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Unfettered from dated conventions that urged us to pick a decor style and stick to it, more and more designers and retailers this fall are blending decorative elements and playing more loosely with the color wheel.

In some cases, the result is a polished, edited space that still has compelling aspects — unexpected material, furniture or color choices. In others, the finished room is a study in eclectic exuberance, with singular and often witty hues and style components.

And there’s one piece in this design puzzle that fits no matter what the style.

“This fall, we’re seeing a shift toward comfort and functionality,” says designer Charlotte Dunagan of Coral Gables, Florida. “Clients are looking for beautiful spaces that are also livable and inviting — not only aesthetically captivating, but also extremely comfortable.”

“Lush fabrics like velvet and mohair, luxurious armchairs covered in shearling and boucle, and faux fur or cashmere area rugs are some of the trends popping up in design showrooms worldwide,” says Dunagan.

Style and pattern

Art Deco has gained ground over the past couple of seasons, and we’re seeing pieces across more affordable price ranges. There’s channel upholstery, Chanel-style quilting, curvy profiles, polished metals, and color combinations like glossy black with white, rich red or soft makeup-y hues.

There’s a popular transitional look that never gets too far away; call it Manor House, or, as Pottery Barn is terming it this fall, “Chateau.” The retailer’s launching a collection influenced by European architecture and materials.

And while the midcentury modern wave continues its strong churn, some designers are seeing slight shifts in the current.

“There seems to be a trend away from slavish midcentury modern toward a softer, plusher, more hand-wrought modernist aesthetic,” observes Raun Thorp of Tichenor & Thorp Architects in Los Angeles. It’s a blending of the romantic and the machined that she terms “crafted modern.”

Abstracts and geometrics, often with a nod to the ‘70s, ‘80s or ‘90s, bring modernity and energy into a space. There’s contemporary art galore now to grace walls, very affordably. But practice restraint: Trend-watchers say the ubiquitous gallery wall may have reached its peak, and simpler displays — open shelving, for example — are poised to trend up.


Yellows both mellow (like mustard) and bright (like citron) are cropping up all over the fall collections.

“I find myself building rooms with hunter green as my foundation layer, and working chartreuse, moss, olive and even kelly green into the mix,” says California designer Alison Pickart. “Green can be a foundational neutral. Pair it with anything, you’ll see it works.”

PPG Paints picked Nightwatch, a deep luxurious green, as their 2019 Color of the Year.

Nicole Alexander of Chicago-based Siren Betty Design is working with dark blues. “These deep, soothing tones invoke a calm feeling, while still maintaining a presence,” she says. Look for more of those mineral blues, blue-blacks and navy.

For those seeking bold color, Pantone is predicting that plummy purples, burgundy reds and sweet oranges will be ones to watch.


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