The Future of Home Decor: 2011 Design Trends

What’s making news in furniture design? The ’80s are being resurrected, but in a fresh new way

Sleek sofas are long, low and unimposing

What’s topping the home decor hot list in 2011? Livingspace buyer Mark Linklater and Bravura Interiors’ partner Laurence Willett guide us into the future of home decor

Trendsetters are fascinated by the ’80s and the twentysomethings: the 1980s’ bold decorating style is reborn with a modern, streamlined twist, and attention shifts from retiring boomers to Gen-X and Gen-Y, who are now flexing their muscles as home and furniture buyers

Soft Seating

Milan’s top design forum, Salone Internazionale del Mobile, continues to highlight softer upholstery, with down fillings and memory foam that make you sink into seating, says Linklater.

Allergy sufferers can relax, says Willett, since feathers are packed, double-wrapped with antimicrobial casing, and then covered in fabric. Square tufting (stitching detail without buttons) on cushions adds interest but is soft on your seat.

Mix and Match Materials

A variety of materials, including different types of wood, are confidently combined in one room. The new popularity of walnut points to a revival of traditional wood in warm, medium shades.

Willett says he “can’t even give away” the once-popular dark wenge wood that makes a room look heavier and dark. Eco-friendly stains continue to be a popular choice. 

Elemental Materials

Glass and stone are hot. Marble sees a resurgence in a range of shades, and coloured glass in chocolate brown, white and red replaces clear glass. Towering glass vases reaching up to five feet (in shades from clear to black) make a statement when left empty.

Recast Blues

Turquoise gains star status, filling rooms in mono-colour treatments or at least covering furniture forms.

Linklater points to Minotti, which often uses turquoise as an accent for love seats, ottomans and toss cushions in an otherwise neutral setting. Indigo, combined with white in fabric patterns or solids, punctuates furniture, says Willett.

Variations on white, from vanilla to grey, will continue to be popular. 

Streamlined Forms

Linklater says Minotti promotes super streamlined sofas in grey and white. They may by long, but these low-backed pieces are unimposing.

Willett confirms that sectionals will remain popular: pop-up arms and headrests add comfort when up and they create a sleek, clean look when they’re down.

In the dining room, medium- and low-back chairs overtake the market, creating a less formal room. Round dining tables continue the casual trend, since they encourage guests to linger in conversation longer, explains Willett.

High-tech Materials

European companies are developing new materials and using existing materials in new ways. Look for Corian look-alikes, recycled eco-materials, and highly engineered constructions that allow for very large, yet thin tables.

Linklater says, for example, MDF Italia’s Tense table is boldly long, up to 400-cm long by 150-cm wide, with a super-thin top and narrow legs that are only 3½-cm wide.

Bright Lights

Lighting attracts new focus as tall floor lamps in textured materials and bright colours (or white) bring back the ’80s. Bulbs are covered in “closed lighting” because people don’t want to see them, offering ambient light with no glare, says Willett.

Originally published in BC Home magazine. For monthly updates, subscribe to the free BC Home e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the bi-monthly magazine.