“There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one we aim for.” ~ Milton Glaser
New York Times best-selling author and contributor to O Magazine, Dr. Martha Beck has a unique coaching tool called “Your House as Your Life.” In the exercise, Martha asks you to think about the yuckiest area, room, shelf, closet, or drawer in your entire house and then to describe it in detail. Your descriptions reveal much more than the physical and/or emotional properties of the space. Amongst the word tumble coming from your stream of consciousness thinking are little jewels of insights that give you an indication of not only where you may be stuck or in pain, but also clues as to how to find the path forward out of your personal Hell. During my coaching certification training with Martha nearly a decade ago, I did this exercise and found the process to be equal parts fascinating and liberating.
Our spaces reveal ourselves to us. At the very same time, we are creating our spaces either very deliberately or passively. It cannot be ignored the impact our environment has on every aspect of our daily lives. The designs, materials, styles, colors, furnishings, and decorative accessories we see, touch, and use every day all have an energy that shape us in subtle and significant ways. Therefore, as I advise my teenage son on a regular basis, “Choose wisely.”
So, what are the trends and latest design elements on the horizon, and how are they shaping (and will continue to shape) our choices for how we create and define our spaces? What are we seeing now that provides us a glimpse into the crystal ball for what is to come?
Overall, if I had to find just two words to describe the current and coming vibe, I would say modern minimalism. Everyone seems to be focusing on essential living and asking him or herself, “What is it that I truly love and need?” Clutter and its sibling, over-sized or over-stuffed anything, are gone. In its place are clean, sparse spaces. Palettes are white on white, white on off white, or white and gray. Splashes of supremely bold colors are making their entrance – on walls and in rugs, pillows, art, and decorative accessories.
Marble, marble, marble. Marble is everywhere and fits effortlessly into the sleek and simple aesthetic of the modern trend. No longer just the domain of kitchens and bathrooms, I’m seeing people use marble slabs in their offices for everything from desk tops to mouse pads.
Metallics will continue to be a trend in the coming months, but taste is moving away from reflective surfaces and toward more muted and warm finishes. Look for satin or brushed brass and chrome in kitchens and baths, as well as in light fixtures throughout the home.
Beam me up, Scotty! More and more, voice-activated assistants in the home will be used to play music, dim your lights, read you the news headlines, place orders online, and more. The smart home ecosystem will continue to evolve and become more sophisticated and integrated into daily living.
Flooring changes are on the horizon. Parquet hardwood flooring, arranged in geometric or unique patterns, is coming back into vogue, along with gray, wood flooring that gives a softer, weathered look. Porcelain tile planks, designed to mimic natural wood grains, will continue as popular choices for bathrooms and other spaces prone to dampness.
Geometric tile patterns continue in kitchens and baths, with a special nod to funky pattern choices like the vintage and fun fish scale pattern. Iridescent accents on kitchen back splashes and in ribbons of tile on bathroom walls add a shimmery look to an otherwise tailored space.
We will continue our attempts to bring the outdoors in with indoor showers that feel as if you are showering outside. Window walls opening to views of thick and private screens of vegetation and select landscaping give the freeing experience of being outside, while in the comfort of being indoors.
I checked in with local designer and owner of The Summer House, Paula Jones, to see what her observations are for trends in interiors. Paula noted, “Many, if not most, of our traditional collections have been replaced with ‘modern’ contemporary offerings…. Gray and white are everywhere! Here in the mountain resort area, there is the challenge to find the right blend of furniture, lighting, and accessories that reflect our surroundings while introducing fresh, new looks. The ‘rustic driftwood’ finishes fit that category, with undertones of tan. It blends the old with the new. Imagine the bark of a tree. Lights and darks, browns, and grays.”
“Lighter colors are being requested … light beige/gray tweed or the occasional white sofa paired with a print fabric on chairs and a pop of color in accent throw pillows is a great look!” said Paula.
On a personal note, perhaps my favorite trend of all is the advent of hand-drawn print and patterns, including typewriter letters and messages on textiles, pillows, glass, and china. I imagine my affinity for this trend is rooted in my love of the written and spoken word, as well as in my joy in seeing script (that you would see on a journal page) across any surface. I recently saw a set of white dinner plates with poetry written in black script across the porcelain. Love at first sight.
Regardless of trends and styles that are in fashion, you are obviously free to opt out of the comings and goings of “what’s in” and simply continue to enjoy your interior spaces just as they are. But, if you are looking to breathe a little new energy into any literal or figurative dark corners in your life, trying on a fresh approach with bold choices can work wonders.