It’s In With The Old In Interior Design

Contributing Writer

Whoever said it was out with the old and in with the new was terribly mistaken, at least in terms of the latest interior design trends.

The French laundry look, where everything appears distressed and weathered, is dominating the home furnishings market, according to Lisa Bizzell, who has been an interior decorator at Tassels for over 14 years.

“There’s a lot of use of texture,” she said, pointing to a beige Baker Heritage Furniture sofa with metallic gold geometric pattern. Tassels’ designers used an abundance of brightly colored teal, blue and green pillows to accent its neutral tone.

French laundry makes a statement by understating. Most furniture in this style tends to be a shade of white or brown. Bizzell said the color “greige,” which is a combination of gray and beige, has become fundamental to French laundry. But for those who aren’t fulfilled by the minimalism that characterizes this look, vibrant colors are an asset.

“Shinier pops of color can balance neutral-based colors,” said Bizzell. “Oranges, fuchsias, hot pinks and turquoises are becoming very popular.”

By keeping up with the latest clothing trends, one can, in essence, also remain well versed in the latest interior design trends. Chartreuse yellow is appearing in the form of dresses, blazers and blouses, but it’s also the color of an armchair by Lexington Furniture Company with a subtle white bird-and-branch pattern. In an otherwise neutral room, a chair like this can supply just the right amount of color.

At High Point Market, a trade show for the furniture industry, Bizzell learned that shades of purple are also making a comeback and that metallic accessories have the same effect as adding bright colors to French laundry furnishings.

Mercury glass is used to create home accessories that look silver. But the difference between mercury and actual silver is that mercury is translucent. A lamp by Cyan Design with a mercury-glass body and taupe shade was proof that metal really can spruce up objects seeming plain.

Though weathered woodwork may look old, it’s really the newest trend. And just like vivid colors can balance neutral ones, brightly-painted woodwork can maintain quaintness while remaining interesting.

A tangerine-colored secretary desk by Justin Camlin, a designer specializing in painted pieces, can provide the perfect amount of color to an office. But the desk’s versatility makes it usable in virtually any room, especially when accompanied by the tan, woven, long-backed chair Tassels had on display with it.

Camlin also designed a multipurpose forest-green chest with silver knobs. Its spaciousness would make it a magnificent sideboard or great place to store linens.

Sometimes in order to achieve a fresh look for a room, furniture simply needs to be reupholstered.

“If people’s furniture has good, sturdy frames, it’s worth having reupholstering done,” said Bizzell.

Grass cloths and burlap epitomize the French laundry look. So reupholstering old sofa pillows with these fabrics might be all it takes to smarten up a room. It’s usually unnecessary to spend a fortune.

Other popular patterns include houndstooth, ikat and chevron. Tassels has chevron-patterned fabrics in lime green and hot pink, which can make furniture upholstered with them stand out in a monotonous space.

Long-length panels with large medallion-like designs are being incorporated into the latest window treatments.

“People want to represent big patterns,” Bizzell said.

And to make just as strong of a statement, Bizzell suggested considering animal prints, even though they don’t necessarily coincide with the French laundry theme.

“Animal prints are a fun way to pop in with neutral colors or brighter tones,” she said. “They can be mixed with traditional and transitional modern styles.”

Botanical artwork can also be used to subtly accent neutral walls. Even though this trend began almost a year ago, it remains prevalent.

Bizzell had the perfect solution for anyone desiring a complete overhaul of a room.

“Paint can dramatically change a space,” she said. “Switch it up. Do the complete opposite of what you already have.”

If furnishings lean more towards subdued tones, Bizzell said going bolder on the walls is a good idea.

Every year in September, the Bellarmine University Women’s Council allows designers to compete in decorating different rooms for the Bellarmine Show House. Bizzell and other designers from Tassels will be working on decorating a study. Bizzell said they’ll definitely be adhering to the French laundry theme, adding splashes of turquoise and gold.

In the meantime, however, Bizzell recommended remaining neutral. She doesn’t think people will be moving away from this trend anytime soon due to its adaptability.

“Little things can be switched out less expensively,” she said. “With neutral tones, changing accessories is easy.”

Photos By CHRIS HUMPHREYS | The Voice-Tribune