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THE Secret to Following Decorating Trends Without Breaking the Bank

In this post: There’s a secret I want to tell you. It’s rather common sense once you know it. But until then you are likely throwing away $$$ following decorating trends.

I get a lot of questions about trends and how to decorate on a budget when trends come and go all the time. It’s a true concern when you’re spending your hard-earned money to decorate. I get it, really I do. Wanna know a secret though? I’m not a real big fan of trends. I know. A designer who doesn’t follow (or try to predict trends). So weird, right?! Maybe it’s because I don’t like other people telling me what to do and how to decorate MY home. Maybe it’s because I find it superficial and exhausting to try to guess what the next big thing is. But there are a few trends that I like when they come along. And I’m guessing you do too.

So how do you go about following decorating trends that you like and not drain your bank account doing it?

I’m a big believer in just getting to the point. No words wasted. (My bloggy friends may or may not occasionally call me Sassy Shannon.)  So are you ready for the secret?


Okay, here it is:

Keep the big stuff classic and neutral.

That’s it.

It’s really kind of obvious when you think about it. But we all need reminding sometimes.

Yes I’m a big fan of neutrals all the time. But for the big stuff it’s ESSENTIAL no matter what style or look you like!

  • Don’t give in and buy a trendy fabric on a couch that you expect to have for years and years. Buy a simple (perhaps slipcovered?) neutral sofa instead.
  • Don’t plank your walls if you’re not up for removing it when you no longer love it. Just use paint.
  • And for the love of Pete, don’t tile a bathroom in bubble gum pink or avocado green tiles! (Why, just why?) White is classic for tile. You can always dress up the room with towels or accents. And if you ever sell your house, future buyers will thank you for having the incredible foresight to not burden them with odd color choices!


If you keep your couches, headboard, kitchen cabinets and other main pieces classic and neutral, you can swap out things like throw pillows, candles and art easily and for very little money when a trend comes or goes, or when you tire of it.

No wasted money. No regrets that you have to live with for a decade or more.

Be wise and keep the bigger and more costly items neutral.

It is honestly that simple, and now that you know the secret too, you should find deciding on what to buy for you home MUCH easier!

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I'd love to chat with you in the comments!


  1. Jill K. says

    Don’t plank your walls!!!???? Ha! I know this is a trend, but also feel like it is a classic look. I have planked much of my house and pray I won’t be removing it any time soon.

    • Shannon says

      Lol. I did not say don’t plank your walls!!! I said don’t do it IF you’re not willing to do the work to remove it when you tire of it!!! We have plans to plank our dining room and we just did our bathroom. 🙂

  2. Linda Keefer says

    I really enjoy what you have to say. Please keep them coming. Thanks, ps do you take questions

  3. Terri Who says

    Good article, although just common sense really, ie. to keep all the major pieces neutral and decorate around them swapping out pillows, etc……

  4. Melva says

    Shannon, you are so right! I painted the inside of my house in all kinds if trendy colors. Well, I got tired of it. So now I painted in neutrals. Instead I changed the decor (throw pillows and wall decor) in bright colors for little money. I’m also slowly changing up furniture pieces in neutral colors as well.

  5. cindy in oklahoma says

    I think this could apply to clothing, too. Neutral and classic basics last a long time, freeing up funds for those trendy accessories…

    I also think you can’t go wrong in either case if you try to only purchase things you really love….not things you think are “in” at the moment.

  6. Terry Bundrick says

    So true, I made the mistake of recovering two comfy chairs in a bold floral print and have regretted it. Hard lesson learned. Another friend told be when buying furniture basics, to buy the best quality we can afford. Not to buy just on price which sometime is hard to do. Look forward to finding you in my inbox each week. Appreciate your insite and inspiration. Blessings!

    • Shannon says

      Oh I’m sorry! Not fun. Yes but the best you can. But remember the purpose…for example we bought an IKEA couch when we could have bought a more expensive couch this time around because of the ability to change slipcovers and because the kids are still at home making messes!

