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What trend-trap have you fallen into?

The New York Times covers the over-styled house:

Ah, the bar cart. If there’s one thing that typifies the self-consciously styled home, it may be that. Evoking a mythical Hollywood Regency glamour, the bar cart telegraphs that the resident leads a life as rich as a socialite in a Slim Aarons photo and is constantly entertaining at home, though in reality it’s a prop that mostly collects dust. (This reporter should know: of the three pieces of furniture in his living room, one is a bar cart that’s still waiting for its first party.)    

Any trend traps you've fallen into? (For example, are you rethinking your black bathroom?) Let's hear your deep confessions on this theme. Design mistakes. An accessory you thought would be amazing but just looked silly in your home. Trendy colors you now cringe at. Fess up.

More HERE.


Emily said...

My personal error was the "salon wall" in my last apartment... basically anything in a frame qualified for display. When I moved and needed to rehang, I realized I only liked about half the pieces.

I agree with the general theme of the article, but "fresh flowers" are not a trend/cliche. Nor is serving cocktails to friends. My grandmothers have been propping their lives in this fashion for 60+ years, and it still seems pretty lovely.

Anonymous said...

I have foo dogs.

BUT THEY ARE WHITE, not that turquoise you see everywhere. So back off, foo-mockers.

court. said...

well, i will say i dodged the bar cart. but i didn't escape the imperial trellis print. i reupholstered a chair in it and all my throw pillows are Marshalls' specials.

now that it's jumped the shark, i'm hoping it will just be a nice print that people (myself included) will just admire

Effie May said...

Loved your comments in the Times this morning. You have saved me from a drinks cart, an idea I flirt with from time to time. I am ashamed to admit I have color-sorted books. I thought it was a really original idea when I did this years ago. Definitely time to change that. But not my Le Creuset pots, which I bought 30 years ago and use every day. They look great from the outside, but the the enamel insides have endured 30 years of abuse from roommates, spouses and children, and show it. I'm keeping 'em.

Shawna said...

Great article. That is so true! I don't think I've fallen into any design traps since I will go out of my way to avoid trends even if I like them, just because I hate the idea of being trendy. Having said that, my personal style is definitely one that would get called boho and that annoys me somewhat. I have decided to embrace it. I am not boho chic though. Boho chic has too much pink and white for me.

I like globes but only own one.
I like mirrors as decor because they bounce light around my darkish apartment. I painted some furniture white and regretted it. I think that is the extent of my trend traps.

I do love kilims and moroccan pouffs
but I loved them ten years ago and will love them ten years from now.

For the most part, we fill our homes with what is available and that leaves us somewhat vulnerable to trends. If I want a new bedspread I go to the store and I chose from what is out there. Actually I go to the thrift
shop so I guess I'm choosing from last decades trends.

For the record, I detest lucite and almost anything mid century modern. I can't stand monochromatic interiors and rarely like graphic prints. The current trends sure don't work for me. And entertaining? I'm an introvert; why would I want to do that?

I watch the HGTV shows sometimes, like house hunters. Everybody wants the open concept floor plan with flow for entertaining. It's weird. I probably entertain twice a year at most. I hate open concept.

Jennifer @ Belclaire House said...

I don't own a bar cart, but in my head I am a rich socialite living the good life of those in a Slim Aarons photographs, so maybe I need to get one. I did recently style my bookshelves. I think I did it for my own aesthetic pleasure, but maybe I didn't, maybe I am preparing for a photo shoot that will probably never happen.

Anonymous said...

oh, good one! Some of the trends I've adopted I still love (cow hide rugs, ikat, stripes). I am so, so over the framed quote prints (probably starting with "For Like Ever"/Keep Calm etc)that are all over Etsy. They are just so... schmaltzy. In addition: foo dogs, chiang mai dragon prints, anthropologie latte bowls, open kitchen shelving that is "styled" instead of being a place to put your plates, coffee tables with no room for 1) feet 2) drinks, and brightly painted wood furniture. In combination, these make people's homes look like when Domino folded they needed to get their sadness out by trend vomitting all over their places and all at once. Phew, that felt good.

Emily said...

We have a matching sofa and chair1/2 that I just abhor now. I still like the color, but that's about it. The chair1/2 is actually going on the curb/Craigslist this weekend.

Anonymous said...

At the sage age of 55, I've become more aware of how certain area's of my home appeared 'propped' 'merchandised' or 'staged'. Out they cart too.
Remaining behind on the tea height large round table in the living room are the New Yorker cartoon books. One blue, one yellow. These books are still relevant and amusing. My kids love reading through them. Which thrills me to no end because when they try to be funny...they are

Lindsay Kim said...

