Get ready for the new year with this slideshow of standout designs.


These home designs display the kinds of details that make buyers take notice: ample storage, open layouts, well-integrated outdoor living spaces, and lots of clever details.


These home designs display the kinds of details that make buyers take notice: ample storage, open layouts, well-integrated outdoor living spaces, and lots of clever details.

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Aurora Zeledon


Aurora Zeledon is content manager for Hanley Wood’s consumer group, which includes house plan sites and With five years of experience in the pre-drawn plan industry, she sorts through thousands of designs every week to choose the most interesting, innovative, and marketable house plans to spotlight in Hanley Wood’s newsletters, social media, and publications.

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Trends That Will Influence US Homes in 2017

During the past few decades interior design in the US has borrowed much from other cultures, as has Europe, to the extent that both have truly become reflective of global influences. This is not at all a bad thing, as many of the home-grown European and US trends have likewise caught on elsewhere.

Colorful Fashions

In 2015, the Pantone color of the year was Marsala, which is a wine produced around the Italian city of the same name in Sicily. In 2016, for the first time the company nominated a blend of two colors known as Rose Quartz and Serenity.

After the deep plum red of Marsala and the baby blue and pink shades of the pairing of Rose Quartz and Serenity, many design experts are looking towards shades of green as a possibility for 2017, although others believe that earthy shades and pastels will continue to be popular.

Emerald was the Pantone color of the year in 2013 and Turquoise in 2010, so although some interior professionals have touted dark green as the new replacement for navy and midnight blues, variations on hues such as sand (2006), orange (2012) and yellow (2009) may yet be resurrected.

One thing is for certain: every aspect of interior design will be touched by the result of Pantone’s 2017 color of the year, including decorative schemes and accessories, textiles, and flooring, as well as indoor and outdoor furnishings.

Pantone color of the year, Marsala.
Marsala was the Pantone color of the year.


Taking care of the environment has soared to the top of the agenda for those concerned with many aspects of home interiors and lifestyles. In 2016, increasing climate change pressures helped architects and design professionals respond by taking a creative approach to construction methods and building materials.

The trend to improve power generation within home sites with the adoption of eco-friendly alternatives to fossil fuels is likely to last well into and beyond 2017, as the benefits include saving both energy and money. Rising sea levels and increasingly strong hurricane winds mean it is both responsible and cost-effective to apply environmentally friendly techniques to home building.

On Trend Materials

While cool marble and sizzling copper were sought after in 2016, it looks like 2017 may well be the year of clay and wicker in place of marble, while mixed metals seem to be on course for a new lease of life in 2017. It’s likely that dusting off the family silver, gold, polished nickel and brass may well be worthwhile, as well as burnished metals and black steel.

Terracotta has also been mentioned as part of the new décor for 2017, but this is not a throwback to rustic tiles. Instead, it represents a segue into stylish fireplace cladding and elegant interior feature walls with a matte finish. With the trend towards homes becoming more open plan, feature walls are a useful way to break up larger spaces and absorb some sound.

Another material that is making something of a comeback in this respect is cork – placed underneath stone tops on coffee tables, on side tables and also stools. Some interior designers predict the rise in working from home will not only result in the creation of more home office spaces, but also encourage homeowners to clad some walls completely in cork, the better to pin-up maps, schedules and fun notes to family members.

Wood and Textiles

It seems like there’s a kind of swap going on between timber and fabric for 2017. Just as wooden bed frames are giving way to elegantly plush upholstered bed heads, fussy drapes seem set to be replaced with chic spare elegant shutters.

In a way, this is all about bringing modernist architecture into interior design – specifically, form follows function. The bedroom atmosphere should be calming and perhaps a tad glamorous and can be softened by additional fabric to achieve this effect.

On the other hand, the functional areas in homes such as living rooms, kitchens, playrooms and the home office are activity spaces. These can be stripped back to showcase the clean lines of the window openings. To find out more about padded bed heads, check local retailers, and to learn about the benefits of installing shutters, click on window shutter video guides.

Quirky Corners

One trend that is set to really take off in 2017 is the creation of interesting and customized nooks and crannies. So many homes have the same interior layout that they can end up looking like every other house on the block, both inside and out. This is one of the reasons why the flexibility of open plan living is becoming more popular. Whether a household needs quiet calm corners for study, soundproof basements for playing video games or relaxing tranquil spaces with a comfy sofa for reading, it looks like being able to personalize even the smallest of spaces is a surefire winner for the creation of the dream home in 2017.

