New and Noteworthy Design Trends

Always stick with your personal style, but here are a few trends to help inspire

Like fashion, home design trends change from year to year. The theory behind those trends is often just that: theory.

“It’s the same reason that clothing styles don’t work for every person,” says designer Lee Perrault of Via Design in Rye. “It’s subjective.”

Perrault and two other New Hampshire designers agree that, while retailers introduce new styles or colors annually, what really matters is your personal style and how that couch or rug works with what you already own.

With that in mind, here’s what’s noteworthy in design for 2014:

Design-savvy consumers

Consumers are more design-savvy, thanks to HGTV, videos and online resources like, a website featuring projects by architects, designers and decorators. Online shopping for furnishings and accessories is changing the way homeowners make purchases as well. “Online shopping is huge,” says Sue Bartlett of Bartlett Design Associates in Laconia. “People perceive they’re getting greater value, even though many online retailers don’t offer design services.”


Increased globalization — in food, fashion and now home design — is bringing “a world bazaar” to designers, says Ann Henderson of Ann Henderson Interiors, Keene. Furniture and accessories reflect an international sensibility, a trend that’s here to stay.

Bold colors compliment neutral palettes

When it comes to fabrics, bolder graphics, from 1970s prints to tribal and ikat patterns, are currently in style.
photo courtesy of ann henderson interiors

The Pantone Color Institute, a leading resource for color trends, announced that Radiant Orchid is 2014’s color of the year (the Institute combines research, international trend-watching and economic indicators to make its forecasts). So should you buy a couch in orchid for your living room or use the color on an accent wall? Not so fast.

“Color is really subjective,” says Henderson. “Room colors are influenced by the home environment, architecture, natural light and other elements in the room, including flooring.” Perrault ignores color trends, instead focusing on how color can be effectively added to a room to suit a homeowner’s personal color palette. “Home furnishing manufacturers follow color trends closely, so it influences paint palettes,” she says. “If someone likes a certain color, but it doesn’t work with their personal palette, I’ll try to find a way to incorporate it as a wall color or as a furnishing accent.”

Neutral colors — whites, grays, beiges and natural shades — dominate now in home interiors. Vibrant colors like hot pink, warm purples and violets, cobalt blue, tangerine orange and chartreuse are being used as accents, says Bartlett. “People are more cautious about how they use color in furnishings and fabrics,” she says. “Fabrics are being shown in neutrals and we’re introducing color with pillows, bedding and accessories.” Metallics add glamour, bringing light and shimmer.


Homeowners are simplifying. New homes are more streamlined, and that’s reflected in fabrics as well as furniture. In fabrics, Henderson and Bartlett both see a move to bolder graphics and simpler design. “You see a lot of lattice and cane prints and repeats of sharp, graphic 1970s patterns like Marimekko,” says Bartlett. Henderson notes a popularity of tribal and ikat patterns, traditionally woven as well as printed, available at different prices. “It could be an indication that things are more down to earth,” she says.

Furniture is becoming simpler, more scaled-down and more functional, often serving a dual purpose. Examples abound on Pinterest: convertible tables that transform into chairs, cocktail tables that can be pulled apart or combined to make a larger table and much more. “People are having more fun with multi-purpose furniture,” says Henderson. “There’s more eclecticism and versatility. It’s common sense.”

Natural, recycled and green

Going “green” is now mainstream, and furniture is following suit. Reclaimed furnishings and accessories are a popular trend.
photo courtesy of ann henderson interiors

“Green” is mainstream. Environmentally friendly and sustainable building materials, paints, flooring, lighting and plumbing fixtures have been available for years. Home furnishings and accessories are following suit — recycled items as well as rustic forms and finishes are popular as are organic shapes and artifacts. “It’s simplification of form and editing of content,” says Henderson.


Government regulation is helping clear the way for increased use of LED (light emitting diode) lighting. Because of its low maintenance and energy efficiency, LED lighting is quickly becoming the lighting source of choice in new homes. “I could teach a course in how to use them,” says Bartlett.

The good news for 2014: increased confidence in the economy and housing market is making people more confident. “People know more about design and what they want,” says Perrault. “There’s something for every taste.”

Want to leave it to a professional?

Here’s how to reach the professionals mentioned in this article:

Ann Henderson Interiors
(603) 357-7680

Bartlett Design Associates
(603) 366-2688

Via Design
(603) 436-5555

Categories: Features