Skip to main content
BlackColour Trends

Fourth Rule of Design: Trendy equals Temporary

By 09/12/2022September 14th, 202235 Comments

I often get the best quotes directly from my followers! This one was from Instagram.

That said, there are definitely moments when timeless finishes are also trending. But in general, as you know from following me, it’s important to tread with caution when you are sourcing items that cannot just be lifted up and carried out of your house as soon as 1) they’re dated or 2) you get bored.

Is it Trendy (aka Temporary) or Timeless?

Since we are about five years into the black and white trend, I thought I’d review what’s trendy and at the same time the trends that are timeless: 

Timeless: Cognac sofas 

I’ll say it again, this is the best colour for a leather sofa if you’re going to have one, and now, thanks to the fact that it’s trending, a cognac leather sofa is much more affordable than it ever was in the past. 

Of course, because this colour is trending, stained wood floors are warming up too. 

Read more: Is a Cognac Sofa Timeless or Trendy?

Tricia’s Living Room Refresh

Temporary: Overdone black & white

This includes black exteriors, black garage doors, black accent walls 

As I said in this post and the updated module I added to my Exterior Masterclass for Colour Selection, even though there are 3 styles of homes that happily looked amazing in white, this trend has slowly killed every black and white house (good or bad) and will forever place them inside the trendy homes of the pandemic.

Please do not shoot the messenger. Looking back 5 years from now when this trend is over for those of us in the know–but still going strong–because there’s so many that don’t know, we will always remember the time frame that a black or white house was born.

It’s sad actually. I didn’t have this opinion a year ago, but this trend is ruining entire neighbourhoods because black hits the tipping point quickly. 

No one needs to tell you when you’ve overdone black inside or outside your home. You can feel it.

While a mediterranean style home can pull off white, black does not belong anywhere near it and please, do us all a favour and DO NOT paint your orange tiled roof BLACK.

Yes that is also happening right now much to the chagrin of the neighbours.

Timeless: Black and white checkerboard floors

This is a trend we talked about here. Checkerboard remains classic pattern that is showing up in painted wood, marble, simple vinyl, or in area rugs.

Redesign Home

Temporary: Black plumbing fixtures & hardware 

This is a trend we talked about here. Don’t simply make black the default choice for everything. 

5 Design Trends to Ditch Right Now and What to do Instead

Timeless: Gold or brass hardware 

It’s not the shiny brass of the 80s so I’m declaring it timeless. I’d rather see a white bathroom entirely done in brass than black since black is the darkest colour it looks bitty and wrong immediately (above).

Brass is busy warming up all the overdone black and white bathroom and formerly all the grey ones and I’m here for it!

And can we include chrome and polished or brushed nickel in the timeless category? Yes.

Colour Forecast written in 2013 (gold had been trending for a couple years already)

Temporary: Solid marble backsplashes

The cover of this magazine probably launched a thousand kitchen designs that include a marble backsplash. 

This is a pretty kitchen, and I bet that House Beautiful looked at hundreds of kitchens that were similar before they landed on this cover.


Because a kitchen like this without an experienced designer to consider every detail is hard to pull off in the builder kitchen world.

The world that most of us live in.

And that’s why I’m calling this a temporary trend and it’ll be a trend done badly everywhere and now the next homeowner will have to deal with pulling slabs off the walls not just countertops.

Read more: Magazine Worthy Kitchen Designs Cannot be Easily Copied

Timeless: Colourful cabinets

White kitchens are timeless and so are white finishes. But colourful cabinets are also a timeless look to coordinate with white finishes.

When we  move into our new house (we take possession October 1, so you’ll hear a lot more about my plans then), I am overjoyed that all I have to do is paint the kitchen (well, that and replace the perimeter violet grey countertops) because otherwise so many details (including the marble subway backsplash) were already done well and the huge island already has white quartz countertops (check).

I love this blue kitchen, I might paint the cabinets blue in our new kitchen in the entertainment room upstairs.

Interior Design by Michael Kaskel

Over to you my lovelies? What did I forget? Let me know what you think about my list!

And remember this phrase next time you are sourcing finishes for your home.

If you’d like to become a True Colour Expert, register here for one of my virtual Specify Colour with Confidence workshops this Fall.

True Colour Expert Certification

The first workshop this season is SOLD OUT. We have two more left to register into:

October 5 & 6, 2022 (SOLD OUT)

October 15 & 16, 2022 (weekend)

November 10 & 11, 2022

PS. I’m doing a series on all 9 undertones in my system on Instagram here.

