Design Recipes: How to dominate design trends

Cathy Hobbs
Tribune News Service

With the holidays in full swing and another year nearing a close, what design trends are in and what may be on their way out?

2016 saw a continuance of bold metallic finishes such as brass and gold, while muted color palettes such as black and cream, as well as cream and indigo, remain on trend.

These days, many designers and design enthusiasts are also looking to stay on trend without being trendy. This translates into incorporating timeless elements that blends a timeless design style as its foundation, while having a bit of glitz and glam as accents.

Dominant themes

Looking for predicted trends? Trends in home decor and design typically follow those of the runway, and right now the trend is toward blousy and billowy fabrics that move, as opposed to stiff and rigid ones. In home decor, we will see softer, breathable fabrics both for upholstery and window treatments, as well as those that are more washable and require less maintenance. Why? In large part, homeowners are heavily focused on ease of use. High maintenance decor is out, and pieces that can be used and enjoyed are in.

Sheen versus shine

There was a time in home decor when the dominant trend was the shinier the better. The predicted trend? Luster, matte and minimalist. In other words, sheen as opposed to shine. Even when it comes to flooring, waxed floors or those finished with a matte polyurethane are often preferred alternatives to high gloss. Why? Many homeowners are looking for chemical-free, natural alternatives, while also wishing to maintain a material’s natural luster. Historically, finishes were maintained by hand, using elements such as natural minerals, which many homeowners still appreciate.

Timeless design

Looking for designs that are on trend but not trendy? There are some basic elements to keep in mind that can be maintained and stand the test of time. Timeless design elements include the following:

Black. Black is a neutral color that adds a touch of elegance and luxury.

Cream. Shades such as cream, ecru and ivory are more appealing and versatile than pure white and can easily translate into various decor styles.

Sculptural hardware. From door handles to showerheads and faucets, many homeowners are opting to keep it basic and infuse a hint of glam by incorporating splurge hardware elements.

Oversized art. Art in general should be bold and powerful. Oversized art can also be affordable. Consider reproductions, as well as well as local artists and even graduating college students.

Unique photography. While some abstract art may have trendy elements such as their design or color, photography tends to be timeless. Looking for timeless wall decor? Why not consider oversized frame photographs?

Gold. Gold is back and will remain on trend through 2017. Gold and brass remain two of the hottest finishes in home decor.

Solid hardwoods. From furniture to wood flooring, natural, historically appropriate hardwoods are more popular than ever, including those woods that are salvaged or reclaimed.

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert. Contact her at or visit her website at