As an interior designer, I follow—and sometimes salivate over—home décor trends as much as any other interiors enthusiast.
And I don’t think trends are a bad thing at all. They help us evolve the looks of our home. And when applied well, they can make an out-of-date space feel more contemporary without the expense of a complete overhaul.
My problem with super-duper on-trend homes is when they’re blindly following the fashions instead of reflecting their inhabitants’ lifestyles, tastes, and needs.
So following are some tips on what to avoid doing and why. And what you might do instead:
Bear with me here. I don’t think all gallery walls are a mistake. It depends on how and why you create it. Especially the why!
A gallery wall is an excellent solution if you already have lots of art or framed photos that you need a home for, and empty wall space in your home isn’t that plentiful.
In that case, curating and displaying them together can be very impactful and add to the story of your home.
Curation is vital for everything you display in your home. It means to sift through and carefully select what will be displayed.
Going online and buying a ready-made gallery art pack isn’t that aligned with curating your home contents. Let’s be honest, it’s usually driven by a trend you want to apply. And that’s where people go wrong (in my opinion).
If you create a gallery wall from that motivation alone, then you’re creating a look that’s pretty much same-samey. (And honestly, it’s not going to stand out on social media because it’ll be one of gazillions of feature walls that look just like it.)
But if your gallery wall is filled with meaningful art and photos that give your heart a genuine boost, or brings back good memories, then it’s a feature to keep and appreciate. And you won’t feel the need to change it when the trend moves on.
The ‘Jungalow’ Look
So this is a lesson I’ve learned myself the hard way.
Last summer, when there was nowhere to go and nothing to spend money on besides food, I couldn’t go to the supermarket without buying a plant. If I came home without one, I considered it a significant achievement, and I wanted a medal for resisting the temptation.
And then winter came, and I had to move lots of plants off window sills and the fireplace mantel. I live in a small one-bed bungalow and I had nowhere bright enough to many of them other than the dresser in my bedroom. And for many, the conditions were still not ideal.
The upshot is that I came out of winter with fewer plants than I had going in. So, while I fully understand the urge to fill your home with plants (I wrote a blog post last year on the health benefits of it), I think you should pause and reflect before you go down that road. Because, let me tell you, once you get started, it quickly becomes addictive.
Please remember, plants are living beings, and they have different needs. Unless you’re going to commit to being a dedicated plant-lover and you know you can provide the right conditions year-round for each one, then it’s better for the plants if you choose to leave them to be adopted by somebody else.
I would still encourage people to have plants throughout their homes and as many as they can adequately care for because they support and promote our wellbeing. Except for the plant-o-philes, though, less is probably more.
A few months ago, I downloaded an app on my phone that helped me identify a plant and its needs before I gave in to the urge to buy it. And if I didn’t feel confident that I could keep it alive and healthy for the long-term, then I passed it by.
More recently, I’ve committed to not acquiring any more plants unless I pass one on to a new home. It’s the rule minimalists apply to everything in their home, but I’m only using it with plants (for now).
There is another element to this whole ‘junaglow’ vibe that you need to consider. And that is whether it’s more about the aesthetic than the love of plants.
If you’re not getting genuinely excited at the sight of a new leaf or a baby popping up in a pot beside its mama, then you should question your motivation for creating the jungalow vibe.
Plants are pretty, they cleanse our home’s air, and they soothe us. But there’s no need to go over the top unless it’s a true reflection of your passion.
Have enough to make your heart sing, but not so many that they’re competing for light and your attention. Give them space to shine—and thrive.
That collapsible basket with a tall plant in it.
Like the gallery wall, this too could be controversial. But this is one specific example and could be applied to anything that you see everywhere in your social media feeds.
To be fully transparent, I may be biased because I’m not too fond of that basket. (But it’s also possible that my dislike was born out of its trendiness.)
However, I love the look of a basket as a planter, and I’m using several throughout my home. But each one is different, and I selected them because I loved them, not to create that trendy look.
As mentioned, you can apply this principle to anything, from a Frida Kahlo portrait to a pineapple lamp to a drinks trolley. Why do you have it? Or why do you want it?
Does Frida genuinely inspire you? Or did the desire build slowly from being regularly exposed to her image in cool wall galleries on your Instagram feed?
Become discerning about your why.
None of us are exempt from the influence of social media, and when we see something we like over and over, it’s perfectly normal to find a desire building to have it for ourselves.
But if you copy and paste these trends in your own home, you end up with a space that might look cool on your grid but says nothing significant about who you are.
This doesn’t mean we can’t follow home décor trends, and even adopt them.
Just do it more mindfully. Tweak them to be reflective of your style and taste.
If you love mid-century tea trollies, and you come across one that makes your heart sing, then have it in your home. But maybe use it for stylish open storage in your bathroom, to provide some organisation in your entryway, or as a plant stand—instead of the ubiquitous bar cart. (Apologies if that’s an ouchey!)
Style it your way, not the way everyone else is doing it. This elevates your décor and will give it true personality.
When our homes are an authentic expression of who we are, they will bring a much deeper sense of pleasure and appreciation than any amount of likes on social media could ever deliver.
So, before making a new addition to your home décor, stop for a minute and think about the story of your home. Add items that contribute to that story in a meaningful way, and your home will bring you a level of satisfaction that will outlive any trend.