In the 1958 film Auntie Mame, the eponymous main character’s enviable Manhattan apartment changes almost as much as her extravagant wardrobe. But it’s the rare individual who transforms her home with every new trend. When you’re ready to update your décor, there’s no need to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Local experts agree that incorporating the latest trends can be as easy as changing lamps, swapping out pillows and bringing in new accessories.
Among the trends local designers and retailers are currently seeing at market are metallics; lamps in dramatic shapes and colors; fabrics and furnishings in the newest colors, including Marsala – Pantone Color of the Year 2015, cobalt blue and combinations of black and white; fluffy ‘70s-inspired alpaca; animal hides; pattern mixing; layers of texture; continued Mid-Century Modern influences; acrylic pieces; rock crystal and a move toward more transitional shapes and styles.
While cool silver-tone metals have been predominant in recent years, our expert group of designers and retailers says warmer, gold-tone metals like brass are making a return in everything from furnishings and lighting to bathroom fixtures and hardware fittings. Erin Jacobs, owner of Abode notes that these new metallics look most current when mixing cool and warm tones together, while designer Penny Francis of Eclectic Home says part of the trend’s freshness comes from today’s sleek rather than ornate interpretations.
Using an array of strong patterns and diverse textures is also trending in the home furnishings industry. Design showrooms, according to Jacobs, are mixing bold patterns in similar colors, while the layering of textures is richer and less seasonal than before. Fabrics with silk threads, velvets and plush rugs underfoot are part of the lush, layered look, as are cowhides – natural and metallic – and flourishes of sheepskin and alpaca. At the Atlanta and New York home furnishings markets, Francis notes an abundance of classic black and white pieces, accessories in malachite and Greek key motifs. Anne Hammett, co-owner of St. Romain Interiors, who regularly makes buying trips to France, recently observed rock crystal used to adorn chandeliers, tables and accessories, a trend she’s ordered for spring. Sherrie Hope, owner of Modern Market, which specializes in emerging designs for modern living, also highlights a copper trend in chairs, tables and lighting.
One of the easiest ways to enjoy a current trend is by changing table lamps. The home design market offers a huge variety – vintage finds, retro looks, bold shapes and colors, natural materials, metallics and more. “Overall, it’s high-impact for little money,” says Jacobs, who also suggests giving existing lamps new life by changing their shades. Snakeskin, faux leathers and furs and dark colors with gold trim are just a few of the shade options she likes. Francis, who also considers lighting a go-to category when renewing a room, points out that lighting creates ambiance and is easy to move around. “If you love a trend, you can also do it in pillows,” she adds. “Lamps and pillows together will completely change the look of an area.”
When incorporating a trend such as animal hide or alpaca, a little goes a long way. A small rug makes a good layering piece, or you can apply the trend to small items of furniture. Fewell likes the luxe sophistication of an alpaca-upholstered bench with Lucite legs; Francis recommends hides for ottomans and footstools. A trending color can be used in small doses as well. Jennifer DiCerbo of The French Mix suggests using neutrals for background colors and investment pieces like sofas, then adding of-the-moment colors in the form of pillows and accessories. Fewell likes the idea of using a fresh color in the form of a standout chair such as Imax’s new cobalt ghost chair. One exception to the “think-small” approach, according to designer Shaun Smith of Shaun Smith Home: pattern on sofas. “One of my favorite trends that is so classic and that people are embracing again is pattern on sofas,” says Smith. “There are so many fabulous sofas out there, and a sofa is a great way to add personality to a space.”
Nod To Mod
Mid-Century Modern influences are widely available, and as with other trends, you don’t have to have a purist interior to bring them home. Hammett advises clients to prepare the way for modern additions by decluttering and using clean-lined antiques and transitional pieces. “We always mix modern and antique art, modern and antique lighting; that’s our look,” she says. For those who want to gently delve into Mid-Century Modern while still developing their style, both Francis and Fewell recommend easing into the look with an accent chair. “A great place to integrate [a Mid-Century chair] is at a fireplace or at a desk or vanity,” says Francis. Easy-to-blend modern pieces from Modern Market include minimal wall-mounted shelving systems and the uber-trim Z Bar Light. “It’s so seamless and clean, you can put it anywhere,” says Modern Market’s Hope of the latter.
Making It Work
When working one or more of today’s trends into your décor, our experts agree, the use of a unifying element such as a color or finish is a must. “You don’t want it to look random,” says Francis. “It should look like some thought has been put into it.” In New Orleans, where antiques are an important part of our culture and tastes, regardless of current trends, Bill Rau, CEO of M.S. Rau Antiques offers similar advice. “Keep it simple using complementary elements,” he says. “Pick a single focus to tie your antiques to your contemporary décor. For instance, maybe you have an antique rug you’d like to place in your living room that has shades of blue in it. You could build upon that with the throws, pillows or other decorative elements in that space.” Repetition also helps. DiCerbo suggests repeating a trend in threes or odd numbers for impact.
To avoid making costly mistakes, our experts recommend making a plan for the look you want to achieve, shopping locally for large investment pieces rather than making impulsive Internet buys (you can’t see the quality and finish firsthand and may have to spend more time and money than it’s worth to return it), and considering size and scale. Jacobs limits her online purchases of individual furnishings and accessories to $300 and always checks the return policy, while Smith offers the following caveat: “When it comes to buying on trend, the most important advice I can give a client is don’t break your budget. The word trendy can also mean temporary.”
Easy Ways to Bring The Trends Home
Use a mix of metallics
Change your lamps
Mix a multitude of current patterns in like colors
Add more texture
Incorporate the latest colors
Lighten the mood with a fluff of fur
Swap out your pillows
The Experts 5 Favorite Trends
Black and white
Organic “Found Object” Accessories like antlers and turtle shells