Love It Or List It Australia

Trend vs. timeless: Which is best for your space?

When redecorating your home, it’s difficult to strike the balance between expressing your personality and not risking having dated décor in years to come. Neale Whitaker shares his advice to ensure your home stays looking chic in the decade ahead.

My advice is to always ignore what’s on trend. People set way too much store on trends and feel that their home has to somehow be ‘on trend’ – it doesn’t. Your home is your home, it’s about you and the things you love. If there’s a trend out there you happen to love, then go for it, but I advise people not to be too influenced by trends.

I often have people say to me “I love red, but red’s not a trendy colour at the moment, so what should I do?” and I say “if you like red, have red – it’s your home.” Don’t just go out and buy a pink sofa just because pink’s the colour of the moment, stick to your tastes.

Predicting passing trends and fads

There's no hard or fast rule to dodge these, but fads do tend to take off quickly. A perfect example is a Moroccan-style rug, which I happen to love and didn’t know when I bought my antique Moroccan rug that these rugs were going to become so ubiquitous. Every single magazine proof that used to come across my desk while I edited Belle and Vogue Living had a Moroccan rug in it, but I still love them.

If you love something today, it’s hard to know if you’ll love it in five years’ time, but for me the test is if it’s super, super trendy right now, then it might not be so forever. I bought my Moroccan rug because I loved it, not because it was cool. If you love something enough then that’s a good enough reason to buy it – but consider whether you’re buying it because you love it, or because it’s on trend.

Moroccan rug: Nouvelle Nomad

Updating old furniture

If you do have a big-ticket piece which you bought years ago and it’s now dated considerably – like a sofa – there are ways of updating this. If it's a good-quality lounge suit which still functions, then the obvious solution is to have it reupholstered in a neutral tone to bring it into this decade.

If you can’t afford that, you can change the look and feel with new cushions – if you have a brightly-coloured couch then introduce some neutral coloured cushions and maybe some throws, which can hide a multitude of sins. It’s a cheap way of updating a room.

Keeping your home modern

There are so many cost-effective ways of updating your home with new furniture, so if you haven’t got the time or money to sand back an old timber dining suite or reupholster chairs, then pop out to Target or IKEA for a new set, and put your old furniture into storage while you sell it on Gumtree to someone who does have the time to give it a new lease on life.

Lamp: Bastille and Sons

Equally, if there’s a particular trend you love right now but think probably isn’t going to last, then affordable homewares stores offer a great solution to be part of a trend at an accessible price point. My own homes have always been a real mix of high and low pieces and I’m a huge fan of IKEA and Bunnings - I seem to spend half my life wandering around these stores.

Investing in a classic colour-palette

When it comes to decorating your walls, I would advise people looking to keep their homes timeless to opt for paint over wallpaper, as wallpaper is more costly to put up and replace. If you want to introduce colour, I suggest using accessories – lamps, cushions and rugs – rather than painting the walls.

Re-painting walls is time-consuming, so unless you’re really confident, bring colour to a room with accessories and keep your walls neutral and create mood by using shades of grey, brown, beige and white. There are some beautiful wallpapers around, but wallpaper is a commitment.

Love It Or List It Australia continues Wednesdays, 8.30pm, or watch it your way on Foxtel GO.

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