Is your pad stylish or a fashion victim? Avoid falling for fads and create a home you’ll love for years by following our simple tips.
Believe it or not, avocado coloured bathroom suites and woodchip walls were once considered cool. Today, along with artex ceilings, they’re among the top three decorating crimes, proving that there’s only a fine line between a fashion and a fad.
Follow our guide below and you’ll create interiors that won’t just look good but that you’ll love for years, too.
If you’re old enough to remember the 1970s you’ll probably remember its decorating fads too: coloured bathroom suites, orange and brown kitchens, psychedelic carpets. But it isn’t just these 70s crimes against design that are no longer considered cool. Think of 1980s black ash furniture, the fake period-feature fad of the 90s (when people installed false ceiling roses and decorative coving even in new build homes), and the see-them-everywhere laminate floors of the early 2000s. Even today’s nostalgic hark back to the 1950s will probably fall out of fashion as time goes on.
“My absolute worst fad of the past 20 years are the textured Artex ceilings,” says Coco Interiors designer Debbie Greasley. “They look awful and are really difficult to get rid of.”
[Related feature: How to revamp your home on a budget]
Go off trend
The best way to ensure that you don’t fall victim to the latest fad is to go a little off trend. “Play it safe with big purchases like kitchens and sofas,” says Debbie, “by keeping these larger purchases neutral. A fuscia pink kitchen with a bright glass worktop will date, white kitchens won’t.”
Designer Lynn Pick from HomeMakeover agrees. “Don’t buy big-ticket high fashion items. If you want something fashionable, choose a few inexpensive accessories that can be easily changed,” she says.
Along with bathrooms and kitchens, choose sofas, carpets and curtains in classic styles. If your sofa is neutral and simple, your cushions and throws can be as on-trend as you like.
There really is such a thing as enduring design. “Some things are timeless,” says Debbie. “Simple classic shapes won’t date. Look for furniture without too much fuss and detail and with classic fine lines.”
A roman blind, for example, with its simple rectangular shape is unlikely to ever look out of date, whereas Austrian blinds, those ruched, ruffled over-fussy affairs, now look very uncool. The same is true of sofas and other furniture – ornate shapes and unusual materials will date. Think of the recent trend for Zebrano-style wood, which already looks a little old hat. Pattern too, dates quickly. One season roses and tiny florals look modish, a year or two later they’ll be labelled twee.
Whereas if you choose simple, straight lines, in plain neutral tones, especially for key items, you’re unlikely to fall out of love with them when fashions change.
That’s not to say your home should be bland and personality free. “There’s always a place for colour in the home,” says designer Martin Brudnizki of Brudnizki Design Studio.
Once again the secret lies in choosing where you add that colour. “If you paint your walls, then that’s fairly low cost and relatively easy to change,” says Martin.
If re-painting every now and then seems like a chore then Debbie advises taking a subtle approach to colour. “As a general rule, muted tones are easier on the eye across large spaces like walls. Add in zingy colours as an accent and you’ll be able to update these more easily when fashions change.”
For the simplest colour injections choose bold artwork, bright towels or colourful bedding. And, says Martin, the ‘keep it simple’ mantra applies here too. “Edit your ideas. Don’t try to do everything,” he says.
Follow your instincts
Ultimately your home is a personal space, so it’s important to follow your instincts. “You have to live with your choices,” says Debbie, “so choose designs that suit your taste. It’s not about being zany or having the latest thing.”
And commitment to an idea also rarely goes out of style. If the 1950s are your favourite decade and your home plays homage to your passion, then fashion is irrelevant. It’s your space and you don’t have to appeal to other’s ideas of the latest styles. “Personality is really important in a home,” says Martin.
So, for stylish, fad-free interiors choose simple, timeless design against a neutral background and add in a healthy injection of your own personality.
What’s the fad that most gets up your nose? Have you been responsible for crimes against interiors? And what are your favourite design themes? Are there any you think will always be in fashion?