So rather than paying attention to what "they" are saying, perhaps you should pay attention to . . . yourself. And rather than looking at the glossy photos and wondering how to do that, start with looking around at your own home and deciding what you really like, and what you really don't.
Then start with getting rid of what you don't like, What you do like can (almost) always be incorporated, even if the color/style/overall design of the room changes.
I'm an excellent example of this. I was a huge lover of antiques, particularly Victorian. (I know, I know, but I used to live in a Victorian house.) When I lost that love (and left the house), I still had a few pieces I wanted to keep, but without keeping the overall Victorian look and feel. So I used a few simple techniques that I now recommend for my clients:
- Repeat something about the piece(s) you love in other pieces in the room. It could be color, shape, line, fabric . . . something that makes it feel like things "go" together, even if they are from completely different eras. (The 4-poster bed on the right fits right in with modern tables with similar turned legs and contemporary bedding.)
- Use it in a new way, something perhaps a bit unexpected. (In my case, a dining room buffet became a bedroom dresser, with a few minor alterations.)
- Pair it with something au courant. (My gorgeous-to-me split-pedestal dining table is now paired with parsons chairs in a lovely soft beige.)
- Give it an instant upgrade with a coat of paint, modern fabric, a simpler frame, new hardware. (New upholstery give the spindle chairs above an updated look.)
Simple changes like these won't mar the pieces you love, but will help give them a "new" look that will work as your tastes and styles change.