My loves and hates: current home trends

Money Creates Taste, Jenny Holzer

It’s never been easier to find photos of beautifully styled interiors, much less drown yourself in them, and when you do you see certain trends appear again and again. That level of ubiquity sometimes makes me wonder where my taste ends and collective consciousness begins. I like brass and I think chrome looks dated, but did I really come to that conclusion myself? Look at the elements appearing again and again in this Apartment Therapy rug-styling challenge done by eight different bloggers/designers. White walls, white-on-white textiles, minimal mid-century furniture, wishbone chairs, brass, camel leather, houseplants. You get the idea.

Anyway. I was inspired to do my own take on this topic after reading Jo’s post on the subject at House By The Water. (She’s a lot chiller than me and has a studious approach to her own decor. I recommend checking out her blog.) When writing out my response I found myself bursting with opinions, so here they are, along with some currently recognisable home trends.

Made by Cohen - Armadale
via Made by Cohen

White walls. General trend to neutrals, though bright white is more common than ever. All our walls are some shade of grey or blue.

“Scandi style”. Interpreted as white, black and birch timber with minimal furnishings.

California Home Tour, Cup of Jo
via Cup of Jo

Mid-century modern. Have you looked at Apartment Therapy or Design Files? Yeah. It’s no secret that I love that whole masculine, earth-toned, clean-lined aesthetic, and those pieces are appropriately scaled for my 1940s house to boot. My taste leans more boho Californian than ‘50s-fantastic, even if it’s been done to death by Urban Outfitters.

Designer furniture… and their many knockoffs. I have fake Eames shell chairs. I said my bit on that two years ago(shrug emoji) Knockoffs are everywhere — Componibili storage units at Mitre 10, Acapulco chairs at Kmart. I’m conflicted: I don’t like ripping off designers, especially current ones, but I’m also okay with good design being made more accessible, especially when that was the designers’ original ideal. In general, I’d rather get something else of the same era or of a similar design without being an exact copy. It’s okay, the general public will get sick of mid-century knockoffs before long and snobs can feel good about their prestige furniture again. 

Kilims and Moroccan rugs. The genuine articles are beautiful and last forever. How you can call an artform dating back to ancient times a ‘trend’ I don’t know.

Caesarstone kitchen
via Caesarstone

Modern industrial style. As far as I can tell, the rustic-industrial aesthetic isn’t as strong in Australia, not outside of lofts or farm sheds. Cafes loooooove sparse, modern industrial though. Exposed plywood, Edison lightbulbs with prominent cords, black fixtures on white tile. I like it too. But I do wonder when that look will start to look very period-specific.

Any finish except gleaming chrome or shiny ‘80s brass. In particular, copper and aged brass. Any option will inevitably fall in and out of favour so you might as well go with what you like. I’m into matte black fixtures; I am on board that train. Choo choo.

via The Design Files
via The Design Files

Statement houseplants. Surely all houseplants are timeless, even trendy ones like fiddle leaf figs and sansevieria, although I do feel baffled by the homes that are chock full of plants. And jealous. Those lucky people and their warm, conservatory-like homes.

Succulents / cacti / palm-leaf prints. I like illustrations, but I like collecting the actual plants better. My current pride-and-joy is the clump of fuzzy echeveria that miiiiight have grown from a broken piece at the Botanical Gardens.

Fritz Hansen store in Milan
Fritz Hansen store in Milan

Geometric patterns. I’ve probably ruined myself on them after seeing too many goofy projects throughout my Pinterest PhD studies, but they’ll always look cool in site-specific uses like this.

Etica Studio, via House Nerd
Etica Studio, via House Nerd

Encaustic tiles. Old-world charm to counterbalance black/white tile. There’s lots of patterns popping up and they’re gorgeous! I wouldn’t choose them for my place, but for an older-style cottage or a house in a warm Mediterranean climate, they would be perfect.


And finally, my list of trends I hope are over: Real or fake taxidermy, antlers, bare-bulb light fixtures, recycled pallet anythings, paint-dipped furniture, most painted furniture in general, pastels, any kind of proclamations/manifestos on the wall, whatever “shabby chic” means. Cate’s comment below reminded me of my least favourite thing out there: Tolix chairs! Sitting on those things is no fun; talk about form over function. If you’re in the mood for it, Fuck Your Noguchi Coffee Table is a sublime collection of interiors cliches and painfully thirsty affectations. Its simplicity is its strength.

