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If These Walls Could Talk

Decorating Trends for 2011

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02/01/2011 - As 2011 rolls in, all of the home decorating professionals seem to be in agreement about four very different, but equally strong, decorative themes emerging. All of these themes appear to be growing out of differing reactions to the complex issues, difficulties, and uncertainties we've been facing as a nation. An individual's world view affects the themes to which he is drawn.

The first emerging decorating theme has been labeled "Innovative". It is contemporary and is representative of an optimistic outlook and intellectual approach. It is characterized by order, primary colors, strong black and white touches, and an overall minimalist direction. It has been compared to a classic Scandinavian aesthetic--- one that embraces precision yet still retains a sense of warmth and homeliness. "A new era of pragmatism, simplicity, and efficiency is dawning", and it is a call to "create beauty and progress out of disaster".

The second theme is similar to the first in its modern minimalism, but has a certain futuristic escapism in the mix. It has been labeled both "Synergy" and "Techno". It holds to windswept and washed colors and monochromatic themes. Texture is a key element. It welcomes translucents, and pearl, satin, and frosted finishes. It is a "quest for a new elegance that pairs science with sensuality for a style that is tactile but modern". It embraces the most high-tech gadgets side by side with rough-hewn handmade items.

The third theme has been labeled many things. Some say it is a return to the 1970's "hippie romantic" era. Others call it "Tribal" or a "farm aesthetic". It is earthy and characterized by deep saturated colors. It has rich touches of spicy tones and bronze metallic's with a dark undertone. Geometric florals are a key motif. Again, it too gathers in rustic handmade accents. It is said to be inspired by a desire for that which is wholesome, deep and connected to the earth, with a confidence of seasonal rebirth.

The last theme is a retro look that brings to mind the 1940's. Seersucker, tweed and plaid fabrics define upholstered furniture. Maple, walnut, and pecan are the woods of choice. It's color schemes embrace a restrained palette. Naturally aged items are key accents. There is an overall calm feeling expressed by this theme. Here the passage of time is held sacred. It holds to heritage and looks back to the decades past with hope for the future. The statement of this theme is "They survived and so can we".

All of the trends for 2011 have a few things in common. One is a minimalist look. Pared down is the new upscale. The second aspect is that seeming contradiction of embracing both the handmade and the highly machined and technological. This trait is something that has always characterized my personal decorating style. It recognizes the accomplishment of an individual craftsman and that of our advanced society as equally compelling and beautiful. The final common element expressed by all four of this season's decorating themes is one of pure hope. It looks to the testimony of the past for hope, to the progress of the future for hope, and to the embrace of creation for hope.

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