As professional pundits predict everything from the economy to politics and food, design experts gaze, too, into their crystal balls. Some of our favorite influencers think our homes will be wrapped in more personalized colors, patterns and textures in the year ahead. The main reason for greater boldness is an overall sense of weariness after years of being surrounded by safe grays, beiges and whites. We’re also less fearful about scaring away buyers for resale.
Live and enjoy what you want is the new mantra. We’ve rounded up five top trends to help you get started.
1. Ceilings steal the show
Due to the trend of downsizing and paring our carbon footprint, living in a smaller space teaches us the importance of making the most of every square inch. And this has inspired us to look up and focus on a room’s fifth wall — the ceiling. There’s no reason it shouldn’t be treated with as much thought, respect and glamor as the other four walls. To make it stand out more, treat the ceiling differently than the walls, says designer Summer Thornton, who sees the trend gaining in popularity. In one client’s home, she used a bold Mondrian-inspired wallpaper; in others she suggests plaster ceiling detailing or high-gloss lacquer paint.
2. Interiors get personal
The next time that you are on vacation in a far-off land and can’t resist buying a beautiful local textile, don’t let it disappear into a closet when you get home. Adding personal touches to your interior design is what makes it unique and visually tells your story. Designer Sasha Adler knows exactly how these kinds of items can be reworked to complement existing purchases that cry out for some customization.
“Why not use a textile you find on your travels to upholster a store-bought stool or add contrast trim to a readymade lampshade?” she suggests. “This high/low mix gives you the ability to allocate funds strategically and will make your space feel much more personal.”
She used a hand-embroidered textile from a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, in her bedroom. “Seeing it every day will bring back memories of warm, dappled sunshine on even the coldest morning,” she says.
3. Statement lamps shine brightest
Generic, recessed can lights are so yesteryear as a room’s main source of illumination. Yes, you may need a few but not punched into a ceiling every few feet. Designer Jessica Lagrange instead suggests thinking of lighting choices as just one more decorative and functional element in a room. Her advice: the more decorative they are the better, which is a huge contrast to the minimal styles millennials have preferred.
Whether you’re picking ceiling fixtures, table lamps or floor lamps, think about how fanciful the housing for the bulb can be, from modern to midcentury, Scandinavian, industrial, old-world or even inspired by nature.
4. Bring on the color
Color has returned with a vengeance and not in timid pastels. Hooray for the gutsiest blues, pinks, greens, and even reds, yellows and oranges, say the experts.
In fact, pink is considered the new neutral, according to designer Julia Buckingham. “Nobody wants a vanilla box anymore, and people aren’t thinking about resale all the time,” she says.
There are multiple ways to introduce color throughout a home besides paint on the walls. Kitchens are a natural, especially after too many were all white for way too long.
Designer Cheryl Kees Clendenon favors bold tiled backsplashes, a relatively easy and affordable way to get a blast of a favorite hue. Clendenon also likes novel tile shapes rather than the now, almost boring, rectangular subway tiles.
5. Go lighter
While gray may have become everyone’s go-to paint choice, it also started show up in everything from upholstery to carpeting and furnishings. And after years of gray — and even worse, griege — a lot of us are frankly sick of the hue. Designer Caitie Smithe, a designer and stylist with Walter E. Smithe furnishings, says this is the year to look out for white oak coming on strong.
“It’s an organic progression from the gray-toned wood trend. White oak is brighter and feels more natural. It’s also clean and modern so it works in many different types of spaces,” she says. Furthermore, it can be used everywhere from floors to kitchen and bathroom cabinets, furniture and even wood ceiling beams and pairs delightfully with similar paint colors.