Structured Plants

Statement indoor plants change with the seasons, and in 2017, it looks like the olive tree could just dominate the domestic interior. Despite this, some experts predict that the best plants for improving air quality may come into their own, as people are more conscious of environmental issues. Among these are the succulent Aloe Vera, the bright and breezy Gerbera daisy, and the Chinese evergreen, which produces beautiful blooms and red berries. All these are known to cleanse the air of a variety of air pollutants and toxins, thereby promoting a cleaner home atmosphere.

Modern Vintage

Finally, one enduring trend seems to be the fashion for contemporary furniture based on vintage styles. This is not likely to go away anytime soon. It includes items that have natural textures and are also durable, such as abaca, cane and rattan.

The desire to make the best possible use of natural and sustainable resources makes sense in the context of how popular upcycling and repurposing has become. Indeed, it may mean that 2017 becomes known as a revitalizing game changer in terms of what has become the throwaway society.

Whether it’s new color schemes or a mixture of different textural choices around the home, the design trends that will influence US home interiors heading into the New Year are bound to be exciting ones.

Continue reading Trends That Will Influence US Homes in 2017

The New Mix: Top Interior Designers Are Getting Cost Savvy

Exclusive clients now demand designers work harder to produce a high-low mix of custom and frugal choices

When it comes to home décor and furniture, high-end interior designers are finding themselves mixing up price points these days—partnering luxurious, investment-worthy purchases with budget-friendly basics to cut costs and get the most unique looks. The demand now is for key pieces such as say, a table, sofa or bed to be custom made to reflect its owner, for which clients are still happy to pay. However, designers are finding that savvy homeowners want to see them working harder for their fees. It is too easy to spend hugely on everything, instead of approaching décor bit by bit. What is important now is an authentic, tailored approach combining price points and even looking to save on certain items.

“You don’t need to spend a fortune to achieve a high-end look,” said Homepolish designer Emma Lesser. “As with fashion, if you invest strategically in certain key pieces, your entire design concept will look elevated.” So how does one achieve this cleverly luxe result without the help of a designer? We asked top interior-design experts to weigh in.

The best part about mixing up price points (and brands) is that it gives your space a more personalized vibe. “It’s easy to go into an expensive store, buy everything and come home to a personality-free space that looks like you tore a page out of their catalog,” designer Camille Henderson Davis of the Niche Home told us. “But your home should tell the story of you and your style. When you mix great finds with more substantial pieces, they feel special and your investment pieces feel unique.”

Cost-savvy designers go for inexpensive brands for basics and smaller accessories. They consider things like everyday dishes, glassware and bedding as they would wardrobe staples. Brooklinen and Authenticity 50 are high quality and easy-on-the-wallet options for classic sheets that get softer over time. “Look for pieces with staying power,” said Henderson Davis. “A beautiful set of crisp, white dishes are the ultimate foundation for a gorgeous table, and you’ll love them for years because they’ll never go out of style. Think of them like a great white T-shirt: Dress them up, dress them down, they’ll go with anything.” She likes Overstock for discounted sheet sets and towels and Ikea for glassware and kitchenware. Her top tip for budget-friendly items? “Always look for natural materials—avoid plastic or anything else that reads ‘cheap’. A glass vase, from Target, with great lines is your little secret,” she added.

Dolley Levan, founder of High Fashion Home likes the easy price points of simple glassware at Crate & Barrel and Target, but warned, “Target has some great tabletop décor, but you have to be lucky enough to get an entire set in one visit, since they sell out so fast.”

Taylor Sterling of Glitter Guide also likes to save on entertaining pieces (think coupes, cocktail shakers and napkins) and shops at Zara Home and H&M Home for trendy and seasonal pieces like pillows, candles and trays. The added bonus: These make for fun, and affordable, gifts.

With basics taken care of, it means budgets can focus on more key pieces, the special items where an interior designer’s expertise really comes into play, Interior designer Becki Owens advised, “A key piece of furniture in a living space like a coffee table or statement chair will tie the room together.” Owens especially invests in light fixtures and likes Made Goods, Arteriors and Cedar and Moss for their eye-catching styles. “I believe in splurging on lighting,” she said. “A well crafted statement light transforms a space and makes it look expensive even if the rest of the room was done on a tight budget.”

