ABOUT THOSE TRENDS
July 15, 2022
TODAY’S DESIGN ‘TRENDS’
I heard podcast where a group of designers were informing their followers on the latest home design trends. They described the current color trend as still being white with neutrals. They went on to explain how to create contrast within the design by accessorizing with textured fabrics. White Sherpa, velvet and fur were suggested for throws and pillows. Someone also presented the idea of using zebra or another animal print as a way to add a subtle contrast of color. Diving a little deeper, one of the designers recommended leather as an ottoman option. Their associate responded that the audience should only consider leather as an ottoman option because the thought of “peeling” oneself off a sofa can be extremely uncomfortable. We need to talk…
First, let’s explore leather, a classic “trend” – If you find yourself “peeling” off a leather sofa, chances are, it is sitting under a hot window in the middle of summer or it is not the tanned hide definition of leather. Authentic leather adjusts to your body temperature and is often more comfortable than a synthetic chenille. As I am writing this, I am reminiscing over my luxurious vintage white leather sofa I left behind in Palm Springs, CA when I moved to the east coast. I loved it. Faux leather (vegan leather or ‘pleather’) mimics leather and is widely accepted now as leather because it is cruelty-free. PETA is on a mission to have the definition of leather updated to include vegan leather. As they continually work to find an alternative that is more consistent with the tanned hide sans the animal, some of the newer man-made leathers even capture what many of us love about leather besides its luxury, its scent. I can definitely see this alternative working much better under my feet than my summer legs. As far as designing with leather, fabric pillows do slip and slide. The solution? Back them in a non-slipping material – faux leather or, for the purist – leather.
QUESTIONING THE LATEST TREND
Ask yourself the following questions before pursuing the latest trend. What are you drawn to? What captures your eye that you feel like you have to have or you want to recreate in your home or office? How do you want the room to feel? Beyond that, trends date your home. When is the last time you saw a notable design influencer follow “the trend” of the day? First and foremost, they are creatives who bring an artistic approach to each element of their client’s space and generally have a signature style that people gravitate to and mimic. Secondly, they know that trends are fleeting, in and out with the seasons of change. The same designers discussing today’s trend in the podcast were criticizing the last trend. By the time a design hits the masses, it soon becomes passé.
THE WHITE TREND
Dare I tell you that the “trend” of white with neutrals has been a classic genre for years? It became a “trend” with the rise of white slipcovers when Rachel Ashwell brought them from England to her Shabby Chic store in Santa Monica, CA during the late 80’s. It is also historically prevalent in Scandinavian design because darker woods were not as accessible. Considered ‘white on white’ design (which is actually produced by using varying shades of white to light gray), the style appealed to those living in LA’s oceanfront and local beach bungalows. The easy laundering was a magnet for the trending baby boomers of the time. Over the years, the look has evolved, but white on white is classic and will continue to draw those who appreciate its clean serene ambience. Personally, I mixed it with my midcentury Heywood Wakefield furniture to create a casual urban environment. The washable slipcovers have saved me on more than one wine-spilling occasion!
VELVET? OR IS IT VELVETEEN…OR VELOUR?
Regarding velvet, the podcast host suggested a velvet with a high sheen vs. a matte sheen. True, but to understand the difference in sheen and substance, it helps to know that, like leather, velvet has its imitators; each with its own specific purpose. The original high sheen velvets are made of wool blended with silk or rayon, giving them deep elegant highlights, along with a supple hand. An exception to this would be a mohair velvet which is stunning and beautiful, but without the right blend can be stiff and even coarse. “Cotton velvets” are actually velveteen (also known as ‘velveret’), created to resemble velvet. Where the original velvet makes exquisite draperies, cotton velveteen has a matte sheen, more body, and is bulkier, so does not drape as easily. Velveteen is better for light upholstery, bedspreads, and garments. There is also velour, a light knit fabric made by blending cotton and synthetic fibers to create more elasticity. Velour is generally used for clothing. And then, with an array of synthetics duplicating natural fibers, there is everything in between. I highly suggest getting a sample when ordering “velvet” online.
After my move to my 1940’s rowhouse in Baltimore, I replaced my white living room sectional sofa with a vintage iron European twin bed. I made a cover for it with this rich purple velvet fabric I had inherited from a friend that I had been saving for this very project (little did I know).
Meanwhile, I had two bolsters I had designed for a rattan sofa I donated during my move that I absolutely could not part with. The 40’s repro fabric flocked with velveteen black banana leaves smile at me in delight from their new home as much as I smile at them the minute I enter the room or get a glimpse of the bohemian style as I peer over the facing stairwell. Not only is the design pure eye candy for me, but it also feels rich and lux, and…it is a bed!
I curl up in my cozy spot, stare out at the trees through the adjacent window and write or lounge while I binge on my TV favorites. It is beyond comfortable and inviting. Lastly, I can take the cover off and launder it. My kind of luxury! (Speaking of trends, family and friends are wanting living room daybeds now!
Regarding the zebra or animal print mentioned in the podcast. They are personal classics that I don’t think will ever go out of style. I had actually purchased a zebra fur throw for my sectional. The throw was gorgeous, but not on the sectional, so I tried it on my purple velvet…Love at first sight! That is how you do it! Listen to the room, your mind’s eye…and your heart’s desire.
Gain more visual diversity to discover what truly appeals to you by searching online for “high profile interior designers and influencers”. Your own trending style will emerge from the inside out.
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Happy designing! Peg