Furniture & Design Trends | Staying Power
By Bernard Freeman
The Metallic Trend Continues
Finding the right element is critical to pulling off your vision.
Design trends come and go, but metallics have had impressive staying power. It’s probably because combining metals with wood finishes makes any space feel more contemporary. Whether you’re upgrading your interior with new furniture or simply adding a few accents, adding metals can give it all a smart and modern touch.
Different metals have their own specific aesthetic advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to select the right piece. For instance, chrome fixtures work very well with more industrial looks while oiled finishes can add some pop in a more traditional setting. Brass fits in with more rustic designs like farmhouse and Tuscan. If your look is more eclectic or you don’t feel a great comfort level about balancing materials, consider reaching out to pros at local design studios or hiring an interior designer to help out. They’ll be plugged into the latest trends, while also boasting an in-depth knowledge of classic design dos and don’ts that never go out of style.
Gold and copper remain the most-used metallics, likely because they bring so much warmth to any room. Even a copper-adorned fireplace feels a lot cozier. The green-living craze has led to more people using corrugated metals, which often have an array of textures. Wrought-iron banisters and railings offer a great showcase for metals, along with cabinet-door pulls and door hardware.
One of the more intriguing things about the metallic trend is its great variety of finishes. Exterior gloss and brushed textures can change the whole character of this material. Polished metals offer a shiny look that works very well with modern designs, while satin or brushed versions blend into contemporary themes where other elements are meant to stand out. Traditional oiled metals boast a richer antique look that fits with any classic scheme.
FRONT AND CENTER
Creating a focal point for your metallic look can bring the whole design together. Whether it’s used in a table, a large mirror, mantel or perimeter trim, metals can add pops of color and intrigue — in particular if you combine different or opposing colors. Leverage the color temperatures of one metal against another to pull it off. You may just find that your design plan doesn’t have to stick with “warm” or “cool” metals exclusively.
Join the Up-Cycling Movement
You can get a new look at a much lower price with a little work.
Dated furniture is scattered about every yard sale, consignment shop and thrift store. You might even have some in your own spare room. That provides plenty of opportunities to tear it all apart in order to create something new, a process known as up-cycling.
WHERE TO LOOK
If you don’t have ready access to an old dresser or chair, widen your search in order to find the best buy. Find neighborhood sales, flea markets, antique shops and other places where older items are traded, consigned or sold. They’re a great source of inspiration since you never know what you might find around the next corner. Ask family, friends and neighbors to alert you when they decide to upgrade their own furniture, since there may be up-cycling opportunities closer to home. Be on the lookout for give-away options too. Some people simply discard furniture that still has plenty of life left in it.
TRANSFORMING UP-CYCLING ITEMS
You’ll need a truck, van or roomy car to get many of these items home. Borrow one or go with a friend if you think you’ve found a suitable up-cycling candidate. There are key tools you’ll need once you’ve gotten the piece home, since you could be repainting, resurfacing and re-covering. They include good quality brushes for priming, staining and painting, sandpaper and sanding equipment, sanding sponges and a well-fitted respirator. In some cases, you’ll need woodworking tools including files and perhaps a table saw. Don’t be afraid to ask to borrow some of these items from others at first, since they can be expensive. Pawn shops and thrift stores may also have these tools on sale for less.
Once the piece of furniture has been stripped back to the basics, it’s time to get creative. That might mean adding a fun design to the side of a cabinet, a warm and inviting stain to an end table, or a bold new fabric to a chair. You won’t be an expert in the beginning, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun as you learn. As you become more of an up-cycling expert, these once-outdated pieces of furniture can become centerpieces that define your living space. Some people even turn this kind of project work into a second job — or even an entirely new career.
Wallpaper is Back
In years past, we were tearing it all down — now it’s going right back up.
Everything old is new again, and wallpaper’s resurgence in popularity is proof positive. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it didn’t return unchanged. Wallpaper of old was often decorated with smaller, more delicate patterns, in stark contrast to the bold designs of today. This new trend has also been marked by far more reserved usage, as savvy decorators tend to use wallpaper as an accent rather than on every available surface. Here are some additional design ideas.
WRAPPING THE FIREPLACE
Fireplace inserts tend to be plain and uninspiring. That’s where wallpaper comes in. Wrap your insert with an exciting design in order to make it the focal point it should have always been. You’ll make a star out of an element that used to get regularly overlooked.
JAZZ UP YOUR BACKING
Highlight your collection by inserting some fun into the back of your bookcase. Then take this concept into the rest of your home. The same trick works to bring excitement under and inside kitchen cabinets, in the closet and on otherwise utilitarian shelving units. And because they’re tucked away inside your larger room design, you can afford to be bold with patterns and colors.
CREATING A HEADBOARD
If your bed doesn’t have a headboard, frame it with wallpaper instead of splurging on one that might look like a million others. Frame the space with molding in whatever shape and size is preferred, then place wallpaper inside to create a unique look.
Feeling even more adventurous? Place sealed wallpaper directly on the steps of your staircase for an exciting upgrade, or lay in strips of wallpaper along the front of each one. Together, they can provide a whole new way to experience these colors and patterns.
ACCENT ON FUN
Instant upgrades to small spaces might mean nothing more than adding wallpaper to one wall or space, while painting the other walls in a less dramatic, complementary color. But whatever you choose to do, enter into the process with the intent of having fun. These accent walls, stairs and headboards are meant to breathe fresh ideas into everything that surrounds them. Don’t be afraid of huge flowers, bright colors or wide regimental stripes. Then build outward with paint colors, accessories, linens and other smaller decor items that complete everything.