What’s hot for spring 2016? We asked some of the area’s best designers what trends and concepts are on everyone’s mind this season.
1. Touchable Texture
Design is inherently visual, but it’s best when it engages the other senses, too — including touch.
“People have been incorporating a lot of texture in everything from pillows to rugs,” says April Force Pardoe of AFP Interiors. “Faux fur, tassels, pillows woven like cable-knit sweaters — there’s lots of texture instead of solid fabric with a pattern, and mixing textures.”
Pardoe is especially intrigued by shagreen, a type of untanned leather with a rough surface. “It’s like small printed leather, and it comes in every color,” she says. “It’s a great texture on trays, tables or consoles.”
2. Clean Lines
“This year we will see clean lines on furniture with tailored details,” says Michelle Miller of Michelle Miller Interiors. “Think of the structure of a tailored suit or a handbag.”
Emerald Hill Interior owners Jackie Bayer and Sadie Johnson agree, and Bayer adds that she likes to soften the look with one or two interesting design elements that pop, so the overall effect won’t be too harsh.
3. Function First
Home design is more than simply decorating a space — it’s about making it more livable. Homeowners increasingly approach the task from a functional standpoint, thinking about how they actually use their rooms, not just how they want them to look.
“I see that when I go to a house where someone has a formal dining room or living room they don’t want, so they’re using it for, say, a music room,” says Force Pardoe. “Then it’s used, instead of just being a room no one goes into.”
4. Get Round
Not only do round tables make for great dinner conversation, but they’re also chic this season, according to designers. “Sculpted round tables in Calcutta marble, using an oval or racetrack dining table as opposed to a rectangular table,” are looks of the moment, says Michelle Miller. “Having the smooth, organic shape on a piece of furniture softens a room but in a modern way.”
5. Tech Rules
As technology evolves, so do the ways we incorporate it into our homes.
“Everything’s so small and portable and Bluetooth,” says Pardoe. “Especially in kitchens, there’s a lot more technology, from outlets to USBs to ways to include a TV or iPad stand or speaker systems.”
Pardoe anticipates this trend only growing over the next few years. “It’ll be even bigger, with people being able to control everything from their phones, from locks to lights,” she says.
At the same time, that means thinking about how to hide cords and plugs, and how to incorporate technology into the rooms where it will make people’s lives smoother.
Fortunately, she says, an increased emphasis on the design of electronics has made her job easier. “There are some pretty things out,” she says. “They’re beautiful — and functional.”
Over the past decade or so, advances in textiles have done wonders for the world of outdoor fabrics. Today, there are so many great outdoor options that homeowners are opting to use them inside.
“The outdoor fabrics you think of from 10 or 15 years ago are completely different now,” says Pardoe. Today’s fabrics are softer and available in a wider range of patterns. And since they are made for outdoor conditions, the new fabrics stand up to even the heaviest use indoors.
7. Bring Nature In
Fabrics aren’t the only thing designers are bringing inside this season. Emerald Hill’s Bayer and Johnson like to blur the lines between inside and out by incorporating natural textures, plants and flowers. Accessories made with wood, shell, horn, bone, woven grass and leather add visual and tactile interest.
Instead of mass-produced accessories, the duo recommends their clients decorate with plants and flowers to infuse spaces with energy and make it easy to keep the look fresh at all times.
8. Brass Tacks
The use of shiny brass has been on the upswing for a few years, says Pardoe, and it’s not the only warm metal getting some play in the home. “Brushed gold, brushed brass — the warm metals are in,” she says. “But also, there’s a lot of mixing, using cool metals — the silvers and platinums — with the warmer gold and brass.”
But proceed with caution when mixing metals: “I think of it as the same as mixing wood — think of them as different colors,” she says.
9. Cool and Black
Black metals are as hot as they are cool this season.
“Some people are a bit hesitant at first, but we’re seeing it more now,” says Pardoe.
Miller is also a fan of the cool, flat metal look, especially in the bath, where it adds an unexpected element to vanities. “Black shower hardware and faucets are striking against natural stone,” she says.
10. Layer Up
Homeowners are all about experimenting with diverse combinations of materials and layering colors and textures to create spaces that are unique, personal and warm, say designers. Michelle Miller says modern spaces with clean lines look most relevant when “warmed up” with natural woods and antique rugs. They “soften the hard edge of modern interiors of the past,” she says.
Taking the layering approach also allows homeowners to inject more of their personalities into a space — and personality is always in style, says Miller.