The Ultimate House of Style

If you’re a design junkie like me, you’re most likely constantly on the hunt for the latest ideas to improve your home’s look. Between magazines, blogs, websites, catalogs, Facebook, Pinterest and more, the ideas are overwhelming. To help you focus, we break down the trends room by room, walking you through the ultimate house of style.

Interest in home cooking and entertaining has increased, and with it, so has the amount of time spent in the kitchen. The heart of the home is where a family swaps stories about their days, girlfriends gather for an afternoon chat over coffee and one generation passes treasured recipes on to the next.

Ask anyone what their dream kitchen would include and you will hear many different answers. For example, if you enjoy cooking and baking, your primary interests will most likely be the latest appliances and lots of storage. For those who rely on takeout, it’s all about the cosmetic appearance—the latest finishes, colors and accessories. That being said, when it comes to design trends in kitchens, a combination of style and function is the key.

On the style side, one of the most important trends is a movement away from dark wood cabinetry. Lighter wood finishes such as birch, oak, walnut and bamboo are all the rage. In addition, painted cabinetry is making a huge comeback, especially in shades of gray, which has quickly become the new neutral.

To complement the lighter cabinetry, wall colors, backsplashes and countertops are also following suit. Think muted coastal tones of greens and blues. However, white in its many forms (glossy, matte, chalky, opaque) is not to be forgotten, as it is a timeless component that spans all styles. Countertops add zest with manufacturers infusing spicy accents such as mustard and paprika. New materials for countertops such as quartz and Caesarstone continue to top wish lists as durable alternatives to the ultimate luxury of marble.

Finishes bring lots of shine and help accentuate all of the high-gloss and shimmering surfaces, while lighting will play a huge role as a glamorous accent. Shiny metallics such as polished nickel and hammered metals are trending once again and industrial-style ceiling pendants continue to be strong, especially over a kitchen island, peninsula or breakfast nook.

As far as function goes, it’s all about innovation. LED lighting sheds light from under countertops in a soft, energy-efficient way. Somewhat of a luxury, appliances can be integrated into drawer-style options, with the dishwasher or freezer easily camouflaged, while cabinet-style panels continue to mask larger items such as the oven or refrigerator, leaving many kitchens with a seamless finish.

Living Room
imageSimilar to the kitchen, the living room is another prime spot for entertaining. Whether it’s game day or girls’ night in, extra seating continues to be an important factor, especially as tailored seating is replacing oversized sectionals. Ottomans come in all shapes and sizes and while those that offer up secret storage spots are convenient, leather poufs reign as the chic must-have accessory. Trends are pointing towards leather materials in metallic finishes such as silver and bronze for extra glam.

The living room is also the perfect spot to embrace the “modern bazaar” vibe. Mixing and matching patterns and textiles is perfect for dressing up the room. If you are living with a neutral, clean, simplified aesthetic, adding a few hand-woven blankets or throw rugs in bright colors and interesting patterns add character. Look for geometric shapes to play a big part in textile selections, but now, they’ll be full of color, brightening up the living room instantly.

For those who have a penchant for the past, new furniture pieces such as sofas, chaises and club chairs pay homage to their vintage predecessors. Look for curvy lines and sumptuous tufted fabrics such as velvet to make a statement. Nailhead, a timeless classic trim, is popular still, this time as a more prominent accent.

When choosing accessories, look for throw pillows in deep jewel tones, interesting fabrics such as metallic weaves and quirky details such as felted flowers. If you’re looking for something with more of a handmade touch, lace, appliqué and embroidery are timeless choices that can be found in modern colors. Mirrors have become important elements, especially those with interesting frames such as a gilded metallic or colored border that become jewels for your walls. Plus, when strategically placed, they can bounce light from one end of your room to the other, enlarging its appearance.

While accent walls are always a fun way to play with trends, rather than painting a wall a dark color, wallpaper has become more important than ever. Treatments such as grasscloth and textured options embedded with sand or beads add style to even the smallest space.

Finally, the big question of how to display the tv. An innovative way to hide a wall-mounted flat screen is to build a bookcase-like media unit around the television, so the tv looks like part of the display. A more extreme project would be to recess the wall you plan to hang your tv on and add sliding doors that will hide the screen when it’s not in use or use a dark wallpaper as the backdrop so when the tv is off, the black screen fades into the background.

This is the room where we spend the most time, so it should feel calm and soothing like a retreat while retaining a sense of elegance. Aside from a good mattress, the bedding is probably the next most important item. Sure the color of the walls, lighting, flooring and furniture are important too, but bedding is what comforts every night. Different textures feel so good and add interest to the bed. Crisp, white sheets are a staple—there’s something about them that seem luxurious and fresh. However, for a more daring look, find a rainbow of options, as bedding manufacturers have added more fashion forward hues such as bright pink, purple, turquoise or even wild safari prints to their palettes. Tip: You can never go wrong with starting with neutral layers and building from there.

