The Anti-Trend Trend

How influenced are you by trends?

Do you pay attention? Do you care?

Fashion trends are seasonal and fleeting, but what about decorating trends? If I told you Pantone’s Colour Of The Year for 2019 is Living Coral, would you be inclined to repaint your living room in the shade?


It’s not only the print and online media reportage of trends, we have visual access to personal sources, particularly via Pinterest and Instagram, to reveal what everyone else is doing. It’s fodder for inspiration, but not a blueprint.  If your home is a personal expression, shouldn’t yours be unique?

A stylish YouTuber, who bought a new house and proceeded to renovate and decorate it in subtle shades of grey and white, went to visit her brother and his wife, also new homeowners. The fashionista was so taken with their design details and choice of the Farrow & Ball paint colour, Railings, she immediately decided to do the same.

Farrow & Ball, Railings
Farrow & Ball

A faux pas in decorating decorum, that, if I was the sister-in-law, would make me livid.

Interior designer and fashion icon Iris Apfel, now 97, famous for her idiosyncratic style, has a few wise words about decorating (and copycats):

Iris Apfel, Vogue Portugal , August 2018, Photo: Luis Monteiro
Iris Apfel, Vogue Portugal, August 2018, Photo: Luis Monteiro
  • First of all, do not follow trends.
  • Buy the best possible quality you can get because furniture is made to last. When you get upholstery it should be well made so it doesn’t cave in, and buy fabrics that are of lasting quality. Quality has deteriorated dreadfully because no new people are coming into the trades and no good people want to apprentice.
  • Express yourself, not what your neighbour has. There’s very little creativity left. Everybody copies everybody else. I don’t know whether everybody wants the same or the designers give it to them – I have no idea, I’ve been out of it for too long – but it’s very sad. It used to be that people wanted some individuality, so when you walk into an apartment you know whose apartment it is.
Photo: Thomas Whiteside
Photo: Thomas Whiteside
  • And if you can’t afford to, wait
    If you can’t afford something it’s better to leave empty space than to have a shoddy piece. When I was designing I would never buy a piece of furniture for a client that wasn’t perfect for the space. They wouldn’t like it because I made them wait, but they’d be very happy and grateful when we were done.
  • Your apartment should mirror your personality and it’s better to have a few things that are against the decorating rules (which I don’t think there should be any of anyway) than to have everything so perfect. When people come into my home they know that I live there. Everything I have is a favourite, everything in my house I love. I’m a collector and I’ve been collecting for years. I never had a coffee table and my grandmother, every time she visited, drove me crazy. Finally I bought a coffee table I didn’t really like just to take up space and I hated it, and it really cost me more money in the end because I had to get rid of it and buy another one.

~ Milly Burroughs, Iris Apfel’s Five Golden Rules for Interior Design, AnOther


Ironically, the irrepressible Iris has become quite a trend-setter.

Iris Apfel x Nude Glassware

One can only hope originality catches on.

It might even become a trend.




Photo Above: Iris Apfel x Nude Glass

POST PHOTO: YAM, Jan/Feb, 2019


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