There’s something inexplicably electric-feeling about being in a space that seems of-the-moment, and there’s no better time than the end of a calendar year to examine what design trends are best poised to embody the now of the future.
Lots of 2015’s top design trends (open kitchen shelving, the use of rich blues as an accent color) will be sticking around, while others (chevron and ikat prints, windows without treatments, oversized bathtubs) are firmly on their way out the proverbial door. Here are the top five emerging interior design trends that you’ll want to bring into your home in 2016.
5. Room Definition Is Back In
As Americans think about paring down belongings and living in dwellings with smaller footprints, room definition is creeping back into our collective psyche. More than 100 years ago, architects such as H.H. Richardson and Frank Lloyd Wright anticipated the open-concept home, which took off in the 1940s. Variations on the open plan in the decades since eventually coalesced into the ubiquitous great room, in concert with an increasing number of larger home builds in the 1990s.
Large, open living/dining/kitchen areas have all but become the norm now, both in new residential construction and remodels — and as with anything that becomes normalized, it begs to be reinvented yet again. 2016’s desired floor plans will involve more walls, especially when it comes to kitchens and dining areas. For those with prewar apartments: hang tight, because your smaller rooms will feel fresh again soon.
4. Pastels Are Returning to Kitchen Design
Subtle color is easing back into kitchen design, and this will really ramp up in 2016. Throughout the 2010s, marble has been the “it” choice for kitchen countertops — and the most foolproof pairing for most Carrera and Calacatta slabs happens to be the stone’s two color poles: light, cool whites or blacks and charcoals.
Navy cabinetry started gaining in popularity in 2013, introducing a little more of the color wheel into the mix, but now what’s gaining speed is a craving for pastels and medium tones in the kitchen. With Rose Quartz and Serenity as Pantone’s picks for 2016 Colors of the Year, this dreamy trend is set to skyrocket.
It’s no Golden Girls-esque reboot, either: The new kitchen pastels are quiet, calm and contemplative, not saccharine. Mid-tone greys will have a big place at 2016’s kitchen table as well, providing relief from past years’ moody darks and clinical whites.
These flushes of color look most fresh on cabinetry or accessories such as teapots and cups — not walls or counters.
3. Dimensional Tile Emerges as an Option
What do you get when you combine the orderly, clean look of flat monochromatic tile and the visually stimulating feel of multi-colored patterned tile? Dimensional tile — either in one hue or a muted palette — is going to be in larger demand as a 2016 tile trend.
Much like the L train itself, subway tile still isn’t going anywhere next year, but even it will see some evolutions in trim toward the 3D. Behind sinks, counters and easy-to-clean places, get ready for these tiles to provide depth and interest while skipping the noise that multi-colored pattern can introduce into a space.
2. Lighting Fixtures Are Going Modern
In the past few years, we’ve all gone back in time, lighting-wise. Bare Edison bulbs hang like dim, limp fruit somewhere in nearly every Brooklyn home and small-plates restaurant, and rustic, industrial fixtures are ubiquitous as well.
In 2016, what will feel right is the modernization of lighting fixtures. This trend will manifest itself largely in the form of sleek, futuristic takes on classic designs, and mixed metals will be incorporated seamlessly into lighting choices. Think Constantin Brâncuṣi’s Bird In Space, but a lamp.
1. Zen Themes Are Emerging
The world is a crazy place, and in 2016, Zen themes will emerge to counter the insanity by helping our homes become more sanctuary-like. This emerging and strengthening movement is showing up in the form of low-to-the-ground beds and seating, upholstered in muted, neutral textiles.
As the waves Japanese organizer Marie Kondo made in 2015 continue to lap upon the shore, calmly decluttered spaces will continue to rise in prevalence as symbols of accomplishment. The whole feel of this trend is more centered, more Japanese wabi sabi than overwrought, languid bohemian. It’s not quite the restraint of minimalism, but it’s close.
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