Interior design experts forecast the trends you’ll love in 2017

Design New England
This kitchen has reclaimed barnboard on the island.
This kitchen has reclaimed barnboard on the island. Michael J. Lee / Design New England

If you’re thinking, New year, new home renovation, we have you covered. We asked four of the area’s top interior design experts to predict which trends will be hot (hint: layers and layers of texture) and not (all white everything) in 2017. Take a look!

Color will make a comeback
After years of stark white and neutrals dominating the colorscape, Alina Wolhardt, owner of Wolf in Sheep Design in Boston, said she’s beginning to see muted pastels, like dusty rose, and rich jewel tones, like emerald green, pop up at design shows. “That’s starting to trend this year, and I think it’s going to be more commercialized next year,” she said, predicting that such colors will be particularly favored in the hospitality world and in certain lines of furniture.

Rachel Reider, designer and owner of Rachel Reider Interiors in Boston, agreed that color is having a resurgence as of late. And in really creative ways,” she added. “It’s showing up in all sorts of different mediums, not just in fabrics. You’re seeing color in light fixtures and pluming fixtures and countertops. I think that’s something new and different.”

Soft pastels and warm wood make this master bedroom in Beverly a restful retreat. —Greg Premru / Design New England

Curated, personalized decor will reign supreme
You heard it here first: Several of the designers we spoke to anticipate a shift away from mass-produced pieces as homeowners gravitate toward a more curated, handcrafted aesthetic—something Wolhardt speculated could be a side effect of our current political climate.

“Especially in our part of the world where we’re sort of in a bubble, everyone is trying to take a stance on the environment and helping small business,” Wolhardt said. “So rather than buying stuff from [mass retailers] that will only last you three months, people are going to start to investing money and time into really good, quality stuff. I see that a lot in clothes; there’s a movement away from the H&Ms and Forever 21s toward buying less, but buying well-made, timeless pieces that are going to last forever. And I think that’s going to be reflected in home design as well since a lot of interior design goes hand-in-hand with the fashion world.”

Wolhardt recommends Hudson Boston for great ready-made pieces that won’t feel cookie cutter. “And I like to work closely with a lot of local builders who can build furniture and millwork,” she adds, citing Doriss Design Workshoppe and FKIA as two of the builders she regularly works with.

Lesser-used materials (cracked resin!) will become the norm
In the past, designers and homeowners basically had two choices when it came to building materials: metal and wood. But in 2017? There’s a plethora of interesting options with which to work.

“Now you’re seeing everything from crackled resin and reclaimed wood to metallic finishes and leather,” said Reider. “You name it, and you can find furniture pieces made out of it. And that’s really exciting to see because it helps to add layers to the space.

A natural fiber rug and white sofas are contemporary compliments to antique pieces, as seen in this Newport, Rhode Island, home. —Anthony Crisafulli / Design New England

Even better than adding different textures to a room? Layering them
“People are gravitating toward that well-traveled, curated feeling,” said Tiffani LeBlanc, owner of LeBlanc Design, a boutique interior design firm serving the Greater Boston Area.

One easy way to accomplish this is to incorporate natural fiber rugs, a trend the designer predicted will be huge in the coming year. “A flat wool or a vintage overlay rug layered over something from Crate and Barrel can add a lot of depth to a room,” she explained. Another way is to put wallpaper on the back panel of a bookshelf that highlights pieces that honor your hobbies, interests, and home.

Those Pinterest-worthy gallery walls will continue to have staying power
In case you were holding off on purchasing those 15 different (but complementary) frames, Leblanc gave her go-ahead. “I like the gallery walls,” she said. “They feel personal and draw you closer, and they reveal a lot about the person living there.”

Dark metal will become the finish of choice
When it comes to finishes, Kristina Crestin, owner of Kristina Crestin Design, said it’s been years since her firm has done a brushed nickel faucet. “It’s not really on the radar anymore,” she said. “And while there’s almost always a stainless steel range in the kitchen, the lighting, cabinet hardware, and plumbing are heading to something different.”

That “something different,” according to Crestin, is satin brass, matte black, and other dark bronze finishes—all of which are popular for plumbing and lighting in both kitchens and bathrooms, as well as in accessories when decorating. “It’s a trend that transcends both interior architecture and decorating,” she said.

This living room has a coffered mahogany ceiling. —Nat Rea / Design New England

You might want to make it about elevation, versus full-on renovation

“A lot of people are calling because they want to take the home they have and elevate it with a level of finish by adding things like beams or a coffered ceiling, installing millwork or paneling on walls, in addition to decorating projects,” said Crestin. “It’s not just about furnishing a room. It’s about potentially adding a layer of detail that makes the whole space feel elevated.”

Design New England, the magazine of splendid homes and gardens, celebrates the region’s best interior design, architecture, and landscape design.
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