“Have nothing in your houses which you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” British designer and Renaissance man, William Morris might have said that in the 1800’s, but it’s just as true today as it was then. Whether it’s an armchair, a light fixture, a carpet or a bathroom mirror, today’s idea of what “beautiful” is, is as varied as the preferences of homeowners everywhere.
Before FRED gives you a room-by-room review of the latest and up-and-coming trends, here’s an overall look at the look of the moment in terms of style, materials and design concepts:
- Luxurious, but functional spaces, with an emphasis on comfort
- Spaces designed to encourage interaction between residents
- Nook-type areas, focus on small spaces
- Nature-friendly, nature themes
- Metals and metallic surfaces or finishes
- Wood, cork and other organic materials
- Simple, geometric shapes, clean lines
- High-tech, industrial, Scandinavian styles
- Recycled or reclaimed materials, retro-styled furniture
- Soft upholstery fabrics such as suede or velvet
Something’s Cookin’ in the Kitchen
Many of today’s kitchens segue seamlessly with the dining room, which in turn merges with the living room. Kitchen design therefore anchors or sets the tone for the design of the rest of the house.
While emphasis is placed on convenience and achieving a personalised or custom look, most trendy kitchens either favour a “natural” or “countrified” theme, or a “tech-inspired” or industrial concept—the former using wood and other raw materials; the latter featuring metallic or polished veneers.
Two-toned kitchens are trending, with the preferred colours being neutrals, natural greens, blacks, oranges, and dark blues. Warm kitchen palettes include yellows and deep browns. Most of today’s kitchen furniture comes in dark colours, particularly grey and black.
Ceramics, concrete, glass, metal and stone are popular materials for kitchen cabinets and countertops, the latter likewise making use of reclaimed wood as well as granite, marble and stainless steel. Faucets and hoods now come with brass, copper or gold finishes, as many of them are fashioned to be decorative if not cleverly concealed in false ceilings.
Other kitchen design trends include using potted plants as accents, or even as an “in-house herb garden”, and using self-designed or personalised tiles. Appliances such as toasters and electric kettles are either hidden away in storage spaces, or are used as part of the décor when they come in bright colours.
Spaces for Living
Just as people with different personalities who live under one roof coexist with one another, so do the varied elements in today’s living rooms. Two or more design styles and textural opposites often appear together, and every detail performs the double function of providing comfort as well as beauty. Combinations are often unified by a single theme, or compartmentalised using dividers.
In keeping with the overall, eco-friendly trend, living rooms generally make use of natural lighting. Fresh flowers and potted plants make the living room come truly alive along with nature-inspired patterns. Natural wood or bleached wood is often used for flooring, walls, and ceilings.
Popular living room palettes include pastels and other light colours, or using pastels as accents among neutrals. Indeed, many homeowners seem to enjoy a splash of colour here and there, or to at least have one main article of furniture, such as an armchair, that “pops”. Yet, calm colours creating a cosy atmosphere is currently the norm.
For dressing walls, turning the living room into private art gallery by hanging several pictures of varying sizes has increased in popularity, as has wooden and leather wall décor. Wallpaper usually comes in a single tone or in geometric patterns.
Large lamps, colourful lamps, pendant lamps and unusual suspension lamps are making their way into the living room; trendy designs include gold-coloured or mid-20th century modern themes. The Scandinavian aesthetic likewise remains popular, as has the use of white furniture. Restyling old furniture from the 1940s to the 1970s is another popular practice.
Dining in Style
It has been said that nobody really eats in dining rooms, as most people prefer to just eat in the kitchen. Today’s designs, however, just might turn things around, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere with thoughtful touches such as trays, candles, flowers. When not in use, the dining room table may be dressed with a plant, placemats or a piece of art.
Indeed, many homeowners place a small sculpture on the table, hang paintings or art objects such as mirrors with unusual frames on the walls, or feature hand-painted wallpaper. Dining room walls are also either covered in suede or upholstered damask, or finished in plaster together with the ceiling. The “bare concrete wall look” is likewise a current trend for dining rooms.
