Let’s Talk Trends + How to do that with Your Clients

Since the hype on the trends of 2017 is dying down, it’s safe to say that we are cross-eyed by now. So many color palettes, fabric patterns, and finishing materials to choose from!
Every major site/magazine is preaching something different from the other and our clients are snipping photos and coming to us to get that new coveted look.
So this got me curious, how are other designers handling this? What is their system of going about implementing trends in clients’ homes while keeping so many factors in mind.
Basically, how do those decor genies grant their clients’ wishes.
So I went and approached so epic-ly talented ladies about this topic; I asked them if their typical clients follow each and every trend or do they do what feels right, if their clients would go for a major overhaul based on a trend or if they just add some updated touches.
I also asked for their opinion on the matter of overhauling a clients space, as well as how they deal with a client that wants to go down a path that is not right for them.
Here’s what they had to say on the matter.

Sharla Jarrow

There are a lot of different trends right now. From California boho to Joanna Gaines‘ farmhouse style. 

From painting walls all bright white to creating a moody space with deep dark colors.

The Alabaster Vessel

However, some trends can be extremely short lived then quickly outran by a better contender.

It is ALWAYS important when working with clients to coach them on how to invest wisely. You’ll want to choose classic finishes that, no matter the style change or season, will continue to be steady and functional.

The Alabaster Vessel

Some pretty classic practical trends of today are subway tile and Hardwood floors. These are trends I’m willing to implement into clients homes. Because I believe they’re both practical and versatile. They would look incredible in a plethora of different styles.

The Alabaster Vessel

The best way to implement any current trend whether it be gingham, chevron, kilim, etc. would be through accessories. Choose a trendy pattern for your pillows, curtains or rugs. These items are easily interchangeable. And won’t effect the overall value of your home if you someday choose to sell.

The Alabaster Vessel

Complete overhauls for clients can sometimes be necessary for the space if it isn’t functioning well for the needs of the homeowner.

If it is a clients “forever” home and they have very specific ideas of what they want and those things all happen to be trending, I say go ahead and shiplap those walls! Throw up those beams! Give them all the cement tile and beaded lights their hearts desire; because at the end of the day it is their home. And they will thank you for it. 😉


Peg Kusner

If you google what’s “in” and what’s “out” for 2017 Interior Design trends, you’ll get all kinds of conflicting opinions. Domain editors declare Terra Cotta tiles, Cork, Dark Green and Upholstered Headboards “in” while Vogue touts Muted Colors and Neutrals as the antidote to the strong colors of 2016. And while the shelter magazines and Pinterest are featuring moody darks and jewel tones, I’m seeing a lot of indigo blue at the design markets. Sigh.

Peg Kusner – Peg Kusner Design


So, I have mixed feelings about those design trends. They’re confusing for my clients, and because things seem to swing so wildly in and out of fashion, clients are hesitant to commit, for fear of making an expensive mistake. But here’s what I love about discussing trends–they’re wonderful for opening up lively conversations about personal likes and dislikes!
I have yet to work with a client who wanted to go all in and completely overhaul a space based on a trend. It’s my sincere belief that everyone is a fabulous designer at their core. Most often, they’re  just lacking the  confidence and ability to clearly express their design sense. So, over the years, I’ve worked hard to develop a signature process with my clients that goes beyond the trends and allows them to express their unique, personal design style. It gives them a vocabulary to discuss exactly how they want their space to look and feel.
I see my design role more as an interpreter of my clients’ style languages. A partner and collaborator engaged in constant conversation. Do clients come to me with Pinterest pins and magazine tearsheets full of the trends-of-the-moment? Absolutely! But that is only the very first step on a journey of discovery. Trends often initiate the conversation, but they never dictate it!
Peg Kusner Design

LAbri_logo (2)
Julie Daniel

I often have clients send me links to popular pins on Pinterest saying they want that look for that space (for example, I’ve had several clients send me this image).

Julie Daniel – L’Abri Interiors


It is necessary to differentiate between a 3-5 year trend or a classic trend. For example, I’d say Chevron falls into the former category, I think we are going to see less and less of it, and probably more Herringbone as an alternative.
There are classic trends which I think will stick around a while such as White Kitchens and the Rustic/Farmhouse look that Joanna Gaines has made so popular.
I have a hard time seeing the pendulum swing back all the way to Super Contemporary or 80’s Frilly, but who knows what could happen in the next 10 years.
Clients tend to want to see options for the trends that would look great in their space, but they usually end up going with what’s more practical for their space and budget.
L’Abri Interiors
The one trend where clients to go for a huge overhaul is painting kitchen cabinets–rarely do clients want to keep their dated wood finish cabinets. However, gray paint is becoming increasingly popular for kitchen cabinets in addition to the classic gray.
L’Abri Interiors
I’d encourage clients to go for an overhaul if the design will flow nicely in the rest of their house and my gut tells me that they will still like it 5 years from now. I’m fairly honest with a client if I think a trend won’t work in their space or fit their lifestyle.
L’Abri Interiors
As a younger designer I used to give the client exactly what they want, but as I’ve been in this industry longer I’ve learned that clients are hiring you to design, not just hold their hand.

After seeing each of their points of views, I found some key points that they agreed on and that you need to keep in mind when talking trends with your client:
  • Try to separate the Classics from the Popup or Short lived trends and make sure your clients know how to do that too.
  • Develop a system that goes beyond a picture of a trend and be your clients’ interpreter; find out what they really want and what their sense of style is like then translate it into their space, the trend can be the point of discovery.
  • When it comes to major changes in a space, keep two things in mind: 1- Your clients are investing in that design, not just spending and 2- You have to make sure that you can make the design flow into the rest of the spaces and not overshadow them or stand out in a way that makes your clients uncomfortable in the long run.

As an extra goody for you, Tarsha from Catch Decor, has a Cheat Sheet that includes a list of all the materials, colors, and fabrics featured in the 2017 trends storm that can add value in a home and not just make it look pretty combined in one downloadable PDF. You can find it HERE.

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