Are we letting trends dictate our lives?

Are you paying attention?
Photography credit to Graham & Brown

Graham & Brown released their colour of the year for 2019 this week. It’s teal, if you wanted to know. More specifically it is a stunning shade of blue named Tiru that they have pulled from the patterning of their wallpaper of the year for 2019 and it’s highly likely to be seen just about everywhere in the next year. But should you be paying any attention to this? Should you be listening to these trends? Who exactly is dictating the next big thing in interior design and why does this suddenly make these trends explode? Should we allow trends this much authority over our home improvement? There is a complicated relationship between trend and consumer that’s worth talking about.

Deep inside of all of us there is still that small child who is desperate to fit in. It is human nature to want to fit in with the pack. Given the fact that a hefty 83% of the UK population are now active social media users on one or more platform, with unprecedented access to other users, that’s a pretty large pack to fit in to. It’s easy to become overstimulated by the sheer mass of contrasting trends and get lost in a sea of colours, fabrics and finishes. With your life being lived out on such a public platform there’s an enormous amount of pressure to conform to these trends in order to avoid judgement. So how do you navigate these rocky modern waters?

Photography credit to Pinterest

First off, it’s worth knowing the difference between a trend and a fad. Remember when rose gold accents exploded onto the scene? Every interior design Instagram began waxing lyrical about rose gold exposed frame armchairs, rose gold desk chairs and rose gold decorative details. And then just like that it was gone again. It quickly became overdone and tired. Its pink undertone was hard to match with any design scheme that wasn’t either neutral or monochromatic. It was a limiting colour palette. It was a Fad. These are a variation on trends that are fast and furious, here one day and gone the next. They are much more likely to be applied to specific objects, colours or finishes. Things like palm print wallpaper might be considered a fad because, eventually, it will become dated and difficult to adapt new furniture into.

Trends have more longevity. Grey walls, for instance, are a definitive trend because they have been in demand for a few years and remained popular. It’s also less specific than a passing fad. Grey walls can be anything from duck egg to charcoal. Interior design trends tend to come into circulation having been filtered down through other popular culture methods. Food and fashion, in particular, is heavily influential as to what becomes a furniture or decorating trend. Specific figures within popular culture equally have significant sway when it comes to dictating trend patterns. Increased exposure to our favourite celebrities leads to widespread replicating of their design ideas. For instance, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s experimentation in greek inspired exposed concrete sent trend predictions spinning.

Photography credit to Pinterest

This is where the motivation to follow trends gets a little bit muggy. Because, in reality, what is a trend other than something one single person tried out which then filtered down into common circulation? Trends come from one person liking something and everyone else jumping on the bandwagon. That’s not to suggest this is a bad thing, only that perhaps we shouldn’t place so much weight on trends. They should not be set in stone rules.

Trends are hugely beneficial if you’re looking for a baseline. Everyone requires inspiration for a project, even the experts that dictate the trends look to other areas to get inspired. But if you don’t like a specific design feature there is no reason to replicate it just because it’s considered trendy. There should be no pressure on you to conform to fit in, especially as you’re the one who has to live with it. If trends come from one person liking something why can’t you be the person to be ahead of the curve? Interior design is experimental, it’s supposed to be personal and reflect your own character, not the character of the rest of the world.

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