And then there’s vintage, which can be pricey or found at a steal, but is universally loved for its special, character-rich aspect. For the most convenient treasure hunt, Owens looks for vintage on Etsy and eBay. “You can find some great deals on unique textiles there,” she said. “I like to layer these on neutral upholstered furniture to create an interestingly curated look to an updated space.” For more one-off shopping options, Levan suggested asking designer friends for their favorite vintage stores and flea markets and checking out estate sales in the neighborhood. Marketplace 1stdibs is also essential, and many interior designers can work out discounts with individual sellers or stores.

As unique as a piece might be, a designer can also arrange to customize it further. “Remember that it is easy to reupholster in a fabulous fabric or refinish the wood,” Levan said. “It’s still quite a lot of work and extra expense to renew it but worth it for something authentic that will give your space a more personalized, ‘lived-in’ look.”

Continue reading The New Mix: Top Interior Designers Are Getting Cost Savvy

Measuring Social Design: The Challenges of Bringing Data Into Design

“Design+Health” showed how data will (and should) inform design. But it also provoked questions about its potential downsides.

Guglielmo Mattioli

MASS co-founder Michael Murphy at the Measured symposium

Courtesy Aubrey Hays, DSI

In the last decade, social design has emerged as an established discipline in its own right. But although many now recognize the benefits of using a more sustainable design process, few have figured out accurate ways to quantify, or measure, these benefits. On this premise, the MFA Design for Social Innovation at theSchool of Visual Arts of New York organized “Design+Health,” its first day-long symposium dedicated to methods for measuring social design’s impact.

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How Facebook and Instagram are quietly changing the appearance of American homes

Published: Mar 19, 2017 8:52 a.m. ET

Almost a third of homeowners bought something because their friend posted it online

AFP/ Getty Images
Pinterest, pictured, and Instagram inspire many home improvement projects.

Social media has an unmerciful hold on us – and inspires us to eat at a certain restaurant or see a movie. It even makes us renovate our homes.

Homeowners are turning to sites and apps like Pinterest and Instagram (which Facebook FB, -0.15%  acquired in 2012) to decorate or remodel their homes — 28% of the 1,500 homeowners surveyed by personal- and student-loan lender SoFi said they made at least one home purchase after seeing a friend’s post. Almost half (44%) of the respondents between 25 and 44 years old said they prefer social media channels for home design over home improvement shows and magazines. Updating kitchens and bathrooms were first on the list for more than a third.

Pinterest and Instagram may even be more influential than magazines. “The more personal, individually-curated nature of social [media] causes it to carry more influence, precisely because it is a real glimpse into real spaces,” said Laurel Toney, a spokesperson at SoFi. “Even if the images are similar to what you’d see in a magazine, they can feel more attainable with a friend or influencer’s profile attached to them.”

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Social media can hit a person’s finances hard in other ways too. About 40% of adults with social media accounts said others’ posts made them look into similar purchases and vacations, according to a survey by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, an accounting professional members organization. Some 11% made the purchase or took the vacation within that year of seeing the post. Almost a third of Americans (30%) said social media influences what they buy, and 5% said it had a significant influence, according to a 2014 Gallup poll.


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How Snap makes money

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Some people have turned away from their social media accounts as a result, partly because it is a distraction from their daily responsibilities, but also because they’re seeing it as toxic or a place where people brag or show their “ugly” sides. Plus, it can get expensive — Pinterest shoppers spent an average of $170 during their site visits, Facebook shoppers spent about $95 per session and Twitter shoppers spent about $70 per session, according to e-commerce firm RichRelevance, Reuters reported.

In the most recent survey released Wednesday, participants seemed to watch their wallets: 61% they assessed their finances and see how they could afford home improvement projects before doing anything. It’s only after they do that that they realize they may not be able to continue — 63% said money is why they don’t do the project after all, and a similar percentage said they’ve delayed projects as a result of their finances. Only 15% actually placed home improvement projects as a top priority.

See also: The surprising trend giving plastic surgeons a lift: Instagram

bout half of the respondents said they’d do some of the improvements on their home and rely on professionals for the meatier work, such as plumbing and electric. The most popular time to do home improvement projects is within the first year of purchase — 80% of home buyers did so, and spent a median of $4,000, according to the Home Improvement Research Institute, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit members association.

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Continue reading How Facebook and Instagram are quietly changing the appearance of American homes

Designer Dilemma: What to Do With a Client’s Old Furniture?

