Interior Design Trends 2012 – Choosing Timeless Looks

So how what differentiates a trend from a classic? What colors will endure, and won’t have to be repainted in a year? All classics find their humble beginnings perched precariously at that threshold of the possibility of Andy Warhol‘s “15 minutes of fame” prophecy. Let us count the ways…

Enduring classics like Eames chairs, great abstract paintings and the artichoke chandelier stand the test of time, reemerging again and again to define rooms through the decades.

Enduring style and color are not limited to any particular genre of style. It is possible to look to any period of human history and its accompanying trends of color and style to recognize their synergism expressed between the pages of your favorite magazines on the shelves this week…

The Villa of Mysteries from Pompeii, Italy AD 79

The ruins entombed at Pomeii for over 1700 years made a big splash in 1749, fueling a trend of creating a mural describing your day to day life.

An image i took of a colonial installation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC

Murals are popular decor choices today – but we’re not going to over-focus on ancient trends, or this would be a book instead of a post! Let’s Spring forward in an ode to that pesky time change that deprives me of a much needed hour of morning sleep, after pausing for some necessary self-examination.

Before choosing a trend of any sort, ask yourself the hard questions: What do you like? What don’t you like?

No, I am not talking horrible painted frogs in pumps dancing with Santa, or Hummel figurines or pop corn ceilings…I mean elements that many people would regard as tasteful – but you simply can’t relate and would never involve in your aesthetic. I am not fond of channel-back chairs although lots of tasteful people adore them. Candice Olson is a designer whose designs I largely respond to. She has used channel back chairs in a number of rooms, where I still find I can’t relate to or like them.

What you don’t like may seem trivial, since you would not pick what you don’t like – but asking yourself why you don’t like an element may offer greater insight. I don’t channel backing because it reminds me of very narrow-focus thematic applications – Art Deco, Victorian, or 50’s themed diner booths. I don’t like them because they represent styles of design whose thematic attributes feel inflexible to me. Not cottoning to static limitation is a bigger insight than ” I hate channel back chairs”.

Ok, we are getting somewhere…the difference between a “trend” and a “fad”. A fad is a short-lived popularization of a random element or theme – themes are generally fads; like Tiki Bars, or wallpaper borders in the ’80’s. Knowing what you don’t like leads to what you do – I like eclectic style mixes that allow me to enjoy the best of many styles of design simultaneously – greater opportunity.

Eclectic spaces tend to be enduring, as does very modern style – but eclecticism almost always embraces modern style, and offers less limitation for those who feel constrained by the minimalistic limits of pristine modernism.

Ways to pick and choose:

Let’s begin with color – how about Tangerine Tango, the 2012 Color of The Year? Or is that 2009?

Color House Beautiful May 09

Here’s a news flash –

The accent pop colors have always been and will always be tertiary colors, or additive primaries (or white) mainly in middle hue shades. Count 5 rings in from the outermost band of color. This is the saturation of most accent colors. In 4 out of 12 cases, the color of the year has been in the same general range of saturation. These are colors that tend to work as accents perfectly. Dependent on your tolerance and preference of hue (intensity), you can pick a spot on the ladder that relates to your design it will generally work in your space.

When you are looking at a trend, albeit color, shape, or pattern, try to relate it to an enduring element. The timeless accent begins having an intriguing conversation with the newest convention. Below is a “water colors” influenced ottoman from with a Design Legacy Pillow from a collection I am adding to this week. The pillow evokes the timeless Japanese woodcuts  favored by trend-setters from Vincent Van Gogh to Frank Lloyd Wright, and the ottoman draws on this years watercolor tonality:

an ottoman from Anthropologie and a pillow from

Add the arm or club chair of your choice and you have those 2012 working blues that work beyond the trend.

Is it 2009 or 2012? I see the organic image of coral, the chartreuse and violets of 2012…

Traditional Home March 2009

Colors that work always work – just like good ideas. Large framed art is frequently outside the budget. If you want to try this, it’s an easy effect that’s been around of years and revived recently on HGTV’s newest Design on a Dime with new host Casey Noble. I couldn’t find the video, but Abby’s wordpress blog describes how to do the background. Stop at the point of her acetone burn, and instead get a great stencil to paint on your favorite motif in your favorite accent shades.

A 19c Swedish Clock Buffet from Tara Shaw Antiques

Something unexpected is an integral must have ingredient in the formula of any successful  room design. Antiques can lengthen the duration of any design, and add collected sophistication to any design mix. The flavor of some antiques remains so current that without some design background, you would not be able to differentiate them from offerings from today’s selections from top flight furniture stores – like the furnishings of Florence Knoll, circa 1940.

A wiki image of Florence Knoll (left) and her sofa design ( right ) knoll-sofa – icobic interiors

Keep a time capsule of your favorite magazine issues. Look for trend that capture enduring collection or furniture shapes. Animal feet are actually classic, reinvented periodically in everything from candlesticks to finials on the legs of Queen Anne Style tables…

Veranda 2005 Sept-Oct (left) and Las Jardins Candlesticks 2012

Imagination never goes out of style.

The Tate’s Mark Rothko exhibit a room with a view of the subconscious – image from The Guardian UK – Photo – David Sillitoe

A great print or mural of your favorite artworks relating to the colors of your preferred palette can endure the change of every object around them and still look amazing. If you can’t afford a large Rothko Print, reinterpret the image with other elements.

Designers Guild in Domino Magazine

Imagination never goes out of style!

Elle Decor Sept 08

I can’t fathom the genius, (nor the price budget) that created this amazing bath. Combining the chandelier with the water source is not your every-day design mind. I think it was Kenneth Brown said “the cream always floats to the top” – that is caveat of all great and enduring design decisions!

Live to enjoy – post past and present in your up-coming designs!

I don’t have a chandelier that subs as a water source, but check out for loads of inspirational and enduring lighting statements!

Get the enduring look – Gorgeous seashell chandelier by Currey & Co