November 18, 2018

Home: New decorating trends for the new year

Rosh Hashanah is all about new beginnings, so what better time to look at our homes in a fresh way? Whether you’re considering a new paint color for the wall, updating furniture or just buying new cabinet pulls, check out these hot decorating trends and make 5776 your most stylish year yet.

High-gloss lacquer 

Lucinda orange stacking chair from CB2

To instantly up the glam factor in any room, add a pop of high gloss to your furniture and accessories. The super-shiny look is not only a trend, it’s also one of the easiest looks to achieve. And we’re talking about more than black or white. A high-gloss shine can make saturated colors such as yellow, orange and pink look even more electric, whereas it gives an unexpected twist to subtle shades of green and blue. In fact, with a simple can of high-gloss spray paint, you can transform any drab table, chair, picture frame, candlestick —  you name it — into a statement piece. 

Gold and brass finishes

Stainless steel and nickel finishes are still prevalent, but warmer metallic tones such as gold, brass and bronze are surging in popularity. In addition to bathroom fixtures and hardware, we’re seeing these brassy metallics in lighting fixtures, furniture, barware and home décor (i.e. tchotchkes). Whereas a stainless finish is perceived to be more modern — and utilitarian — gold and brass lend a vintage feel to a room. 


Orbital pendant light from Lamps Plus

This mash-up of Victorian opulence and industrial-age machinery is red hot in the design world, but don’t worry, this doesn’t mean your home should look like Sherlock Holmes’ study. If you flip through a furniture-store catalog these days, you’ll see a lot of steampunk elements — leather chesterfield sofas and club chairs; lamps and tables made of industrial materials; world maps and globes; motifs of gears and clock parts; steamer trunks; framed botanical prints. Who knew we were so gaga for steampunk?

Dark walls

Painting walls a dark color used to be such a decorating no-no. The consensus among decorating experts was that dark colors made a room appear smaller, while light colors made a room more expansive. I never agreed with this theory, my argument being that the black ceilings in Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride did not make you feel claustrophobic, but rather created the illusion that you were looking up at infinite sky. Now everyone’s on the dark-wall bandwagon, if decorating magazines are any indication. I recently painted the walls in a guest bedroom charcoal gray, and I love it. Everything looks good against the gray — it’s a great backdrop for other colors to really pop.


If you’re not ready to commit to dark walls just yet, the “greige” trend may be for you. Called “the color that’s taking over Pinterest” by Business Insider, greige is a soothing blend of gray and beige. Unlike grays that have blue pigment, greige contains hints of brown for a warmer feel. It’s like a hug in a paint can. The muted color is not just popular on walls. — you may notice it on upholstery, bedding and even wood finishes. In fact, I’m seeing greige-wood dining tables in every furniture store these days. As much as I’m a crazy color guy, I do love the soft sophistication of greige. And I love saying it, too.


Wallpaper fell out of favor for many years, but it’s back now in a big way. And when I say big, I mean big graphics. The popular trend for wallpaper is bold, oversized patterns. Rather than being your grandmother’s wallpaper, the new large-scale designs actually look more modern and playful, even in a small space. And, if you like DYI, large-format digital printing enables you to custom-print your own graphics or photos to fill an entire wall, just by uploading a jpeg to an online wallpaper company such as 


LED Letter Light from Nordstrom

Designers also are having a love affair with typography, incorporating words, or just alphabetized letters in interesting fonts, into furniture, wall art and accessories. Walk into any arts-and-crafts or home-furnishing store and you’ll see a variety of giant letters for home décor — even some that light up. Spell out your name, your initials or your favorite phrase on your walls as a decorative element. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but these days it seems that a word is worth a thousand pictures.

Pattern on pattern

Just as with fashion, the somewhat arbitrary rule of not mixing patterns is no longer in vogue. Clashing patterns is indeed allowed — and encouraged. So go ahead and layer striped pillows over floral upholstery, with a toile wall pattern behind it. The key is to play with the scale of the patterns so that they are varied. Make one pattern the dominant motif, and let the others complement it.

Jonathan Fong is the author of “Walls That Wow,” “Flowers That Wow” and “Parties That Wow,” and host of “Style With a Smile” on YouTube. You can see more of his do-it-yourself projects at