The Bold, the Beautiful & the Bespoke
The best in current home design trends
Whether you’re an avid HGTV viewer or someone who invests little in keeping up with the latest home design trends, you probably know how you feel about your own living space and whether or not it brings you joy. When we tire of our home space, it’s likely because aspects have grown outdated or become inefficient. Perhaps your closets are overflowing or the tile in the bathroom suddenly looks cheap and dated. A little time spent learning about the latest home trends may help you scratch the itch for a more comfortable, lovable space while avoiding trends that experts warn could be fleeting and wasteful.
One of the first ways you can make a home more efficient is by maximizing storage space, which is the expertise of Don Wise, Owner of Louisiana Custom Closets, who has nearly 30 years of experience in closet design and organization solutions. As a longtime designer of closets and pantries as well as other custom storage solutions, Wise has seen storage options continue to grow.
Wise currently notes a trend towards minimal furniture in bedrooms as people are maximizing storage in closets. Specialized storage ideas for accessories such as shoes, ties and scarves are popular, with the same being true in garages for tools, toys and bicycles. Closet systems also offer more options than before in colors, accents and textures of the materials used.
If you do watch home design shows, you’ll notice that certain aspects of the home get most of the attention – countertops, cabinets, open layouts and furniture get a lot of glory. An underrated game changer in home design and décor, specifically, is window treatments – the drapery, shades, blinds and shutters that not only affect a room’s natural light but also provide another outlet for added color and elegance.
According to Blythe Wren, a window treatment specialist at Wren’s Tontine, faux silk fabrics are trending currently due to their cost, availability and longer lasting quality than true silks.
“There are faux silks so beautiful that you can’t tell the difference,” says Wren. She notes that while paisley, damask and toile patterns consistently remain in style, the pervasive ikat pattern is starting to fade in popularity.
As homes get “smarter,” window treatments are changing technologically, too.
“Motorized window treatments sales have been increasing as more and more people are putting home automation systems such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa in their houses,” says Wren. Window treatments can be programmed to open and close automatically with these operating systems.
“It’s so convenient to just say, ‘Alexa, close the living room shades,’” she says.
Convenience and technology are also leading to a trend in exposed wall outlets, which also means exposed electrical cords, according to William Brockschmidt and Courtney Coleman, Partners at Brockschmidt & Coleman Decoration and Design.
“No one wants to bend down several times a day to reach a plug,” says Brockschmidt. “So we’re embracing cords and choosing colorful woven or elegant twisted silk options,” he says. The trend has opened up possibilities for wall sconces and bookcase lights with exposed cords becoming a designed part of the fixture.
Brockschmidt and Coleman are currently excited by the options for customized color in design, whether paint colors on furniture or printing on wallpaper and fabric.
“There seems to be a new appreciation for hand-blocked patterned wallpapers,” says Brockschmidt. He notes that designers are becoming more adventurous with bold-patterned wallpapers in living spaces rather than the more traditional dining rooms, powder rooms and entrance halls.
To provide an unusual, handcrafted surface for fireplace surrounds and backsplashes, Brockschmidt and Coleman are occasionally turning to Moroccan zellij tile, which Coleman calls “more mysterious than exotic.”
“They come in a variety of colors, and the tight joints and intricate patterns create a beautiful, hard-to-place texture,” she says.
Bolder colors and textures are also a trend in the kitchen, where designers are seeing more options in cabinetry and shelving.
“We are getting more requests for bolder cabinet colors,” says Monique Poché Bennett, CKD and Owner of Cabinets by Design. “Clients are using more gold and brass toned hardware. Interests in accents like floating shelves and metal shelving are also increasing,” she says. Bennett notes that there’s a growing interest in visible wood grains adding character to cabinet finishes while dark, brown wood stains or heavy distressed finishes seem to be falling by the wayside.
“We are excited that our cabinet suppliers are offering new textured laminates, specialty veneers and high-gloss finishes, which allows us to offer many more design options,” says Bennett.
