As our homes increasingly have become central for living and working, décor trends are reflecting that as we head into fall and winter this year.
“Over the past 18 months, we have adapted to living year-round in our private spaces,” says Tania Richardson, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tomas Pearce Interior Design.
“We have seen a transition in our personal taste, style and decor preferences.”
As a result, many interior designers have been tasked with more expedient retro fittings to accommodate the live-work-learn-play environment we are now demanding of our homes.
Open-concept living has been more challenging, Richardson says. More moveable partitions, screens, metal filigree room dividers, partial knee walls and millwork are being incorporated to create more division and private spaces in the home for family members who are involved in different activities.
“The term ‘luxury’ has also been redefined,” Richardson says.
“New luxury is less ostentatious, less glitzy and glamorous. It’s all about paring back, having reservation, and simplicity is elegance. Functionality overrides opulence and comfort dominates design.”
In terms of colour, there has been a shift from cool, monochromatic tones to earthy, warm and cozy colours such as desert sand, wheat, copper, bronze and gold. That trend of bringing the colours of outdoors inside is expected to be even more prominent heading into the cooler months, although we are also seeing pops of colour, such as blue and pink, in home accents.
Vintage decor and the “rustic sophisticated” look are trending, says Dawn Chapnick of Dawn Chapnick Designs, as are the mix of old and new in such pairings as vintage charm rugs with modern dining chairs.
“Eclectic home decor is on the rise,” says Amanda Hamilton, a Calgary designer who is participating on Oct. 14 in this year’s Interior Design Show.
“We are seeing less of the modern, clean-lined looks and more sculptural, interesting, artful pieces in a range of colours.
“This lends itself well to the rising curiosity surrounding anthropomorphic furniture.”
Perhaps it’s not surprising that in our age of anxiety, some are gravitating toward emotionally reassuring forms and cute has become cool. ‘Neotenic design’ was coined by an American designer, from the scientific term ‘neoteny’ which describes retaining youthful features in adults – and so in furniture, for instance, we see more playful, youthful forms that are brighter and rounder. Through anthropomorphized objects with soft, child-like features, we find comfort and respite from what can feel like a troubled world.
“Customers are pairing my art and rugs with more playful rounded furniture,” says Vancouver artist Zoë Pawlak.
“Gone are the days of sharp edges and overly serious lines.”
But not all designers are jumping on the neotenic design bandwagon.
“I am not a fan of these forms,” Chapnick says.
“They are whimsical in nature, but awkward-looking. Some even a little creepy in my opinion. I don’t think this will last long or be a huge success.”
A comforting trend to watch out for that is likely to have some staying power is an abundance of textures, from boucle and woven textures to wicker. Caning, which is an arts and craft design that dates back to ancient Egyptian times, is something you can expect to hear a lot about.
Caning is a weaving technique from rattan (narrow, pliable stems from tropical plants) that is cut into thin strips and woven into different patterns. Expect to see it on all kinds of furniture, such as chairs, panelled cabinets, headboards and benches.
“It’s popular now because it’s sustainable, very durable and originally was handmade,” Chapnick says.
“It can be incorporated into many design styles as it can be painted to fit any palette, but it is well-suited for a mid-century modern aesthetic.”
Biophilic design, which fosters a connectivity to our natural environment, shows no sign of abating in home decor. It incorporates living elements such as plants and water features into the interior space and can bring a profound sense of calm and tranquility, Richardson says.
Japandi style is also on trend. This thoughtful combination of Japanese and Scandinavian style has its roots in Japanese wabi-sabi, a term meaning there’s beauty in imperfection, and hygge, a Danish term for coziness. Japandi style emphasizes function over form and encompasses clean lines, natural materials, light colours and bright spaces.
Also trending this fall, Chapnick says, are contrasting patterns and scales, pairing a large-scale wall mural, for example, with a smaller opposite pattern on a carpet. Ceramics can also be grouped together to create an artistic look.
When it comes to art pieces as part of an interior design scheme, Canadians are taking more risks, says Pawlak, who will be hosting an Interior Design Show Offsite Program event at her new gallery space from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1.
“Our clients are collecting more figurative work and art that is playful, wacky and colourful,” she says. “Before, we saw clients taking less risk and certainly were collecting more neutrals. We’re currently seeing collectors be bolder in terms of content, even scaling up the work, which is exciting. I’m seeing clients branch out and collect portraits and some of my newest, bolder more abstracted work.”
Pawlak’s recent pieces are abstracted vessel paintings about the body and our relationship to our spiritual and physical capacities for peace.
“Integrity is trending,” she says. “People want to know where the work they are purchasing is from and the stories that surround it.”
Pawlak, whose work has been featured in such publications as Architectural Digest, sees consumers in general becoming more educated and making more informed decisions. Home decor is no exception: Homeowners want to stay current, while collecting timeless items that are ethically made.
In the end, personal style and comfort outweigh all else but Richardson says you can focus on the common elements and threads woven throughout the design industry as your compass.
“Plants, warm colours, natural textures and materials all have soothing and nurturing elements to help us feel balanced and grounded during this time of adaptation,” she says.
Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio . The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.