Many homeowners also prefer to customise their dining table and chairs, as well as their floor patterns and wallpaper. Glass top or resin-top tables have found their way into several of today’s dining rooms, as have pillows on the dining room chairs. Some designers will seek out tables with curiously-shaped legs or combine contrasting materials such as plastic and wood.
Having a personal bar or bar carts is also increasing in popularity, with the carts being used as a serving tray or for showcasing books, candles and other décor. Instead of a bar, the café inspires other dining rooms, which have shiny floors to heighten the effect.
Antiques and vintage chairs are also popular, as are rugs or very soft carpeting. Leather, knitted and velvet upholstery as well as velvet curtains or wall finishings are also proving to be popular choices. Preferred finishes include lacquer, brass or marble, while cerused, fumed or white oak are the usual choices of wood, as is zebra wood.
Getting Ready for Bed
Styling the inner sanctum has been deemed essential to a homeowner’s comfort and well-being. It is also highly suggestive of his personality, which is revealed in details such as bed placement, pieces of furniture such as the nightstand, and colour choices in general.
While dark coloured décor is also in fashion, many homeowners also like to hang colourful art pieces on plain white walls in their bedrooms. Wall panel art and drapery, as well as plants and flowers also have their place. Aside from nature, other trending design themes include surreal, orchestrated messes, 1960s and 70s, industrial, modern, Art Deco and contemporary chic.
Popular in the living and dining rooms, pendant lights have also found a place next to the bed as a clever replacement for traditional side table lamps. Other, more interesting alternatives to bedside lighting include unusual designs and vintage lamps made out of mercury glass.
On a more practical level, docking stations for devices, usually next to the bed, are another feature of today’s bedrooms, as are nightstands with extra storage space. Rugs tend to be on the fluffy side, although there are some who prefer sisal.
Larger bedrooms often feature a separate sitting area formed by an armchair or two and table, or a loveseat and a coffee table, usually at the foot of the bed. Window seats in large windows are also quite popular.
Arguably the Most Important Room
If the bedroom is one’s sanctum, the bathroom could very well be the inner sanctum. No longer just a place for going about one’s business, the bathroom has now become a retreat or a haven for relaxing and refreshing oneself. Space has become the focus of bathroom design—bathrooms are either becoming larger or every attempt is made to enlarge it or make the most of available square footage.
Today’s bathrooms feature both maximised and hidden storage space, and modular furniture that comes in straight, streamlined shapes. Vanities without legs also feature in space-saving designs, and décor is minimal. Options abound, however for colour palettes, as many homeowners have become adventurous in their choice of patterns and colour, particularly in tiling.
The use of wood, recovered or otherwise, in floors and even the basin might come as a surprise in the bathroom. Quartz, marble, porcelain and ceramics have their place in the shower and the floor, particularly ceramics made to resemble wood, concrete or marble. Basins made of glass, metal and natural stone are also trendy.
Open showers without screens or curtains are in vogue, and have increasingly come to include features such as jets, multiple showerheads, rain heads, handheld showers, a shower bench and steam facilities. As regards baths, island baths in a variety of shapes, usually placed in the centre of larger bathrooms, are gaining ground. Baths made from cast stone are also an up and coming trend.
With its metal bathtubs and basins and brick or concrete walls and floors, the industrial look is as popular a design theme as the tech-inspired bathroom, not just in terms of design but built-in conveniences. On top of temperature controls and motion-detector valves, touch-screen bathroom mirrors have increasingly become a design centrepiece.
The ultimate bathroom mirror, Mirror by Frednology comes with an upgradeable Android platform, multi-media capabilities, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and an LCD screen.
At a touch, or by voice command, Mirror provides the latest news, plays music, and can be integrated with a personal fitness tracker and other devices. Mirror also comes with air purifying and humidity and temperature-control technology, making its anti-mist feature perfect for bathroom-cum-steam rooms.
Mirror’s sleek and flawless surface and champagne gold trim blends in effortlessly with today’s interiors, whether tech-inspired, industrial, contemporary or classical—not just in the bathroom, but any room in a stylish home. Complete the look of your home with a Frednology Mirror, today.