She also notes a trend in kitchen appliances toward multi-functional products such as combination ovens with convection-steam or convection-microwave as well as extra-large, multi-function sinks with accessories for the main kitchen sink.
At Singer Kitchens, VP of Sales Nancy Christopher notes similar trends in cabinets and states that warm whites and various shades of grey are the most requested colors currently, though naval blue and forestry green are quickly gaining popularity. She notes that the shapes of cabinet doors are simpler today with shaker and slab doors being the most popular choices.
“Less ornate pieces are being requested while the drama is being created in the mixing of the textures,” says Christopher. “Two- and even three-toned kitchens are prevalent today,” she says.
She describes dark islands as the oft-central feature with contrasting light-painted cabinet surrounds. Reclaimed wood then brings in a natural element through custom hoods, beams and floating shelves.
“The mixing of metals is another fun way to layer the look,” says Christopher. “A combination of rose gold, warm brass, and matte blacks are now seen in the handles, light fixtures and plumbing.”
While kitchen countertops and vanities were once the main use of stone slabs, a trend toward floor-to-ceiling stone has quickly grown, with natural stone slabs being used to wrap surfaces such as fireplace walls, kitchen hoods, shower walls and more.
“Homeowners don’t see stone as just stone – it’s a piece of art they’re investing in,” says Jacquelyn Lindsey, Owner of JL Studio Designs.
“This floor-to-ceiling stone trend has become so popular that tile companies have introduced large-format porcelain slabs that have the look of marble but are more affordable,” says Lindsey.
In bathrooms, Lindsey also notes a trend towards new bathroom layouts.
“In European architecture, it’s common for the tub and shower to share the same wet space,” she says. “We are now seeing that concept being done more frequently in New Orleans homes.”
According to Lindsey, having the tub and shower in the same wet zone inherently makes the space bigger, which lends itself to using marble slabs to wrap the walls as opposed to individual tiles. Having these wet zones also allows for a curbless entry and seamless, “invisible” drains.
In décor, lighting is another element of the home that adds personality and offers an opportunity for the homeowner to reflect their personal style. Many designers refer to lighting as the “jewelry” of the home, and jewelry aptly describes the traditional chandelier.
As chandelier creators, MORPHO’s Julie McLellan and Margaret Schexnayder note a trend toward bespoke elements in interior design, and their custom-made chandeliers often satisfy this desire for clients.
“Having some input into a design project allows people to feel more connected to their homes and other living spaces,” says McLellan. “We believe people are happier when they can be a part of the creation of a work of art, especially something with strong imaginative or aesthetic appeal.”
To make a big impression, the two incorporate high-end finishes and semi-precious stones, as well as crystals, chains, candle covers and other decorations.
“There is also a trend towards adding natural elements to chandeliers; tree branches, semi-precious stones and coral are all popular,” says McLellan. Combining new trends with classic designs is a challenge she and Schexnayder enjoy.
Beyond chandeliers, incorporating natural elements into the home continues to be a rising trend as more homeowners look to bring the outdoors in. According to Lynne Uhalt of Lynne Uhalt Interiors, one way to satisfy this with the addition of an “outdoor room,” an almost necessary component of the home in New Orleans’ mild climate.
“There are so many options for a beautiful loggia – from fabulous outdoor furniture, lamps and fireplaces to a cozy place to dine or a family-style farm table,” says Uhalt. “It’s a wonderful extension of your home.”
Whether a screened-in porch, a patio or courtyard, or a pool-side outdoor kitchen, each space has the potential to be visually beautiful and approachable while offering you a balance of natural elements with the comforts of home.
Louisiana Custom Closets
Wren’s Tontine, Shade & Design
1533 Prytania St.
Brockschmidt & Coleman, LLC Decoration and Design
4021 Magazine St.
Cabinets by Design
5201 Tchoupitoulas St.
Singer Kitchens – New Orleans
231 N. Carrollton Ave.
JL Studio Designs
858-6143 (Julie McLellan)
713-824-0356 (Margaret Schexnayder)
Lynne Uhalt Interiors