Trend Or Fad? 8 Ways to Tell the Difference

Browse any current interior design magazine or website, and you’ll get flooded with what’s hot in the world of home decor. The trickiest part, and perhaps also the most important, is learning to tell between a fad or a trend. Which design style, pieces, and aesthetics will endure, and which will be short-lived? 

While staying on-trend can make your home feel fresh and contemporary, incorporating every fad can quickly make a home feel dated. Here are eight ways to differentiate between a more lasting design trend and a flash-in-the-pan fad and how you can still have fun with micro trends in a thoughtful, timeless space.


Lasting Trends…

Develop over time.

Trends don’t crop up overnight. Instead, design trends typically have a more “slow and steady” approach, gaining favor over a longer period of time and often without much fanfare. They steadily become popular and widespread, expanding beyond niche groups and the most in-the-know trendsetters. If that sofa you saw in a decor blog years ago is still cropping up in a style magazine’s model living room, it may be here to stay.


Incorporate traditional styles and elements.

A trend typically doesn’t feel as “out there” as a fad. They often feel like a more classic or timeless style. For example, different colors and stains of hardwood floors are more likely to be trends, as hardwood floors are generally timeless, traditional, and neutral.


Have been seen before.

Trends are often cyclical; therefore, many trends have been popular in the past. While fads often feel novel – and maybe even strange at first! – trends often feel like a natural evolution or reemergence of a previous preference. For example, soft curves and organic shapes are very on-trend in 2023, but this isn’t the first time they’ve come up on the trend cycle. A mid-century style table and chairs can look just as classy now as it did the first time it was popular!


Feel foundational.

While fads often feel like exciting “extras” in a space, trends feel more basic and fundamental. For example, a neutral color palette or light wood are enduring trends that can form the very foundation of a room or space and stand the test of time. On the flip side, a funky-patterned wallpaper is likely a fad. Leather sofas and chairs may not be as “exciting” as a wild design, but can be a foundational piece in your home that transitions with changing accessories.


Short-Lived Fads…

Pop up quickly.

True fads come on fast and strong. They’re all over social media platforms like TikTok, and they seem to rise in popularity overnight. Typically, the quicker they emerge, the faster they fade away.


Feel fun and exciting.

Whether you engage with the fad or not, they often feel exhilarating. While actual trends often feel more “tame,” like open-concept homes or a move to more natural material, fads are often bolder and even polarizing.


Have lots of hype.

The speed at which fads come on is often matched only by the volume of the hype around them! It feels like everyone is all about these things – whether it’s a style or a specific item – and then suddenly aren’t. Quickly, they become those things that we laugh and shake our heads about, asking, “Remember when that was all the rage?”


Feel very “themed.”

Enduring trends often stick around for a while because they aren’t so “in your face” that you get sick of them quickly. On the other hand, fads often feel very themed – remember the ‘90s mom rooster kitchen?! Timeless home decor is more subtle and quiet in all the right ways.


Embracing Microtrends in Your Space

First, what are microtrends? Similar to fads, microtrends have a shorter lifespan than genuine trends. Unlike fads, however, microtrends are generally more widespread and can endure for years rather than just a season or two. Incorporating microtrends into your home can be a fun way to keep your space feeling modern – plus, it can be fun to experiment with new decor styles that catch your eye!

The key to capitalizing on microtrends without overcommitting to a short-term taste or perpetuating unsustainable practices (like the fast fashion industry) is to invest in a timeless, classic foundation. These can then be built (and rebuilt!) upon. Create a high-quality, timeless base through your overall room design choices and substantial furniture pieces, and weave those microtrend elements throughout the space through room decor and other little touches. As microtrends come and go and your personal style evolves, you can swap out accessories and accents without giving your space a complete facelift.


Timeless Furniture, Even For Temporary Spaces

It’s tricky to tell if a style is here to stay or soon to be passé. And while it’s tempting to jump on every microtrend and look of the day, it’s an exhausting and never-ending cycle. That’s why embracing timeless furniture to match your in-the-moment accessories can root your home in an enduring style that is sure to last. But what about if you’re in a transitional living situation? 

High-quality, timeless style might seem out of reach. But timeless style is exactly what you’ll get when you rent with CORT Furniture Rental. Classy neutrals and sleek, clean pieces pair with any look that you can dream up, and CORT’s furniture packages are easy to build and customize to fit your needs. Simply head to your local CORT Furniture Rental showroom to build your package, or get started online today!

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