Tag Archives: design trends

Interior Designers On The Design Trends They Hate Most


Bathrooms don't look like this anymore for a reason.

Bathrooms don’t look like this anymore for a reason.


Have you seen a new bathroom built with glass bricks in the past decade? Probably not. That’s because although glass brick bathrooms were trendy thirty years ago, at some point, interior design professionals made an unofficial collective decision that they looked hideous.

The same will eventually be said for many of the current design trends that have become almost painfully ubiquitous. Just because a look is heavily featured on social media or HGTV, doesn’t mean it’s a good choice for everyone from an aesthetic or even a practicality standpoint. From tropical print overload to Live, Laugh, Love art, some of the biggest names in interior design gladly confessed their least favorite trends as well as the alternatives that make better replacements.

Midcentury Modern Design

We're closer to the middle of the century.

We’re closer to the middle of the next century.


It feels as if mid-century modern furniture and design has been a trend for the better part of the current century, even if it has probably been closer to a decade. While Shabby Chic founder Rachel Ashwell loves the minimal and simple clean lines of this style, overall, she isn’t a fan. “Even on clean lines, I always like things to be comfortable,” she says.

But if you’re stuck in a house full of wood furniture with angled feet, Ashwell doesn’t think the situation is hopeless. “Comfy cushions and accents of romantic flowers I feel would have made this trend more liveable.”

Skinny Flat Cushions On Oversized Sofas

Ashwell thinks bigger is better when it comes to cushions.

Ashwell thinks bigger is better when it comes to cushions.


Ashwell is a proponent of comfort in design, which makes sense because who wants to sit on something that’s uncomfortable? After all, the designer is known for creating oversized sofas with large, cloud-like cushions. “The streamlined aesthetics of oversized sofas with very thin cushions always seemed odd and uncomfortable to me, giving the feeling of an enormous dog bed,” she says. “I feel the diversity of tastes and styles of sofas from traditional to modern, should still be comfortable and inviting. Skinny flat seat cushions are never a substitute for a comfy seat.”

Icy Gray Interior Colors

Grey as a cloudy sky.

Gray as a cloudy sky.


Cool-toned gray paint and furniture might be having a moment, but Andrea DeRosa and Ashley Manhan of Avenue Interior Design are watching the clock. They can’t wait for this trend to freeze over.

But that doesn’t mean the interior design duo is anti-gray all together. If you’re looking for a true gray, they suggest making sure there is a small amount of red or an undertone to the color. “Looking to embrace an up-and-coming trend? Go with finishes that are more of a taupe based ‘French Gray.’ French grays are very versatile and have more warmth to them than cool or warm grays,” they explain.

Kitchy Phrases And Letter Blocking As Artwork

Get inspired to find new artwork.

Get inspired to find something else.


Art should always have a message, but DeRosa and Manhan believe it’s okay to search for that meaning. They would be happy never seeing another inspirational message again. “Whether you’re telling a guest to ‘relax’ or trying to communicate a sense of ‘home-sweet-home,’ there are countless ways you can do so in a more subtle way,” they say.

The designers suggest creating context and a sense of place through the use of photography, color or pattern. “This allows each guest to craft their own experience and make the overall vibe for the interior more timeless.”

Kitchens With No Upper Wall Cabinets

A design choice that will leave you with less storage and more to clean.

A design choice that will leave you with less storage and more to clean.


Kitchens that lack upper wall cabinetry are highly impractical according to Alexis Rodgers of Home With Alexis. Shorter cabinets mean the only thing you can store in the space is dust.“Keeping a kitchen tidy can be challenging enough, and I don’t need or want the additional challenge of where-to-store-my-dishes-and-stash-this-ugly-mug added to my daily routine,” the interior designer confesses.

Rodgers likes the warmth, balance, and function that upper wall cabinets provide. They’re also a necessity if the kitchen has a range hood. “The range hood with no wall companions can look both imposing and incomplete, floating by itself on the otherwise barren wall. Of course, there are exceptions that make this trend look fabulous, but the ones I have seen in real life leave me wanting more-namely, more cabinetry,” she explains.

Exposed Kitchen Shelving

A perfect shelfie. An imperfect trend.

A perfect shelfie. An imperfect trend.


Rodgers truly dikes replacing traditional cabinetry with open shelving. This design choice might be ideal for social media posts, but not real life. “This wall-to-wall, open-shelf concept feels too much like a retail store showcasing its sale items, and it can create anxiety in having to curate or maintain the perfect shelfie at all times,” she says.

At one point, Rodgers installed open shelving in her kitchen, but ultimately regretted it. “I know from personal experience, as I eventually removed the floating shelves in my own kitchen and never looked back.”