Related posts:

First Rule of Design; Boring Now Equals Timeless Later

Second Rule of Design: Waiting Now Equals Beautiful Later

Third Rule of Design: Expensive Does not Equal Timeless

188 pins


  • Maggie S says:

    Trendy=Temporary is the perfect way to understand fads in design….. and when you think about it that way it makes it easier to pass up the latest “Hot Trend”

  • Carol C Foster says:

    Maria, I am so glad you said that Marble (or Quartzite) backsplashes are in the “trendy” category. I have always wondered why our stone salesman tried to convince us to keep a 4th slab on hold for our kitchen backsplash. I worried that I would wake up in 10 years and not like it. I prefer the simplicity of a white ceramic tile or marble subway backsplash – not boring! Something that doesn’t compete with the horizontal surface, and just adds a complementary layer of texture. Tried to convince my husband of this, and now I have a designer verifying this! Oh, and I’ll never be bored of my black and white checkerboard stone entry floor. Did something right!!!

    • Jeanette says:

      I don’t think marble backsplashes are necessarily trendy if it’s subtle. A very bold, strong marble backsplash is probably trendy (like the example Maria gave above). Would you please explain why you think a marble slab backsplash is trendy but a marble tiled backsplash isn’t? I really hate cleaning grout lines and think that slab backsplashes are great just for that reason alone.

      • Maria Killam says:

        I think it’s hard for someone without a designer to get a slab backsplash to look good. There’s a lot of really busy marble subway tile backsplashes that don’t work either however with this trend I’m seeing a lot of colour not just a simple and clean marble with not a lot of movement (which is what it should be). Hope that helps, Maria

  • diana says:

    Hi Maria – Thank you for “telling the truth about trends”.
    My concern about blue kitchens is there is nothing in the food category which is blue except blue icing on a cake. Of course a deep rich blue in base cabinets could be delicious.
    I’m shocked (not really) when I see pics of baby blue kitchens – what were they thinking – to change the baby’s diaper in the kitchen.
    Nuff said.

    • Loribeth says:

      I love blue kitchens. I have to admit though, that this is the second time in less than a week that I’ve heard someone say not to paint a kitchen blue because there is no food that is blue. Before now, I had never heard of a rule that says the color of the cabinets has to match the color of food. I’m not going to eat the cabinets, so to me, it isn’t an issue. Blue is the color of the sky. Blue can make a kitchen feel airy and open, and I love dining al fresco. But everyone has their own opinions about what colors are best in a kitchen.

      • Maria Killam says:

        Yes I don’t get that at all either personally. Maybe it’s a foodie thing and if so, to each his own! Maria

        • Tammy B says:

          After watching Instagram for only a short period, I observed that Maria’s favorite fruits are blueberries. 🙂

      • Amber says:

        Foodie here, and I still agree. I don’t want blue plates – they can clash with some foods – but cabinets don’t color your food.

  • Diane says:

    Thanks for the article. Are there certain colors that are trendy for kitchen cabinets? I see lots of mushroom colored cabinets, of course the grey cabinets seem trendy as does black. I find lots of deep green and blue cabinets but if you want a timeless color other than white, what colors would you recommend. Also, your take on cabinet styles that are timeless. Thanks!

    • Jadzia says:

      Good questions. I would love the answer to these as well. Personally, I’ve only ever seen blue (especially darker or navy blue) cabinets as potentially timeless. Now I wonder…

      • Maria Killam says:

        There’s no list of ‘colours’ that are timeless. Is the world of a white kitchen more timeless than most? Yes, I still stand by that, but having said that, and given colour for cabinets is trending big time either in mushroom or COLOURS like blue or green, my advice there is to keep the countertops and backsplash in a timeless white making the cabinet colour easier to change as I mentioned in this post! Hope that helps, Maria

  • Julie Norval says:

    Agree with ALL! Just curious, where do you classify oil rubbed bronze?

  • Kelly K says:

    While I find the blue kitchen lovely color wise, I feel an entire kitchen of open shelving is also in the “trendy” category that people will regret, although your trend discussion did pertain more to color versus items. The dishes get far too dusty and dirty and any cat owner should know open shelving is merely an invitation to perch. This is assuming all of your dishes match and are pretty for display.

    I do not know what it is about cognac that I don’t like. I get the timeless thing, but I think it is too orange for me. I lived with honey oak wood in my 90s house for almost 20 years and now I cannot stand anything with a hint of orange.

    I feel like houses are losing their individuality as I drive around. There are so many white/grey/or now black and white painted houses that it’s becoming very monotone. It seems to be mostly brick too, not houses with siding. I admit, I hate my pink/salmon brick but I will never paint it due to paint causing maintenance issues with allowing the brick to breathe, and I will never buy a painted brick house for this reason. I just hope they still exist in the future and the trend to paint exterior brick goes away (there are brick stains that can be used if the brick doesn’t have a sealer coating on it). It is basically impossible to remove paint from brick and very labor intensive (expensive).