Duvet covers are still one of the most popular toppers for the bed, taking the place of the more old-fashioned comforter sets. Most people prefer to sleep with a down comforter and duvet covers can be easily switched when you’re ready for a style change. Ombre treatments and ikat prints will still be strong, however, now is the time to update that look by adding pillows and blankets in coordinating colors and more eclectic patterns.

Speaking of eclectic, geometric shapes continue to be strong, but designers are taking the trend even further using an unexpected mix of color combinations. It’s a great way to find a common denominator color when mixing different textures. This trend will be prevalent when it comes to rug choices, especially in the bedroom. Many are keen on keeping hardwood and manufactured hardwood floors, but there’s no better way to keep feet warm on a cold winter day than with a cozy rug. They add a trendy touch to the bedroom and often change the entire look in seconds.

Another piece to emphasize is the headboard. As we continue to turn away from suites of bedroom furniture, individual headboards have become quite the focal point. And whether you decide to make one or purchase new, be sure to find one that fits the scale of the room. For luxury, go with a thick and cushy curved upholstered headboard. If craving the latest global inspirations, look for an intricately-carved wood one instead. Either way, a headboard can make quite a statement, even if the rest of the room is on the neutral side. Think of a fabulous headboard as the final show-stopping piece of jewelry that completes your otherwise casual outfit.

imageWhile the bathroom is certainly a workhorse as a “public” space, guests will visit it at one time or another. So it’s important that it is in good shape and reflects how you’d like to present yourself to others. It’s also very personal and the idea of giving it a soothing spa-like feel is a strong trend. Nature is the perfect inspiration and will continue to heavily influence color trends and accessories. Muted blues, greens and lavenders will also be prevalent in this room, but softer than in the kitchen. Paired with crisp white and soft grays, they easily fade into the background, making way for small pops of color via towels and accessories. In addition to colors from nature, botanical prints are perfect for the bathroom. You’ll see them, often with a modern, more graphic take, on items such as the shower curtains, towels, storage items, shower doors and tiles as well.

Yes, tiles are back in a huge way, as heavy molding and tub inserts now look dated, clunky and wasteful. As in the kitchen, here too, tiles will be reinterpreted in fresh colors and materials such as quartz and glass. Speaking of which, recycled glass has become the material of choice for backsplashes installed against a colored wall in the bathroom.

As for flooring, faux wood ceramic tiles are becoming the new go-to, as they give the impression of wood, but work well against water and humidity. Field tiles, which are longer and more substantial, are primarily used in this case, but also work on shower walls to frame the mosaics that are popular, thanks to the global influence on design. And if tiles aren’t quite in your budget, several companies offer easy-to-apply decals to give your pre-existing tiles an update.

Storage is often a focal point as there is never enough of it. Medicine cabinets are coming back in trend for this reason, as are floating shelves and the use of baskets.

And while craving more storage, cabinetry plays a big role, especially in master baths that can house dual sinks and grooming stations. If thinking about remodeling, symmetry and balance are very important in the design, as is carving out enough space.

If in the mood for a little extravagance, there are lots of options such as oversized, spa-quality showerheads, towel warmers, LED lights for the shower and to top it all off, a shimmering chandelier. What better way to primp for a party than under an enchanting light fixture?

imageDining Room
Sure more and more of us are going a bit more casual, eating in our kitchens (or on the go) rather than at a formal dining table, but as we entertain more at home, the dining room is still an important space.
That being said, a large clunky dining table with oversized chairs is just not the way to go. Instead, choose smarter, more streamlined pieces that expand only when needed. Also use chairs with a smaller footprint.

Here too, as in the bedroom, a dining suite of furniture is more old-fashioned. Instead, pieces that take up less space are more in demand as the dining room is often also used as a home office during the week or is being mixed with the living room for a more communal living space. Formal china cabinets are making way for modern buffets that afford hidden storage on a smaller scale.

Still, there is plenty of room for personal taste to shine through. Upholstered chairs remain a must for the dining room, but instead of formal fabrics, choose more livable, performance fabrics that lend themselves to easier care. That doesn’t mean boring—there are plenty of fashion-forward patterns and colors to choose from. So instead of a silk or chintz, look at a more durable microfiber, washable velvet or faux leather. Lighting fixtures are always a big focus in the dining room and aside from using a dimmer to set the mood, choose the best quality lighting possible. Install something from the ceiling here and make sure that it lights the entire space. Of course, over-the-top chandeliers have their place, but more understated options like a Murano glass pendant light or a chandelier with modern accents like a mesh covering seem more fitting.

Tablecloths have made way for table runners in order to expose tabletop surfaces. Table runners, napkin rings, even china and glassware are all expressions of personality and lifestyle. Mixing in vintage and passed down pieces with a few modern accents is the final stroke in enriching the look.

Overall, the focus on making homes more comfortable hinges on items that are enjoyable to live with and not just what’s appearing in the latest catalogs. To achieve the ultimate house of style, it is always important to be keen to what’s on trend, but it’s up to you to adapt that trend to your lifestyle so your home is a true reflection of you and your family.