Looking Ahead in Home Design: 5 Tips From An Interior Designer

If the upcoming new year has you chomping at the bit to start playing with or reinventing your home design, Hilary Hawkins, our in-house Interior Design Assistant, has a few tips to get you headed in the right direction. (Read more about Hillary here).

Start with a (floor)plan.
According to Hawkins, the most important elements in designing a space are balance and function. “While a nice balance of colors and textures will help the space feel comfortable, you primarily need it to be functional,” said Hawkins. “It’s great if it all looks nice, but if it doesn’t allow you to carry out day-to-day tasks, then it’s not a well-planned design.”

“When I start working with a new client, I always like to get a good handle on the type of project first. If it’s new construction, a remodeling project, an open floor plan—all will factor into the end function and style,” she adds. “Once I have that, I always like to meet the client to see how best to merge their style and personality with what they need the space to do.”

Find your style (and keep your head).

While it’s easy to get caught up in the designing and planning, Hawkins recommends focusing on one element or room at a time to get a more cohesive design. “You’ll also enjoy the process more if you aren’t stressing about every detail,” she adds. And, while watching design shows on television are a great way to get inspired, remember that big name designs and big trending styles usually come with a big price tag. “Keep the inspiration along with an open mind,” says Hawkins. “We can usually do something similar and stay within your budget.”

Stay current, but keep looking ahead.

“With homeowners embracing so many different styles, it’s hard to pinpoint particular style elements that are truly consistent,” states Hawkins. “We have noticed that the gray color palette has been very popular and seems to be sticking around for a while yet. Also, engineered wood flooring has been perennial and probably will be for some time, especially for our climate. You don’t have to worry as much about the contracting and expanding of the planks like you would if it were solid wood flooring.”

Looking ahead to 2017 design trends, Hawkins sees designers leaning toward more “natural” textures. “Wall coverings are coming back into play as well, but this time it’s seen as more of an ‘art piece’ on the wall,” she says. “People are also taking more risks with color to make their spaces more rich and vibrant, which means everything isn’t so ordinary.”

Lean on your designer when needed.

While your style may be deeply ingrained in your personal fabric, a professional interior designer can help you consider other design and style options that could serve you and your functional needs. “I am a big fan of Postmodern Architecture, Mid-Century Modern, and Minimalism, all of which focus on simplicity with geometric shapes and clean lines,” she says. “I appreciate simple materials, open floor plans, long flat roofs or rows of windows that create organized horizontal lines. All of these styles are authentically clean, simple and balanced, and that is something more and more homeowners want and need.”

Embrace simple changes that make a big impact.

Hawkins has some simple advice for homeowners who want to refresh their interior design for 2017. “Paint,” she says. “It’s a simple and fairly inexpensive way to give a room a completely new look and feel. It’s much easier than ripping out cabinetry or flooring which tends to be more costly and possibly require a professional to do the work.”

Similar to changing a paint color, she also recommends adding more color to an otherwise neutral room with accessories, rugs or furniture. A simple tweak to your color profile can exhilarate and freshen up a room or whole house. Another easy upgrade? Changing out a light fixture. “Sometimes changing out a simple flush mount ceiling light to a more stimulating semi-flush or mini chandelier can change the feel of the room,” she adds.

To contact Hilary or any of the Brown Wegher staff, click here.