This is my top trend pet peeve. Who in the world has time to organize their books by color? Not to mention, how are you ever supposed to locate a book? The same goes for color-coded pantries. Are you really going to color code your cereal boxes? A few crafty organizers from the Insta generation popularized this movement, and without a doubt, their R-O-Y-G-B-I-V images are appealing. But living with such a strict color code is not only unrealistic, but also downright annoying. Books should be organized by genre (fiction, cookbooks, history, etc.) and pantries should be organized by food type, the way you find them in a grocery store (canned goods, snacks, baking needs, etc.). The only space in your home that should be organized by color is your closet; first, group like items together (shirts, dresses, pants, etc.), then, arrange them by color within that group. Not only does this give visual order to an otherwise chaotic space, but it also helps you find what you need when you need it.
Wallpaper on ceilings
I am not a fan of wallpaper on ceilings (or what is now being called by some the “fifth wall”). Ceilings should be painted to draw your eye up, to make the ceilings look higher and thus the room bigger. Papering a ceiling does the exact opposite. It’s top-heavy and oppressive, especially because few of us have ceilings as high as the Sistine Chapel! Better to paint your ceiling a very light blue to resemble the sky or use the same color as the trim. As for papering one wall of a room as a “statement wall,” to me it ends up looking like you ran out of money and that the room is only one-quarter finished. Best to paper all the walls or none at all.
We’ve come a long way since Thomas Edison first developed the incandescent bulb, but you wouldn’t know that if you were to walk into many homes. Several years ago, the old-fashioned bulb made a comeback, and it has become a go-to for lovers of the urban modern farmhouse aesthetic. My problem with the Edison bulb is that it emits almost no light. (I also don’t love the Frankenstein-sciency vibe it gives off.) And I am particularly perplexed when designers use the bulbs over a kitchen island where good light is necessary. To get a similar warm glow in your rooms, you are much better off investing in dimmable long-lasting LED bulbs and good dimmer switches.
Leaning floor-length mirrors
Nothing sums up the narcissism of the social media generation better than the full-length leaning mirror. You’ve seen a million pictures taken in these precarious reflective towers. To me, not only do they look dangerous — an accident waiting to happen — but placing them in a room can also be a challenge. The only way to use a full-length mirror properly (other than hanging one inside a closet or on a bathroom door) is to make sure it reflects something beautiful, like a window or another room, thereby giving a greater sense of space and architecture.
Dark lacquer in the kitchen
I love rich dark lacquered trim, doors and cabinetry just as much as anyone (I have a special fondness for vibrant glossy painted front doors), but lacquer is fragile, liable to chip easily and thus not a good choice for high-trafficked areas such as a kitchen. (Not to mention the labor and expense required to properly lacquer a surface.) So I am completely perplexed as to why dark lacquered kitchen cabinets are so popular. (Unless, of course, the people who have them don’t cook?) If you are planning to jump on this trend, whatever you do, make sure you use a dark primer; there is nothing worse than seeing navy lacquer dotted with white spots where the lacquer chipped off.
There are always patterns that come and go — florals, ikats and paisleys have all had their time in the spotlight (and then some), but the current love affair with chevron has to end. To me, the chevron pattern is just a busy form of a stripe. But unlike a stripe that visually elongates a room, chevron is zigzaggy and assaulting. The pattern is less bothersome when used in flooring because the alternating zigzags are all the same color. However, when the pattern is done in two alternating colors, the zigzags are amplified, making it jarring and anxiety-producing.
Mayhew, a “Today” show style expert and former magazine editor, is the author of “Flip! for Decorating.”
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