If you’ve paid any attention to home and living catalogues over the years you’ve probably noticed how quickly home decor trends come and go. Just like in the world of fashion, the people who manufacture homegoods do it with one idea in mind: to keep you coming back for more.

There’s an important distinction to be made between a trend and a style. You’ve probably seen several homes that adhere to the styles of farmhouse, mid-century modern, industrial, and so on. However, within these styles there are several trends that flood magazines and houses each year. While everyone wants to keep their home up to date, it’s important to keep a watchful eye out for homegoods that are just capitalizing on the latest trends.

In this article, we’ll break down some home decor tips that will help you pick the homegoods that will look great year after year while also serving a useful function in your house. And, we’ll help you avoid the trends that put a strain on your wallet each year.

Keep the big picture in mind

When browsing through the latest Crate & Barrel catalog, it’s tempting to order items based on liking the way they look in the picture. However, it’s important to remember how it would look in your own home. This is true for many items around the home, like houseplants. If you have a farmhouse-style home, decorating it with cacti or zen gardens might appear out of place and thus will be short-lived decorations.

Aside from the inside of your home, it’s important to keep in mind the architectural style of your house. It would seem strange, for example, to enter a brownstone building in Brooklyn to find it filled with country style decorations. That isn’t to say you need to always adhere exclusively to the architectural style of the building (some juxtapositions work well together and are a fun way to give your home some originality).

Good design sticks around

Appearance isn’t everything. When it comes to things like furniture, appliances, and kitchenware you’ll find that usefulness and ease of access is a key feature. Before buying one of these items, think about whether it serves a purpose, and if it serves that purpose better than your current item. Read reviews or ask friends and family about these items before purchasing them.

Stick to the classics

One of the latest trends to hit coffee shops around the country is the tall metal stool. Sometimes they have a backrest, sometimes they don’t. They can be painted a neutral color or left metallic and unfinished.

While these stools may fit neatly into the modern, industrial look, they might not fit your particular needs. In some instances, it’s better to stick to the tried-and-true furniture items for your home. If you’re placing the stools somewhere that people are going to sit often and for long periods of time, you’ll want them to be comfortable. Don’t sacrifice comfort in your own home just because something looks good.

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Excitement over buying a new house, especially if the sticker price on the house is good,could cause you to overlook key factors about the property. If you get too emotionally attached to the idea of living in a new house, you could rationalize away water stains that you see on walls. You could also dismiss how cold and damp the basement is or how humid it is in the attic.

High price of rationalizing away house problems

It’s these very defects that can cost you thousands. The trick is that you probably won’t start dealing with issues related to one or more house defects until after you move in. By then, it could be too late. Then, again you may have some safeguards.

Investing in homeowners insurance that covers standard events like fires and theft is just a start. You also want to get insurance that covers events like floods ,earthquakes, mud slides and tornadoes, whichever events generally occur in the area that the house is located in.

  • To protect yourself against house defects, ask the seller to complete a home disclosure form. Depending on the state that the house is located in, this might be required by law. If not, ask the seller to list out any known defects that the house has and to sign and date the form. Work with your attorney or real estate agent to get this document.
  • Check to see if defects that appear after you move into the house were listed on the house inspector’s report. If they were and you missed seeing the defects, you may be responsible for associated repairs. If the defects were not picked up by the inspector, contact your local housing authority. Explain the situation and see if you have legal recourse. You could also work with your attorney on this.
  • Hire your own house inspector before you move into a house. This applies whether it’s a newly constructed house or an older home.
  • Make sure that a house built before 1978 is inspected for lead paint.
  • Get the house inspected for defects such as asbestos, mold and mercury levels before you buy the house. Clearly ask inspectors to check for these items. Also, make sure that the wiring, plumbing and the roof are checked.

Paying for an independent home inspection before you buy a house is a great way to find out specific problems that you could be taking on with a new property before you sign a contract. If you live in a state like California, you can have added protections, as some state regulations require sellers to fill out, sign and date disclosures that list out known defects associated with the house they are selling.

Because you are the one who will be living in the house and maybe paying a mortgage on the property for several years, make it your responsibility to check for problems.Make it your responsibility to ensure that you’re getting the best housing deal possible and not only as it relates to the price of the house.

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