Want to mix it up? Go for a combination of solid wood and glass-front cabinetry instead. “The glass doors give you the airiness of open shelving without the dust and chaos,” she says.

Clean Minimal Interiors

Pretty but cold.

Pretty but cold.


Founder of Dazey LA, Danielle Nagel, is sick of seeing clean, minimal interiors everywhere, “They are so boring and lack life and interest,” she says. “To me, it just feels like cheating to leave things basically blank and call it a day.”

But that doesn’t mean going the opposite way entirely. As an alternative, Nagel recommends incorporating subtle colors such as warm ochre, dusty gold, or light pink into a design scheme. “An accent wall or a few warm accessories can really make a space feel so much cozier while still remaining simple.”

Tile Countertops

Tiles on the wall. Not on the countertop!

Tiles on the wall. Not on the countertop!


There are so many places to use tile, but according to Cliff Webster, who is the General Manager of Tile for Wayfair, countertops are not one of them. “While countertop tile may have gone out of style, patterns are in! Use patterned tile to create on-trend (and moisture resistant) accent walls, backsplashes and floors. Wayfair has thousands of options available. Some of the brand’s best sellers are the PalomaArtea and Encausto.”

While tile can be an affordable choice for countertops, that doesn’t make it a good choice. This material just looks dated and will certainly turn off potential buyers when it comes time to sell your home.

Flush Mount Ceiling Lights

These fixtures hardly light up a room.

These fixtures hardly light up a room.


Kelly Aaron, who is the Chief Luminary of Blueprint Lighting, sees certain flush mount fixtures (known to some as boob lights for their resemblance to the female anatomy) as one of the worst possible design choices to make. “There is so much good design in the world at every conceivable price point that bad design shouldn’t exist anymore,” she says. “I look at these lights and see a missed opportunity to place something sculptural, add a pop of color or tell a little story. They are a cop out.”

Standard flush mounts are also impractical, Aaron explains. “To add insult to injury, it is also obscenely difficult to change a bulb in one of these things—just a poor design all around. Plus, they look like a boob. But not a sexy boob. A boob you wish you could un-see.”

But there are alternatives, she says. “Obviously, it depends on the scale of the space. But if something comparably small-scale is needed, our Strobus flush mount is a fabulous option. It packs a serious design punch and provides a ton of visual interest and texture in a compact little package.”

For a larger scale project, Aaron recommends the Counterbalance light from Blueprint both for its design and the fact that the light bulb is easy to change. “If the room can handle something of a larger scale, our Counterbalance is a knockout! We were inspired by the mobiles of Alexander Calder when designing Counterbalance. It’s a light that doubles as a sculpture.”

White Everything

Too much white.

Too much white.


Mike Russell, CEO of Paintzen is bored of monochromatic white rooms. “There’s such an attachment to all white everywhere—from walls to ceilings to furniture,” he says. “While we understand the desire for a fresh, clean look, it lacks originality. With thousands of paint color options, you can certainly find something that feels as clean as pure white, like rich blues or sage greens, but lends a little more personality.”

Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn is for snacking, not ceilings. 

Popcorn is for snacking, not ceilings.


Meghan Stewart, Senior Director of Residential and Certified Color Consultant for Paintzen truly dislikes popcorn ceilings. “Their sticky texture adds a weird dynamic to rooms with an otherwise soft, clean look. If you want to make your ceiling stand out, we recommend adding some color and treating it like your fifth wall. It can still be eye-catching, without the rigid finish,” she says.

Tropical Print Overload

Use sparingly.

Use sparingly.


Tropical designs such as banana and palm leaf prints are having a long moment. But many people are going overboard. There is a fine line between the touch of sophistication it can add versus looking like the jungle exploded.

Tropical prints were highly popular in design a few years ago,” says Jennifer Matthews, who is the Creative Director and Co-Founder of Tempaper. “While tropical influences still play a role, they have evolved into a more refined scenic aesthetic that tells a story. Utopia, Tempaper’s first panoramic mural, is an excellent example of this.”

There are lots of ways to incorporate tropical print. Perhaps an accent wall, linen napkins or accessorizing with pillows. It’s easy to go overboard, but try to resist temptation.

Stainless Steel Appliances

Color would be better.

Color would be better.


For more than a decade, stainless steel has been the standard for appliances. But many feel this look is getting old. Orion Creamer, who is the Founder of Big Chill, which manufactures colorful and retro style appliances says, “There’s nothing exciting or individualized about [the stainless steel appliance trend].”

He feels that custom color choices whether they’re matte black, cherry red, or even orange can make a much larger impact than stainless steel. “Colorful appliances create a space that feels unique and mirrors the style of the homeowner most accurately. It’s for this reason that here at Big Chill, we are extending our custom color offerings with premium color offerings to appeal to even more aesthetic preferences,” he says.