    I have found your blog extremely educational with regards to undertones in color and learned so much from that. Mixing metals/hardware and lighting tips have also been wonderful.

    I did end up with a forced kitchen remodel last year (due a pipe burst) and tried to go with a more timeless design while still doing what I loved. I had to (I thought) make sure it went with the tile flooring I had that we couldn’t afford to replace (only to learn mid-install it had be damaged as well, so new floor, but too late to change anything). So it’s a warmer white (versus cooler, bluer white) quartz perimeter countertops, with a gorgeous quartzite slab for the island that looks like show piece. We went with white oak cabinets with a black stain, that looks black in photos (but textured) but a lovely dark brown to the eye. The backsplash is a warm white subway tile that is textured (not flat) which keeps the kitchen bright with the darker cabinets (especially with under counter lighting). This from a person who hated subway tile when I started planning my remodel, and I just had to realize it works if you do it correctly.

    I know, in general you are against natural stone and all about the white kitchen, but if we had picked the same white quartz for the island, the kitchen would have been blah and look like 1000s other kitchens, with few walls/areas to add any color due to cabinets, doorways, and windows. I would not be motivated to keep clutter off the island as much because it’s not the kind I just want to look at because it is pretty. At the time, I seemed to be against the trend of painting cabinets, but it seems like stained cabinets are becoming popular again (not sure if one color is more popular or not for stain), and I’ve seen quite a few with dark cabinets like mine (either painted or stained).

    Even with the remodel, the biggest difference in my kitchen is we re-did the lighting upon remodel and now it is properly lit and has both task lighting where needed and under-counter lighting that adds wonderful ambience like a lamp would. The key is all of our lighting is adjustable, most of it in color, warmth/coolness, and brightness, so you can get the right setting for whatever you are doing.

    For fixtures, brushed nickel (to me) is the most timeless, as it never seems to go out and shows less water spotting that most colors, especially for plumbing. I did use black for some decor or hardware (pulls, lighting stems, chair legs, planters, etc) so it is around but only a little bit to avoid being overwhelming.

    Regarding the timelessness of black checkered flooring? It does not feel timeless to me and feels too busy in almost every situation I see it in. It might boil down to it being in an ice cream shop I worked in back as a teenager and a grandparent having it in their basement. I can see (maybe) with the right styling how it could work, but it feels mid century, not timeless. That is, again, likely due to personal experiences with that style. Much like how due to my exposure to 1970s decor colors, I am unlikely to ever want them in my house, in spite of any resurgence in popularity.

    Currently couch hunting and going through the issue of wanting something more timeless in color, but also have children and pets where you are limited to certain fabrics and colors. Picking tile was easier…

  • Trendy equals Temporary. Nailed it!

    It’s important to remember, some people do have the time and money to change out their hard finishes, when the trends are over, but that’s certainly not the majority of us, nor is it good for the environment.

    Love that phrase “Trendy equals Temporary” & I’ll be sure to quote you when I use it! Brilliant.

  • Susan Hubele says:

    I painted my island BM Kensington Blue and love it!

  • Donna says:

    I thought perhaps you were exaggerating when you previously said that the black and white exterior trend was ruining neighborhoods – but this summer we spent time at a small historic beach town and guess what I saw everywhere! Black and white new farmhouse builds! But worse, all the lovely beachy color cottages were repainted in black and white. Even worse, the Tuscan and Spanish style homes from earlier trends were getting the black and white treatment. I can tell you that in the bright sun of the seaside they b&w looked harsh and depressing. What a mistake!

    Full disclosure – I have a new build farmhouse style in B&W, and I know it will eventually date the home to this time period. Our development was a farm, and we are surrounded by other farmland and simple barn style structures, so it doesn’t bother me as much here. But at the seashore, or the city, I agree it looks out of place.

    • Diane says:

      Yes! Whole neighborhoods in Houston TX are being ruined by these misguided homeowners/flippers.
      I am astounded at the number of once classic homes RUINED by being painted white with black trim. They’re trying way too hard to be “au courant” and it turns out to be SO unattractive. And usually with minimal landscaping.
      New builds, too, are stark black & white Lego boxes. I look forward to seeing this massively overused, unimaginative trend being
      “re-renovated” to warmer, homier colors.
      (Sorry, bit of a rant!)

