WORDS BY BRIE HAYES
While Instagram and Pinterest can be a great source of inspiration, it can be risky to make big decisions based on what is “hot” at the moment if making changes will be costly when you tire of the look. But some trends are not a big investment and based on solid design principals, and these are the ones I like to follow.
It’s interesting to note that as our lives get more focused on technology and dependent on screens, what’s trending at the moment is in direct contrast to that. We’re seeing a big return to nature with plants, natural wood tones, deep greens and blues in wallpaper and cabinetry and lighter, warmer walls. Maybe you want to incorporate a few of these ideas into your home, not because they are trendy, but because they’re classic design ideas that just happen to be hot right now.
BRING THE OUTSIDE IN
According to the EPA, we spend 90% of our lives indoors. If you find that as depressing as I do,it’s no wonder we want to bring the outdoors inside. Plants not only brighten the room, they have so many health benefits! They improve air quality by removing pollutants and increasing oxygen levels. They are also totally having their moment in interior décor and let’s hope they’re here to stay. All kinds of plants are popping up in rooms all over Instagram. If you find Fiddle leaf figs too
ubiquitous, try one of the new “it” plants: the rubber plant. The fig’s much hardier cousin, ficus elastica can come as a plant or a tree and the stronger foliage makes it work even in high traffic areas. Want something smaller? If you have enough light and a spray bottle, succulents are still popular and fairly easy to keep happy. Try the Boston, Kimberly or Macho fern; all fabulous plants for our Southern porches as they thrive on humidity. If you bring one inside, as I love to do, realize they are prima donnas and require frequent light watering and the right light. And if you have a terrible success rate with keeping indoor plants alive, there’s always the snake plant. You might even go faux! They won’t clean your air but they look a lot more convincing now than the faux plants a few years ago. Regardless of the trends, any plant will literally bring new life to your home.
LIGHTEN UP (YOUR WALLS)
A few years ago, everything was gray. Gray sofas, gray floors, gray fabrics, gray tile. Most décor trends tend to last about ten years and we are at the end of the gray trend. This doesn’t mean you need to banish gray from your home, but the colder grays have done their time and are being replaced by warmer, creamier tones. There is a definite desire to freshen things up by lightening up our walls, but few homes have the light needed to carry off art gallery white. A great compromise can be found in the creams and the “grieges,” lovely soft shades that almost read white but have enough color that they don’t feel cold. These lighter colors feel refreshing and are the perfect backdrop for the warmer, richer greens and blues we are seeing on cabinetry and in accessories.
WALLPAPER IS BACK (AND BETTER)
For a long time, wallpaper has taken a backseat in the design world. But it’s back with a vengeance and so many companies are doing great things to improve application and removal so it isn’t such a nightmare when you are ready for a change. After paint, wallpaper is the easiest way to personalize a room and give it character. There are so many gorgeous patterns and colors now and “granny chic” is reigning! There are chintz patterns with unexpected color combinations. And even when wallpaper is more traditional, it can be paired with modern furniture to create a fresh look. Or try a mural, a series of panels of wallpaper that form a scene or a picture, to create a huge piece of artwork and a focal point for your room. I recently installed a gorgeous mural in our living room that set the palette for our entire home. Feeling squeamish about all the bold color and pattern? Start with a powder room – these smaller spaces that you don’t spend a lot of time in are the perfect place to experiment with something dramatic. I hope this has inspired you to get outside your comfort zone and try something new. Or at least bring a plant or two into your home. I’m not a huge fan of following the latest trends when it comes to home décor, but when they’re good, classic ideas that just happen to be hot right now, there’s nothing wrong with following the crowd!
Brie Hays is a certified Interior Designer and True Color Expert. She is available for design work and paint consultations through Harlow Hays Design Co. Follow her on Facebook or Instagram for decorating tips, or check out www.harlowhaysdesign.com