DIY Projects · Uncategorized

When You Should Use Design Trends & When You Shouldn’t

Last week I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about home design and, in particular, home trends. We’ve all lived through various designs trends- Harvest Gold appliances, orange shag carpet, hunter green laminate countertops, brass everything, etc. If you recall, Flip 2 was a showcase of retro trends that, in its prime, was a high-end home.

And while there’s nothing wrong with trends, I think it’s important to realize what they are. Temporary design trends. You can’t go Lowe’s and buy a Harvest Gold stove anymore. Flooring stores don’t stock orange shag carpet. Why? Because they’ve gone out of style.


So if they’re temporary and will go out of style, why do people use them? I have even used design trends in home.

A few things to consider when choosing a design trend:

  1. How difficult and expensive will it be to change this when it’s out of style?
  2. Can you live with the design even when it’s long gone from the current trend?
  3. Are you okay with your house looking like everyone else’s?


Currently, thanks to Fixer Upper and HGTV, shiplap is all the rage. On almost every episode of Fixer Upper, you can spot rooms [or entire houses] full of shiplap. Typically, the shiplap they use is pristine white shiplap.

fixer upper pic

The shiplap is effect is beautiful and adds some contrast to boring drywall. But as sure as the sun will come up tomorrow, you can bet that the shiplap trend will die off. What will Joanna Gaines do then?!

Another classic design trend that, once again, thanks to Chip & Jo, has made its presence known in home trends is subway tile. Not only is this a design feature people like, people are actually paying MORE for houses that have subway tile! So, since they’re paying more, of course I put subway tile in the Flip 4 house!

MLS 14

One of the unexpected designs that have popped up is the usage of barn doors. Gone are the days of pocket door trends (which I still love), and now are the days of visible industrial hardware and sliding doors– new, old, vintage, or unique. Again, people are paying MORE for houses with barn doors, so I’ve incorporated one in Flip 3 and Flip 4.

Knowing all of these designs will phase out eventually, should you add them to your home? As a Realtor and a house flipper, here’s my opinion to that question.

  • Less is more. 

Don’t flood your house with every trend on the market. Should all of your walls be shiplap? No! An entire bathroom, kitchen, backsplash all have subway tile? No.

When you incorporate trends to the excess, you’re just asking for your house to date faster than it should! Consider an accent wall like I did in the master bathroom in Flip 4!

  • Make it easily changeable

For example, when the maroon & hunter green trend was on fire in the 1990s like gray is today, consider using accents for the trends. Pillows, linens, accent wall, or even artwork are all great ways of incorporating trends in a temporary manor….because trends are temporary.

  • How long do you plan to live at your house?

One of the perks that I have in using trends (sparingly!) is that I don’t live in the houses. I’m wanting to capitalize on the trends to drive up the sellability and value in a home, so, like the shiplap walls and subway tile, I use them to meet that goal. If I was living in the house for a long time, I might reconsider my design choices. Again, trends are temporary and if you don’t plan on living in the home temporarily, keep that in mind as you decide on trends.

  • Is it in every big chain department store? That’s a sign it’s a trend.

Personally, I don’t regularly shop stores like Kirkland’s or even TJ Maxx. But, occasionally, I’ll snatch up a little treasure. But my rule of thumb is to never buy artwork or decorations from stores like that because they’re a dime a dozen. Who wants their house to be a dime a dozen? Invest in local artists, create something yourself, upcycle previous trend finds into something more modern. Even if you’re not a huge DIY person, shop small and shop local to find unique and adorable accents for your home.

MLS 10

This post isn’t to say that trends are terrible. I love the look of subway tiles and barn doors and shiplap….but people loved Harvest Gold refrigerators and hunter green faux marble countertops too. My point is that they fade…and they fade fast. I frequently walk into houses that are a complete time warp because of the excessive amount of trends used in a house. A house can be classic and transition with the times….the level of difficulty in that transition is based on the number of trends and their permanence.

So, tell me…what are your thoughts on the current trends? As a Realtor, I’ve learned everyone has an opinion about them…and usually a very strong opinion!


13 thoughts on “When You Should Use Design Trends & When You Shouldn’t

  1. Love your post. So interesting. One thing I would add are those wall paper borders up where the wall meets the ceiling or where the chair rails might be. I think they really date a room and limit your color choices for decorating.

    Was searching to buy a farm house two years ago and I was surprised how many homes had them. Not my thing. Was able to find a 1920 farm house with all original unpainted woodwork and snatched it up. So happy.

    Love your flips and blog. Great job!

  2. Good post! It’s a reminder that we’re all not “a Joanna” nor do most people have the money to invest in these trends just to find in a few years that our home is already “dated”. I love that wallpaper is back but scraping off wallpaper once the trend is gone is a huge pain.

  3. When readying a house for flipping, sticking with neutral colors and implementing current trends are important selling points, but if the house is your ‘forever home’, make you and your family happy, even if you never implement a single current trend. We attended a builders’ home show recently and the great majority of them looked so much alike that none really stood out from the crowd. All were very pretty, but frankly, it was a bit boring. That’s why I enjoy looking at your house flip photos – I appreciate how you try to individualize a space while at the same time, repurposing or reusing something that was already in place. Example: adding the metal grids to the cabinet doors.

  4. I love the barn door look, but pocket doors have my heart, I am glad to see a post on trends because as you say they fade, 15 years ago my sister did her home in greys and she had a designer tell her it” looked great if you like a cold industrial feel, last year she said “see I am just SO ahead of trend. I decorate with what I like because I love pastels and they tend not to be “in”, they make me happy so that’s what matters.

  5. I thought hunter green and maroon was just my mom! She also threw in navy to “spice it up”. Lol. We even had the green counter tops! Is rag rolling still a thing? Because she did that in almost every room, too.

  6. Trends are exactly that. I work at a home store and have seen lots of changes in the past ten years. In my own home, I have neutral everything! It was a total rust, gold, avocado green nightmare when we purchased it. My accessories are where I update my look…pillows, lamps, etc.
    Before ship lap, there was beadboard. Now we are seeing a return to wallpaper! Your finished projects are so inspiring, great job

  7. I so agree on trends. I try not to be influenced by them, but will use them only if I can change them out easily later on. I like the barn doors as a feature. Getting ready to put one in at the stairs off the living room that go up to the office space that will work in our Craftsman inspired home.

    1. Hi Lavelle! I think making the big things neutral and accenting with trends (pillows, linens, artwork, etc) is a way to keep things classic & timeless!

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