Do you know what this week is? It’s our blog anniversary week! That’s right, we’ve finally gotten to the most wonderful time of the year when we spend an entire week celebrating ourselves and this amazing blog and how incredible we make the internet. (If you’ve missed our celebrations in past years, here’s the final post from our weeklong extravaganza in 2017 that links back to the full week of posts, and here’s the same for 2016.)
This year, we’re trying something just a little different. You see, you’ve proven yourselves to be readers who love to weigh in — vote, comment, and share your perspective. And we love that about you! We also found ourselves totally overwhelmed trying to pick out the top design trends for 2018. (See our report back on our 2017 predictions here.) There are just so many “it” things happening right now, it’s hard to unilaterally decide what’s going to truly define 2018. SO, we thought we’d combine this challenge with your awesome interactiveness and bring you a blog anniversary week we’re calling “Blog Madness.”
It’s a different kind of “bracket” than you usually find on a DIY blog.
That’s right: we’re starting with 32 trends grouped into four divisions (decor, blogging, surfaces, and embellishments), and each day this week we’ll use your votes in head-to-head match-ups to help us narrow down to the biggest trends of 2018. Today we’re getting started, tomorrow we’ll reveal the Sweet Sixteen based on your votes, Wednesday will be our Elite Eight, then Thursday our Final Four (which will represent the top trends in each division), then Friday we’ll let the last two battle it out and we’ll reveal to you THE trend of 2018 next week.
Are you excited? We hope so, because we’ve spent a ton of time making photo collages….
Obviously for this to work we need your votes! So as you scroll through the competitors below, please take a moment to tell us who you think should win each matchup via the little poll below each one. Remember that you’re voting for the top trend, not necessarily what you personally love (though they may be related). We’ll stop collecting votes at 6pm each day so that we can spend the evening tallying the votes and prepping the next round for you. Don’t say we’re not dedicated to this. (Also, a big shoutout to Sam — who will never see this because he doesn’t read the blog — for coming up with this basic concept, seemingly sparked by one of us randomly mentioning the word “brackets” within earshot of him while we were hanging out recently.)
Here we go!
A few things in decor are a given, like the fact that painting your walls white makes it easy to seem like you’re good at decorating, and that open shelving in the kitchen is not at all impractical for the average person. Those things aren’t trends but statements of universal fact. But there are some things that are definitely shifting in 2018 and will take the blogging world (and all of our homes) by storm. What are they?
Match-Up 1: Putting Animals on Things (Buffalos vs. Rams)
There is no question that we’ll put animals on things in 2018. We have every year up to this point, it is one of the central principles of blogging (as Naomi’s Dad would say, it is turtles all the way down). The only question is which animal we’ll put on things this year since, as we mentioned in our 2017 trend look-back, woodland creatures are out and bovines are in.
So what will be the new “it” animal? The rustic, all american buffalo or the edgy, bohemian ram?
Match-Up 2: Putting 3D Animals on Things (Animal Busts vs. Animal Figurines)
Bloggers don’t just love putting 2D animals on walls and crafts; they also like putting 3D animals on walls and shelves. It is a great way to show that we’re eclectic and interesting people, which is the whole point of a blog.
But what will be our favorite method for deploying 3D versions of the 2018 “it” animals in our homes this year? One idea is taxidermy (real or faux) which has been… rearing its head hahaha… everywhere these days. The other option is the good-ole-reliable animal figurine, which you can paint in the go-to metal or color to be sure it is trendy. What will it be?
Match-Up 3: Cultural Appropriation Is Always In (Dream Catchers vs. I’ve Been to Machu Picchu)
Like animals, cultural appropriation is another great way to show that you’re eclectic and well traveled, and these trends sweep through the blogosphere every year. Think “tribal” patterns, mudcloth, and Moroccan-everything, and the very root of the word bohemian.
What will be our favorite method this year? We’re seeing dream catchers around, in both minimal and eclectic decor. There are also a lot of Peruvian textiles on display, for a slightly-more-cultured and tasseled take on a tribal pattern. Also llamas will be everywhere. EVERYWHERE. You heard it here first.
Match-Up 4: 1970s Kitchens (Colorful Appliances vs. Color Block Cabinets)
It’s clear that the 1970s is coming to interior decor (sorry to break it to you). At the same time, the all-white kitchen is finally on the way out. These two trends will come together this year as bloggers will turn to the extreme designs of the 1970s to add some “unique personality” to their previously washed out kitchens.
But which trend will we rely on? We might add hip colors to our appliances, a trend that has already been strong in the last couple of years. Or, we might turn to the 1970s color blocking movement to inspire our cabinets. What do you think?
Future of Blogging Division
Bloggers blog. But how we blog is the focus of this division. Its hard work coming up with all of these words and all of these pictures to put in all of these posts. What trends will we look to to help us create content better, faster, and easier in 2018? What topics will take the blogosphere by storm, lodging themselves in our universal definition of ‘coolness’?
