New technologies, better home finishes

Victorian-era fashion back in vogue

Which do you prefer, shiny finishes or matte ones? New-looking finishes or old? Granite, glass and chrome, or brick, wood and iron? All of these have gone in and out of fashion over the years. We tend to think that any finish that's popular in our own time is the ultimate word in good taste, but we couldn't be more wrong. No matter how outdated a finish may seem today, you can be sure that it, too, was the height of good taste in its own time, and that sooner or later it'll be chic all over again. So, you haters of Harvest Gold appliances -- beware. The popularity of some finishes -- paint colors, for example -- simply depends on the cyclical comings and goings of fashion. Color fads are largely created by the industries involved, although clever marketing makes it seem like consumers are driving the demand. And since the prior color fad must be portrayed as unappealingly dated before the "new" colors can perk up sales again, successive color trends are intentionally extr...