As part of my push to implement a “greener” 2012 personally and from a business standpoint here are some great tips for this year and how to bring in sustainable design to your home:
Fashion isn’t just for clothes. Your home reflects your tastes and style, and decorating your home in the latest trends can make you just as fashion-forward as having the hottest designer bag, shoes or sunglasses. Even if you’re short on cash, you can make your home look modern by tracking current trends and adding inexpensive versions or accents to your own living space. Plus, choosing new classic colors, décor and furnishings means you won’t have to repaint in a year or completely redecorate next season.
So what are the trends of 2012 that we think will be around for more than just this year? Here are some hot styles you can use to update your own humble abode:
Bold and bright are back. Tangerine is being touted as 2012’s color of the year. Yellow complements tangerine and is a hot accent color in its own right. These bright hues infuse any room with energy and enthusiasm. Green and turquoise were popular at the imm cologne design expo held in January. Even neons can be found leaving the runway and appearing around the home. Pair these eye-popping palettes with gray, the chicest of the neutrals.
Bring nature inside. Wood is good, especially light oaks. Mix different grains and types of wood for an all-natural patterning effect. Natural stone is also showing up on countertops and in artistic touches. Choose light-wood furniture and go for a slightly unfinished, rough look, so that it almost appears as if you’ve made it out in the woodshed. Consider putting up wooden beams across the ceiling in one of your larger rooms for that back-to-nature feel.
Respect the environment. Sustainability is not just for your food and energy. You’ll find many furniture manufacturers now tout the sustainability of their materials. It’s also much easier to purchase environment-friendly products, from floor coverings to linens to furniture to fixtures, as more companies are eager to promote their green agendas. Look for recycled materials, and visit http://www.sustainablefurnishings.org to locate green designers, retailers and manufacturers.
Natural lighting. Big windows, northern exposures and skylights are in fashion this year — then again, when isn’t natural light a wonderful enhancement to any home? Using natural light is even part of the “go green” trend, helping you save money on energy and reduce your carbon footprint. Add reflecting surfaces such as mirrors, metal fixtures and objects and even crystals, which have been trending over the past several years, to reflect even more light and add depth to any room.
Flexibility and smaller sizes. As the era of the McMansion is left [thankfully] behind, furnishings are adjusting to smaller-sized rooms, not only shrinking but also become multi-purpose or moveable. Select a modular sofa that can be adjusted to create a larger or smaller seating arrangement. Invest in a desk that has a much smaller footprint; after all, our computers and components are shrinking so your workspace can, too. Fancy footstools in accent colors that work in any room of the house offer flexible seating options and drop-leaf or extending tables can expand for company and contract for everyday space saving. Even your giant flatscreen can be hidden in a cupboard that also holds movies and game hardware.
Few of us can run out and scoop up the latest pieces by top designers. But we can use this year’s style trends — most of which seem destined to become standards of interior design — to launch our own decorating revolutions, turning our homes into showcases that are stylish, modern and homey all at the same time.