Everyone over 40 needs at least one person in life who is at least 20 years younger, and can help him or her dodge the dreaded dowdies.
Though much emphasis gets placed on the need for the younger generation to listen to those who've lived longer, and appropriately so (slow down to think, send a thank-you note, don't mumble, floss), the reverse scenario gets less air time.
If it weren't for my tuned-in kids, now ages 20 and 17, I would still be wearing shirts with shoulder pads and tucked-in turtlenecks, and wouldn't know how to load my iPod Shuffle. Heck, I wouldn't even own a Shuffle. I'd still be listening to cassette tapes.
In both dress and decor, we of a certain age can default into what's worked before, and stop seeing when a look stops working for us (yes, you, balding men who wear ponytails), or we can ask someone younger with fresh eyes to steer us clear of a root-bound rut.
So this week, when I found out about a twenty-something blogger and full-time, home-design-trend spotter, I couldn't wait to tap her brain to see where my decor might be more passe than present.
At the ancient age of 24, Andree Boisselle, of Toronto, tracks home decor trends and handles social media for Marketplace Events, a company that produces more than 30 home and garden shows in 20 markets across North America each year.
I asked Boisselle what the common thread was in today's trends. “Function,” she said. “It has to make sense.”
Here are 10 home trends Boisselle has identified:
• Black & white. Home decorators like this can't-go-wrong combination, Boisselle said. The color combination gives spaces an organized, well-structured appearance, while adding drama and contrast. Do-it-yourselfers especially like the trend in home offices and dining rooms, places they want order.
• Shades of gray. We're sick of brown and beige, said Boisselle, whose last two bedrooms were gray. “It's a more modern neutral and it's soothing.” Plus, gray can support almost every other color.
• A light touch. Light fixtures are often the poor stepchildren in home interiors. Homeowners paint and furnish, and forget the lights. Recently, and partly because fixtures have gotten so much better looking, consumers are adding fantastic, sculptural light fixtures to rooms, where they become signature statements.
• Subtle, simple centerpieces. Gone are the formal, baby-breath stuffed centerpieces of your mother's era. Today, tables are topped with hand-done, organic and simple centerpieces. “You can literally line up five green apples,” Boisselle said, “or put out three Mason jars with water and a single daisy in each one.”
• Wallpaper with an edge. Yes, some wallpaper is still scary. But some is fabulous, especially big, bold patterns applied to just one wall. “Papering a whole room is out, but hitting just one wall turns wallpaper into art,” she said.
• Walls that talk. As do-it-yourself homeowners get better at expressing themselves in their homes, more words on signs and painted on are showing up on walls. “What better way to let your home speak for you,” she said.
• Mixing old with new. You can have a traditional look, or a contemporary look, but the most current look blends the two. Boisselle is seeing more interiors mixing classic, traditional furniture with smaller contemporary elements, such as accent tables. “The combo makes an unfussy, polished space,” she said.
• Unisex decor. As more men admit that they care about home decor, too, more homes are incorporating unisex decor: fewer frills, more focus on function, gender neutral colors, and more minimalism.
• Orange punch. Do-it-yourself decorators have been afraid of this in-your-face color, but that's changing. “We've been seeing it done right, and it's very appealing and uplifting,” Boisselle said.
• Candid photos. Though family photo walls have been around since before the Kodak Instamatic, today's photo galleries are different, mostly for what's in the frames (which should all coordinate). Posed pictures are out; candids are in. “Because we have so many photos to choose from thanks to Smartphones, Instagram, and digital prints,” she said, “photo walls feel less precious and are more fun.”
Syndicated columnist and speaker Marni Jameson is the author of “House of Havoc” and “The House Always Wins” (Da Capo Press). Contact her through www.marnijameson.com.