That’s probably enough words from me on current home trends, sitting in my house with gray walls, kilim rugs and cushions, knockoff chairs, secondhand midcentury furniture and an assortment of houseplants. Which trends do you love or hate? Is there anything you think should be a trend — or shouldn’t, so you can keep it all to yourself?

11 thoughts on “My loves and hates: current home trends

  1. My houseplants (when I had them) never always looked as nice as the ones in the magazine pictures. Even without cats & kids helping, they’d always start looking straggly & droopy after a while. And I have always liked white walls. They make rooms look bigger and set off artwork and other color pops better. I’m not big on bare bulbs, antlers or shabby chic either. So I think we have quite a few things in common

    1. I think some of these people with the at-home plant jungles just splash out on advanced plants and replace them as they die off. But that’s just my jealousy talking. White walls are great! You can’t go past them in a light-filled home. I think white would have looked dingy in most rooms in our place.

  2. Really enjoyed reading this post! I think my own aesthetic was starting to go out of fashion around the same time we started the building process, so I’m about 5 years too late to be considered trendy. Oh sorry, I meant to say “on trend”. So I don’t think anything I have will every be “bang on trend”. God I hate that phrase. Black tapware I love, but it’s a b8tch trying to get everything to match, so we ended up going with chrome, which I also love anyway because it’s shiny and silver and those are two of my favourite things. I find modern industrial confusing. Scandi and midcentury often go hand in hand these days, but I’m finding it all a bit same-same now. Love the hominess of encaustic and morrocan styling, though we’ve decided to stick with modern contemporary something for our new house.

    1. Ah yes. “Curating” objects that are “bang on trend.” I think (as shown in the photo with the black tap) that there’s leeway for mixing metals, which is good. Chrome tapware can’t really go out of style, can it? 😉 I like modern contemporary Australian houses and gardens, and the style seems well suited for an eco-sensitive build.

  3. Thanks for the plug Steph. Aren’t we the trend setters? I do hate it when I love something then it becomes trendy. Not because I mind other people having it (OK, maybe that a little bit), but the value to purchase often goes up and I haven’t done my shopping yet. Skulls are my least favourite current trend. Moody blue textiles are my favourite!

    1. Yeah! Antiques dealers and boutique resellers are looking for the same retro gear I want and the price has gone way up. 🙁 I agree with you on skulls and textiles. I’m liking the chunky, natural textures.

    1. Ahhh that reminds me, my least favourite thing is Tolix chairs!! They’re everywhere, they’re heinous and they’re horribly uncomfortable. They’re made for small butts only and I hate them. I hear you on the short people problems, one local beer bar made their own plywood box thingos for people to sit on and I was grumpy about it because my feet were dangling in the air (and all of my dude friends were perfectly comfortable, of course). Ughhhh.

  4. I do love the encaustic tiles and will be so happy if I ever get to use them on a project, but it will be a very big challenge to my husband if I ever try to work them into my scheme. I also really like and often select pastels, that is just a light version of a saturated color right? What I dislike is the constant choosing of grey (or is that gray?) as the paint color for everything. My go-to colors are green, yellow and cream and I rarely see anyone using those. My current home has a lot of brown, which is surprising to me but I like it. I am also weary of turquoise and have always had trouble with it. Years ago I referred to it as the “color that shouldn’t exist.” Finally, I also have a hard time with words on walls, words on clothes and words on cars. Make it stop!

    1. Gray must be the current neutral of choice. It does get a bit tiresome to see nothing but gray and white, gray and white – pastels sound lovely. Our house was entirely cream when we moved in (ceilings too!) but I tend to prefer cooler tones against warm woods, so I went for light grays and blues.

      A lot of Australian houses actually have yellow/cream siding with green roofs or trim! Here’s an example on a Cal bungalow 🙂

  5. [had to google Tolix chairs — is ashamed] How I love this post. Found you via Danger Garden, and am off to add your terrific blog to my zealously curated Feedly.

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