Trends vs. Traditions

Home design, soft furnishing, fashion clothing, and even cars, are all susceptible to trends, grooves, approaching and receding waves of popularity and what is “in” and what is not. While there can be startling new designs that are totally out there, you tend to find that things tend to go in cycles. A move back towards more traditional designs, nodding back to old styles and trends, and then a move forward again to contemporary and cutting edge designs. Some of the best designs combine both- an eclectic mix of the old and the new.
Of course, fashion and trends are designed to make you want to buy new items every season. Surely you don’t want to be seen walking down the High Street that is “last season dahling”! But when you are ready to redesign or redecorate a room there’s every reason to buy the style magazines and see what seems to be new for the year. You won’t be wanting to redecorate every year of course, so the trick is to see furniture, lighting and appliances that will be as close to “timeless” as you can. Something chic, stylish, new, but that will not be so trendy or gimmicky that within a season you’ll be rueing the day you bought it all.
Sadly, due to the economy and more, we really don’t have the budgets to be choosey. As much as we’d like to go a little crazy with a credit card in a department store, it’s time to seriously pull back and consider whether it might be better to embrace a more timeless style that will see our home through years rather than months.
For kitchens, for example, there are often trends that go back to traditional kitchen designs… like a country kitchen look with an Aga. The wood for the cabinets, drawers and work surfaces will tend to be of natural-looking darker wood. That style will last for a long time, possibly forever because it is so well-established. It is traditional and timeless. However kitchens on the 1980s really had not a great deal to recommend them. It was the decade of MFI and cheap and cheap-looking kitchens with poor veneers and colours that faded or peeled. While you may want to dip back into nostalgia for some aspects of your new kitchen, the 80’s look should be avoided.
In your living room, then old traditional furniture styles whether reproduction or genuine and re-conditioned, can look great when offset with a more modern look. Combining the old and the new is tricky because you don’t want your antique sideboard of dark walnut to stick out like a fish out of water against an ultra-modern room with a minimalist stainless steel and glass coffee table and a bright red futon in corduroy!
You have to furnish your home with what you like and what suits you- don’t be a slave to fashion. But if there is something that you really like, be it a traditional piece for your modern room, or vice-versa, then go for it. You just may need to sit and have a little think about what adjustments may need to be made to integrate it into your room set-up. This might be some lighting, or a different colour paint in the corner where it will sit… Ask a friend what they think- sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can be the best to give you advice!