Smart Design With Suzette: In The Know … Trends

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Los Alamos

The interior design landscape is ripe with possibility. I’ve been extremely busy designing and keenly aware of design trends. I wanted to share what I’m seeing and designing so to keep you, my readers, in the know. This is your ‘cheat sheet’ for the year!

2018 interiors celebrate eclectic style. Grey, beige and ‘greige’ will give their place to dark blues, gold, bronze, sumptuous greens, terracotta and ochre yellows. Tactile natural materials such as rich velvets will team up with geometric patterned or chintz floral soft furnishings, and larger than life botanical or arty wallpapers. Curtains and cushions will be embellished with tassels, fringes and pompoms. Walls will exhibit a multitude of art displays and the antique brown furniture will see a comeback, sitting happily next to mid-century pieces. Read on to find out more…

Materials and Textures
Mixing finishes gives a more thoughtfully created look and a harmonious feel. It’s seen in both residential and larger commercial applications like bars and restaurants. Look to layer bare iron, natural and painted woods and stone with touches of gold and brass (yes both are big this year).

Mix metal finishes everywhere from furniture, kitchen and bathroom fixtures to lighting, cabinet hardware and accessories. Copper, bronze, brass, satin brass, gold and black nickel now all work together and are interchangeable.

Designer Tip: Choose one dominant metal to carry the room and to use the others as accents. This year gold is the key metal. Softer than silver, it brings its own elegance together with a sense of decadence. You’ll see gold detailing like doorknobs and handles, gold lamp bases and picture frames.

Mix different woods – old, new, hardwoods, softwoods, painted and natural, light and dark woods. Go eclectic and use reclaimed and salvaged, mix eras and styles and don’t let any theme or style dominate. The secret to success will be mixing the materials in a clever way.

Statement Ceilings
Things are looking up. At the end of 2017, statement ceilings started making an appearance and will continue throughout the next year. What designers call the ‘fifth wall’ is no longer an area of the room that we want to ignore and tone down. Instead, we are seeing bolder designs which can be achieved by using printed or textured wallpaper, striking paint colors, exposed beams and detailed plaster or timber moldings.

I’ve always preached the importance of details, and when it comes to design, your ceiling should never be an afterthought. Ceilings are hot and I’m a fan.   

Greenery has been a rising trend for a while now, with more and more people filling their homes with foliage to counteract our increasingly urban lives. With increasing news of health benefits, the humble houseplant is fast becoming the must-have buy for our homes. And it seems the more the merrier, so pop down to your local garden center and invest in some stunning plants. Succulents and cactus are a trendy plant – easy to care for perfect in our high desert climate.

Reconnecting with nature is spilling over into everything from wallpaper prints to fabric patterns, as well as home accessories such as ceramics and tableware.
Green upholstery is also set to become a key trend, particularly plush velvet in eye-catching shades of forest green, pine and emerald. Even the normally muted Scandinavian brands have been steadily adding these hues to their collections for 2018.

Macramé, fringing, tufting, tassels and feathers – you name it, it’s here for this season and you’ll see it on cushions, wall hangings, throws, rugs and accessories. This trend will add a wonderful handmade quality to each room. Try beautiful tactile cushions on the sofa, a sumptuous throw with tassels on the bed, or a wall hanging or two on plain walls to add interest.

Color Palettes
Pops of color are one of the strongest trends this year – especially navy and green. Embracing the beauty and bounty of nature, use apricot, dusky rose and terracotta shades – but in their modern, chalky manifestations. The attraction of these latest grown-up pastels is their ability to work well with the existing furniture in our homes. Brass, marble and especially natural wood, enhance these peach, paprika and iced coffee tones to bring a sense of nature to our homes in an increasingly crazy world. What about neutrals? Mellow hues are the new neutrals. Move over gray and enter sage. Just visit shared images on Pinterest to see how sage is booming in popularity as people adopt it as a ‘new neutral’ color for their bedrooms. The most recent trend of pink and gold has had a strong hold on us for the last two years. It will stay around for a while longer – heading towards a more peachy-pink.

Colorful Kitchens Will Be Big
2018 kitchens break the rules! Unconventional. Custom. Forward thinking. Functional. Stylish. Decor-wise, expect to see patterned and textured backsplashes that wow. Color-wise, forget white cabinets unless you’re pairing it with another color – soft pink, crisp cobalt, green and even rich violet. Kitchens are getting a much-needed design overhaul. Expect to see bolder color choices that range from natural neutrals to charcoal to sage providing a more chic and sophisticated alternative to modern homes. To complement the darker palette, we can also expect to see a shift from stainless and all white sinks to more color-rich materials such as copper, concrete, and granite.

Hidden Range Hoods
A statement range hood can make an ideal focal point in a kitchen. But in more compact spaces, the last thing you may want is another bulky appliance. Instead, consider hiding a hood behind some elegant cabinetry.

No Uppers
As kitchens become more and more the heart of the home, the lived-in look has now evolved to include no (or little) upper cabinetry. Of course, this isn’t always do-able if you find yourself with a postage stamp of a kitchen. But if you’re blessed with enough real estate, it’s an incredibly impactful design detail. Omitting the uppers makes your lower cabinets feel more like furniture, connecting it with the rest of your home. It’s airy, it’s beautiful, and I’m a huge fan.

Curves Ahead
Curves are back! I’m telling you right here: curves and arches are huge this year. From windows, to doorways, to pass-thrus and beyond. I’m seeing them far and wide these days, and I’m all for it. You can also expect to see an influx of softer, more organic curves versus the popular sharp-edge designs in all types of furniture from armchairs to sofas, bar carts to rugs.

Wall Coverings
Wallpaper is making a comeback after suffering years of neglect and a bad reputation for being “old-fashioned”. Wallpaper is back on the interior design scene with a vengeance and not just on focal walls. It adds depth to the decor and creates an all-new visual perspective that infuses interiors with mood and feeling.  Wall coverings are taking on a role as works of art. Expect to see more nature-inspired prints and very modern, geometric patterns making rooms more interesting and modern.

Interior Styles
There are so many wonderful things happening on the interiors front these days. I feel there is a shift toward designing spaces based on how people want to feel. People are crystal clear on how they want to feel at home — and will make design choices based on that. Whether it’s ‘relaxed’ or ‘energized’ or ‘intimate’ or ‘professional’ — spaces have the power to help us feel the way we want to feel in our lives.

With this trend, I’m seeing more emphasis on design freedoms. You truly have the ability to create a one-of-a-kind space that suits who you are and what you want the room to accomplish. How cool is that?

Contact Suzette Fox at, or

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