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Trends

Say It With Art

What is it about the allure of contemporary art? Everyone on the Chameleon team agrees art is essential to every installation because there’s nothing like the authentic and intimate feel of a thoughtfully selected piece that speaks to the soul of a space. Loosely translated, contemporary art refers to the ‘art of today,’ or art created from roughly the latter half of the 20th century to the present. With no unifying style or ideology, contemporary art is true freedom of expression, with a mix and blend of various styles, movements, methods, and materials. This type of free-range approach and lack of cohesion is part of what makes this style so appealing. There’s no right or wrong way when it comes to contemporary art, only what speaks to YOU.

Art beautifully distinguishes a home and expresses the character and personality of its inhabitants in a way nothing else can. Install a large-scale piece as a powerful departure from a gallery wall, or group several mid-size pieces in similar styles or colors. A collection of abstract art is a great option for our model homes because it brings welcome color, interest, and beauty to a room that’s subject-matter neutral and appealing to most buyers. Research also indicates mental health benefits associated with experiencing art, and we’ve written about the associations between good design, beauty, and happiness (check out our blog post here). Art is as essential to our projects as a sofa or dining table, and our happy clients agree!

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Texture and Sensory Design

We’ve all heard the advice, “Add texture to a space,” but what does it really mean? Texture in design can mean different things to different people, but generally it refers to how a surface feels or is dimensionally perceived in a space. Layering materials, textiles, colors, or prints create texture and add dimension and visual interest. Texture in residential design immediately adds character – a touch of the unexpected is a pleasant disruptive element and speaks to the soul of a space. When it comes to adding texture, let diversity be your guide: think outside furniture sets and matchy-matchy and instead opt for different colors that are complementary, mixing materials, or layering prints. A simple swap of accessories, blankets or bedding, and pillows can create a cohesive look that’s interesting, eye catching and balanced. But don’t limit yourself to simple accessories, because creating texture can come from a variety of sources, like wall treatments, drapery, lighting, and rugs. It’s also not exclusive to bold or bright color. Adding texture to a neutral palette, like varying shades of white, ivory, or cream, is a beautifully understated way to create richness and sophistication. Texture adds an element of play to design, and we love using it to help bring even more personality to our clients’ unique spaces.

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Bathed in Blue

When Pantone released its color of the year for 2020 back in December, we couldn’t say we were surprised. Classic blue is a perennial people pleaser and is a harbinger of serenity, security, and stability. 

“Instilling calm, confidence, and connection, this enduring blue hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.”

Little did the team at Pantone know what lay ahead of our global community in 2020 and just how much we all could benefit from a world that’s more peaceful and predictable during these challenging months. Our team is seeing more blue hues crop up in interior design this year. With connotations of calmness and creativity, blue tones are universally well-liked and oscillate from light to dark and warm to cool. In color psychology, common associations around blue are reliability, trust, and security (that’s why so many banking and financial institutions incorporate blue in their branding!). Noted for its versatility, blue can be bright and bold or soft and understated, traversing the design spectrum from statement making to accent, depending on the tone and how it’s used. And because it has evolved into a neutral, it pairs well with many color palettes and can be seamlessly incorporated throughout a space. With all of these benefits, who wouldn’t want more blue in their home!

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Wild at Heart

We’re all about bringing more of the outdoors in during these lovely warmer months. If florals and botanicals aren’t your cup of tea, opting for the fauna side of nature is a great choice! An animal theme or accent is both on trend and timeless, ideally suited for grown ups and children alike. Simple yet chic pieces of animal artwork, wall decor, or accessories add a feeling of playfulness and whimsy throughout a home. Dog themed pillows, dimensional flocks of birds mid-flight, cowhide rugs, and paper mache rhino wall decor are some quick and easy ways to embellish living and dining rooms and bedrooms. Really play up the motif for the kiddos with dinosaurs, equestrian style, zoo animals, or mix-and-match themes that pair well like bears and camping. Sweet and soft animal decor is a natural fit for a nursery, and vinyl wall decals, artwork, and bedding can be easily swapped out from infancy to toddlerhood and beyond. Our best advice for incorporating the animal kingdom into your space is to embrace the wild and have fun!

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Design for the Spring Vibes

Spring is in full swing and summer’s fast approaching. And while we may not be able to experience firsthand the incredible bounty, bloom, and color as much as we’d like, it’s still possible to bring the beauty of the season into our homes. In fact, maintaining a connection to nature is as important as ever as we spend more time indoors, so open those windows, let the fresh air flood in, and adorn your space with spring-inspired touches that bring a smile to your face! Incorporate botanical artwork, vinyl decals, pillows, wallpaper, and bedding for easy, low-commitment seasonal updates. Blooms are synonymous with spring, but these aren’t your nanna’s florals. Think dramatic, larger-than-life watercolor murals that make an accent wall Insta-worthy, or a gallery of sleek black-and-white botanical prints for a luxurious touch. Flowers, fronds, leaves, trees, petals, or cactus – go as vibrant or as muted as you wish or your current decor allows. Design must go on, so bring the sweet spring feelings inside!

