Perhaps you’ve noticed that I have a few opinions on decorating. Actually, all of us at Hermit Haus do, based on our experience buying and selling real estate, or in Carol’s case, working with home buyers and sellers as a real estate agent. We all watch a lot of home decorating shows, read a lot of magazines, and look at what’s in the big box and specialty stores. A lot. That leads to opinions.
Of course, there are always features that turn buyers on and off. They change as time goes on. (I have another blog post brewing about why we folks keep insinuating that we have to get rid of anything that’s good quality, just over five years old.) Anyway, yesterday I came across a Facebook post by one of my fellow real estate investor friends with a link to this fine article on the 15 Most Hated Home Decorating Trends That Need to Die in 2017. Die? Are they death-worthy?
I gleefully devoured the post, which is less annoyingly filled with ads on the phone than on the computer. Then I stewed on it. I totally agree that some of today’s trends will not hold up long. Others just might. So, I thought I’d share the items on the list, along with my reactions, based on my experience and gut feelings. Which trends do I overdo? Which do I reject?
Here are the first few!
Open Floor Plans
I totally agree that “open concept” has gotten out of hand. People are going into old houses and getting rid of every wall in their main areas, sometimes destroying any vintage charm the home had. On the other hand, small spaces look much larger cleared out, and many people like to be able to interact from the living area with others who are using the dining areas or kitchens. As you can see, we got rid of a lot of walls in the Bobcat Lair house. You can see straight from the breakfast nook to the door to the outside.
BUT, I left some half walls that strategically block the view of dirty dishes or other clutter that’s inevitable in the kitchen. I really wonder about some of the kitchens where every single thing in the kitchen is constantly on view from the living area. That’s not relaxing to me!
Also, as the Hated Decorating Trends article pointed out, sometime people WANT to get away. If you’re working from home, an office with a DOOR is very valuable. And if you have messy craft hobbies, like my knitting and weaving, it’s good to have a room for those things where you can close the door.
Verdict: So this trend, I predict, will eventually backfire, and people will be begging contractors to add back some of the walls they took out from historic or very period specific homes. Probably they’ll be adding carpet, too, once people get tired of every speck of dust showing on their dark hardwoods.
Yep. They are everywhere. Even in my new house. These I’m conflicted on. They are sort of cheesy unless in an actual converted barn or a house with a strongly “country” theme, and don’t fit in with a lot of styles. On the other hand, in some situations where you don’t want a door swinging into a space, but there are barriers to the quietly unobtrusive pocket doors I love…well, a barn door works. Thus, the office door at Bobcat is a barn door. Nothing else quite worked. I wished for barn doors on the office at our ranch house, because the ones we have, which open into the hallway, tend to block traffic.
Prediction: My guess is that this kind of sliding mechanism is useful, but that future “barn doors” will develop to look less like they actually came from a barn and more like more modern doors, or maybe Victorian or other styles to match the house they are in. I am very fond of respecting the era a house was built in.
(Faux) mid-century modern
Oh, this is a good one. I was born in the middle of the twentieth century, so I experienced this furniture the first time it came around. Oh how my mother hated it. She really hated “Danish Modern.” No one in my family has ever been fond of “clean lines” and uniform, flat home design. But, that’s what the neighborhood I grew up in looked like. I was well aware of the charms (kitty kat clocks with wagging tails!) and bummers (chairs that hurt no matter how you sat in them) of the era. All in all, I didn’t like it much.
I also endured my mother’s love of “Early American” and some really cheesy decor choices there, too. I guess that one’s not coming back, though.
The thing is, once another trend showed up, folks rushed to get rid of their “dated” mid-century furniture and put in whatever was cool next. Thus, very few people had the good-quality old versions anymore, when BOOM that stuff was cool again (in its “updated” form). And in came West Elm and its friends to fix that problem. People have hurried to get rid of their “dated” 90s and even 00s stuff.
Whoops, so did I, even though I didn’t like the style the first time around. Two large and bulky sectionals became Anita’s and my orange couch and gray barrel chairs. From West Elm. I figure that by not paying all that much for trendy living room stuff, I can replace it in five years, when it’s already worn out and lucite clear furniture is what we all want (or something). Hopefully when I go to sell the house, it will look current enough to make buyers happy.
Prediction: This stuff will make people swoon another three or so years. Then all this will be as “dated” as gold bathroom fixtures and wallpaper borders. How did ANYONE like THAT? (I did.)
Here’s My Real Question
Why do we folks in the rehabbing and staging business feel so compelled to make fun of people’s furniture choices from other decades? The things the young people on the decorating shows call ugly and vile were often very tasteful and popular when they were bought (pink and black bathroom tile, for example!). What if you bought some really well made stuff in colors you liked in 1987 and still like the stuff? I think it can just be called “vintage” and allowed to stay. I really find it wasteful to discard perfectly good furniture and decor items just because they are not from the past five years. Sure, update things that don’t work, are broken, or are dangerous. But a nice eclectic mix of items YOU love should be fine for you.
I wish we could have saved more from the original Bobcat Lair decor. It was really, really good quality when new, expecially the living room floors and the window coverings (water damaged and rotted from the sun, respectively). If you want a reminder of what it looked like, feel free to check out my Facebook album of its original real estate photos.
If you have to sell your house to trendy folks, just bring in stagers who can put in their pops of color and bland wall art. You can put your lovely stuff in your next house. Right now I’m looking at a couch I bought in the 90s and a wing chair from the 50s. I recovered them in modern fabric. I like them. They are comfortable and a tie to my family’s past. So there.
On that grumpy note, I will promise to go over some more trends that may or may not deserve to die next time I post!
Hey, Look at This
My friend Bonnie Douglas has graciously agreed to share some photos from her house, which is not at all faux mid-century modern…it’s the real thing! It’s hard to say which of these is more fun, the oven, the boomerang Formica, or the overlay art. Thank you for sharing your timeless home, Bonnie.