May 15, 2019

Key Trends from Interior Design Panelists

Photography courtesy of NKBA.

Interior Design Editor in Chief Cindy Allen returned to KBIS 2019 in Las Vegas for a reprise of her 2018 keynote address, exploring the trends and ideas shaping residential interior design. This year, she brought a few friends: Designers Laura Bohn and Alison Damonte and architect Adam Rolston. Damonte, principal of Alison Damonte Inc., founded her full-service, San Francisco-based interior design firm in 2012. Rolston is the creative & managing director and a partner at Inc NYC, an open source, multi-disciplinary architecture and design studio based in Manhattan. Bohn, principal of New York-based Laura Bohn Design, an international full-service interior design firm, is also a co-founder of The Designers Collaborative, a support group for top designers.

Allen and the other panelists brought up a few key trends buzzing in the current interior design landscape. Here are a few key takeaways.

1. Stone accents provide a “feminine modernism” to interior spaces. Roston used a line of stone to hide plugs and sockets in a client’s kitchen.

2. Use color judiciously and mix color accents with white walls. Damonte suggested just painting a staircase in a vivid color is a strategic use of color. Bohn said she uses huge paintings as “color bombs” to make a statement in a space, adding that cast concrete can also be colored and embedded with a pattern.

3. All the panelists agreed that black is definitely back, but should be used with discretion. Black can act as a grounding force when used on the floor or in color-blocking.

4. Biophilic design is still very much in. The colors and textures of nature help inspire a calming ambience. Bohn even integrated living trees into a client’s living area.

5. The use and mix of various metals is trending. Brass is popular on countertops, sinks, and in the bath or shower. Copper is also popular for fixtures and surfaces, while antique mirrored glass with metallics on the surface brings a touch of glamour to a space.

Perhaps the best piece of advice came from Allen’s many years of covering and supporting designers throughout their careers over her 18 years at Interior Design Magazine.

“As a designer,” Allen said, “you’re always looking for your voice. It’s a long journey, but those who do this best are those who have found their own voice.”

This could mean establishing that signature element, or being able to work with existing elements in a space that set the design apart. Damonte said her signature is using color, and once she establishes trust with her clients, they are more willing to let her run with bright ideas, even “using colorful grout as another design element.” Bohn recounted a project that had a huge waste pipe running through the living space — it was in a multi-unit building and therefore immoveable. She wrapped it in heavy rope and turned it into an art piece. She also likes to anchor spaces with oversized graphics. Rolston described a hotel project whose entrance had been converted from an old church. He repurposed pews for bench seating, hymn boards for directionals in the lobby, and incorporated other elements that recalled the earlier incarnation of the building.

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