I often wonder how people can possibly keep up with the changing current of home trends. What was fashionable in one decade is atrocious in the next and then fashionable again later.

When I first started writing about homes, my managing editor at the time described to me what her idea of a perfect home would be: simple. I did not understand at the time, but now, nearly a decade and hundreds of homes visited later, I get it.

Following the fad is almost never a good idea. If you want something that will last, opt for the classics, and don’t go overboard. If you are in the midst of a remodel or, like me, constantly planning for the remodel of your dreams, follow these tips for ensuring your home improvements will stand the test of time.

Look to the past: Think about homes from centuries ago. What did they look like? This does not mean copying everything exactly, but instead looking for inspiration.

Think about maintenance: Materials that do not suit your lifestyle will not last. For instance, marble countertops will easily absorb stains, so if you have little ones or if you like to drink red wine, you might be better off with a non-porous surface instead.

Anything that is strictly aesthetically pleasing without being functional (or livable) will likely not last. While closed kitchens were popular in the past, open layouts are likely here to stay. Plus, if you can cook without isolating yourself from the rest of the family, you will be more likely to use your kitchen more often.

Consider your footprint. Especially in Hawaii, our land and resources are at a premium. Incorporating sustainable design, such as features that allow you to take advantage of the wind or to reflect the sun’s rays, will help you to save energy (and money) in the long run. Smart choices for lighting, cooking and water heating also will become increasingly important. Think of other resource-saving additions as well, like water catchments and composting bins.

Build it in. The best way to answer the question of whether to choose black, white or stainless appliances is to avoid it all together. Paneled appliances blend right into your kitchen cabinetry and will not leave you feeling like you need a refresher every five years. Other built-ins, like shelving and under-the-counter appliances, will contribute to the cohesive feel and also may help to increase your home’s value.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.