As we’ve all learned in recent weeks, having beautiful, comfortable interior spaces to call our own is more important than ever. On the following pages, we spoke with three local interior designers to discover what their Tampa Bay-area clients are looking for this year, plus hear how they incorporate trends while keeping designs fresh.
After years of neat neutrals and washed whites, Julianne Hendrickson says interiors are trending toward the colorful.
“Everyone that I meet with wants to add color into their homes. They feel that [their home] looks too basic,” says the interior designer and founder of Hendrickson Interiors.
Photo-based social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest have helped make bright and vibrant looks more popular and accessible to homeowners who suffer from what Hendrickson calls “design paralysis.” They know they want to add more colorful designs into their home, but they can’t make a decision or take the first step for fear of making the “wrong” choice.
“Being able to see all of it come together for so many other people gives them that [sense] of, OK, I can do this in my own home,” Hendrickson says.
Blue and all its myriad shades is an eternally popular choice. Brown is another top option, in the form of brass accents for lighting, hardware and plumbing, she adds. Adding in color is just one way homeowners are trying to make their homes less fussy and formal. They’re finding different avenues to introduce fun back into their spaces, from swivel chairs in the living room and greenery in the kitchen or dining room, to patterned wallpaper in the powder room (“I don’t work in a home without putting wallpaper somewhere,” Hendrickson says).
“I go into so many homes lacking color because [the homeowners] were so nervous to make any sort of design decision that they just went with neutral everything. It just looks so cold and sterile,” Hendrickson says. “The minute you start to pull a couple of colors into the room with pillow fabrics and chairs and blankets and things like that, it just becomes more of a home and less of a staging space.”
Design Without Definition
Lisa Gilmore doesn’t like the word “trend.” Especially because, as she says, the people who fear going big and bold with designs (which they perceive to be “trendy”) are actually falling into the exact trap they seek to avoid.
“People are afraid of trends, but they’re actually following all the trends,” by modeling their home designs on the work of popular HGTV celebrities like Joanna Gaines, which favors neutral tones and has inspired widespread copycats, Gilmore says. “You’re doing exactly what you’re afraid of doing by just staying in this box that you think is safe and neutral.”
Gilmore, the founder of Lisa Gilmore Design, is known for creating unique spaces with rich, saturated colors. When working with clients, any trendier pieces that make it into a room tend to be items that can be easily switched out down the line. These elements, like a rug or drapes, aren’t significant financial investments.
“There are ways of mixing in those trends so you feel like you’re updated, but [the trends are] not fully seeping into the entire space,” Gilmore says.
She gives the example of a recent bedroom project that combined a navy bed with neutral-colored nightstands, rust-colored drapes and wallpaper with a bold navy-blue pattern.
“Say this client one day wakes up and is like, three years ago I really loved this wallpaper, but now I’m over it. I want to paint my bedroom pale pink. They can do that,” Gilmore says. “They can mix that with the navy bed and more neutral nightstands,” and easily switch out the drapes.
Above all, Gilmore stresses, let what moves you dictate your design decisions, without pressure to adhere to a specific design style. Mix and match furniture from different time periods. Make a green velvet sofa your neutral piece and build a room around it. Your personal style will ultimately outlive any design trend.
“I think it’s really important to let your space be your space. It doesn’t have to be defined by a style,” she says. “Don’t feel pressured to fit yourself in this style ‘box’ because your home is your sacred space, and the space that should rejuvenate you.”
“If you do find yourself in a certain style, that’s great. Run with it,” she adds. “But don’t be afraid to break rules.”
Franco A. Pasquale Design Associates founder Franco Pasquale says most current home design trends fall into one category: practical approaches meant to simplify interiors.
“I don’t think people are looking for as much fuss [in the design of their home] as they used to,” he says. “It’s more about design to feel great about — making you feel as great as you can in your own environment.”
Pasquale and his team have clients create Pinterest boards to get a sense of their personal style and the trends that appeal to them. Then Pasquale will find ways to apply those trends sparingly and with a light touch, blending them into the overall design. “Right now, mixed metals are really popular. There’s a lot of gold being put into design,” he says. “Rather than putting a satin gold, super expensive fixture in the room, maybe you’re just [incorporating gold] with cabinet pulls or something that is a nominal investment that can be changed out.”
Pinterest boards also give Pasquale a peek into the color schemes that speak most to his clients. The overwhelming favorite?
“Everybody wants blue,” he says. “Every shade of blue, and the blues will tend to change over time,” from cooler, softer tones in the summer, to warmer, more jewel-like tones in the winter.
Bringing color into a space is just one way to create the feelings of safety and security that people crave. Another is incorporating furniture with clean, simple lines that actually feels good when you use it — a consideration that’s as important, if not more, than the style of the piece. “I don’t think people are as apt to buy something just because it’s pretty,” Pasquale says. “They want to sit in it. They want to know that it’s comfortable.”
Pasquale likes to create a room’s atmosphere with all-LED lighting. While the early forms of LEDs created a harsh, blue light, newer technologies allow homeowners to adjust the warmth and color tone of lighting; some LEDs even create a candlelight effect.
As people now spend more time in their homes than ever before, Pasquale says homeowners are realizing that they want their spaces to be sanctuaries, not museums.
“When you’re home, you want to feel comfortable. You want to feel safe,” he says. “You want to feel like you’re in your own little private boutique hotel.”