Whenever I renovate a room, I always have a little debate in my head. Should I go with what is trendy, which seems really beautiful now but could become outdated fast, or do I go with what is more timeless and will be in style for years to come? Right now, for example, I’m trying to figure out what flooring to use in my kitchen project. If there’s hardwood underneath the vinyl, I’ll go with that. Because it fits the house, matches the rest of the rooms, and is timeless and less expensive. But if there’s no hardwood, can I find a material that is new that will fit the old house?

One contractor suggested a durable laminate tile. He said it could be grouted or not so it would have the look of real tile, but much more durable. I could also drop a glass on it and it wouldn’t break like it would with tile. But, most of the patterns I saw didn’t seem to fit my old house. It didn’t seem to have that old charm or character about it. It would have a new look to it and that might not match my old house. I notice the same with tile samples at stores like Lowe’s or Menards or Home Depot. The one kind of tile that I think would fit the old charm of my house is pictured below.

Tile for older homes

It’s cute, quaint, and…trendy. That’s the problem. I see this kind of tile all over HGTV right now. I love it. But will it stand the test of time? This question really cripples my decision-making. I mean tile is expensive. Do I really want to replace it in 7-10 years when it goes out of style?

Why Trendy is…Trendy

Let’s explore first why we like trendy. I find that I am drawn to whatever is trendy almost subconsciously. Maybe I’ve picked up these new styles on TV or on the web or in decorating magazines and didn’t even realize it. I do the same thing with clothes. Maybe I saw the materials or colors that are trendy in model homes or on my parade of homes in September. At some point I picked it up and really like it. 

I like it because it’s a new idea I never thought of before. And it’s usually first tried by a designer who can make it look really good. Can I make it look that good without a designer’s help? Right now, gray cabinets are in. But will they be in in ten years? I’ve noticed my cute tile on floors and backsplash is in now. Farmhouse style is in. Reclaimed wood is in. 

What is Timeless?

So, what kinds of materials and colors are more timeless? How can we predict what will be in style ten years from now? I think neutrals have always been in. Instead of cute patterns in tiles, what about a white subway tile instead? Beadboard has been in for a while as well. Hardwood floors have been in…although thicker planks seem to be more in than thinner planks and walnut or very light finishes are more in than reddish or yellow finishes. White cabinetry has been in for  a while, especially on a shaker style cabinetry. Marble or marble-like patterns are timeless. White walls and white trim has been in for a while. Black hardware on cabinets is classic. Crown molding and wide baseboard is timeless.

Making the Choice Between Trendy and Timeless

Maybe it’s a good idea to do timeless with the expensive things and trendy with things that can easily be changed like wall color. Or maybe you do mostly timeless and pick just one or two trends to incorporate into the overall design. For example, I’m planning on white cabinets, black hardware, marble countertops (in a laminate), and neutral gray walls. So, maybe a little splash of trendy tile on the floor would be okay. If I go with a cute, trendy tile on the floor, maybe I choose one with a neutral palette instead so it lasts longer. These are all good options. I think it also depends on your tax bracket. Do you have the funds to renovate every few years or do you need things to last much longer? These are all good considerations. And who knows. Maybe your trend will end up being timeless. Sometimes a bit of risk is okay too.

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