Take what I call the woolly mammoth throw pillows (pictured above): The must have accessory this past fall: cool for $20, and not a great tragedy when they go in the closet come spring.
  • Trends tend to build, stick around, then slowly fade. Styling on more costly purchases like houses and furniture and semi-permanent installations like tile, flooring or cabinetry are all good examples.

Depending on the product I see the continued preferences for grays, organic materials, and ‘shimmer’ as being both a fad and a trend: they reflect our desire for calm, for being rooted yet still pretty and sophisticated.

  • Sellers are wise to take note of both: Applying a fresh coat of a grayed neutral color on the wall is a good investment, as is $150 for eye candy like a pair of mercury glass lamps, or (sigh) some of those damn woolly mammoth pillows.
  • Similarly, buyers who can discipline themselves to look past superficial decor they don’t like, to assess where the big and costly elements are in that look’s life cycle can make better decisions about the value of a property.

Now there are some design hucksters out there (also called marketers) who create FAKE TRENDS. These are the people who say shiny brass is coming back….that emerald, tangerine, or baby-poop brown aka marsala are to be embraced as COTY (colors of the year)…or that wallpaper never left.

The Refreshed Home would never recommend pursuing these in any meaningful/costly way…but if ideas like these speak to you, go small. Instead of a brass chandelier, go with accents like brass candlesticks.  Consider toss pillows, a vase, or ok, maybe a single accent wall in the bouncy paint color. And if you must wallpaper, have a blast in the powder room. Just walk away from the woolly mammoth pillows!!

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