Turning back the clock on design trends

Instead of moving, upgrade your place to what you want and save money

  • Jan. 25, 2013 2:00 p.m.
Camille Brown notes one trend is to make better use of space.

Camille Brown notes one trend is to make better use of space.

By Robert Prince

For most people, a home is the single biggest purchase they’ll ever make, as well as the place they’ll spend a significant portion of their discretionary income over the years.

Making one’s home a sanctuary, a showpiece, a family retreat – or whatever it is that makes a home a ‘home’ for any given family – is an ongoing process that requires time and money, both of which are in short supply for many.

Which is why, according to three local enthusiasts, interior design trends in 2013 are tending towards practical ideas that take into account limited budgets.

“Most people can’t afford to move up to a more desirous home these days,” says interior designer Camilla Brown, of West Coast Dream Homes. “They’ve not made the gains they expected, so they’re looking at staying in their homes a lot longer than planned. As a result, they’re looking for ways to make them nicer, and to make better use of the space they have.”

That means many of the interior design trends for 2013 involve designing around what the homeowner already owns, rather than making wholesale changes.

Tammy Hayward, a Pitt Meadows designer who runs a company called Stylicious, says redesigning smaller spaces that incorporate nostalgic notes from days gone by is trendy.

“When times are hard, it’s the memories of childhood that are comforting, so we’re starting to see pop culture make a comeback because that’s what so many boomers remember from their childhood.”

To that end, she says, things like wallpaper with big floral prints are catching on again, as is a move towards lighter, brighter rooms with splashes of neon colour in the accenting pieces (pillows, throws, art) to brighten things up.

Mitch Owsanski, consulting producer for the television show Million Dollar Rooms, keeps tabs on design trends through his website (www.priceypads.com).

What he’s seeing in the homes of the wealthy is a move away from the beiges and bland neutrals of the past decade towards a bigger emphasis on much darker or lighter colors on the walls that are then broken up with color in the furniture and accessories.

He’s also seeing more traditional styles being blended with more modern looks and colors. So moldings, for instance, are getting updated treatments, but they still provide the traditional look and feel they always have.

All three agree ‘dream’ garages are big for 2013, with people wanting to make better use of their garages by organizing them so the clutter is gone, and so they’re more functional.

They also agree that brass and copper are making a comeback for the warmth and timelessness they bring to a room.



Top five trends, from Tammy Haywood:

• Texture in pillows and throws,  to warm up a room.

• Unexpected use of tile on walls in rooms you wouldn’t normally use it.

• Computer-inspired graphics on wallpaper and fabrics.

• Luminescent flecks of light in paper, fabric, stone, to lighten spaces.

• Male-inspired living areas


Top five trends, from Mitch Owsanski:

• Specialty rooms such as wine cellars and tricked out entertainment rooms.

• More marble when it comes to flooring.

• Much more copper and brass in lighting fixtures.

• Wallpaper – but only if it’s done well.

• Monotone colors on walls broken up with splashes of color.


Top five trends, from Camilla Brown:

• Personalization – using items one already has and designing to incorporate them.

• Bigger pieces of art that become focal points.

• A move towards cozy family spaces – rooms that everyone can use at any time.

• Quality is coming back as people don’t want to replace things as often.

• Lighting is being used more as a design element with cost-efficiency in mind.

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