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Live in Style: Design Trends for Every Room

Live in Style: Design Trends for Every Room

“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.

Home is Where Your Tech Is: Living in a Tech-Driven Home

Home is Where Your Tech Is: Living in a Tech-Driven Home
“Honey, I’m home,” you call out, cheerily, as you step across the threshold. That’s how these things usually start; so now, who answers? Is it,
  1. The love of your life? (Nope, still out.)
  2. Your dog? (Sure, why not. Or your cat, if you’re the type.)
  3. Your home’s A.I. “Welcome back. Your Kir is waiting for you in the den.”
Whether alone or in combination with the first two, option “c” is more common today than it was about a decade or two ago. “Smart” homes—stylish ones, at that—just make more sense with the Internet of Things on the rise. Join FRED on a tour of a typical smart living space and see if anything seems familiar; chances are, you’re living in one, already.

Home and Garden

First, let’s talk about energy. Even if your home isn’t 100 per cent solar (yet), a good deal of its power requirements are met by the panels on your roof. Apart from welcoming you with an aperitif, your home’s A.I. also regulates your entire household’s power usage to maximise energy efficiency. Though every room in the house is wired from sanctum to basement, you can be sure you’re not using a kilowatt more than you have to. The A.I. turns the light off for you when you leave the room, and adjusts the thermostat to suit you in all seasons. The garage door opens and shuts for you, too, thanks to your integrated smart garage system. Even if you had a late dinner or the coloratura gave one too many encores that night, you can open it yourself from your smartphone or tablet. Heading out into the garden from the garage, you’ll find that even nature has a place for tech to flourish. Smart watering systems help you to save water as well as energy, and plant sensors measure things like soil moisture and temperature levels. (You can’t help it; Gran loved those flowers, so.) You watch idly as the automower crosses the lawn and notice that Bordeaux was used in your Kir instead of an Aligote. “Oh, that’s right,” you remember. Your phone went off in the middle of your 3:30 to tell you that you were running low in the white wine department.

Dinner and A Show

Which brings us to the kitchen—and since most everybody’s got a smart fridge these days, we walk right past it to the smart pantry. Sometimes, fixing your own fixin’s is a nice way to unwind after a long day. Not only does the pantry pretty much write your supermarket shopping list for you, its motorised shelves all but hand you the Manchego. A quick look around reveals technology as the ultimate kitchen assistant (which is good, because even though you enjoy the occasional DIY dish, you’re no Gordon Ramsay). You’ve got a smart scale to measure ingredients, a smart chopping board, a smart timer, and even a smart pan to make sure the heat is just right. “Boy, does that smell good,” you say, patting yourself on the back. Since you’re on a roll, you might as well do dessert. Good thing you’ve also got a smart oven that comes complete with apps. You wonder if your LOL (that’s “Love Of your Life”) would appreciate your latest culinary attempts, and head on over to the dining room to have the table set for two. “Now that looks simply scrumptious,” says LOL. “A spread like that should be enjoyed by candlelight.” You chuckle to yourself as you reach for the remote dimmer light switches, whose sleek, streamlined casings seemed to say candles had no place in a smart home. “What’s a candlelit dinner without violins?” you ask, as the wireless speaker system fills the dining room with a rondo for violin and orchestra. “Isn’t Mozart a little too… perky? For dinner, I mean,” smiles your significant other. “Well, it is movie night,” you say, nodding in the general direction of the living room. Having asked your home entertainment hub for what’s on, Itzhak Perlman is soon replaced by Gene Kelly. A wave of your hand at the gesture remote plays your favourite MGM musical, and you smile again at the irony of watching a film from the 1950’s via a streaming stick. The colour-changing smart bulbs synced with your entertainment system completes your movie experience. Curled up on a settee with an excellent (if you may say so) supper inside you, it isn’t long after the finale that you find yourself yawning. Remembering the killer day you have lined up for tomorrow, you decide to head upstairs.

Bed and Bath

Waiting for you in your bedroom is Google Home, ready for the precise moment to wake you up (and wake you up again) with that song whose title you can never seem to remember. You have your app-controlled cooler (or heater) on, and find your wireless, noise-cancelling Bluetooth earphones on your wireless charging bedside table. “I don’t really snore, do I?” asks your one, true love. “Of course not,” you say, shaking your head as you think of how LOL’s snores remind you of nothing so much as a rhino with sinusitis. “Don’t take too long in there,” says your lover with a wink, as you head for the bathroom. Sensors alerting it to your presence, your Frednology Mirror greets you as you enter. A soothing hot shower is just the thing after a long day, but you know Mirror’s humidity control system can handle the steam. You play your usual “showering soundtrack” with a tap or two on the smart mirror’s flawless surface, and find yourself humming along to Wilson Pickett as you wash away the worries of the day. “I’ve got an appointment at 10,” you remind yourself, as a few more taps on the Mirror let you review your online planner. “Are the cream puffs keeping you in there?” asks your love with a laugh, referring to the dessert you’d made earlier. “No,” you say, reflexively activating Mirror’s air purifier. “But maybe I’d better cut down on the cream puffs just the same,” you add, remembering the stats Mirror showed you from your fitness tracker as you get into bed. “No worries,” whispers your love. “Tomorrow, dinner and dessert will be on me.” Find the ultimate Mirror for your smart home. Own a Frednology Mirror, today.