Continue reading Interior Designers On The Design Trends They Hate Most


Design trends force commercial architects and designers into a home design mentality

03.22.2018by nick meter


I want my office to look like this page I saw on Pinterest.”

“The space needs to look more residential and eclectic. Have you seen the Soho House?”

“Why can’t I just use the same chairs from Restoration Hardware that I use at home?”

The past five years have seen a rapid shift in the design preferences of corporate clients. Empowered by websites that make the envisioning of design options possible (e.g., Pinterest, Houzz, etc.) and fed by the ongoing trend of promoting “residential” qualities within a workspace, clients are increasingly seeking solutions outside of established channels.

As contract furniture manufacturers adapt to this trend with new product and material introductions, products from online/retail/boutique outlets are increasingly requested, specified, and implemented.

This trend is welcome in that it allows for greater eclecticism and texture within corporate spaces. At the same time, it presents a unique (but not insurmountable) challenge to all of the key members of a project team.

Our collective thinking—developed through years of working with contract and semi-contract vendors—must be recalibrated so that we can design and manage better together. Our dialogue with clients needs to evolve so that they can understand that what they may consider a “simple online order” or “15 minutes on Pinterest” is not a substitute for professionally administered procurement and implementation or interior design, respectively.

When evaluating movable furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF+E) from online, retail, and boutique (ORB) sources, consider the following professional roles and their experience:


Design firms often work more, not less, when specifying ORB products for several reasons. Unlike contract furniture, there is little to no established market representation to assist with specifications. Therefore, the influence of the design firm can’t be leveraged to drive vendor performance with regard to pricing, lead time, and warranty.

In addition, samples of product and material are often not readily available and are typically not stocked in a design library. Contacting the vendor through its website, main office, or email can be challenging when compared to typical contract sources. Given these issues, clients and designers are often asked to make selections without adequate collateral, leading to a protracted selection process or a dispute when items do not meet their expectations.

Not understanding these potential problems, clients wrongly conceive of the specification process for ORB items as easier, not harder. “Shopping” is familiar to them and not considered an activity requiring professional oversight and assistance. Clients who find and suggest ORB items themselves are not aware of the necessary follow-up work required to specify the product, coordinate it with interior finishes, or the vendor and dealer communication needed procurement and implementation.


Dealers also typically expend more resources when specifying ORB products due to a number of factors. Reliable manufacturer representation and support is highly variable and provider-dependent. The dealer’s influence as a long-term business partner to the manufacturer is not as easily leveraged, making it harder for sticky discussions around shipping damage, warranty, and repairs to get “unstuck”. Also, warranties are weaker in general for ORB products when compared to contract-grade providers.

More of Tangram: DTLA Showroom Disrupting Traditional Office Design

Imagine EntertainmentClients might experience low first cost but will pay for time and materials more frequently during the lifespan of the product. Lead times for ORB items are highly variable and freight carriers’ standards for timeliness and performance vary more than those of contract manufacturers.

ORB vendors typically require 100 percent payment up front. This practice negatively affects cash flow and is a major constraint for smaller, more boutique dealers. As mentioned above, samples are often not readily available or stocked in a design library. Vendors such as Overstock and One Kings Lane do not necessarily keep running inventory of product. As the name suggests, Overstock sells a fixed amount of a particular product and then discontinues selling it. This practice creates continuity issues for clients.

Clients and design firms, not realizing these problems, misunderstand the importance of the dealer. Because the pricing available to the client often matches what is available to the dealer, the dealer markup becomes more obvious and therefore more open to objections from the client or design firm. In these cases, clients often don’t realize the value of a dealer markup and the services that are included, even with ORB products. Benefits include point-of-pricing and specification assistance; a single consolidation point for ordering from multiple manufacturers; a single point of payment and follow-up; responsibility for paying the vendors; responsibility for receiving, delivering, and installing in good condition; and responsibility for all follow-up work.


Saatchi & SaatchiProject managers should also understand several key issues. ORB products can offer attractive cost or aesthetic alternatives to contract lines, and in many cases are viable and worthwhile.

However, quality, lead time, and product inventory continuity are highly variable. Warranty, representation, and follow-up capabilities of the vendor are typically more limited than with contract goods. The last thing a project manager wants is to be caught in the middle of a battle of finger pointing between various members of the project team.

The complexities of specifying, ordering, and implementing the product should not be short-sold to the client when discussing the corresponding design fees and dealer markups. Design firms and dealers should be held to the same high standards for execution but with a nuanced understanding of the issues as described above.

