Photo by Jeff Garland

By Tiffany Edison

What is your take on following trends? Do you love having the latest and greatest, or would you rather make a trend than follow one? I have done both over the years, but I seemed to have landed on adhering to my own set of rules and bucking trends. Whether it be my own personal style or when assisting clients in their home environments, I approach both with the way I feel more than the way things “should” look. The key to good overall design is establishing balance.  I am here to tell you that there is a way to incorporate trends without abandoning your sense of self or breaking the bank.  

My personal approach in working with clients is following their drumbeat. Some clients approach a first consultation meeting armed with binders, swatches, sketches, and their own ideas. Others say that they don’t know what they really like and are seeking a lot of guidance. I love the challenge both offer. In my experience, it is fair to say that the world of interior design loves trends! The design field is also a business unique in its skill-set of capitalizing on creativity and emotion, at times forcing homeowners to choose between using logic or decorating with wild abandon! So what’s hot now, you ask? 

Wallpaper

That’s right, you heard me. The world of interior design is wild about wallpaper! Whether you prefer a bold geometric pattern or a classic chinoiserie motif, there is a paper out there that is ready and waiting for you. Personally, I get offended when I hear that wallpaper is “back,” as I have been a fan from day one. That being said, to utilize wallpaper effectively, I find it best to consider a few things prior to installation. The first thing to consider is where you feel wallpaper would look best in your home. This decision should be made in tandem with the purpose of why you think wallpaper as opposed to paint is the correct choice. If you can answer these questions without hesitation, and have a decent understanding of how patterns play together, then by all means follow your instincts and order whichever pattern your heart desires! But if you are finding yourself in a quandary about which pattern or type of wallcovering is best, then it would be wise to contact a professional. Adding wallcovering to your home is probably the easiest embellishment you can make to a room outside of a good paint job, and can be surprisingly affordable. I am personally wild about wallpaper in foyers, powder rooms, the dining room, and master bedrooms. Sometimes it’s the “wow” factor and other times it’s adding texture with an understated grass cloth. To me, nothing quite finishes a space or offers a defining statement in a room quite like wallcovering.  

Mid-Century Modern Design

To call this iconic style a “trend” just might be the understatement of the year. This style is in fact so popular now that it could be considered as mainstream as purchasing a sofa from Pottery Barn. At its most elementary level, this look is known for juxtaposing sleek lines with organic shapes, often resulting in looks that were futuristic yet rooted in the past. The Mid- Century Modern movement, though ever-evolving, did not really take hold in America until the late 1940s, and lasted into the 1960s. This was the era of Sputnik, The Twilight Zone and the Jetsons. During this time, a set of brilliant design icons largely comprised of architects and sculptors began crafting furnishings that set the style bar for brands such as Herman Miller and Knoll. Some would argue that Mid-Century Modern has become synonymous with “modern design” in general, but that would be a mistake in my eyes. There were definitely two groups that evolved out of this time period: the American-based modernists who favored sleek mass-produced industrial pieces, and the Scandinavian set, inherently dedicated to crafting furnishings from natural materials such as wood and leather, therefore favoring handmade goods. We can credit the award-winning show Mad Men for shining a light on a look that is timeless in its design style and appeal. I am personally wild about these furnishings, though try to use these gorgeous pieces sparingly. I find that nothing quite rounds out a traditional interior like a Hans Wegner Papa Bear Chair.

Animal Prints

What can I say? I am wild about animal prints! I am unsure if my love of this iconic pattern stems from my mother’s obsession, or if I have curated this passion over time. Either way, if a client is game, I am all about using a dash to make a style statement. Tastemakers such as Billy Baldwin and Elsie de Wolfe have historically been known to utilize this print to transform the glamorous interiors they are so notorious for creating. But again, it is safe to say that this trend is quite polarizing…you either love it or you don’t. Though rare is the person sitting on the fence in this trend, I might offer the following advice: the cautious type may want to be judicious in their application, possibly choosing a leopard throw pillow just to dip one chic toe into this style trend. But those with a zest for living should feel free to embrace this look full-on with an antelope or tiger rug to set the foundation for a decidedly gutsy space. Personally, I see a cheetah or tiger print as a neutral, and have no qualms about mixing it into both the traditional or contemporary projects I have designed over the years. Just as in all things in life, restraint must be used to keep things in check, and remember to always err on the side of classy.  

I recommend that when considering jumping on the bandwagon of whichever trend strikes your fancy, you don’t over-invest hard-earned money on something that you are not entirely committed to having in your home for a period of years. I encourage clients to do a little bit of research online via Pinterest, or through my favorite old-school method of leafing through design magazines for inspiration. Keep a collection of these images for moving forward once you decide it’s time to spruce up your home or invest in new furnishings.  

There is nothing wrong with following a trend here or there. Trying new things makes life worth living. Just remember to exercise balance, and never forget who you are at your core.

BIO: 

Tiffany Edison has been an interior designer since 2002 and specializes in both
residential and commercial projects.  She holds a Master of Social Work degree
(ACSW) and utilizes interpersonal relationship skills on a daily basis with her client
base, largely comprised of Ann Arbor, and Metro Detroit residents.  She has a
wonderfully large blended family residing in the city and enjoys the comforts of home.
When she’s not fully immersed in client projects, you can find her active on the golf
course, a favorite pastime.

www.birchdesignassociates.com