Many trends come and go throughout the years. Looking back on styles of past decades there are plenty of memorable ones but few that stand the test of time. Surely everyone has come across pastel tile from the 40’s/50’s, celestial patterned Formica from the 60s, shag carpet from the 70s or mauve built-in’s from the 80s and early 90s. While all of these were very fashionable at the time, they are not the most appealing looks and are instantly dated to their days of installation. Even with today’s modernization there are trendy styles that are bound to mark the beginning of the millennium. Here are the top 5:
1. Ultra Skinny Subway Tile
Walk into any home built or remodeled in the new millennium and there’s likely to be skinny subway tile (AKA “pencil tile”) in either the kitchen or bathroom. This contemporary mosaic-like trend usually comes in about 3-4 similar or contrasting colors and has become a staple in homes across the US. The small pieces, infinite grout lines and multiple colors are busy and distracting. The eye is drawn directly to the mess of tile rather than focusing on other noteworthy parts of a kitchen such as beautiful stone countertops or professional grade appliances. If a tile backsplash is desired, better to choose something timeless like marble hexagons or classic subway tile.
Furnishings and lighting fashioned from recycled pieces have been a popular part of accessorizing in the 2000s. Items emphasizing wheels, pulleys, cranks, gears and bolts have overcome design shows on TV and big name brand design catalogues. Iron fixtures, galvanized metal sheets, copper fragments and reclaimed wood are common materials. These shapes and finishes have overcome American homes and often lack in actual functionality despite their operative appearance. The overuse of industrial facets has swept the world of interiors and is less novel than it is cheesy. Accenting with a piece made from authentic recycled parts rather than crowding a space with phony gadgets is a more tasteful direction.
3. Gray Hues
Gray is a neutral color that comes in a multitude of hues and can be used in a variety of spaces, however it’s versatility has misled consumers into residing in monochromatic super spaces. Gray walls, upholstery, lighting, wall art and accessories – what a recipe for dull and gloomy living! Utilizing gray as either a base, painting just the walls, or accenting with gray accessories, will allow for more color to lighten the scheme and mood.
4. Faux Midcentury
Many love the clean lines, wood veneers and groovy characteristics of midcentury style. The widespread glorification of this era has caused an explosion of nostalgia overload and corporate design has eaten this trend right up. The result? Replica mania – cheap products filling stores and showrooms, causing a uniform look of impersonators. Instead of the thoughtfully designed and well-crafted unique furnishings and accessories we saw innate to the 50s, 60s and 70's, we’ve been overthrown with a plethora of mass produced plywood, plastic and aluminum. Not only are these copycats cheaply made, but there are so many of them circulating that interior spaces are lacking a sense of individuality. If one is a fan of midcentury, then invest in items true to the era – look into local antique shops or consignment stores, just try to stay away from overindulging in wannabes.
5. Birds Everywhere
Birds have been a popular emblem in a variety of motifs over centuries of art, architecture and design. In recent times though, they have overwhelmed interiors, being stamped on anything from tablecloths to table lamps. It’s typical to enter a home nowadays to see birds appliqued on pillows, printed on upholstery, embossed on candles and formed on just about any other sort of brick-a-brack one could think of. An aviary surplus has taken over, making birds less special and more predictable. Birds are beautiful creatures and come in such a variety of sizes, shapes and colors – they should be celebrated, but not to the extent that they are flooding our homes.
A sure fire way to recognize a tacky trend is if it’s common enough to see in practically every home, along with every redesign on HGTV. The key is to choose authentic pieces versus mass-produced products, and limit the number of them to avoid theming a space. Selecting genuine items as opposed to reproductions will keep a space unique to one’s personality, and minimizing the volume will allow special items to shine rather than getting lost in the mix.