2012 Home design trends

By Sarah Reiss

Home design trends for 2012 are all about individuality. It’s time to trade fussy fabrics and heavy furniture for the new neutrals, lifted profiles, and clever found objects. And with a little work, a few accents of well-worn wood, a hint of distressed metal, and a simple wall color change can turn even the most dated space into a haven of well-measured chic.

“I think we’re at the beginning of a minimalist trend,” says Grace Bonney, the Brooklyn-based creator of Design*Sponge and author of the newly released Design*Sponge at Home. Bonney is an expert on both trend spotting and spatial planning. Her blog focuses on everyday spaces made current and lovely by the hand of individuality. For someone so immersed in the design scene, her tips for 2012 trends are surprisingly down-to-Earth.

Mindful trending

  • Forget jewel box colors. Redefine your space with one of the new neutrals, which have the combined advantage of being calming and creating a universal backdrop. Her favorites are Senora Gray by Benjamin Moore and Farrow & Ball’s Great White.
  • Mirrors are a necessity. The more that you can replace personal photos with mirrors, the better. It really helps to open up the space, especially if you’re in an older home where natural light is at a premium.
  • Get everything off of the floor. Forget heavy bookshelves and furniture that has a big footprint. Mount bookshelves on the wall where possible. If you have something with heavy legs, switch out the legs for a daintier or taller set.
  • Introduce Lucite, glass, or any material that lets the space feel larger.

Material witnesses

Next, introduce both hard and soft textures. Consider the following on-trend materials:

  • Swap out laminate countertops for chic, polished concrete.
  • Fall back on felted, appliquéd wool pillows with playful, ironic lettering.
  • Deck your walls with affordable, original (and offbeat) art from artist-centric sites such as Saatchi Online and Buy Some Damn Ar.
  • Frequent design-sharing sites like Pinterest and Houzz to stay abreast of the latest trends.

Mine your resources

Restoration Hardware, Etsy, and Ebay are treasure troves for the latest nouveau accent pieces. A simple search such as “vintage door knocker,” “antique casters,” or “demijohn” can keep you entertained for hours. Look for durable and slightly worn materials with clean lines and an up-cycled style that reflects individualism. Case in point: leather, especially worn and repurposed pieces, gives a room a chic gentlemanly air while still feeling warm and inviting.

“Anything that’s curvy and round like the baroque, feminine, even the Hollywood Regency — all that stuff that’s been kicking around for the last five or seven years is finally going to croak,” Bonney says. “I think the geometric thing is going to be heavily Bauhaus influenced. Simplicity’s coming back in a big way.”

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  1. Anonymous
    Posted April 13, 2012 at 4:47 am | Permalink

    Beautiful! Makes me want to work harder to have this! Just simply drool worthy!

  2. Brandon
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Great call on using Etsy and ebay! I have been looking all over the internet for new shutters. I am trying to redecorate my home without breaking the bank!

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