Do interior design trends really matter?

Jeanette Mercer Interior Design Leave a Comment

I look forward to September each year, as that’s when I get to go to the big design trade shows, mix with industry colleagues and look at what’s new. The big UK fabric houses usually launch new collections and there’s all the buzz of London Design Festival. It’s great for those of us who work in interiors, but I can honestly say very few clients talk to me about trends in interior design. So, for the homeowner, do interior design trends really matter?

When picking a soothing paint colour for your bedroom, or a rug to match the existing living room curtains, you could be forgiven for wondering who actually thought a ‘Dandelion Yellow’ and ‘Pom Pom Pink’ combination should be the hottest thing in interiors this year (and indeed, why).

The truth is that the interiors industry is quite like the clothing industry – trends and fashions are what keep store shelves and websites from looking exactly the same year on year.

Whilst a store that sells towels, bedlinen, crockery and accessories in every single hue imaginable might be my idea of heaven (I do love colour), it’s not actually feasible. Most estimates say the human eye can perceive several million colours but can you imagine the stocking issues for a shop selling a mere 300 of those? Imagine a simple item like a towel or a mug with thousands of options in front of you. Stores couldn’t carry every colour option and to be honest, most customers would find that amount of choice overwhelming.

Someone, somewhere gets to choose what we have available to buy. Someone has to ensure that items work in ‘collections’, that colours and patterns will combine rather than fighting each other. Most of us would get bored if everything were exactly the same year after year, but not everyone can visualise what they do want. So someone gets to offer that inspiration. If you’ve ever seen the movie “The Devil Wears Prada” you may remember the scene where Meryl Streep gives a viciously funny explanation of colour trends to her naive new assistant, to make precisely that point.

It may not matter to you (or me) whether your home is ‘on trend’ – but unless you have the budget for bespoke, it will affect what is available for us to buy at any given time. So here are my tips for making trends work for you, rather than being a fashion victim.

  1. DO use new collections for inspiration, especially if you feel like a change. Most companies have a mailing list that will keep you up to date, and all the interiors magazines will feature new colours and trends (typically early Spring and Autumn).
  2. If you don’t like what you see, move on. DON’T buy simply because something is new or trendy – you’re likely to regret it long term.
  3. DON’T overindulge a theme or a particular motif. You may love those owls / pineapples / feathers right now, but you probably don’t want them in every single room, or on the wallpaper, curtains, cushions AND accessories of one room….
  4. DO buy accessories in particular accent colours that fit your colour scheme while they are available, even if you have to store them until needed. Like the fashion industry, interior colours do cycle back round again, but it can take a few years. It’s really frustrating knowing you saw what you wanted a year ago, but in the time it took you to get the room decorated and the new curtains up, the shops have all moved on.
  5. DO think how trends work with your existing belongings, the overall style of your home, and your lifestyle. (That gorgeous white sofa with its scatter cushions in holiday inspired shades of blue may look fab on a magazine page, but will it survive 3 small kids and a large dog?)
  6. DO trust your instincts  – it’s your home and should be full of things you love, not just a fashion statement.

If you need help making sense of it all, give us a call. And in case you were wondering, ’Dandelion Yellow’ was a real paint colour for a 1968 Ford Mustang, but I made up ‘Pom Pom Pink’!

Here’s the link to that movie clip: “You think this has nothing to do with you” (The Devil Wears Prada)

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