  • Holly says:

    Excellent post, Maria! I just bought a blue leather sofa because you mentioned in a previous post that if you don’t get a timeless cognac sofa, color is always in. I have a question about mixing metals. I have an open floor plan with white cabinets and black countertops. I did chrome hardware for the cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and black light fixtures. If Ispray paint my espresso and glass end stands in my adjoining living room, will that be too many metals in the mix or am I stuck with brushed nickel (to repeat the stainless appliances?) I want brushed or matte gold so badly to go with the blue and white living room but don’t know if I’m overdoing metals!

    • Jo says:

      I’d paint the stands the gold you want and add some decorative gold elements into the kitchen. Artwork and/or frames, planter, Knick knacks, candle sticks on the table, etc. so the spaces relate to each other.

      • Holly says:

        Thanks, Jo! I was worried a mix of 4 metals would be too much but it’s not like there would be an overload of it. I also figure touches of gold would warm up my black and white kitchen.

  • Laura Schmid says:

    My concern about backsplashes, especially in the case of subway tile in the kitchen, is that they might be difficult to clean given the grease that can be generated by cooking. I’m not a fan of kitchens with lots of tile on the walls, but a single slab behind the cooktop might be easy to clean as well as being attractive. I’ve seen several photos of kitchens without backsplashes where the countertop simply meets the wall and find that an to be appealing alternative. I remodeled my condo kitchen a number of years ago when the trend was a 4 inch high backsplash of the same granite as the counters and I still am happy with it. Painted walls, especially if done in a semi-gloss finish, are very easy to clean.

    • Kelly K says:

      I would rather clean a backsplash than drywall for splatters.

      I agree, subway tile with all of the grout is less ideal if you are a splatterer, especially by the cooktop! That is the only place I miss the larger tile that was my previous backsplash. Thankfully, I don’t splatter too much and it’s still pretty easy to wipe the tile if I do! Most of my prep is on my island, away from the backsplash, so my cooktop is really the only area with this.

      But paint? I hate trying to scrub splatters (especially tomato sauce) off of drywall, so any backsplash is better than that for me.

  • Virginia says:

    I appreciate the comment-only clarification that super colourful or heavily veined marble slab backsplashes are what’s trendy, not a subtler one. What, though, about bookended slabs? I’ve always found that to be a “fancy rich person old house” look, but I wonder if it’s been a trend in that demographic too and is trickling to the masses now. I think you see it even more in rich person entire-wall bathroom bookended slabs, you know?

  • Minnie says:

    Hi Maria! What do you think of the shiplap trend? It does seem to be a trend but can it be timeless too?

    • Virginia says:

      If I had to guess, I bet Maria will say that the problem with this trend is when people install it in the wrong type of house, or on its own without other farmhouse elements to relate. (But I want Maria’s answer too!)

  • Christy says:

    Can you please explain the difference between the 1980s brass and what is considered timeless brass? Are you saying that any brass that’s not shiny is timeless?

  • Erin says:

    Love trendy=temporary! The perfect dark side to timeless=boring! I’ve been a follower for years and love all your advise! I’d also like to know your thoughts on open shelving, to me it seems very trendy and impractical when overused.

  • Beth Parks says:

    The trend I’m tired of seeing is sliding barn doors, especially in homes that are not modern farmhouse.

  • Becky says:

    Great post here, but all I can see is that blue kitchen. I’m just building/painting my new kitchen THAT BLUE. So far everyone loves it! I have way too many kids doing way too much cooking in my kitchen to go with white. My uppers are white, but definitely will have (as soon as I get them built!) closing doors. I can’t stand a cluttery view.

  • Jan says:

    Maria, Do you consider Bianco Romano granite timeless, especially with white painted cabinets and a white subway tile backsplash? Do you like BM Cloud White or White Dove for the cabinets? Also, how do you feel about the larger size subway tiles: smooth or the “wavy” subway tiles that are a bit shiny? I do prefer a timeless kitchen. Thank you!

  • Jessica says:

    No uppers kitchen: Timeless or trendy?

    Debating right now whether my extreme love for kitchens with no upper cabinets (and maybe open shelving) is a trend or timeless. Will be starting my design soon.

  • Sonia says:

    Hi Maria, I love all your design lessons/ tips about timeless. I love to get almost everything that is a big purchase in the timeless side but I had a question my kitchen cabinets do not go all the way to the ceiling just because at the moment I thought I really didn’t want to invest in it since they are so high up, I would need a ladder for just about all of them and also invested in other upgrades. What I did do was a made my backsplash go all the way up on both sides of the hood and now I’m wondering if I should keep the backsplash going in that empty space above the cabinets since I have a type of subway tile it is the daltile isla piña colada glossy so it adds a shimmer and makes it look so pretty. Do you think that would be a total regret after or not? Suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

Leave a Reply