Natural colours, eco-friendly materials key

benjamin moore


Above, paint colours such as Misted Fern, Hemp Seed and Branchport Brown are part of Benjamin Moore’s Organic Comfort trend group for 2008. Colours inspired by nature are part of the “green” trend that will dominate décor this year.

We’ve made ourselves clear on many occasions: There’s no better way to beat the blahs, in January or at any other time, than to contemplate home décor changes.

Moreover, the first few sobering weeks of the new year are a perfect time to reflect on emerging décor trends. Following are some of the top themes we see for this year.

First and foremost, we are seeing a continuation of the trend toward all things organic, natural, homegrown and “green.” Stylish eco-friendly design and materials are finding their way into décor in many different forms, from recycled furniture, sustainable bamboo flooring and rugs, the natural texture of wood and shell, to art derived from genuine leaves or bark.

This also shows up in terms of colours and styles. For example, paint colours are chosen from tones such as a clear blue or aqua, or several mid-range shades of green, such as sage, fern or palm.

Accents may be earth tones such as sand or clay. Accessories include comfortable, home-spun looking items, from woven blankets to textured cotton or jute rugs underfoot.

Along with this trend is a trend toward using calming, soft colours and lighting to create a Zen-inspired feeling of serenity and peace. This can tie into the eco-friendly trend, but it has a distinct Asian flavour of its own. Uncluttered and simple design using organic colours and natural textures play prominently into this look — a very attractive choice for those of us who need to remove ourselves from the ubiquitous demands of high-tech communications technology.

Or consider another look altogether. Go for a glamorous or elegant look with the high-contrast style of décor we see emerging. This look can range from a black-and-white colour scheme with bold red highlights, to a textural contrast such as that between industrial stainless steel and natural wood or rough-hewn stone, for example.

Accessories such as throw pillows can introduce a contrast as well —consider the contrast between a plush velvet deep red throw pillow against a stainless steel modern piece of furniture, or a horsehair pillow against a soft chenille throw, for instance.

White, in all its variations, can provide you with a great palette for dramatic, luxe accents such as big, oversized mirrors and chandeliers, for example. If you can swing it, even large, highly ornate pieces of furniture can strike a great new look. But please don’t do a “set”— this would be too much of a good thing. A piece or two of richly ornate furniture or accessories is just enough to add that feeling of lavishness. But dress it down with more sedate furnishings. You want a touch of elegance, but you don’t want over-the-top luxe, a look that you tend to get tired of rather quickly.

In terms of upholstery, we are continuing to see lots of leather, but the leathers are appearing in more feminine-looking colours, such as caramel and toffee-coloured tones as well as (surprise!) — pinks or robin egg blue.

Other interesting looks we’ve noticed for the new year are serious art for the kitchen, faux mantels for flat TV screens, crystal lighting fixtures, and using the same colour of paint on both the ceiling and the wall.

Tammy Schnurr and Jeffrey Fisher are hosts of Arresting Design on W Network. Tammy is an interior decorator. Jeffrey designs home furnishings and bedding through his company Jeffrey Fisher Home.

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