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Working Together at Home

Without a doubt, we are all spending a tremendous amount of time at home during this period of social distancing. With work, kids’ distance learning, leisure activities, and normal day-to-day routines, our homes’ spaces must multitask like never before. That’s why, for those of us fortunate enough to be able to work remotely from home, creating a designated office space is so important. Establishing a separation between work and home life helps maintain focus, efficiency, and productivity.

If you already have a home office setup with a door that closes to the rest of the house, all the better, but it’s not required. A few simple yet key design features can help elevate a space, increase its functionality, and create a work-friendly environment during this extended time at home. Carve out a spot for your setup, whether it’s a desk, shared table, or some other area. Do what you can to keep your work surface clear and clutter-free, with stylish and functional shelving and adequate storage for documents and supplies. Make sure there’s plenty of light overhead (natural light, if possible!) and don’t hesitate to add a floor or desk lamp for more illumination. Speaking of the bright side, there are some real positives to working remotely, like a better commute, a flexible schedule, and making your own dress code!

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Design at Great Heights

Sometimes, we forget that dressing up a wall space is just as important as picking out the right area rug for the living room, the right sofas, or the perfect backsplash for the kitchen. Even if a home is lacking in horizontal floor space, experimenting with vertical wall design can give us the extra room we need to add touches of self-expression.

It’s important to think outside the two-dimensional box: moving the eye up and down instead of side to side allows more options for depth and dimension (see below). Think about your favorite hobbies, experiences, and travel destinations and let them be your guide as you curate unique and eclectic wall embellishments. 

Surfboards, baskets, fishing poles, guitars, collected objects, clusters of art, and oversized flatware for the kitchen or dining area – each, like lighting, creates a backdrop of layering and adds interesting composition and visual impact. Floating shelves, wall planters, and hanging storage are functional while infusing visual interest and a sense of whimsy. It’s a transition from a phase of minimalism to a time of creative maximalism, offering an avenue of self-expression that’s unexpected and full of fun.

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Style Secret Weapon: the Pouf or Stool

Perhaps named after the magic they help create in a room, the aptly coined pouf – along with its sturdier counterpart the stool – are design trends here to stay. These multitasking furnishings are often overlooked perhaps because of their functionality, but serve as intentional and stylish supporting actors that offer depth to a living space without blocking sightlines. They create additional seating in tight spaces, can be placed anywhere and moved around, and work with every design theme or aesthetic. Pull up a stool to a bedside desk and use it as a chair, or into a nursery to prop your feet up and rock a little one to sleep. Store a couple of fun poufs under a console table for extra seating at a cocktail party or game night, or use one as a whimsical accent piece to round out a sofa and table combo. Place a stool next to a bathtub as a place to hold your soap and towel next to the tub, or scatter several around the home as plant stands. If you’re looking for a finishing touch for a space, consider a pouf or stool — big design can come in small packages!

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Up, Close, and Personal: Impact Lighting

As with real estate, so it is with lighting: location, location, location! Placement not only impacts functional purposes but the overall design and feel of the home. When thoughtfully incorporated as a key design element of a space, lighting can create a mood, sense of place, and make a statement. Hang pendants or sconces above bedroom nightstands for a dramatic look and that lovely ‘established’ feeling: a bonus when you no longer have to worry about knocking a lamp over when scrambling for the snooze button in the morning! Group a couple of pendants in the corner of the kids’ room or over a chair or sofa to create a cozy niche for hanging out. Pendants affixed to a mirror or hanging pendants transform a master bath into a warm and inviting retreat.  

Lighting choice, like a wall treatment, is a base for your styling and helps anchor a room while adding a wonderful layer of depth to complete or contrast the overall look. Use lighting as art and make it part of a vertical wall space, or, high-impact pendants that become a sculptural element! Material choice is important when considering a room’s look and feel. Using natural materials like macrame and rattan soften a room and create a relaxed and welcoming vibe, while mixed metals can add a modern and sculptural look. Great lighting achieves the ideal balance of form and function, and is what we continually strive for in the spaces we create for our clients!

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Get Lit

Bold, modern lighting is having a moment and we can’t get enough. Broad ornate shapes and simple spheres are architectural, dramatic, and set the tone and personality of a room. Think geometric, clean lines for a more minimalist and sculptural look to the reimagined vintage vibe of exposed bulbs. Good lighting has been obsessed over by photographers and artists for millenia and for good reason! When used well, it’s transformational. 

Create that wow factor in a room with sculptural light fixtures, from funky sputnik chandeliers that shoot out every which way to sleek nesting multi-tier pendants. Or clusters of Edison bulbs for an updated vintage style to playful flush-mounts reminiscent of abstract art. Emphasize expansive volume ceilings or create a playful coziness in a family room or bedroom. Make a statement over a kitchen island or cultivate a bit of drama in the master bath. There’s no denying modern lighting’s eye-catching appeal and its ability to put the finishing design touch on a space. And exposing a bulb or two. . . or 12 has become desirable with this type of lighting, so let’s see those filaments!

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