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Special Report: Interior Design Trends 2008

The year 2008 will be brighter, lighter, and greener, at least in terms of home and office design. This is what three top designers from around the country interviewed for Sheffield School's Designer Monthly predicted at the start of the new year.

In this election year, global climate change has become one of the key campaign issues, so it's no surprise that the "greening" of home design is one of the biggest trends designers see for the coming year.

"I see the trends for 2008 leaning toward environmentally green products, to include furnishings and surface finishes," Shelly Riehl David, owner of Riehl Designs in Minneapolis, said. "I think that the industry will provide many new concepts for furnishings and building materials."

Anya Ellia, of Anya Ellia Interiors in Maplewood, New Jersey, agreed.

"I see global and earth friendly trends dominating in 2008," she said. "We are going to think more holistically about home design and use more green products."

Ellia, whose business is an active member in the U.S. Green Building Consul, sees green design as one of the most important trends this year. "Green is a very big trend. I am incorporating green products in more and more of my new projects."

Ellia points out that green design also means becoming aware of the businesses a designer works with. "In designing green it is important to look for local sources, this way we support the local economy and businesses," she said.

Sheffield Top Tip: Green design doesn't begin and end with using products that will have a low impact on the environment. Many designers are also taking into consideration recycling.

Sheffield Tip: But teal will also give a springtime lift to a room. It's light, and has several bright notes in it, without being too Easter-egg bright. When you're trying to make over a room in order to brighten it up, it's important not to over do it by adding a shade that's too bright in a room with predominant darker or more somber tones. Unless you're totally making over the room, the changes must be gradual.

Victoria Posey, of the Atlanta-based Legacy Design Group said, "Our clients are interested in finding ways to recycle the products being removed from their homes during renovation. Donating cabinets and appliances and lighting fixtures to charitable organizations, rather than adding them to the land fill."

Riehl David also predicts we'll be seeing more "innovative uses for recycled and environmentally green products."

Anya Ellia sees a trend of more Asian-inspired style coming into vogue now, with Moroccan, Japanese and Chinese furnishings, colors, and "looks" enjoying increasing popularity. "Contemporary Chinese art is a very important trend right now," she said.

Decorating with Asian wallpaper is also a popular choice. Go bold and re-do an entire room with Asian prints and patterns, or select a single wall and accent it as a focal point.

Another big trend for 2008 seen by Victoria Posey is that of "aging in place" for retirees, even if it means making an investment in renovations.

"The trend we are seeing is that people are deciding to stay in place rather than sell. They are happy with their home and its location but want to bring it into the 21st century, so renovation is very big. Once renovated, the interior design process continues with updating the furnishings."

This means that homeowners are looking to designers for more help with renovation projects, and something for designers to keep in mind in seeking and keeping clients.

"At Legacy Design Group, we are in great demand for our expertise in guiding our clients through the renovation process," Posey said. "Working with the contractor and architect, we liaison between the client and builder and subcontractors, helping to keep the project on track, working through the selection process of all the materials needed to complete the project, from plumbing fixtures to cabinetry to hardware to lighting."

Electronics are not just for the older population, Posey said. As technology continues to develop, many of her clients are asking for more "electronic integration" in their homes.

With the push of a button, you can control everything from lighting to music to temperature control and more. Home theater and media rooms continue to be big business. We look for unique ways to hide flat screen and plasma TV's — especially wall mounted. Many companies are developing unique and innovative cabinetry, disappearing art and mirrors, fold away doors that might be covered with art.”

Shelly Riehl David, sees the kitchen becoming more central to the home, "The kitchen will become more of a living space as people are embracing entertaining at home and family," she said. "Commercial kitchens, complete with fireplaces, wood-burning pizza ovens and sofas will be integrated into the kitchen. Double islands, one for preparation and the other for serving, will complete the party space."

Posey sees a similar trend in the Atlanta area. "We are also seeing homes that have an open floor plan with flow from room-to-room for ease in entertaining. Families are continuing to entertain at home and if they're not in the home theater, they're usually in the kitchen with an open plan to a family room or gathering area. There is a desire to keep friends and family close," she said.

Anya Ellia concurs. "I also see the family room becoming the 'Great Room' in the house, incorporating media, dining and library in one," she said.

In terms of color trends for the coming year, Anya Ellia sees a surge in popularity in purple and grey "as seen at Maison and Objet," the Paris home-fashion trade show. She sees textures as "softer, more organic, with a lot of them nature-inspired." For Riehl David, the new colors are spicy: "I think people will embrace colors reflecting cultures from around the world. The spice colors from India, Turkey and Morocco. Also, earth tones with textures to include the colors of the sunset and the clay colors of the earth."

Posey agrees. One change she sees in color is a tendency away from bold reds to reds that are "more 'earthen' in tone."

"Pale blue remains strong, as does chocolate brown. We are currently designing a formal dining room with dark chocolate walls above a cream dado with embroidered tone-on-tone cream silk draperies and the palest blue on the ceiling," she said.

Posey cites the Pantone, Inc., Color Forecast for 2008, with a calming down of color. "'A darkened palette of color with shades like sparrow and shale, as if extracted from nature' will be strong," she said.

Window treatments lighting and flooring are also looking at new directions for 2008, and in many cases that means a simplifying of style.

Posey finds clients wanting a look that's more spare and less lavish. "We are noticing a move away from ultra lavish layered window treatments to more simple but elegant panels she said.

She also seeing a change in lighting. "One lighting trend we try to integrate into our projects — both new construction and renovation — is the use of a halogen pin spot to highlight a formal sink or vessel bowl in a powder room. Also, installing specific pin spot lighting over the bed for individual night reading with controls on each side of the bed wall."

Riehl David sees window treatments trends as embodying the general push toward more "green" design, with more window treatments designed to take into account use of solar energy and insulation.

Anya Ellia is pleased to see more manufacturers recognizing this trend. "I see major manufactures coming up with eco-friendly products with cleaner lines and using more organic materials," she said. "Also I see a lot of crossover between conceptual art and product design."

The consensus seems clear: green design, softer earth tones, and rooms that serve more than one use. It's not only an exciting election year, but it's also an exciting time to be involved in design.

-Sarah Van Arsdale


Source: Sheffield School of Interior Design
Founded in 1985, Sheffield is the world’s largest interior design school with more than 50,000 graduates. At any given time, Sheffield has thousands of active students all over the world.
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