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  • karen9617

The Latest Interior Design Trends vs. Your Own Personal Unique Style:

When it comes to interior design, many people wonder if they should jump on board with the latest trends. "Is that a good idea? Why or why not?" may ask. "Everyone is doing this"...we might tell ourselves. None of us wants to be out of style or feel rejected by the crowd. Since grade school we all have had the desire to "fit in" and be accepted amongst our peers. If most of us were truly honest we'd have to admit that desire has followed us into our adulthood. So what does all this have to do with updating the interior or exterior of our home or business? You may be wondering...How does this apply to my situation and what should I do?

I'm not a design trend expert by any means. I am however, an excellent observer of my surroundings. I'm always noticing what I think is and isn't personally pleasing to the eye. I have over 22 years experience in my interior design business which I'm well aware pales in comparison to some. But as an interior designer I'd like to offer my personal insights and humble opinion on this topic. Here are some points to consider that may help you decide what to do or what not to do when it comes to home improvements.

#1 Be You. I realize that sounds almost too simple. Deep down you have gut instincts about what you love and what's right for you. No one can dictate what resonates with your own heart. You know personally what you like and the things that make you happy better than anyone. Don't look at what all the other kids are wearing. (LOL) Draw your inspiration from within and then research it from without. If need be, hire an expert to help you realize that vision and walk you through the process of making your dream a reality.

#2 Be Authentic. If you love modern, go with it. My home is a 1930's stone cottage. Before we bought our home my husband had a thing for stone houses that made him say "Ooooo..." every time he would see one. I love the character of old houses and knew I wanted to be in one regardless of the added maintenance. Our house spoke to us when we found it. It met the needs of our unique personal preferences. It suited us, as if it were extension of who we are. When we updated our kitchen I wanted it to have the humble simplicity and feel of a cottage. Although it's now a bit more modern it works well for us and fits with the character of what I believe cottage style should be.

#3 Be Aware. Trends come and go. Whatever trend looks or seems great right now is not going to be in style forever. In fact, chances are it will one day appear dated. Think about the bigger picture. Choose something with staying power. A tragic example of someone jumping on board with the latest trend and not thinking long term sits on a main road near my home and it breaks my heart. A once beautiful brick terra cotta church constructed in the late 1950's was purchased by a new church. They decided to paint the entire brick exterior black. I spoke with the assistant pastor who told me they were trying to be "relevant." It is next to a funeral home and looks like part of the funeral home. They since have relocated and the new owners have apparently tried to sand off the black paint around the windows which now looks horrific. I'm fairly certain I'm not the only one who sees this large prominent structure as an eyesore.

#4 Be Wise. Some things never go out of style. You can't go wrong with timeless classics. I love leopard print rugs. They've been in style for ages. I love the color aqua. I've seen it remain in style for many, many years. Look at Led Zeppelin. Frank Lloyd Wright. A 1959 Gibson Les Paul guitar. The Colosseum in Rome. The Trevi Fountain. The Eiffel Tower. Timeless classics. "If it ain't broke don't fix it people!" It is wise to consider the long term effects of decisions you will make today. Don't be short sighted. Keep the bigger picture in mind. In the future you (and others) will be glad you did.

#5 Be Creative. When we decide to dig deep and find our own personal unique style, we're always going to come across obstacles. But following the trends or going for the quick fix may not be the best answer. Consider what you have to work with, and work with it, not against it. For example: lots of people are choosing to put a new quality coat of paint on their cabinets rather than purchasing new ones. New cabinets are very expensive. Our house had dark wood panelling when we moved in. After a while it was clear the dark was too dark. Although I knew a coat of paint could lighten up everything, I didn't want to eliminate the element of beauty inherent in the natural wood. So I hired my highly talented artistic faux painter to create a lighter painted finish on the wood. It now has a soft grey tone that shows the beauty of the natural wood coming through. Sometimes creativity means being resourceful, thinking outside the box, and working with what you have.

CONCLUSION: I suggest being a trend setter rather than a trend follower.

"Form follows function" - famous axiom by architect Louis Sullivan

"Form follows function - that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union." -quote from architect Frank Lloyd Wright

I have to say I believe both are true.

Please enjoy these Frank Lloyd Wright classics from downtown Chicago and Oak Park.

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