Match-Up 1: The Blogging 1% (Vacation Homes are the New Trailer vs. Sponsored Content Gone Wild)
Many blogs need to (or want to) make money. Combine that with the fact that its really tough to keep up a steady stream of content that is new and relevant, but also provides more of what brought readers to you in the first place, and you have this match up.
For a while bloggers were all making over airstream trailers as a way to have projects to do once they finished decorating their own homes. But that was a (money) losing proposition, so the next step is for bloggers to buy fixer-upper vacation homes to make over for content and rental income. (This trend already got underway on many major blogs in 2017.) Just as likely to pick up steam, however, is a total surrender to the scourge of sponsored posts that drives content creation and some truly ridiculous projects. Think socks and orange juice were odd features for DIY blogs? Soon we’ll be the selling ground for pharmaceuticals and car insurance. Both are likely, but which will dominate 2018?
Match-Up 2: Dystopian Futures (Apocalyptic Bunker Minimalism vs. The Future is Home Automation)
If 2017 taught us anything it’s that the future is a scary place. As bloggers try to get ahead of the curve of history, how will we envision it in 2018? Two main camps seem to be gathering on this subject. The first represent people trying to get ahead of the coming apocalypse by embracing a radically minimalist style that will adapt well to our future of living in underground bunkers. A more optimistic group is totally bought into our future as slaves to our robot creations and is embracing home automation. Which group will win out?
Match-Up 3: HASHTAG Party 2018 (Fake Parties vs. Gästfrihet)
Content is hard to come by, and since we can’t make over our kitchen literally every month (maybe just one out of two) we have to come up with other stuff to post about. Preferably stuff that is really easy to do, looks ridiculously pretty, and makes us seem cool.
Enter the fake party, which we’ve been known to (ironically) throw ourselves, in which you prepare a whole lot of stuff for a party that you aren’t even having, or that you’re only having for the blog post. Pretty pictures with flowers and promotion of a lifestyle that no one can possibly actually attain = win-win! The alternative is a rebellion against this already-growing fake party trend by embracing gästfrihet, which we got by googling what the word for hospitality is in Swedish. Something needs to follow the blogging world’s obsession with scandinavian design and 2017’s hygge, and it will be an over-ritualization and self-satisfied worship of being a true and generous host. Two very different ideals that both could lead to a whole lot of blog posts. Which will dominate?
Match-Up 4: Writing Harder Not Longer (Instablog vs. Letterboard)
Finally, writing is hard. It follows that writing less things would be less hard. We figure bloggers will try that out in 2018. This is already happening, as bloggers turn to instagram and other social media platforms to share their content via very pretty photos, with fewer and shorter true blog posts in between.
This could go even farther in 2018 as instagram stories become the dominant method of blogging, leaving the old “website that updates with a post that you have to go and read” concept behind. That, or bloggers will continue to post on their websites but share most of their written text via letterboards in photos, which is much prettier and pithier.
Next up, we’ve got surfaces to talk about. Now there are obviously a million surfaces we could explore — flooring (encaustic tiles are still hottttt), counters (are we done with marble yet?), wall treatments (wallpaper will continue its rise to dominance), but today we’re focusing on the big ones: metal, color, pattern, and texture.
Match-Up 1: Rejecting Tradition (Mixing Metals vs. Pink is Everything)
Tradition holds that with the start of a new year, we should be proclaiming a brand new “it” metal to go with it. However, it seems like we’re all getting just a little tired of having a new trendy finish for our lights, faucets, hardware, coffee tables, and appliances to get on board with every single year. It’s obvious that we need a way out of this keeping-up-with-the-Joneses madness, and we have two options.
The first is to declare that the new metal of 2018 is actually “mixing metals,” thereby making it trendy that we all have a bunch of mismatched finishes in our home from years gone by. The second is just giving in to the force that is Millennial Pink and deciding that instead of metal finishes, every surface should be pink.
Match-Up 2: It’s Not Just About Color (Ultra Violet vs. Caliente)
As usual, the year kicked off with a whole host of “color of the year” declarations. This year the stakes seem higher than paint colors though — it seems like we’re at a tipping point in the battle for color-prediction dominance.
Let’s face it, Pantone has had some serious duds the past few years. Greenery? We all pretended they just meant “put plants in your homes.” Rose quartz and serenity? Putting two uninspiring colors together does not make them better. And let’s not even get started with Marsala. That means Pantone has been leaving room in the field for some competitors with better taste and powers of prediction to take over as Chief Color Predictor. Our money is on Benjamin Moore, which has been a darling in the DIY world for years. So the match-up of Pantone’s “Ultra Violet” and Benjamin Moore’s “Caliente” is about much more than what shows up on our walls and decor this year — will this be the year we finally stop giving Pantone any press? (Though we admit, how with-the-times can Benjamin Moore be if they didn’t notice that stamping “AF-290” all over their Caliente materials was going to get the hip kids giggling?)
