Ask the Experts | New Life
Color, shape and texture are back in a big way and here’s how the pros are using it
The home design and décor industries are getting a lot of attention this year as homeowners — having experienced an all new way of life — are more interested in the colors, shapes and textures that they see and feel more often than ever. With the arrival of summer, another seasonal shift brings new looks and new life to different areas of the home, both indoor and outdoor.
Over the last year, the monotony of home, exacerbated by monotone walls and neutral palettes, has made homeowners weary of the same old same old. Experts this season emphasize that whites and neutrals are out, and color is in in a big way.
“Color is back, and I am so happy for it,” says Nicole Ruppel Jones, interior designer at Legend Interiors. “Tropical patterned fabrics are very in, along with bright, bold colors, modern geometrics and animal prints.
Yellows, greens, corals and pinks were noted by several designers as the trending colors this season.
Abstract artist Abigail Reller is seeing more demand for bold color in art as people are gradually branching out from soft French blue, white, and gold commissions. Reller has begun introducing neon into her work and is loving the results.
“Clients are wanting to step outside of their comfort zones and incorporate lively art,” she says. “My recommendation is to combine earth tones with pops of fluorescent or neon colors — I’m loving that this summer and can’t get enough.”
For people on the fence about incorporating bright colors, she recommends easing into it with bright picture frames, candles or small art pieces.
As a designer, Jones is seeing homeowners incorporate color by using their plants, and succulents are a popular choice.
“Plants are in fact their own art little art pieces,” she says. “All green gardens have become super interesting — you can layer lime greens, evergreens, and Kelly greens to create a tailored look that has a little oomph.”
Designer Grace Kaynor, who co-owns home furnishings store Sotre, agrees that using house plants indoors is both important for design and to cleanse the air.
“I am doing a lot of living walls these days and even incorporating them into traditional décor, mixing them with antiques,” she says. Dried plants are also trending, according to Kaynor, with rattan and raffia making a big comeback in furniture, complementing the reemergence of jewel and earth tones.
In addition to rattan and raffia, wicker is returning as a popular material for both indoor and outdoor furniture, according to Nina Borrouso, owner of Furnish. She comments that the rustic farmhouse look is starting to fade as consumers begin looking for quality workmanship over the unfinished or repurposed styles that the rustic farmhouse look is known for.
With fabrics and upholstery, adding texture and warmth are key for Vikki Leftwich, interior designer and owner of Villa Vici. She notes more homeowners turning the home into a place to entertain family and friends, a lasting effect of the last year’s events.
“After a year of being in our homes, our clients are wanting to bring the outdoors in and the indoors out,” she says. “Performance fabrics are indispensable on upholstery and we are seeing luxurious, durable fabrics produced by all of our vendors for indoor and outdoor use.”
Summer puts an emphasis on the outdoors, which has been a respite for solitude and for gathering for many homeowners over the last year. Your outdoor space should be an extension of your interior living space and maintain the same level of comfort and luxury, according to Leftwich.
“We use a lot of modular seating in outdoor spaces,” she says. “A loungy sectional can be reconfigured to create an intimate seating space for cocktails. Teak and woven rope create beautiful frames for plush cushions upholstered in performance fabrics adding sophistication and style to outdoor seating.”
Penny Francis, principal designer and owner of Eclectic Home says to think about the outdoors the same way you do the indoors. She recommends carving out space wherever you have it for dining, entertaining and relaxing.
Whether you’re by a glistening pool or merely in the corner of the garden, a carefully considered exterior space can transport you along with a good book and a glass of wine or the company of a loved one. According to our experts, the outdoors is no place to skimp on comfort — make sure you acquire outdoor furnishings that won’t send you back indoors and to the sofa.
Another tip for the outdoors is to explore new looks and environments that interest you. A client of Grace Kaynor recently had the idea of bringing Japanese and Asian elements into her outdoor space by creating a Japanese garden.
Global inspiration works for both the outdoors and indoors — Penny Francis likes to add decorative items that reflect a client’s travels. She also enjoys a nod to nostalgia, mixing rustic with vintage for an evolved look.
“Adding a few new pieces to the mix of vintage has a luxurious appeal,” she says.
Seasonal Décor Must-Dos
We asked each of our experts for at least one must-do when it comes to freshening up your décor, tips that don’t require a heavy-handed approach but deliver impactful results. Here’s how they responded.
For Penny Francis, fresh flowers and plants are a must, and a fresh coat of paint adds wonders to a space while layered lighting creates various moods.
Grace Kaynor recommends freshening up your bed with a new coverlet and shams as a consistent spirit lifter. She also recommends a decorative candle for brightening the mood.
According to Nina Borrouso, a couple of under-attended spaces are the coffee table and bookshelves — these are easy places to rearrange or change out items.
Nicole Ruppel Jones says to add a touch of white to your color palette to freshen up a space immediately. Another fun tip is to refocus your focal point by rearranging furniture and accessories.
For their must-do, Vikki Leftwich and Abigail Reller share a penchant for art, which adds personality and interest to a room while awarding a free pass to be bold.