  7. Theresa says

    Hi Shannon! Love your blog and your honesty. Any additional suggestions/ideas on purchasing a sofa & loveseat set in addition to going neutral? My current furniture in our family room is about 15 yrs old (yikes!) and we are finally going to replace them. I have traveled to many furniture stores and I am so apprehensive about purchasing a light neutral set, due to the stains & spills that will invariably occur, yet our new hardwood floor is a dark reddish brown and I would like to lighten up the room. I know, I know, an area rug will do that as well but that is going to get stained as well if I make that really light colored…..my family are SPILLERS. 4 kids (no pets). I’d rather not do slipcovers if I can help it only because it sounds like too much work. Sorry for all this craziness….any suggestions?

    • Shannon says

      Seriously, I love the Ikea Ektorp. I just couldn’t deal with the white slipcovers. If you get the dark grey or something it’s totally worth it. You could go with a wool rug (it will shed little hairs for a few months, but much less after). They’re pretty easy to clean. Or a jute rug. Or an antique looking Persian that will hide stains. And just because a couch is slip covered doesn’t mean you HAVE to remove the covers often! It just means you CAN.

  8. Sarah says

    20 years ago when we got married, we bought a traditional dark multicoloured cabbage rose-ish sofa, love seat, ottoman, and 2 wing chairs of very high quality. Four children and 20 years later that stuff is still going strong….the fabric is indestructible!!! It is faded where the sun hits it most and the back of the couch is abit loose and saggy because it is not against the wall and has had countless kids playing horsey on it. I can’t wait to go shopping for a neutral sofa!!!! And we will not wait for this stuff to wear out because it doesn’t wanna happen?.

    • Shannon says

      Lol. I well remember my parents having a quality set and actually having it reupholstered because the quality of the build was so good!

  9. Linda says

    Another great tip! This is Lesson learned very early on as a military spouse. We moved so much. Neutral on the wall and with our sofa, chairs and rugs “allowed” us to buy local art, and accessories at fun stores and markets in town or at amazing vacation spots.

A little 🖤 for Home Made Lovely

My aha moment!

I found my style and was able to bring our small space together for our family of 8! My aha moment was when you talked about undertones! That was the moment when I could bring everything together.

Danae C.

Falling in love with our home again

My ah-ha moment was when I realized I was going about things all the wrong way. I loved the house but it didn't feel like home. BUT now because of your course...I am falling in love with our home all over again.

Cheryl P.

Thank you for your direction and inspiration!

You have been very helpful in just identifying my style and what I like! Thank you for your direction and inspiration!

Dawn G.

Decorating is not as complicated as it once seemed!

I love your easy process to determine my style. I've also learned that my style has changed over the years and seasons of my life and that decorating properly/successfully is NOT as complicated as it once seemed!!!

Sheryl R.

Lightbulb moment!

Your explanation of paint colors was the light bulb moment for me! I am enjoying your teaching.  Thanks!

Pat J.

Filled me with the confidence I need

Oh Shannon, thank you, thank you thank you!!  I wish I could download you and take you with me, but your Decor Staples Checklist has definitely given me the guidance and filled me with the confidence I need!

Zee V.

Love this idea!

Orbs are such a great decor item to add to a space. Staining the hoops really gives them a vintage feel. Thanks for the inspiration.


I love your instructions!

LMAO!! I love your How Not to Paint Cabinet instructions! It made me laugh with good humor! Kudos for sharing your lessons learned!!

Tom H.

Done with Haphazard Decor!

I'm so done with Haphazard Decor! (Yes, I think I just made that "style" up). Thank you for your style quiz!


So Accurate!

I thought the quiz was so accurate, I want my friends to do it. I feel I like such a mix of things and the quiz described them all so well!

Lisa G.

A trusted friend

Before I felt overwhelmed by my clutter. Now, I feel like I have a trusted friend alongside me to pull me out of my paralysis with a fresh mindset!


"Home is the most important place on earth."

xo, Shannon