For keen serial redecorators, it’s time to start thinking about an autumn refresh.
This fall, interior designers say there’s demand for eclectic styles, interesting prints, rich hues and warm textures.
The trim, tailored lines of midcentury decor have been ensconced in the home furnishings marketplace for several years now; versions of iconic pieces can be found in all big-box retailers. Has the beloved style peaked?
Some designers see an easing of the fever, but that doesn’t mean midmod is going anywhere.
“It has saturated the market,” said designer Elizabeth Stuart, of Mount Pleasant, S.C. “(But) I think the interesting thing is that unlike the ‘industrial’ look, the midcentury ‘comeback’ has proven not to be just a fad but an awareness and a respected way of designing. Amazing furniture and fabric designers came out of that time — Florence Knoll, the Eameses, Saarinen — design that’s held its own and shown the world that it never really left.”
Christiane Lemieux, who founded the home-design and fashion brand DwellStudio and now runs the custom furniture retailer The Inside, sees change coming.
“Interiors have been clean, midcentury-inspired and fairly generic for the past few years, (but now) people are craving the ‘new and more.’ Enter maximalism, specifically through the lens of British design, which is experiencing a major revitalization,” she said.
Elaborate patterns, ornamentation, and luxe materials are hallmarks of that style. Designers like Miles Redd and Ken Fulk are known for their max-y, layered, curated interiors.
“The beautiful thing about maximalism is that it’s entirely personal,” Lemieux said. “You’re encouraged to choose pieces that visually express your individuality. My No. 1 maximalism tip: Strive for personalization over perfection, and you can’t go wrong. The more you mix, the better the result.”
She has introduced a chintz fabric collection at The Inside. And at August Abode, there’s a Notting Hill-inspired chintz wallpaper collection.
In his furnishings collections, British designer Timothy Oulton melds respect for history with a modern-cool, slightly rebellious vibe. He takes classic pieces like tufted leather chesterfields, steamer trunks and Deco-era chandeliers, and plays with scale, incorporates a cheeky flag print, or re-interprets a saddle or aviator’s chair as seating.
Another fun way to bring a sense of history into a space: GE has a new collection of oversize vintage-style lighting. The LED bulbs come in ball, bulb and cylinder shapes with interesting filament designs, and all with the warm glow of the Edison fixtures that inspired them.
If you’re not comfortable going to the max, there’s another emerging look that finds the sweet spot between “lots” and “little,” and that’s maximal minimalism. This allows you to keep your clean-lined aesthetic while adding just a touch of something bold. Maybe it’s wild throw pillows. Or oversize art. Or a collection of objects — but instead of covering every surface, you display them in a contained way on a sleek shelf.
Soft and Cozy
“Shearling and boucle and velvet, oh my!” says John McClain, whose studio is in Orlando, Florida. “Deep, cozy textures are cropping up on more than just pillows these days — entire sofas, chairs and headboards are sporting luscious upholstery reminiscent of lambs, puppies and ponies.”
These materials create a calming, homey feeling, he said. He suggests also adding a hide rug, faux-fur throw or Nordic knit pouf for a fashionable look.
You’ll find seating from CB2, Houzz and Article upholstered in soft, nubby boucle. West Elm, Target and World Market are among retailers offering poufs with Scandinavian-style patterns.
McClain is excited about some new, warm grays, like Benjamin Moore’s Gray Owl, Dunn Edwards’ Foggy Day and Sherwin-Williams’ Repose Gray.
“Adding layers of darker, moodier colors on top of this new gray leads to a sophisticated and almost sexy feel for fall,” he said.
Benjamin Moore color and design expert Hannah Yeo notes another chic combo: “From pale buttermilk to rich gold, yellows are making a strong visual statement. Soft yellow mixes well with gray and warms up wood tones.”
And Los Angeles designer Breegan Jane’s favors colors that “appeal to the emotions.”
“I see fall’s color trends moving toward darker, deeper hues like dark teal, maroon, plum,” she said. “These colors create a relaxed atmosphere that contrasts the bright, electric tones of spring and summer.”
PPG’s color of the year is Chinese Porcelain, a dusky navy. Fashion’s fall collections from Armani, Philip Lim, Christian Siriano and others featured the hue in variations ranging from quiet grayed blues to vibrant cobalts.
Navy is a perennial favorite, but McClain suggests trying peacock, deep teal or juniper. “These warmer, greener blues are just as versatile, conjuring feelings of a relaxing snuggle by the fire on a fall evening,” he said.
And Joan Craig of the New York architectural and interiors firm Craig & Company said that bold hues are finding their way into the kitchen, too. “Many of our clients are interested in the black stainless finishes, which are handsome and fingerprint-resistant,” she says. “The trend for color in appliances is staying strong. What’s not to love about a burgundy, deep blue or brilliant green La Cornue range?”
Complementing all the rich blues, teals, berries and greens are the metals, and designers say mixing them up is the way to go now.
“Mixed metals definitely infuse an eclectic balance this fall,” says Jane. Rose gold may be on the wane, but brass and gold accents are trending, as is matte black. Silvery nickel and steel are always in. The mix isn’t solely about material or color; it’s also about finish. Matte, polished, antiqued and brushed give home decorators many options to provide interest and depth.
How do you decide which to use? McClain’s trick: repetition.
“Create a rhythm through themes,” he said. “For example, appliances and plumbing fixtures are stainless steel, cabinet hardware and light fixtures are brushed brass, and all door, hardware and window frames are matte black. Then punctuate your metal mixtures with picture frames, lamps and accessories.”
GE Café’s new appliance suite lets you customize knobs and handles, for example. “One of my clients opted for copper accents on her stainless appliances for fall, and plans to change again for spring,” McClain said.
Surfaces With Personality
“Wallpaper is having its day,” said Craig, citing papers with natural textures, customizable hand painting and small-scale prints.
“Beyond rooms, we’re lining ceilings, cabinet interiors and bookcases,” she says.
Terrazzo has found a home in many designers’ hearts. “It’s been around for 10,000 years and it still looks modern,” Craig said. “There are so many variations, and we love the design impact it gives a space.”
She’s mixing cream, buff and gray-blue stones in an off-white matrix for one project, while in another the team’s combining charcoal, gold and cream with bronze. “Besides being beautiful, epoxy terrazzo is lightweight and easy to maintain,” she said.
You’ll even find terrazzo as a pattern on fabrics, kitchenware and tabletop accessories.