In order to afford their home dream, clients are working 60 hours a week, and often raising kids and helping elderly parents, too. When escrow ends, they’ve just endured an exhaustive search for the right house and they have run the harrowing race to closing.

Which is when they (often) look at me and say, “Now what? How do we furnish and decorate our home?”

You can start with the internet, where you’ll find an endless assortment of ideas: General inspiration, room planners, places to comparison shop, decorating blogs, you name it. But it can be quite overwhelming and confusing.

My online search today for color trends wasn’t helpful in the least, except as entertainment. As 2018 Color of the Year, Benjamin Moore is touting AF-290 Caliente. Kelly-Moore has chosen KM4782 Baja Grass. Pantone’s pick is 18-3838 Ultra Violet. And Dunn-Edwards’ selection is DET544 The Green Hour, which “draws inspiration from turn-of-the-century Paris, when 5 o’clock became known as ‘The Green Hour’ due to the popularity of absinthe. A darker shade of gray blue-green, this color embodies the timeless sense of mystery and creative revelry of the era.”

Or check out this advice I found on home decor trends for 2018: “We are seeing square and boxy edges remain in inspiration, but being executed with more flowy curves and a softness to them. Even classic mid-century pieces are having a hint of softness to them.”

What does that even mean?

When it comes to design, home decorating, and color choices, my advice is to make a little room in your budget for professional counsel. It’s money well spent, since home is your sanctuary and you’ll be spending a lot of time there. Meanwhile…

My Style Prediction for 2018 and beyond: The sun has set on the oh-so-popular big white box with nano windows, glass/steel staircase, matte wide-plank flooring and lab-style kitchen featuring Quartz waterfall island. If you’re contemplating a remodel in the Bay Area, don’t look around you, look ahead.

My 2018 Top Secret Tip: Hire a stager to help you. They are the designers/interior decorators who can work with almost any budget, and are quick studies who mix pragmatism with artistry. (If you need recommendations or referrals, ask me.)

The main thing is to make your house your house, and be true to yourself. As the preeminent interior designer Bunny Williams famously said, “If you love something it will work. That’s the only real rule.”

Instant art, using Benjamin Moore “Century” paint brochure.

Cynthia Cummins is a Top Producer and Partner at McGuire. For info on SF real estate visit This article was re-posted at