Fall decor takes the style stage

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Theatrical silhouettes. Stirring colors. Compelling patterns. This fall, we’re seeing décor that confidently takes the spotlight, and the story’s got something for everyone.

“It’s like midcentury modern has met Sophia Loren,” laughs New York-based interior designer Elaine Griffin, describing some of the season’s hottest styles. “French and Italian Art Deco influences abound in décor that’s soulful, shapely and voluptuous.”

Textures and layers

At Manhattan’s Kip’s Bay Show House in late spring, Joan Dineen combined luxe textural platinum, honey and mink tones with flashes of mineral hues. She played with scale, placing a hefty, cream-colored sofa laden with pillows and faux fur next to an iceberg-shaped metallic coffee table and a delicate rattan bistro chair. (www.dineenarchitecture.com)

Other designers, like Richard Mishaan and Kirsten Kelli, layered their rooms with a melange of pattern, texture and color. (www.richardmishaan.com; www.kirstenkelli.com)

Hammered metals, glossy lacquers and polished glass shared space with plush wools and interesting woods, all punctuated by eye-catching wall art or coverings, and statement lighting.

The minimalism of past seasons has given some ground to this new “maximalist” style characterized by layers of pattern, color and texture. In its more casual iteration, it exudes a boho vibe that’s welcoming and lived-in – piles of books; patterned throws; curated accessory collections and gallery walls.

“Say hello to homes that are full of life,” says Claire Bingham about the look she explores in her new book “A Beautiful Mess: Celebrating the New Eclecticism” (teNeues, 2017).

Christian Lacroix’s Au Theatre Ce Soir wallpaper collection includes a dream-like collage of fanciful creatures and flora, and another pattern features a digital rendering of decoupaged vintage Aztec prints. (www.designersguild.com)

Griffin notes that “the simpler silhouettes become, the more details become important.”

“Look for dense textures like heavy velvets,” she says, “and modern elements like channel and square tufting. Extravagant combinations of materials and finishes within one piece, and an emphasis on the circle and curve.”

“Moroccan and Moroccan-inspired rugs are becoming part of the rug vernacular, inspiring sleeker versions in streamlined flat weaves and overdyed patchworks,” Griffin says. (www.elainegriffin.com )

Global to glam

Asian, African and Middle Eastern motifs remain popular, evoking the well-traveled lifestyle. But you’ll see lots of glamour, too. Facets, highly-polished metals, tropical motifs, faux fur, velvet and Deco patterning bring sophistication into a space, especially when color is used thoughtfully.

Modern Scandinavian and farmhouse styles still have sturdy legs, with their focus on comfort and easy living. Layla Faye’s ’60s-era wallpaper and fabric prints are fresh and fun. Target’s Modern by Dwell Magazine collection includes a round, blond-wood coffee table with white metal trim, and several mod rugs. IKEA’s new Veberod storage collection features pieces made of steel, plywood and canvas. (www.laylafaye.com ; www.target.com ; www.ikea.com)

Traditionalists will be pleased to see the return of small florals as an alternative to contemporary oversize blooms. Pottery Barn’s got a dinnerware and glassware collection in vintage prints, and Morris & Co. has introduced updated versions of William Morris’ iconic patterns. (www.william-morris.co.uk)

Warm woods like walnut and oak are main players in virtually every furniture collection, and are also being used as paneling. Look for trims in warm metals, especially brass.

Neal Beckstedt clad his space at Kip’s Bay in oak veneer, bringing it to within about a foot of the ceiling. Then he applied a thick band of teal lacquer the rest of the way, to show-stopping effect. (www.nbeckstedtstudio.com)


“We’re experimenting with dynamic motion, layering and sculptural elements to animate our textiles,” says Tamalyn Shea of Modra Studio in La Jolla, California.

Artists there depicted South Pacific sea life, Amazonian plant formations, and wave patterns on Kenya’s Lake Turkana, printing them in mineral hues, atmospheric colors, and dusty tones on velvet and linen. It’s a wallcovering and textile collection balancing the organic with the avant-garde. (www.modrastudio.com)

Dramatic forms are being explored by furniture designers, too. At this spring’s Architectural Digest Design Show in New York, Brooklyn studio MFGR showed a pierced, blackened steel screen depicting the constellations over the equator, and an ebonized ash credenza with natural ash doors honed into a fractal pattern. (www.mfgrdesigns.com)

Patrick Weder showed a beefy, marble-topped table on a stack of steel and bronze triangles, while This Lexik had a brutalist woven cube made of strips of resin-wrapped cotton. (www.patrickweder.com ; www.thislexik.com)

J.M. Szymanski forged blackened steel into playful side tables that had one balled foot, or a section of a leg missing. He’s made a coffee table with a heavy, ultra-clear glass top filled with fine iron powder; place magnetic objects on top, and the powder shifts about like a black desert in the wind. Theater for the living room. (www.jmszymanski.com)

Bold, earthy color

“Emerald is definitely the ‘it’ color of the season,” says Griffin. “It’s a perfect anchor for the other jewel tones that are trending.”

Look for greens and blues, from moss to teal, peacock to ink. Also mustard, chartreuse, chrome yellow and cream, and fruity hues, like deep plum, cherry and berry.

Dark walls are returning, say designers – slate blue, navy, even brown. They’re being contrasted with jewel tones – rather than white or ivory – in trims and furnishings.

And black is back. PPG, Olympic Paints and Glidden’s 2018 Color of the Year choices were Black Flame, Black Magic and Deep Onyx. The companies said the colors reflect classic modernism.