When redecorating means out with the old, in with the new, where exactly should the old go?

Continue reading Designer Dilemma: What to Do With a Client’s Old Furniture?

Why some designers love using faux materials

Blogger and designer Erin Souder redid her kitchen counter for $30 by painting a slab of butcher block she had lying around in her garage. Her “very discerning” mother-in-law thought it was real marble. “It’s held up phenomenally,” Souder said. “Red wine, coffee, you name it, I’ve spilled it, but it looks brand new.

Continue reading Why some designers love using faux materials

What’s A Private Jet These Days Without An Interior Designer?

Celebrity event designer and interior decorator Ken Fulk tells us about designing his first (and second!) private jet

Owning a private jet may seem like the ultimate luxury, but it’s even rarer these days than one would think—at least, according to event designer and interior decorator Ken Fulk. “To operate a private plane, it requires a staff; it requires maintenance; it’s a big endeavor. Flying private has become a little easier because of technology, which makes it super special when people truly have their own plane,” he says. Fulk would know, as he has once again extended himself beyond the confines of his traditional job title, recently designing a 15-seat Falcon 900 private jet for an anonymous billionaire client.


The longtime client gave Fulk, who has worked with Sean Parker, Kevin System, and Ali and Mark Pincus, nearly full sovereignty when it came to design decisions. “This plane has a real personality to it,” he explains. “Most of them are uninteresting. They are kind of tan or beige. Yachts often have more character. Planes feels kind of benign to me. We had a jumping off point from a design view: I kind of thought of a British racing car.” Fulk used a 1973 Jaguar XKE as his inspiration for the plane, a feeling of James Bond meets Steven McQueen. “I wanted it to feel dapper and dandy and sort of sporty,” he explained. “The body of the plane has that beautiful sort of racing green on it with that highlight of burgundy going along it.”


The interior is equally impressive: With textured leather seats and custom David Hicks carpet, anyone would be satisfied. “But we couldn’t just stop there,” Fulk insists. “We did wonderful custom dop kits made for each seat, beautiful custom cashmere blankets made for each person, and a personalized very funny, slightly naughty safety video that’s a favorite thing to do anytime someone new gets on the plane. It’s very ridiculous in an Austin Powers sort of way. The whole plane was a very bespoke moment.”


Even with Fulk’s experience, working on his first private jet (his “inaugural plane,” as he calls it) was still a learning curve. “Some things are just ridiculously expensive because you’re putting them on a plane. Even though it might be the same fabric I’m putting on your sofa, it’s more expensive because I’m putting it on a plane,” Fulk explains. The reason for this is because of the safety regulations the products must endure. “To do the smallest thing on a plane costs a lot of money.”


Fulk’s final product was quite the success (“Everyone who travels around on it is texting me saying ‘Holy cow! This is the best plane I have ever traveled around on!'”). In fact, the project led him to another: He is currently working on his second private plane project for another wealthy, anonymous client.

Still, he is still hoping to check another, equally opulent project off his bucket list: “I have never done a yacht. I am waiting!”



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Continue reading What’s A Private Jet These Days Without An Interior Designer?

ASID Ones to Watch

Looking to lead? We’re looking for you

ASID recognizes the need to grow diversity and inclusion in the interior design profession. Through ASID Ones to Watch, the Society supports rising leaders to ensure that diversity is reflected at all levels of the industry.

Each year, the ASID Ones to Watch program identifies and recognizes rising leaders in the interior design industry who demonstrate exceptional leadership potential and a willingness to push the boundaries of the profession. They are poised to take the next step in their careers. Up to 20 applicants will be honored as ASID Ones to Watch Award Winners within four unique categories: Design Excellence, Education Leadership, Manufacturing Leadership, and Volunteer Leadership.

Emphasis will be placed on participants whose backgrounds are currently under-represented in management roles in the interior design industry, including women, members of racial and ethnic minority groups, LGBTQ, and persons with disabilities.

From the 20 award winners, the Society will select up to eight ASID Ones to Watch Scholars to participate in an exciting leadership development training program. The two-year program teaches Scholars to lead with authenticity through experiential learning, coaching, and mentoring. In the first year, Scholars learn to leverage and embrace their unique perspectives and backgrounds to excel in their careers. During the second year, Scholars have the opportunity to serve as mentors to the next class of ASID Ones to Watch Scholars.

Continue reading ASID Ones to Watch

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