I am completely mind fucked from reading too many design blogs. I can barely differentiate between what is trend and what is good, practical design. I was on Thom Filicia's website the other night--it was a breath of fresh air. No thematic bull...all beautiful mixings of prints, colors, furnishings, styles.

M. Foley said...

I'm almost afraid to admit that I actually have a bar cart. It's an old re-purposed short bookshelf that I keep a bunch of alcohol, wine, and glasses on. I like to drink and my friends do too, so it gets a lot of use. I have a small house and a small kitchen with very little cabinet or counter space. I guess one person's trend trap is another person's way to avoid storing their booze in the garage. However, I will admit to organizing books by color and deciding on which to keep, donate, or sometimes even purchase based on their spines.

Jessica said...

None that I can think of, mostly because if I see it on more than three blogs I usually won't even consider it. Plus it takes me so long to do everything that even if I were considering something trendy, it's out of vogue by the time I get around to it, so I pick something else.

I don't consider painted wood furniture a trend. I've been painting wood furniture bright colors for more than a decade, so to me it's something that has moved into classic status.

I have noticed lately that a lot of "decorated" houses in the blogosphere are starting to look alike. Same color schemes, same accessories, same types of furniture pieces over and over. That's definitely not something I want for my house.

jersey girl said...

I want to know what the tumblr is that he referenced in the article...sounds like a fun read! does anyone know?

the quarter rat said...

I'm writing this sitting in a chair+1/2 with my laptop perched on one of those "Directoire" metal gueridons. Poverty Barn discontinued the model just before my dog Etta destroyed the slipcover, so it's draped with the most Les Indiennes sheet available at the local head shop.

The lamp on the nearby table is a Christopher Spitzmiller knockoff. Not sure how it's going to age, but I got a pair for <$150 last year.

I use the fuck out of my bar cart.

Richie Designs said...

I almost fell out of my chair reading this yesterday! bravo!!

niche said...

My boyfriend mocks how I always consider any furniture piece in terms of how it would look (and the reaction) if it was on Apt Therapy's Small and Cool contest. So I suppose I am a big sucker for decor styling, particularly anything that looks industrial or MCM. But I seriously remember liking it as a kid.

I also admit to wanting a bar cart. The only reason I don't have one is I haven't found THE one yet.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit I keep up on the trends (not that I follow most of them) so I was so surprised to see the bar cart as one. Who knew? I just bought one last week and it is mid century teak. Killed two trendy birds with one stone. I should be ashamed but I'm not.

Brandon said...


Without admitting any personal knowledge, or guilt, I present a list of traps to avoid if you want to escape looking like an asshole with no personal expression:

1. A random Louis XVI armchair in an "one off" fabric.
2. B &W photography of sad yet beautiful African children.
3. "charred" furniture.
4. Suzani anything.
5. chair legs "dipped" in a contrasting color.
6. A hot pink JuJu hat (if you have to ask, it's too late for you, so just sit and be quiet in the corner in your Paul McCobb chair)
7. Paul McCobb (see #6)
8. "Live edge" tables - you know who you are.
9. Fakey Jackie O Warhol posters. Just stop it.
10. Stacks of old Domino magazines used as a makeshift side table.

There. My work here is done.

Appletree said...

keep calm and carry on

bought it the day the Domino issue came out

carmencatalina said...

I don't know about fresh flowers and Le Creuset pots - flowers have always been something lovely to have in one's home, and heavy enameled iron pots (Le Creuset or otherwise) are simply wonderful to cook with.

Having said that, I've had it with taxidermy/deer antlers. Did you kill it? Did your grandpappy kill it? If the answer to both of those questions is "no", set that poor dead thing free.

Anonymous said...

It took me a while to find the profanely-named blog. Funny. But not as funny as Decorno...

amvance said...

Interesting...a backlash to the uber design consciousness of these times? My mom was very specific about objects in our home and had a pretty good eye, but none of it was expensive or "designer".

That seems to be a big difference between then and now. Today, everyone knows what a Noguchi coffee table is. When I was a kid, only artists and architects would have known something like that.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm. I don't have a bar cart, but I've got a tray full of Scotch, port, Grand Marnier--you know, after-dinner drink stuff--on a bookshelf by our dining room table. It's been there for 11 years and it gets used every night because we are lushes, trendy, trendy lushes.

Kerry @ Design du Monde said...

Oh the shame I feel. I just bought, knowingly, a chevron pillow cover. I suppose overt gauche-oise will be the next trend. Crap!! that means I'm all in.

objectsofwhimsy said...