Life in the Fast Lane: Can Your Tech Keep Up?

Life in the Fast Lane: Can Your Tech Keep Up?

“Good morning, world,” thought the busy chief exec, as the glow of the smart alarm clock’s sunrise simulator was followed soon after by a tune on his “Wake Me Up Before I Go, Go” playlist on Spotify. It’s the start of another working day, and after a brief, but focused period of meditation, he begins his daily mental run-down of the day’s agenda.

“Got a meeting at 10,” says he to himself, as his Frednology Mirror detects his entry into the bathroom. Smiling at the smart Mirror’s “Welcome”, he taps its flawless surface to select his morning soundtrack with one hand, and reaches for his toothbrush with the other. By the time he’s brushed, shaven and styled, Mirror’s given him the day’s appointments, headlines, stock prices, and the weather.

“Looks like another sunny day,” he quips, picking out a pair of shades to put in his breast pocket. As though it were saying, “I’ll be right here when you get back, Sir,” the smart Mirror obligingly settles back into standby mode as our exec heads off to work.

 

All Systems, Go!

“Yup, I’m on my way,” he says, speaking to his executive assistant on his smart phone on the way to his internet-connected car. Nice of them to move the meeting up to 9:30. The Beamer’s automotive navigation system soon has the quickest possible route to the office mapped out, and its built-in infotainment system has him bobbing his head to his favourite driving ditties.

“Great work, everyone” our exec enthused, putting down his tablet to shake hands with the team at the conference table. “As soon as the plans are finalised, let’s get this underway as soon as possible.” The latest development project looked most promising, especially with all the tech they were planning to put into the rooms.

“That’ll give the competition something to worry about,” he reflected, smirking inwardly. “Once they get a load of the fantastic user experience we give our guests with the smart devices we have in every unit.” His eyes fell back upon his tablet, and the emails he’d picked out to reply to during a lull in the morning’s meeting. “Got just enough time before lunch.”

“Where does the time go?” asked our exec, glancing at his smart watch, whose sleek black face, gold trim and “gentle reminders” reminded him of his Frednology Mirror back home. He’s meeting someone for lunch, of course, and of course it was going to be for business instead of pleasure. Fortunately, it was a rather good-looking someone.

“Perhaps this power lunch was going to be for pleasure, after all,” he said to himself, settling down in his chair and signalling to the maitre d’. But what perhaps was the most pleasant surprise of all was that while she didn’t have slides for him to look at or a spiel to listen to, she did have a genuinely sound business proposition.

“An attractive offer, made by an attractive potential partner,” thinks our Mr. Executive. “Looks like we’re going to need more of those smart devices very soon.” All too soon, he found himself raising a hand in token of farewell as his new business acquaintance walked out of the restaurant. Taking out the business card she’d given him, he is struck momentarily by how, in his fast-paced, digitally driven world, the centuries-old tradition of giving out name cards still had its place in business relationships.

 

Powering Through the Day

“I look forward to discussing the details with you very soon,” said the chief exec as he typed, putting the finishing touches to the email he was sending to the prospect he’d just met. “Your 2 o’clock is online,” says his executive assistant, referring to the video conference which was next on his agenda. The discussion was heated and the energy was palpable, even over a webcam, to the point that our Mr. Executive half expected everyone to come right out of his monitor.

“The adventure continues,” he joked—no sooner had the online meeting concluded than a notification popped up in a corner of his laptop screen to remind him of his next meeting. By the time six o’clock rolled round, our exec had met, mailed, managed and mandated a staggering number of people and projects.

“I’d say I’ve earned some time out,” says he to himself, trading his smart watch for a dedicated fitness tracker, his bespoke suit for a track suit, and his Oxfords for his trainers. Having spent close to an hour at a nearby gym, our busy chief exec was back behind the wheel and homeward-bound—his end-of-day music selection noticeably more soothing and laid-back than his morning soundtrack.

“Her name was… wasn’t it?” While he was a master of “tuning out” after a long day, he found his thoughts straying back to the interesting business acquaintance he’d made over lunch—and the more interesting proposal she’d made. Of course, it was the proposal he found attractive: after all, the prospect of developing a high-end, serviced apartment complex with designer interiors and smart devices installed into every unit was very exciting, indeed.

“Maybe I’ll look her up on Facebook,” he mused, as he found himself thinking about it again even as he lounged in front of his smart TV, switching back and forth between his YouTube and Netflix favourites. But maybe some other time—he had another early day ahead, after all, with a schedule jam-packed with appointments, assessments and approvals waiting to be made.

“All set for tomorrow,” said our chief exec, looking into his smart Mirror and thoughtfully wiping a few stray drops off its waterproof surface after putting his toothbrush back in its place. Having just come out of a relaxing, warm shower, it occurred to him that water was just about the only thing he’s ever had to wipe off of it. Remembering Mirror’s anti-mist feature, he asked, Is there anything you can’t do? Catching sight of his reflection, he smiled, and went to bed.

Discover how the Frednology Mirror fits into your active lifestyle. Own a Mirror, today.