Whether you’re planning a full renovation or just refreshing one room, the new year offers a fresh wave of design trends and inspiration. In collaboration Empire, Stephanie Quisenberry of Quisenberry Design shares what 2018 interior design trends have in store, as well as where to save vs. splurge when planning your design projects.
TREND: Gathering spaces are back
Once upon a time, the formal dining room was a standard fixture in every family home. It was kept in pristine condition, housed all the good china, and was not stepped foot in outside the holidays. Now, anything but stuffy, the dining room is making a comeback for 2018 as a stylish gathering place in the home.
As homebuilders increasingly lean toward open-concept floorplans that allow for a harmonious flow between rooms, designers and homeowners have had to adapt their decorating style to match. “In my most recent model homes, we began planning around the concept of gathering, as a community or as a family, and we designed in a way to create these places to naturally come together,” says Quisenberry, who recently completed four new models in the Houston area for Empire. This can be as simple as positioning seating so that people face each other around a coffee table rather than facing a television set.
Often an afterthought, it’s important to consider the potential of your outdoor space, which can be treated as an extension of your living space. A large terrace fire element or water feature adds to the ambiance and acts as a spot to bring family and friends together. At Empire’s model in Montgomery’s Woodforest community, the home plan embraces outdoor living.
Quisenberry says to think about the way you’ll be using the space, not just how you’d like it to look. Simple details like additional stools or ottomans, for example, can be used to accommodate more guests or act as side tables when entertaining.
TREND: Appeal to your touch, not just sight
Whereas homeowners and designers once turned to color to make a bold statement, monochromatic furnishings make a comeback, coupled with rich textures, in 2018. Layering of different materials like knits or fabrics appeals to our sense of touch and feel, creating an inviting, relaxing space that draws people in. This can be used in the home with layered carpets, plush pillows on a contrasting couch, or in structural elements like embossed, faux-brick walls, wooden wall panels, or ceiling features. The goal is not for a particular area of your home to scream “look at me,” as with accent walls, but to allow the eyes to relax and slowly explore the subtle contours and features.
If you’re finding it challenging to make the most of your design budget, consider Quisenberry’s save/splurge guide to help allocate dollars where they will make the biggest impact.
Where to splurge
Splurge on lighting. Most people don’t realize how much of a difference good lighting can make on your home. Start with your task lighting (pot lights and pendant lamps), then move onto ambiance like table and floor lamps. “Splurge on light fixtures in high-impact areas in particular, like the main living room or over kitchen islands” says Stephanie. These will be the spaces where you and your family spend the most amount of time and adequate lighting is an integral part of setting the tone of these key areas in your home.
Where to save
When buying new, Stephanie recommends saving on flooring. Although real hardwood can increase your home’s value and is definitely worth considering, there are some great vinyl and faux-wood tile options available today that don’t sacrifice the look of your floors. This is a particularly good tip for homeowners with young children or pets, or just people who aren’t very careful (you know who you are). Those inevitable nicks and scratches will hurt a lot less if you didn’t spend a fortune on hardwood.
When decorating, a major cost-saving opportunity is artwork. Particularly if you’re buying a new home and decorating from scratch, artwork can get expensive but is necessary to get that cozy, live-in look that makes a house feel like a home. “You don’t need to buy expensive prints and artwork for your home to look good, just about anything can look great if its framed properly”, says Stephanie “I recently framed some antique shaving paraphernalia for under $5, and it looks amazing.” Look through old photos, kid’s drawings, band t-shirts, knick-kacks or even your favorite quotes that you can print and frame at a low cost. This not only looks great on a budget, but it gives your home personality and really tells a story about who lives there.