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Designer Tips and Advice: Decorating Trends


Designers In Residence
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Using Trends and Developing Personal Style

Q. People are often eager to know what is the "latest" color, design, and furnishings trend, when it seems they might be better off working to discover their own personal style. Can you comment on what you see in trends and how homeowners might create interiors that are up-to-date but classic.

    Mary Baltz: "I think watching the trends is a useful tool in helping to create your own style, because you find out sometimes what you don't like. I think in getting started with your project it's important to know the basics -- colors you like, furniture styles, and simply how your home makes you feel when you enter a room.

    "Trends can be good in obtaining direction, but remember that you'll have to live with your choices. Keeping with classics and perhaps using a color or furniture trend in small doses can keep a room from looking dated."

    Lyn Peterson: "The thing about the latest 'latest' is that you never know if it will stand the test of time. Blue jeans are a classic. Blue jeans with embroidered cuffs are last year's embarrassment. The thing about classic decorating is that it has stood the test of time, not like a pair of embroidered jeans. We can't bury them in the closet and pretend we didn't actually buy them. We want to appear up to date, but not foolish.

    "New homeowners are using honed stones for counters in kitchens and baths. They're asking for more moldings and added detail in their homes. Design is in the details and these sophisticated new homeowners seem to know that.

    "Quality never goes out of fashion. I see quality as a trend now. Maybe we're going to be smarter about how we spend our decorating dollar. (I know I plan to be.) Leave the faddy stuff to the smalls. Get that silk, beaded throw pillow, or that sisal tapestry bordered small throw rug. Be safe with the big purchases, and playful with the accessories."

    Tricia Foley: "Again, it's never made sense to me to create a Southwestern style home or a farmhouse look in a high rise apartment building in a city... My main objective is to design a space appropriately . It just makes sense and everything seems to fall into place visually.

    A classic neutral color scheme creates a soothing backdrop for the life you lead in your home, surrounded by the things that have meaning to you. Although I've seen beautiful red living rooms, or soft pink bedrooms that I've loved, I don't think I would want to live in them every day - a bunch of red tulips or bouquet of pale pink peonies does the trick for me!"

    Rachel Ashwell: "I don't really follow trends as I stick to my palette of pale green, pale pink, pale blue, cream and ivories."

    Charlotte Moss: "I'd say stick with the classics, trust yourself, and every once in a while experiment . I think what's basic, what is 'classic', will hang around for a long time. It's about being true to yourself and not being a fashion victim. It's about trusting your instincts and if you want to try that kiwi color on the walls, just do it. It's about yourself and listening to yourself, not reading the magazines and thinking 'I've really got to go beige this year.'

    "On the other hand, sometimes there are people who are a little reluctant to do certain things. They need that push, and oftentimes something comes along within a trend that they happen to like, and it validates their choice."

    Ann Fox: "I am very anti-trend. It only gets people into a 'dated' look. Clients are directed to not fall into a narrow style, but to go for a more eclectic look, to collect pieces they love. Definite trends such as Mission, lodge, etc. are 'fashion items' just like in the apparel industry. Accents are great, but don't go overboard..."

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