Nothing wrong with a well stocked bar cart.
It just makes alcohol so accessible.

Anonymous said...

I put in my home furnishings and decorative items that I love, regardless of the source of inspiration.

I think it's silly to avoid what the author calls "trend traps" if I personally love the particular item in question.

The author is basically saying, "hey, look at me. I'm not a lemming. I'm an independent thinker and go my own way."

The bogus part of that is that you don't "do your own way" by setting a standard such as "I will not use what is trendy." You are not being an independent thinker when doing that.

Instead, furnish your home with things you love despite the source of inspiration. In doing so, you'll inevitably have a unique look, but it won't be because you took your clues from everyone else and did the opposite.

Anonymous said...

Worse than color sorted books are books on shelves flipped around backwards.

MoreSkinnyDays said...

I fall into the same trap as Jessica. I wanted to be over-styled a couple of times but never got around to it until the trend was overdone. My style is completely boho and completely by mistake--we've been in the throws of a remodel since 2005 and cannot commit to large purchases until each room is done.

I cannot wait until the turd coffee table trend is over though--the driftwood with the glass top. And those weird air ferns.

Unknown said...

The NYT article made me laugh. But fresh flowers...really? They make me happy. And my vintage fans make me cool. Literally. An appliance that still works after 50 or 60 years and looks good - far better than it's contemporary counterpart - is a keeper in my book.

Anonymous said...

Here's the tumblr referenced in the article. Luckily, I cannot afford a saarinen or a noguchi, and I hate terrariums. But I am very guilty of "things on top of stacks of books."

LB said...

I can see that bar carts can be props, but I'm thinking this is actually what I've been missing. Or a liquor cabinet with a fold-out shelf for serving.

I don't have A/C in my place and I think that retro fan would look so much better than the white, plastic one I have.

Fresh flowers should never go out of style.

I didn't know Moroccan poofs were props. Too bad we brought one home from our holiday in Marrakech.

I was just thinking to make a terrarium! Gah!

Le Creuset makes good pots. If you're just buying them for the color, get some flowers instead.

Catherine said...

I don't get bar carts. The bottles get dusty, and if you somehow let anything drip, it's sticky under the dust. Does it get any grosser? And glasses get dusty. My husband's bottles of booze are in an antique Chinese cabinet with doors (and he wired it up for a light inside to better see the labels). The glasses are in a kitchen cabinet. The wine is in the basement, where wine belongs until time to drink (I don't get these people with giant wine racks in their kitchens, unless they don't have a basement. You will ruin the wine!) The mixers and lemons/limes/etc are in the fridge. We drink a lot, but we don't keep it all out, like some senior citizen's pill case.

Just as my first thought on seeing a house is "that would be a big driveway for snow shoveling" or "it would be hell to get out of this hilly street in a blizzard," even though I haven't lived in a snowy climate for 15 years, my first thought on seeing most decorating photos/trends/gimmicks is "that looks like it would gather dust."

Or invite spiders (my great phobia). Tented canopies on ceilings? What might lurk behind? I'd never sleep!

Kristin Drohan said...

Love my bar cart it is part of my line and a big seller. I use it all the freaking time (we are lushes too).
White kitchens, Wolf/Subzero, and carrara marble
sunbrust mirrors
Hermes blankets
Tom Ford coffe table book (guilty on that one too)
Ghost Chair
Gray Wash
I know these are high end but this is the effed up design world I live in.
PS Le Creuset and flowers....never a trend.

Anonymous said...

I have always loved design and remember being 8 and trying desperately to "fix" my room which housed a deplorable cheap bottom of the line veneer bed set (which I had until from the age of 7 until I left home btw). When I left, having no cash, I did my own "salon walls" with postcard, photocopies of photos/art in books etc. There was no internet at the time and it worked. I often got comments on how nice my rooms/apartments were.

I was lucky enough to meet my husband at 28. Before that I was way too poor to invest in anything of value. We lived in London UK and shared a room the size of most Americans' small pre reno toilets (I know this because I always see them on HGTV complaining about how their gargantuan toilets are too small) in a house shared with friends when we got married. All of our things fit into that same room.
When we finally could afford our flat (which was tiny but at the time we felt like we were moving on up to the east side...) we spent a whole 1900 pounds at Ikea furnishing it. Dragged God's knows what furniture home on three buses in the rain full of Londoners who aren't the most cheerful folk. Felt like we had made it.