Match-Up 3: The New (new new new) Chevron (Watercolor vs. Buffalo Check)
It feels like ages since chevron was our go-to pattern for throw pillows, rugs, wall art, artsy pumpkins, curtains, and pretty much anything else one could put a pattern on. Since then, we’ve fallen for so many new ways of decorating our prints, textiles, and gourds — from herringbone (admittedly just a more “sophisticated” chevron) to geometrics, ombre, dipped, and even botanicals. So what will be the pattern that we can’t get enough of (until suddenly we’ve gotten too much of it) this year?
Our prediction is that it will either be watercolor — a nod to the lighter, gentler tones proliferating home decor these days — or buffalo check — a variation on the bold geometrics the blogging world so loves, but more in line with the rustic, natural look that’s popular right now. Obviously neither of these patterns are new, but neither has quite reached “chevron” status before. Which will win out in 2018?
Match-Up 4: Texture (Natural vs. Lux)
If you ever want to make it seem like you’re an expert at interior design, just start throwing the word “texture” around a lot. It just sounds sophisticated compared to plebeian concepts like “color” and “pattern.”
Since we’re definitely experts, we obviously have loads of impressive thoughts about texture in 2018. Two trends seem poised to dominate: naturals like raw wood, leather, and simple fibers, and more luxurious textures like velvet and fur. But which will win the day/year? Texture texture texture.
We’ve covered the juggernauts: decor, blogging, and surfaces. What could be left to predict? Well of course, there’s the question of what sort of adornments we’re going to stick all over everything to make them look prettier, fancier, sparklier, and generally just plain bloggerier. There have been some entrenched trends in this space that have taken deep root, so the big question this year is whether the incumbents will hold steady or if new upstarts will take their place.
Match-Up 1: Big Round Adornments (Balloons vs. Disco Balls)
Every year we need something round to use in styling parties and rooms, and last year we predicted that balloons would replace donuts. It was a bold move given how fiercely the blogging world came to love donuts, but we were right.
So what will be the new round obsession in 2018? Given the return of the 1970s (stop fighting it), we think it could very well be disco balls. They meet all the requirements when it comes to blogger styling items: round, whimsical, without any discernible purpose, and did we mention round? On the other hand, is one year really enough for us to satiate our love affair with balloons? Could balloons still be our sphere-of-choice for a second year running?
Match-Up 2: Small Round Adornments (Pom Poms vs. Pearls)
Besides using big round things to make our rooms more whimsical, we also like to use small round things to make our everyday items like curtains, hats, planters, shower curtains, and shorts more whimsical. Enter the pom pom, which for years has dominated the scene. But is it possible that we might be getting sick of this yarn concoction in favorite of something just a little shinier: the pearl?
Granted pom poms aren’t going to disappear entirely (even the project below showcasing the rise of the pearl has a giant pom pom to top it off), but could pearls be expanding their market share in the year to come? If the pom pom is any indication, what starts on hats can quickly spread throughout the house.
Match-Up 3: Part or Whole? (Eyes vs. Entire Face)
Another way we like to gussy up ordinary objects is by printing simple icons on them. (So much easier than trying to draw an entire bovine, which is why putting a complex animal on things made the cut in the “decor” category of this matchup.) For years, that simple icon (or eye-con — HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA) has been the eye. Last year we predicted that lips would replace the eye, and we did see a surge in lip-related adornments. But let’s be honest, the eye remained dominant.
The question this year is: will eyes continue their multi-year reign, or will be seeing (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA) an expansion of facial embellishments, perhaps to the whole face? It’s a big question — even Urban Outfitters is hedging their bets.
Match-Up 4: Fancy Furniture (Mirror vs. Bone Inlay)
And lastly, the blogging world needs an embellishment-of-choice for fancifying our furniture. The two contenders we see going head to head in 2018 have both been lurking in the background for the last few years, but both seem primed to surge in popularity this year.
The first option: mirrored furniture! As we’ve already asserted, the 1970s are back. We’re sorry, but it’s true. We’ve predicted it in our kitchens (above) and in our choice of large round embellishments (also above), so we can’t help but call it for our furniture too. Prepare yourselves. However, there’s another shiny contender that is all the rage in blogland these days: bone inlay. Sure it means you can’t see your own reflection in your dresser, but inlay still lets your furniture declare “I’m so fancy!” to everyone it meets.
Did you vote? We can’t do this without you! Seriously, if you don’t vote then we’ll have no way to present your Sweet Sixteen to you tomorrow. And if you’re REALLY into this, you can download the bracket and fill it out yourself.
We can’t wait to see what your collective wisdom will decide on these tough choices, and we’ll be back in the morning with the results and a fresh round of voting!