Bold color, well-made products and outdoor living are all trends which will prevail in home interiors in 2012. In fact, quality, elegance and warmth combined with distinct color and texture will be the hallmarks of today’s home – designed for comfort and function, as well as aesthetics. With this in mind, here are some of my interior design predictions for the coming year:
1. Goodbye to minimalism. Modern and retro design will be used in moderation, but for the most part, will be considered a past trend. Recognizing that interiors are not a hodgepodge of fabrics and furniture, but a careful composition (not unlike a three-dimensional painting) is what’s important today. The development of compositional interiors will include artfully conceived and planned architectural surfaces (wall and ceiling treatments), colors, materials, furnishings, window treatments, flooring, finishes and more. Every aspect will be connected, with one decision impacting another.
2. Transitional design reigns. Transitional design – a mélange of contemporary and traditional design elements – will prevail in homes in the coming year. This style is particularly popular because it takes the “stuffy” out of traditional and the “starkness” out of contemporary, melding the very best of both and creating a warm, inviting design motif.
3. Quality is key. This year, design will be about well-planned spaces made with top quality materials that will endure for decades. Purchasing and acquiring premium quality pieces for the home – designed to withstand the test of time – will be paramount, even if it means having less, not more. Spreading one’s budget thin will no longer be acceptable – instead, purchasing exceptional items that can be cherished for generations will become the new norm. Throwaway pieces and disposable interiors — often purchased from Big Box retailers — will be a thing of the past.
4. Bold and bright, colorful and light. Monochromatic color schemes will always have their place; however using colors you have been afraid to use are now acceptable. No colors are right; no colors are wrong. What’s most important is to use colors you love. Color schemes for 2012 will have four shades: warm, cool, light (black, white or off-white) and metallic (platinum, silver-leaf, white gold, metallic bronze, but no copper).
5. Finishes with finesse . Bright chrome finishes will not be as ubiquitous as they once were, but used only in moderation, as will polished nickel, which will be restricted to kitchens and baths. Both finishes will be replaced with light and dark silver-leaf and bronze.
6. Light and dark. Dark hues will still be used for wood finishes; however, varying premium-washed whites and pale off-white finishes will be integrated. This juxtaposition of light and dark will become increasingly prevalent in the coming year – with dark woods eventually replaced by a multitude of whites and off-whites.
7. A flooring mix. The use of either stone or wood flooring exclusively will diminish. Instead, a mix of flooring will be seen. Stone flooring will be popular in formal areas (entryways, formal living/great rooms, galleries and powder rooms) and will continue to be used in bathrooms. Wood flooring will be reserved for more casual spaces (kitchens, family rooms, libraries, offices and often dining rooms). Carpeting in bedrooms will be replaced with wood flooring in select situations.
8. A painted kitchen. Painted kitchens will become the standard, with painted white cabinets remaining most popular. White cabinetry will be enhanced by crisp, sassy colors – such as azure, paprika and lemoncello – in the cabinet interiors, for a surprise splash of color.
9. Master retreats. In reality, no room in a home is more important than the master bedroom. To that end, luxe, uber comfortable master suites will become as important as our kitchens. With coverlets and bedspreads now passé, embroidered and detailed sheets and pillow shams, with intricate detailing in contrasting colors, will become popular.
10. Al fresco living. Outdoor living spaces will continue to play an important role in American lifestyle. Cushy seating, televisions, mood lighting, fireplaces and fire pits, built in barbeques and refrigeration drawers will all create an ultra-comfortable setting — and make this versatile space increasingly popular.
The good news for consumers: design options will be plentiful this year. With a careful plan and lot of creativity, almost anything goes!