Trending-Stay in front of the home décor curve
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You've heard the adage that trends come and go. Bell-bottoms one year, tube pants the next. Flipping through Vogue you assess what is in this season before going shopping. It is no different when it comes to home decor. Although design trends tend to last longer than fashion trends, design professionals also look at the catwalks, amongst other things, for an indication of future home trends.
These trends are not created in a vacuum. They stem from global focuses, such as the green movement, rooted in widespread anxiety over the declining state of the environment. It's expressed in myriads of new recycled products, or from passing trends such as hot pink, colour du jour, here today, gone tomorrow, but putting a cheerful face to a stressful economic and political period.
Everything is trend. Local trends issued from the creative nexus of a neighbourhood go global in weeks thanks to the Internet. Technological, social, creative, ideological, political, and economic trends intersect to create global trends, and like memes spread a cultural virus creating deep paradigm shifts.
Gone are the days when big corporations tell us what to buy. Trends are now set from the bottom up.
Corporations rely on environmental scans to predict what will be in style so that their products stand a chance of success. Those who set trends have wide and eclectic sets of interest and are often technologically savvy, new media-oriented, social advocates or creators. They break with convention and push the boundaries of what is seen as acceptable. Once something has gone mainstream, influencers are already onto another trend.
What does that have to do with interior design? Everything. The granite used in the kitchen 12 years ago was not only chosen because it looked nice, but because it was trendy. As such, an increased industrial vector of manufacturers, suppliers and fabricators of natural finishes catered to the demand. Granite countertops are no longer trendy because of a new focus on recycled materials with a smaller environmental footprint. Whether it's a homeowner looking to increase property value, a business looking for ways to increase customer traffic, or a company wanting to brand its physical space, design trends must be contended with.
Design trends rarely last more than 10 years, while some last only a few months. Colour palettes have the shortest shelf life, lasting about two years, trending furniture styles have an approximate life span of five years, while most finishes are fashionable for 10 years. That is why kitchens and bathrooms are out of style within 10 years (if they were designed at the beginning of a trend). Buying what is touted as the latest fad is a sure way to make you spend thousands of dollars on items and finishes that are actually passé by the time you buy them.

When consulting for clients in the process of changing their environmental experience, I first look at their needs and lifestyles, and then assess global shifts to see how they will influence long-term design trends.
Many trend-setting designers have stopped following decor trends a while ago. It is not an abnegation of style, it is a new way to style.
Recently I designed two trend-less, contemporary rooms to meet clients' lifestyles.
The living room and dining room are strikingly unique, like my clients' tastes, and are comprised of prized one-of-a-kind timeless pieces and antiques, and as trends will march forward, these rooms will never be left in the past.
The contemporary design style of the rooms has been around for 50 years, and when well executed, it never gets dull or out-of-style. Because of its eclectic nature, the style adapts well.
As has been done with these rooms, the design can also be used to go beyond trend. Antiques and precious pieces that are as much art as furniture help create an unexpected trend-less home.
As trends evolve, these are a few of the major trends you can expect to see within the next 10 years:
Sustainable: Forget animal by-products such as leather, products wasting water or using pesticides and dangerous chemicals in their production. The new trend is in local or fair trade, recycled multi-usage products, reclaimed woods and furniture. Useless accessories are no better than junk. The need is for both beautiful and functional.
Holistic: The large gargantuan mansion is set to share its fate with the Hummer. The new movement is toward small homes with open multi-purpose rooms leaving a smaller footprint on the environment while seamlessly blending with the outside with areas for food gardening, and serving both the functions of work and play. The formal living and dining rooms will become extinct.
Individual: Homes designed on the most current dictum are stale. Homes designed for practicality and decorated to match the sensibility of the people living in them, making each home a true individual, will be in style. Homes will soon change their wall colours or their view at the push of a button.
Communal: Homes geared toward communal living with several aging generations under one roof is becoming the norm. Design adapted to the changing physical needs of each generation is imperative.
Organic technology: Homes catering to full technological integration with computers (soon robots) and ease of upgrade with removable panels for walls are already here. Expect to see technology evolve to mimic or better their organic or biological counterparts.
Eclecticism: A bit of this, and a bit of that is here to stay. Art pieces are no longer going to be acquired by the rich alone. People will redecorate less often but will acquire quality classic pieces that suit their fancy. Think five classic Chanel, two Gucci, four Dolce & Gabbana suits in your wardrobe instead of 30 Le Chateau outfits changed every year.  

Chantale Gagnon is the award-winning principal of Chantale & Co, a boutique design firm based in Everett.


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