An Unpopular Opinion on the Seashell Trend

Jun 26, 2024





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Meet Kim Morris

I have an unpopular opinion on seashell trend. Let’s leave it in fashion and accessories, not decor. I honestly thought most people felt this way until recently, when I was talking with another designer who gushed about all the new and exciting decor trends (like shells) that she was hoping to try with her clients. Don’t get me wrong, I love taking chances in design and doing things that are different and bold. When I say trends, I mean those fleeting, one-season, viral TikTok ideas that seem to catch fire and die just as quickly.

That brings me back to the seashells. They are everywhere in jewelry and fashion right now – earrings, necklaces, tops and bags. I can’t shop any of my favorite retailers without seeing their collection of shell items. It’s not for me, but totally fine. We pass on the trends that we don’t love, and buy into the ones we do.

Yesterday, however, I was flooded with at least a dozen Instagram and LTK roundups for shell decor. Not the airy, coastal kind of shells placed artfully on shelves and coffee tables, but seashell knobs, wallpaper, and shiny brass light fixtures. I don’t know about you, but when I see a shiny brass shell sconce, it screams 1990’s beach rental, and not in a nostalgic, classic way.

If I’m honest, my first thought was “why?” Why do we need to translate fashion trends into interior design? Good interior design lasts longer than a season – it lasts a lifetime. Why spend money on something you’re going to throw out this fall, when the shell trend is over and the new trend has taken hold? Do we really need a trend to infiltrate every corner of our lives, or can it live in one space, like clothing and accessories?

As I’ve gotten older, I find myself gravitating toward fewer, better things, in all areas of my life – clothing, shoes, jewelry, decor, friends… I don’t want to buy the trendy candle holder that will sit in a drawer for 11 months before I donate it to Goodwill. I don’t want to swap out my timeless, classic wall sconces with a shiny seashell sconce that will go viral on Instagram but look like a tacky beach rental. I want to invest in things that my kids will want in their own homes one day. I want pieces that will gain character with time, and not in a kitschy, ironic way. So the seashell trend is not for me, and honestly, I think most short-lived trends fall in the same bucket.

That said, there are great, subtle ways to incorporate trends into your decor, if you want to. Use them in a tablescape, or in printable art that you swap out seasonally. Add them to bowls as bowl filler, or on a cocktail napkin for your summer barbecue. Better yet, wear the seashell necklace to the barbecue and call it a day. There’s no need to swap out your light fixtures, mirrors, or linens to incorporate a trend. You’ll end up with a closet full of items you don’t use and eventually, purchase regret when you donate them.

How do I know? Many of my clients have a closet full of decor that they show me when we begin to accessorize their space. They usually show it to me as an afterthought, with the directive to “use what you want, and we’ll get rid of the rest.” They’re almost always a graveyard of trends.

So, my unpopular opinion on the seashell trend. Let’s keep it out of home decor, and focus on purchasing timeless pieces that will never go out of style. If you regret that approach in a few months (spoiler alert: you won’t), you can find tons of seashell decor at Goodwill. 😉

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