Designers open up.

February 28, 2019

Too much social-media love can shorten a design trend’s life cycle. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, designers share which looks have been victims of their own success—and how to avoid getting stuck with one.

Interior design concepts, once disseminated sluggishly via coffee table books and glossy magazine spreads, now you can zip around the world thanks to the chic multitudes of those who feed photo-friendly platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. On the latter, only food, and fashion compete with home décor for clickability and fascination.

The downside: Social media has also seen many décor trends flame out prematurely. The explosion of posts inspires people to adopt the trend in their homes, only to find their acquisitions are less fun to live with than they were to “like.”

Soon, people discover that overexposed styles like macrame art have the aesthetic longevity of a Justin Bieber song.


Image via Elle Decoration UK

Unfortunately, social media has made the life cycle of a trend much shorter,” said Santa Monica designer Christine Markatos Lowe. “There’s such a need for likes and shares that once something catches on, everyone’s getting their own and posting it immediately and constantly to get their numbers up.”

According to New York designer Michael Tavano, a lust for likes is a not the best reason to buy a piece of design.  Don’t shop for likes.  A trend doesn’t equal a good buy if you won’t use it. Remember that quality doesn’t always mean that it’s cool on instagram.

You can live on a daily basis with anything you truly love, but if you include it in your home because it is cool on social media, you’ll be over it pretty quickly.

Just as certain clothing styles look great on willowy humans, accept that interior fashions don’t fit all dwellings. Suitability is everything. If your home is the equivalent of a six-foot supermodel, it can obviously wear something grander and more outrageous than a place that is naturally petite and modest. Both can look fabulous, but they need different objects that suit their proportions.

Here, are top tips on how to find social-media inspiration for your IRL home without becoming the casualty of a short-lived trend.


Image via Elle Decoration UK

Define Your Tastes

Your first thought when you see something on Instagram should be: “Is this appropriate for my pad?” You might love it, but the goal of Instagram and Pinterest is to introduce elements rather than do a fully themed re-creation. If aesthetic insecurity has you stymied and tempted to copy, take time to learn what you like instead. Keep saving images that catch your eye, even for the smallest reason, to create a mood board, and then when you’ve collected a large number, go back and look for repeated themes, like vintage rugs or steel-framed windows that resonate.

Hang on to Your Keepsakes

No two collections of family heirlooms, travel finds and accumulated tchotchkes are alike. Ensure a style as singular as your fingerprint, by collecting idiosyncratic treasures. Create a curated layer of things that mean something to you and tell your personal story.

Beware the Swag Peddler

Companies seeking publicity have learned to leverage well-followed, social-media personalities, spawning an ecosystem of biased endorsement. There’s plenty of fabulous stuff on Instagram,” says New Zealand designer Helen M. Strevens, “but what really seems to generate the hits is…when a company sends an influencer free products to use and then, voilà, a million ugly deer-shaped mirrors are sold.”

To help separate the honest tastemakers from the bought, stick to timeless things in your colour palette that aren’t tricked up, and won’t date.

Consider the Context

Elements that work in a particular layout and style captured on Pinterest won’t necessarily translate well to your home. You might have a lot of dream spaces pinned that will have to remain a dream, as you don’t live on the beach or in a massive European manor house and the styles wouldn’t look right in an urban highrise apartment.

Mind the Blend

Unless you want to change your home as often as your underwear, avoid purchasing every sconce and ottoman that flashes across your screen. Don’t combine farmhouse style with more glamorous finishes. If your kitchen is shiplap and rustic wood, the adjacent space can’t really be all brass, Lucite and feminine – especially in an open-concept room. “Log-Cabin Glam” doesn’t compute. And, no, every clash can’t be rationalized as “eclectic style.”

Bite Off Bits

If you love updating your interior to lift your spirits and stop you looking too safe, embrace a trend in a way that you can change with your mood and the seasons. Try throws, cushions, crockery, and candlesticks that are potent and portable.

Nail the Scale

When you see something and think it’s beautiful, whether it’s an artwork, a rug, bench or sofa, you have to remember to measure the height, width and depth. Although often listed on catalogues, we recommend verifying dimensions in person – and ask whether sections/parts can be disassembled.

Things can look great online that might not look great in your space, which doesn’t have the same 7-foot-tall windows or incredibly high ceilings.

Get physical sample, too – as colour and texture read very differently on monitors.


It seems only yesterday the classic Italian material resurfaced in contemporary interiors, but with 226,000 posts, it’s got a brightly speckled target on its back.

Millennial pink

What does it say that the misspelled #millenialpink appears 108,000 times and the proper #millennialpink 63,000?

Stacked Hermès boxes

The vivid orange containers photograph well, but the nearly 150,000 images smack of conspicuous label lust.


Among the nearly 3.5 million #farmhouse images which we love – there are over 150,000 #fauxfarmhouse (and its variations) posts. This trend is ready to be taken out behind the barn.


Who knew there were even 150,000 of these overachieving structures out there?


It came from the 1970s. And with nearly 2 million posts, it’s poised to go out in the ’20s.

Neon ‘sculptures’

With only 7,000 images tagged, perhaps the gaseous décor earns designers’ ire because it so frequently limns the four-letter word at left.

Dishonorable Mentions

Rose gold, shaggy Moroccan rugs, plant walls and vintage typewriters.

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