Ask the Stager: A look at the hottest design trends for 2018 — and a warning

Ask the Expert Style
Mixed-tone flooring works here because the rest of the space is neutral. Kährs of Sweden/Ash Sandvig Sand Collection

The start of every year brings a new array of design trends and ways to update your home’s interior. As part of my New Year’s ritual, I head to the Las Vegas Furniture Market. It is full of showrooms from leading manufacturers and cutting-edge designers displaying the latest trends.

The trends of 2018 did not disappoint:


The extremely light tone of this flooring looks cool and it’s hot. —European Flooring

This year we’ll see extreme dark and light stains, as well as designs that mix the two. If updating your floors is on your to-do list, wide planks (5 to 7 inches) are on trend.

Lighter honey tones are all the rage. They lend a more casual look and are a welcome alternative to the more traditional chestnut brown tones. But if you gravitate toward the darker stains, then opt for a tone closer to ebony. The idea is to pick a side: light or dark.

If you’re more of a risk taker, however, a new trend is to mix the two variations. This can get “busy’’ quickly, so if you choose this option, you’ll want the rest of the room to have little to no pattern.


This showroom by home furnisher Uttermost displays bluish green accent pieces. —Kara Woods

Gray is still in, but we’re seeing it complemented with brown or tinted with beige to warm it up. The new kid on the block, however, is the palette of bluish greens. If a bluish green doesn’t appeal to you, or complement the existing design of your home, lavender and blush tones were also spotted throughout the market. Lavender is symbolic of gemstone hues and romance. Blush is more of a pastel and considered relaxing. Behr picked “In the Moment” as its Color of the Year, and the reasoning was simple. The paint maker liked its restorative and soothing qualities. (Learn how to add the hottest paint colors to your decor.)

Behr choose “In the Moment,” a blue-green hue, as its first Color of the Year for its restorative and soothing qualities. —TC Studios/Behr


In the Currey & Company showroom, gold takes center stage. —Kara Woods

Gold tones and finishes have been creeping back into popularity, but they took center stage in the showrooms. Gold is being used in lighting, kitchen and bathroom hardware, accent pieces, and more. To be clear, the gold of 2018 is not brassy. It’s a textured, brushed gold with a matte finish that yields a more formal look and is often mixed with black.

Another trend is the mixing of metals, such as gold and silver. The key to doing this well is to pick a dominant metal and an accent one.


This Studio A showroom highlights the trend toward natural and organic. —Kara Woods

An offset to the formal feeling of gold is a natural look. This is my favorite and a design many of my clients request. It’s a comfortable and relaxed design that people enjoy coming home to. This year, showrooms returned to distressed woods, large refurbished-plank flooring, farm tables, and more.

A note of caution

If you aren’t planning to sell your home, the design trends of 2018 offer two distinct options that are all about personal style. For a more formal look, embrace the gold/black theme with dark flooring. For a more organic look, opt for the natural feeling of neutrals and refurbished items.

A showroom by the home decor wholesale company Global Views mixes black and gold. —Kara Woods

But if you’re preparing to list your home, don’t design with items that are just beginning to trend. Staging is all about interior marketing. I always wait until a trend has widespread appeal before using it.

For example, even though I saw blush gold hardware everywhere in the kitchen designs, I won’t suggest that my home staging clients replace their polished-chrome kitchen hardware. Blush gold hardware is a personal preference, and polished chrome is still the more mainstream choice. So when you are deciding which elements to incorporate into a home staging project, keep this rule of thumb in mind.

Kara Woods, an award-winning home staging and design professional who specializes in the luxury market, teaches at the Academy of Home Staging and serves as Northeast regional vice president of the Real Estate Stagers Association. Send comments and questions to Subscribe to our free real estate newsletter at