Death by Decor: 5 Telltale Signs a Design Trend Is All but Over


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Your mama probably warned you about the pitfalls of bowing to every trend. But of course, she didn’t grow up in this modern Pinterest- and Instagram-obsessed world, where it’s incredibly easy to get in line and follow the crowd.

Take sliding barn doors, for example. A few years back, they were de rigueur. By 2017, they were ubiquitous. And now? Now they’re just worn-out. The same might be said for other recent hall-of-fame fads such as Edison bulbs, succulents, and Mason jars.


So how can you tell a decor trend’s on the outs?

You will start seeing it everywhere, says Christina Harmon, an interior designer in Washington, DC, and owner of luxury home goods website Epitome Home.

“Proliferation is a sign of death in the design world,” she says.

Designer and author Kathryn Scott agrees: “A trend is on the way out when you start seeing it in hotel rooms and offices to restaurants and Pottery Barn—and you think to yourself, ‘I really need a break from this.’”

Let us be clear: We’re not saying you should ditch all your furnishings and accessories just because they’re popular. But read on for these telltale signs a decor trend might actually be knocking on death’s door.

1. It’s all over HGTV

Call it the Chip and Joanna Gaines effect: When a trend’s in constant rotation on home improvement shows, you know it’s probably not long for this world.

“I know a trend is heading toward life support when I see it in mass market retail or it’s become ubiquitous on HGTV,” says Susan Matthews, a Realtor® with Carolina One Real Estate, in Mount Pleasant, SC. After all, she says, “These shows are filmed months in advance.”

Terence Michael, who (fascinatingly) works as both a mortgage broker and a TV and film producer in Los Angeles, couldn’t agree more: “Suddenly my set dressers want everything to be gold and brass and navy blue,” he says. But by the time the show actually airs, a previously current trend like that combo will be so yesterday.

2. It’s in all the catalogs

Love that reclaimed wood-meets-industrial look, but unsure if it’ll still be in style next season? For another clue that a design trend is on its last legs, just check your mailbox.

“When all the catalogs in your mailbox feature the same trend, you know the trend is dying a slow but comfortable death,” says Lance Marrs, a broker at Living Room Realty, in Portland, OR.

3. It’s permeated the big-box chains

Experts are quite unanimous on this one: When a trend’s filtered down to Target, Lowe’s, or Ross, you know it’s nearing the end.

For example, “I knew white subway tile was on the outs when it became the least expensive option at Home Depot,” says Justin Riordan, principal at Spade and Archer. (Ditto that for “anything Tuscan,” Harmon says, which she says is a mainstay of home improvement stores.)

Their take? If you can buy it alongside your toilet paper and La Croix, it’s probably no longer really on trend.

4. The price plummets

When a trend’s been there, done that, you’ll see it displayed en masse at discount retailers, Harmon says.

These closeout businesses do “opportunity buys,” Harmon says, meaning they’ll purchase a lot of product at a time because it’s been sitting unsold in a designer’s warehouse for some time.

“If the designer could sell the product at market to retailers full price, trust me, they would,” Harmon says.

5. It shows up beyond interior decor

When a trendy pattern such as the chevron or pineapples starts cropping up in multiple media (think home decor and clothing and office supplies), “it’s a sign of death,” Harmon says.

“It’s been selling well for a while so big retailers are splattering it on everything,” she says. “As soon as it’s done blowing up, it’s over.”

In reality, of course, trends do last longer than a single season.

“Every season, magazines want what’s new, but most people don’t shop that way,” Scott notes.

In fact, even the experts agree that following trends can be unsustainable; once everyone freaks out about, say, charcoal and eggplant, the pendulum swings back to light and bright. And then there’s the obvious: Changing up your home decor to follow every of-the-moment design whim can be exhausting and expensive.

Perhaps the best real-life advice? Find a style you like, stick to it, and freshen it up when you get bored.

And keep Harmon’s motto in mind: “No matter what, at the end of the day, if you like it, keep it.”

The post Death by Decor: 5 Telltale Signs a Design Trend Is All but Over appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.

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