The bottom line? When all the players on a workspace design project are in tune and understand the value each plays, there is a much higher probability client expectations are met. Tight collaboration is critical to meeting those expectations for cost, quality, and timeliness—this includes determining when to specify ORB items that may look great but are problematic to procure and may not stand the test of time.


Read the Acoustics 101 Series
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Nick Meter is a veteran of the commercial furniture industry. He is now director of New Client Sales + Customer Experience for Tangram’s Los Angeles team.

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Design Trends In Home Furnishings For 2018 Inspired Functionality That Makes A Statement!

 Bohemian chic. Functional fabrics. Mid-century modern. Bold colors. Geometric and floral prints. Look for these design elements—and more—in furniture and accessories to perk up a humdrum home interior with this year’s design trends. The trends are an eclectic mix of Influences that range from Morocco to the United States in the middle of the 20th century.

“It’s a global technological world, and current interior design takes creative initiative from everywhere,” says Debi Danals, buyer and interior designer at Leopold’s Fine Home Furnishings in Brecksville. “People today don’t want just something ordinary. They prefer inspired designs that meet a need. At Leopold’s, you can see all of the top interior design trends on display in our showroom and be inspired to try something new and on trend,” Danals adds.

Bohemian Chic. Look for very colorful geometric patterns and lots of different textures, all with a Moroccan flair. Expect to see patterns on patterns and multiple patterns on the same fabric. “This look has been out there before but has been updated for 2018,” says Danals.

Mid-Century Modern. With this throwback style, metallic is big, especially brushed brass in chandeliers table lamps and other accessories. “Young millennials love mid-century modern,” says Danals. “They don’t remember it, so it’s new to them.” For persons of a certain age, mid-century modern brings back memories they may want to re-create.

Bold/Strong Colors. The top decorating color is blue—peacock, Navy, gray skies—combined with grays and soft whites. “Blue is everywhere,” says Danals, adding that “the color often is combined with white, cream, grays, taupe.” Other color trends are black and whites (sometimes combined with a splash of apple green), ultra violet, blush, and bright oranges and plums. “All of these colors are trending,” says Danals, “because people desire something that stands out and makes a statement.”

Functionality and Performance. It’s not enough today for sofas, chests, and other furniture and accessories to be just decorative, says Danals, adding that people see function as equally important. “People want savvy statement pieces that do more than one thing,” says Danals, adding that people want upholstery fabrics that hold up well for everyday living but also feel soft. That’s why performance fabrics (such as Crypton and Sunbrella) are growing in popularity, says Danals. “Performance fabrics,” Danals notes, “originally were used for outdoor furniture but now are commonly used in places such as great rooms where both beauty and durability are desired.”

Fabrics. In addition to performance fabrics, trends include floral prints, textures, geometric shapes, velvet and faux fur. “Velvet is now being used casually and not just formally,” says Danals. “People are embracing the soft feel of the its thick, short pile.”

Case Goods. These furniture items are anything but bland this year. Look for multiple colors and textures in the same piece, such as a painted back and a textured-wood front; a combination of marble, stone, metal, acrylic and wood; the use of antique mirrors for front panels; and drawer pulls made from agate, acrylic and shaped wood.

Details. “Strong design details are making a big impact on home furnishings,” says Danals. She gives as examples nailhead trim used over fabric tapes with spacing between the nails, unique arm styles (such as Greek key arms on chairs), tufting on upholstery backs and seats, fabric banding, and mitered corners on pillows.

Now that you know what to look for, you’re ready to make your unique design statement for 2018.

For more information about Leopold’s, call 440-526-2400, visit the showroom at 8147 Brecksville Road, or go to http://leopoldsfurniture.com/.

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Design trends are evolving at an ever-quickening pace thanks to design-oriented television and social media, and 2018 promises to bring even more excitement and innovation to the interior design scene. Here are some of my top picks:

Mixed Materials
Be prepared to see a vast assortment of mixed metals, integrated color combinations, the use of lush textures and continued personalization to transform a house to a completely personalized home.



We are officially halfway through 2017. Not totally sure how that happened, but we’re here, and we’re already pretty eager to see what 2018 has in store.

Of all the design trends we look forward to most in the coming year, color holds a steady spot at the top of our list. After all, it sets the tone for what furniture we buy, what decor we invest in, and the overall mood for that design year.


2018 Colors: Colors That Should Be On Your Radar

We are officially halfway through 2017. It went super quick, but we’re here, and we’re already pretty eager to see what 2018 has in store! 

Of all the design trends we look forward to most in the coming year, color holds a steady spot at the top of our list. After all, it sets the tone for what furniture we buy, what decor we invest in, and the overall mood for that design year.

Continue reading 2018 Colors: Colors That Should Be On Your Radar