Trends We Hate

Interior design goes through phases just like fashion. There will be good years and great trends and other times there will be things that make us cringe years down the line. There are plenty of current trends that we love: reclaimed wood, pattern mixing, retro light fixtures. But there are some we could do without.

Everyone seems to be putting their books on shelves backward. We don’t understand this. From a design standpoint, it makes the books all look the same color. But from a utilitarian standpoint, you have to turn every single book around to figure out which one it is. We are against displaying things just to display them. We believe that items should be visually interesting, have personal significance, or be functional. Books backward on a shelf do none of those things.

Everyone loves an open floor plan, but there is such a thing as a too-open floor plan. For example, there are now some master suites that don’t have doors or walls between the bedroom and bath area. There is absolutely no reason for this. Keep these two areas separate and keep the mystery alive.

Another big trend lately is minimalist. Everyone is decluttering everything. That’s great, we don’t want a room filled with junk you don’t care about or rarely use. However, there can be too little in a room as well. Having personal touches, some art, or family photos around the room makes it look lived in and welcoming. You don’t want your home looking like a hotel room, completely void of all personality, do you? Display at least a couple of things to show people that someone with a  personality lives there.

Then there’s throw pillows. All anyone hears about is adding pillows with colors and patterns will make a room pop! And yes, they will. However, if you add too many, you’re making the room overwhelming and the sofa, chair, or bed, will make it hard to sit or sleep comfortably. The pillows will probably end up on the floor, and then you’re defeating the whole purpose. While we absolutely encourage the use of throw pillows as room accents, make sure that you use this design technique sparingly.

The last one on our list is the farmhouse sink. Now, a farmhouse sink can look fantastic in some kitchens. Some people, however, just know that it is the newest thing in kitchen décor and so they want one, even if their kitchen is closet sized or shaped like a hallway. They don’t care if everything else is modern and sleek or rounded and retro, they want that farmhouse sink. You really need to have a nice sized room and a complementary design in order for a farmhouse sink to work in your space. Talk with an expert who designs kitchens before you get your heart set on one. There might be something much better looking and more practical for your space.

Not every trend is right for every room, and there’s no reason for you to keep up with them all. You have to choose things based on your room size and desired function as well as your own personal tastes. Are there trends that we overlooked that you cannot stand? Or have we judged these too harshly?

Design Ideas for Apartments

If you are living in a rented apartment, you don’t have the same ability to design your space as if you owned it. We know it can be hard to personalize your rooms and have them reflect who you are. You often cannot paint or choose flooring, and any holes you make will eat away at your security deposit. So what can you do? When we were first married, we lived in a few different apartments and developed a few tricks we want to pass along.

First: area rugs. It might seem silly if your apartment already has wall-to-wall carpet, but an area rug can really make a room pop, especially if you cannot add color to the walls and the carpet is that utilitarian beige color. Added bonus: covering up their carpet saves it from stains and dirt. It’s a win-win. Get something big enough to clearly mark off a space, especially if you live in a studio apartment.

Second: window dressing! Many places will come with ugly blinds that just collect dust. Adding curtains can help cut down on utility bills and make the room look better. Some windowpanes are magnetized and you may be able to get magnetic rods. For others, you will have to make holes. But once those great curtains are hung, the room will look totally different. And it will be worth it!

Third: buy versatile furniture. Don’t get a king sized bed because the bedroom is big. If you aren’t staying there permanently, who knows what the next sized bedroom you get will be? Another great investment is modular sofas, because you can rearrange them to fit the room. Same goes for ottomans. Buy multipurpose and flexible pieces to get the most out of them when you’re renting.

Fourth: get creative with wall decoration. Nowadays they make decals and even wallpaper that is both peel-and-stick and easily removable. Whether you’re adding just a little life to the walls or papering a whole room, these easy on, easy off products will make your place feel more like home. There are so many design choices out there. Choose something that reflects your personality or try something fun like a faux window!

Fifth: be smart with storage. You may not be able to put up shelving, so you’ll have to think differently. Bins that double as seating, or sofas with storage underneath will be useful. Bookcases and breakfast carts are other ideas you can add. Modular storage is also perfect in apartments, because you can set it up however you need and add to it as time goes on.

Finally, use those removable wall hooks for everything from hanging posters and artwork to coat hooks, potholders, and guest towels. They come in a variety of colors and styles, aren’t very expensive, and really do come off cleanly. It will help you add the finishing touches to your space while making sure you don’t spend the last days in your apartment spackling lots of holes!

Don’t let the fact that it is a temporary home dissuade you from decorating a rented apartment. If you’re going to be living there, you deserve to be happy in the space, no matter who has to foot the bill when the dishwasher breaks!

What to Do With All Your Stuff

Clutter and chaos is not a design aesthetic. It ruins everything you try to do with your home: it prevents things from being functional, makes it difficult to clean, does not provide comfort, rest, or peace, and it does not make people feel welcome.

There is a lot of advice out there regarding how to get rid of clutter, from simply getting rid of all of it to storage containers to holding onto only the things that bring you joy. Paring down is work, we won’t lie. Before you attempt to cut back on the amount of stuff you own, we have some advice.

First, start small. Pick a bookcase, a closet, a corner, or even a shelf. If you start too big too fast, you’re going to overwhelm yourself and give up before you have even made a dent. Don’t buy containers before you pare down, because you won’t know what you need to store until you know what you have left. Choose storage containers fit for the room you’re putting them in. Items in the basement or garage don’t have to look pretty but it might be good for them to be waterproof. Baskets in the living room for toys have to be easily identifiable and simple to open, or your kids are going to dump everything out to find what they want or never put things away. Just keep going, the process is time consuming and awful but at the end, it will be worth it.

Then, resist adding things back in to your newly decluttered home. Just because you have space does not mean you need to fill it. Bookshelves do not need to be packed full of items. A few treasured books and knickknacks creates more of a visual interest than shoving every single book you own into one case. You don’t live in a library or museum, there’s no reason to have the same amount of stuff they do.

Think creatively. Go vertical whenever possible – even shelves over the top of doorframes can be useful for out-of-the-way storage. The same goes for under the sink and in kitchen cabinets. Ottomans with storage provide extra seating and are a good place to stash items like extra pillows or bedding. Vacuum-sealed bags are a great way to store out of season items like heavy drapes, sheer curtains, flannel sheets, and other things you only use at certain times of the year. They’ll work for your heavy coats and bathing suits as well.

Be smart with how you store things and they will remain easy to find, simple to access, and allow you to enjoy the space you’re in, regardless of its size. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, hire a professional organizer or interior decorator to help you make the most of your square footage and all the stuff you need to have in it.