Here’s How to Know If That Trend You Love Is Worth Your $$$

published Feb 9, 2018
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(Image credit: William Strawser)

So there’s a design trend you adore. But you know perfectly well that it’s eventually going to fall out of favor (because of course, most things do). Unless your home is your forever home, you have to keep both Future Buyer and Future You in mind. Will your tile choice for your bathroom reno turn off a potential buyer when you want to sell in five years? Will you be turned off by the tile in five years (or worse, two years?). The struggle to know if its worth it to invest in a “trendy” look is real.

That’s where I find myself as I contemplate a major bathroom overhaul that I’m considering Moroccan tile for as the star of the show. I’ve crushed on all things Moroccan since long ago, that is until a trip to Marrakech and Fez turned that crush into a full-blown love that I’ve indulged with many the decorative item.

But bathroom tile? That’s a big chunk of change and I hate the thought of investing in something so fleetingly popular. Then again, how do I know if it’s actually trendy? Maybe I’m just seeing it everywhere because the algorithms know I love it. Regardless, if I don’t want the bathroom of my future to be the 2018 equivalent of this, I need to make wise decisions.

Which leads me to my next question: How can you balance a love of style with smart investments? I turned to two experts for their help, Realtor Magen Ferrell and interior designer Bethany Adams and they had some solid advice:

This is a Legit Concern

“There’s a certain inevitability that anything you pick will become representative of that time,” Bethany says. While some things we keep coming back to—hello subway tile!—”How do you know if you’re going to be dated bad or dated classic?” she says. “That is a good question.”

(Image credit: Emily Billings)

Buyers See Dollar Signs

“When buyers are walking though a home, they are deducting everything they have to change,” Magen notes. What’s worse, “they double the price in their mind.”

There’s No Crystal Ball

Surely the people who designed that ’90s bathroom thought it was beautiful. Looking at the gorgeous homes filling our feeds today it’s hard to imagine laughing at them later, but just wait. “Even if you go with something you think is classic,” Magen says, “who knows what can happen? [Style] is so fluid and fast you can’t even predict.”

(Image credit: Diana Liang)

One Way or the Other

Both experts agreed: When it comes to the biggies, if you want to be on trend find a way to dial it in. Meaning if you do “a bold pattern like a Moroccan tile, stick with neutral colors,” Bethany says.

And if you want a trendy color, “keep the pattern classic and simple and then maybe do the color elsewhere, like on the walls,” Magen says. Paint is far, far easier (and cheaper) to change up later than an entire room of expensive concrete tile.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Stick With Accessories

In the big ticket areas of her own home, Bethany sticks with classics for the main elements, but splashes out on accessories. Take a look at this picture. The first thing (besides kitchen envy) you notice is pink, right? But if you took all the pink accessories away, “it’s just a neutral kitchen,” she says.

Magen does the same—she goes with classic hardwood floors, for instance, then swaps out a fun rug occasionally.

You could take it a step further and incorporate a trend with some crazy hardware on the cabinets, Bethany says, or a bold kitchen backsplash—a more reasonable cost for buyers to absorb if they want a change.

Consider Your Timeline

If you know how long you’ll be in your home, it’s a little easier. Moving in a few years? Have some fun because your choices could still be on trend, Bethany says, whereas if you’re thinking 10-plus years, you may want to play it safer.

That said, “kitchen and bath trends tend to stick around longer than decorating trends because they’re a big investment,” she says. “You’re looking at getting 10 years out of that trend before it looks dated because everyone else who invested in it isn’t going to change it.”

Fifteen years-plus? Don’t even worry about it, Magen says. Even if you think something will be classic there’s no way to know for sure.

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


At the end of the day, both experts reminded me, this is your home. You have to look at it every day—you have to be happy with it.

For one, you can’t control for personal taste, Bethany notes. Your timeless classic may be another person’s greige nightmare. And look, if you’ve bought a home yourself, you know buyers can make decisions on emotion.

“Think back to when you were house hunting” Bethany says. “When you feel like ‘this is the house’ you will look past all of the things. Would you not buy a house because of the backsplash? [When you find the right person] they are going to walk in and love it.”

In the meantime, Magen says, “it’s great and smart to think about resale but I always want to love it. [You have to ask yourself] ‘Is it worth it to me to enjoy knowing I may have to pay for it again when the next person buys it?’ If you love it and can afford it,” why not?

So, if you need me I’ll be out shopping for Moroccan tile in a neutral color!