How is fashion too trendy? Make the latest design styles work in your space


How do you refresh a space without going overboard? How do you neutralize a space that has gone too far with the latest design trend? Let Doora’s Antoinette Fargo guide you in creating a widely engaging staging plan that sells.

With fewer trades to make, many falling markets, and more agents than ever before, it makes business sense to hit the fundamentals. That’s why at Inman, we’re going back to basics with curated throwbacks to some of our most-read stories as well as new agent ideas in the field – all culminating in Inman’s Autumn Market Playbooka two-day virtual event you should plan to attend.

We know that trends affect different markets in the United States at different times. For example, The Modern Farm, which has been hugely popular for several years — thanks in part to its ubiquity on HGTV — is on its way out in many parts of the country. However, it is still very popular in some other markets.

How can a real estate agent, middleman or owner follow the trends they love without being out of step with other homes in their market? After all, we know that certain design elements can be an instant turn-off when marketing or showcasing a home.

The best way is to keep it really neutral and not too specific in taste. This means that if there is something that is very important to your particular customer, but might not be relevant to the average buyer, do it during the staging and selling process.

Ask them to pre-pack and save it for their next home. This is often the case with sayings on the walls like “blessed” or “home” or collections of macrame, colors, etc. Also, paint the walls a color that will appeal to the many rather than the few.

Be careful not to turn the house into a “theme” park

Then consider those homeowners who really go all out, embracing a trend so much that they make it their entire home identity. I feel like right now some people are regretting some of the big changes they’ve made to their homes over the past few years, like shutters or barn doors everywhere.

When homeowners go overboard with design elements like these, it becomes harder for them to move away from an outdated design trend.

The best way to avoid going overboard is to mix different pieces together. If you love mid-century modern, for example, adding fun mid-century pieces helps the home feel eclectic and lived-in. Making the whole house mid-century modern can limit its appeal to an overall market.

Add small amounts rather than letting one design style take over the whole house. An exception to this: if it is the architectural identity of the house, a designer or a scenographer may wish to organize the space while respecting its authentic aesthetic. Otherwise, we often get carried away with style and neglect what the house demands.

Help older customers stay fashionable

Finally, as your clients age, they may ignore some of the new interior design trends in favor of what feels comfortable to them or what was in style when they were younger. Of course, if you’re helping them freshen up before check-in, bring pieces that mean something to your clients and their families within the home.

That being said, be aware that the tastes of some older customers aren’t always the most aesthetically forward-thinking. Balance a classic style that isn’t necessarily trend driven while keeping your home fresh.

The best way to refresh a space when staging or designing is to add smaller, on-trend, easy-to-change pieces. Pillows, bedding, small artwork, particular paint colors: these things are pretty easy to change while keeping your main pieces neutral and clean so they match the trends buyers are looking for in your market.


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