Luckily I was too poor to invest in any Mid Century crap furniture and didn't have a computer so didn't really know what I was supposed to be buying at my age. I knew what I liked but didn't really have a refined sense of what was beautiful.
My husband is Roman and when I first went to my now in-laws' house I almost fainted. It was beauty overload. So, I've been lucky enough to have learned from a master (my MIL). I know to invest in antiques and I know what how to tell the difference between a good piece and a repro. I know things don't have to be perfect, tolomeo lamps work well with old Umbrian relics, I can mix fabric, I've learned good things are for using not hoarding away... As a result, I've bought some beautiful stuff on ebay in Italy and France and had it shipped and saved a bundle.
I also have two rooms in my house un/half furnished because I refuse to buy crap and am saving for the good stuff or waiting for what I want to come up on CL or ebay etc. If I hadn't had my MIL I wouldn't have had any idea and would have fallen into some trend trap (Hollywood regency maybe? I was slightly attracted to it but knew it was not worth paying for and I was so right).

I think restraint really is the key when you are bombarded with "design" all the time.
Having said all that, I do own a fiddle leaf fig tree though and I love it.

Anonymous said...

Fresh flowers are TOTALLY a trend. Look at photographs of interiors from 50 years ago, or 75.

Don't kid yourself. Nothing is "timeless" or "classic." Those are just words we use to reassure one another.

Kristin Drohan said...

@ Anon 5/23 Perhaps I, or we all should use a different term.

"A fad is any form of behavior that develops among a large population and is collectively followed with enthusiasm for some period, generally as a result of the behavior's being perceived as novel in some way.[1] A fad is said to "catch on" when the number of people adopting it begins to increase rapidly. The behavior will normally fade quickly once the perception of novelty is gone.[1]

The specific nature of the behavior associated with a fad can be of any type including language usage, apparel, financial investment, and even food. Apart from general novelty, fads may be driven by mass media programming, emotional excitement, peer pressure, or even a desire to be outside social norms (counterculture).[2]

Though the term trend may be used interchangeably with fad, a fad is generally considered a fleeting behavior whereas a trend is considered to be a behavior that evolves into a relatively permanent change.[3]"

Technically, you are correct. No need to shout though. Flowers may be a trend but so are cell phones.

Anonymous said...

gin bottles are not a trend

Anonymous said...

I live in a tiny (at least according to AT - here it's just avarage)apartment so I don't really have space for meticulously styled vignettes. Also I keep my liquor at the store until I need it. It's a very space saving solution.

Anonymous said...

aaalmost fell into Hollywood Regency.... whew. disaster averted.

Anonymous said...

...and if I see another ikat whatever/Susani whatever/chinese garden stool/sunburst mirror - I'll puke.

Anonymous said...

while part of me still wishes i'd fallen for the Chesterfield, another part is happy i managed to avoid the Louis XVI chair. gotta say though - love the more sober lines of the XVI, but it did become such an Aughts trend, i just couldn't. finally - don't care if this was/is/will be a trend, i'm doing a round tufted velvet ottoman as coffee table.

Anonymous said...

while part of me still wishes i'd fallen for the Chesterfield, another part is happy i managed to avoid the Louis XVI chair. gotta say though - love the more sober lines of the XVI, but it did become such an Aughts trend, i just couldn't. finally - don't care if this was/is/will be a trend, i'm doing a round tufted velvet ottoman as coffee table.

LisaY said...

All I know is I would much prefer a hooka pipe (on a glossy laquered tray on the tufted ottoman?) over a bar cart of booze... its zero calories and no hangover.

LisaY said...

just read the article. Now i really want a bar will be a cool spot for the lego creations...i need more ideas to get my chaos classy and trendy...there are toys and socks everywhere - and I do have a Louis-something-style daybed in my living room...and yes it has some plastic swords and legos on it.

Lizzie said...

I'm actually lucky in that I started looking at decor blogs long before I had a house to decorate. For the first few months I excitedly planned to fill my house with ampersand decor and the like, but eventually I reached a point of design blog saturation where everything just started to look so 'over-propped'. I move into my house next month and hopefully I'll be wise enough to weed out the trends I like because they're trends, from the ones I like because they make sense to me.

Anonymous said...

Poverty and a furniture-building partner have prevented me from most of these. (I have a 6 1/2 foot liquor cabinet that hides everything but the ice until you need it.)

I do confess an extended longing for a sunburst mirror. But when they started turning up everywhere about 10 years ago, I found I could no longer abide them.

My extreme attachment to the Dewey Decimal System has prevented me from styling my bookcase any other way.

Alessandra said...

Ok, I'm coming quite late to the party. Still, I hope.

See, I agree that the bar cart, while cute, has been overused lately. My dilemma is to find cool alternatives that don't take up much space and look nice. Where else can I put the good booze and the cocktail glasses?

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