It’s disheartening — and dull — when the chick one cubicle over shows up for work in the same Banana Republic dress as you. But such design double takes aren’t reserved for your wardrobe: Seen-It-Everywhere Syndrome can also strike at home.
Thanks to the rise of Pinterest, a gazillion decor blogs and, frankly, too many chain stores, the way you outfit your home can now come off as copy-catty as page 9 of the new Pottery Barn catalog and as overplayed as Miley. We’re talking to you, hipster newlyweds with more antlers on the wall than the “Duck Dynasty” family and, you, the chick with 48 ikat pillows who’s never set foot in Istanbul.
“You often see the same room over and over again,” says B., the Brooklyn-based dude behind the tumblr, [expletive]your noguchicoffeetable.com. “It’s just kind of ridiculous. Your design should be yours, not something you saw on a blog.”
Here’s our highly subjective scoop on how to freshen up your space, no clichés allowed.
Tired: Mid-Century Madness
We get it — Don Draper is your design soul mate, and Charles and Ray Eames are demi gods. But filling a whole room — or condo — with the iconic style can be sterile not to mention uncomfortable … have you tried sitting on one of those low-slung sofas while you binge-watch Netflix?
Inspired: An Eclectic Mix
Blend classic furnishings like an Eames chair or a teak dresser with more modern stuff for a look that says 2014, not 1964. “These iconic pieces are beautiful,” says B. of F— Your Noguchi Coffee Table. “It’s just when you put them all together it adds up to a bit much.”
Tired: Chevron Everywhere
The V-shaped pattern, usually white with a bright color, has starred on everything from West Elm rugs to Forever 21 tops. Use it at home, and you’ll run the risk of party guests blending into your sofa. “I’m kind of sick of it now,” says local decor blogger Katie del Castillo of Life with a Dash of Whimsy (www.lifewithadashofwhimsy.com). “I’m gravitating toward batik prints.”
Inspired: Blue and White Prints
All those Portuguese tile makers and people in the Navy are onto something: Blue and white always looks crisp and never truly goes out of fashion. Del Castillo reupholstered a vintage sofa in a royal-on-white ikat print; we like Serena & Lily’s Asian-inflected “Kyoto” pillow cover (shown, $68).
Tired: Antlers and Taxidermy
OK, you’re rugged and natural. But taxidermy is frankly creepy (ew, those plastic eyeballs!), and antlers feel overdone if you’re not perched in a West Virginia deer blind.
Tired: Gallery Walls
Blanketing your walls with dozens of framed vintage postcards or a bunch of family photos can still look cool. But too many ironic — or badly hung — artworks in one space vaults your pad to Sad Clown Painting Gallery status. And do you really want friends to mistake your Petworth group house for a Bed-Stuy loft?
Inspired: Buy Big Art
“It’s not always expensive to buy a larger piece that’ll fill up a wall,” says Christine Gasparich, a Bethesda interior designer (www.christinealice.com). “Keep your eyes peeled at estate sales — the art often comes with a frame.” Or, score a jumbo-yet-affordable print or poster (please, no ubiquitous National Gallery repros) via Print Club Boston (below, $100 each, jointheprintclub.com).
Just because you found that dresser on the curb doesn’t mean you have to slap a coat of kiwi green enamel on it or stencil the drawers with, ahem, chevrons. “Sometimes people don’t think before they spray or brush,” del Castillo says. “I see a lot of projects that shouldn’t have happened.”
Inspired: Vintage or Exotic Painted Pieces
Colorful furnuture, say a red lacquer Chinese stool or a blue-and-white French provincial bed, contrasts with wood or upholstery. Plus, such stuff abounds at estate sales or on Craigslist. For Asian decor, try Abaca Imports (1201 N. Royal St., Alexandria; 703-684-2901).