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Design Insight

4 Pandemic Design Insights Here to Stay

The pandemic has inspired us to think differently about our homes. For more than a year, homes have assumed many different functions, often all at the same time. We’re in the middle of a collective reimagining of what home is and what it could be as we continue adapting and prioritizing our lives. Throughout this shift, we’ve been sharing trends and insights that are evolving from this cultural pivot. And now, as the country’s vaccination efforts continue and state restrictions ease, there are several pandemic-inspired home design trends we predict are here to stay.

With many employers making remote work long-term or even permanent, families are opting to relocate from urban areas to the suburbs for larger homes and backyards. Outdoor living spaces are getting a luxe refresh with pools, kitchens, gardens, and kids’ play areas, offering safer spaces for friends and family to gather and socialize. There’s a rising interest in unifying indoor and outdoor spaces to create even more functional living areas. Functionality is a top priority, and people are seeking out homes that offer a good balance of shared and private areas that help achieve work-life balance. Rooms that only serve a single function are out, and multi-purpose spaces are in. As such, expect even more interest in built-ins and stylish storage pieces that control clutter.

The pull for authentic and natural materials offers breathing space from our hyperconnected and technological lives. Expect more non-porous and organic surfaces and furnishings that limit the spread of germs and are easy to clean. Color has also come back in a major way to create a mood or vibe. There’s a real ‘go for it’ feeling as people desire to channel their personalities through color. Palettes are bolder, brighter, and saturated. There’s also a movement toward more distinctive design styles like retro, maximalism, grand millennial, and cottage core styling. As designers, we’re thrilled to see more people loving on their homes and creating spaces that authentically reflect their personalities!

 

bright and airy patios and decks by Chameleon Design

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alt text=outdoor spaces at Skye by Woodbridge Pacific Group

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outdoor spaces and furniture by Chameleon Design

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multi-functional living spaces by Chameleon Design

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multi-functional and sophisticated bonus rooms and living spaces by Chameleon Design

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multi-functional play room, patio, and garage space by Chameleon Design

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luxury design details in chic living spaces by Chameleon Design

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authentic and unique decor in chic living spaces by Chameleon Design

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authentic and luxurious decor pieces by Chameleon Design

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colorful wall art, rugs, and furniture by Chameleon Design

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colorful stairs and wall decor by Chameleon Design

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yellow and blue home decor by Chameleon Design

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green accessories in Plan 1 at Flair

How to Accessorize Your Home With Intention

“The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.”
– Clairee, Steel Magnolias

Accessories provide the finishing touches for a home and give it soul and character. They allow your personality shine through and round out furnishings through color, size, texture, and placement. Whether you go bold and vibrant to add fun focal points or warm and neutral for layered sophistication, the important thing is to be intentional about quantity and placement on tables, open shelves, counters, and bookcases (we LOVE a well-styled bookcase). Go for a curated look to avoid creating clutter and to give your eye freedom to move around the room. White space (aka negative space) is your friend and necessary to establish cohesion. It’s especially important in model home interiors—a good designer will balance the decor theme with negative space to help buyers imagine living in the home.

If all this feels overwhelming, follow a few simple guidelines to artfully accessorize your home. Play with size, scale, and shape and mix contrasting colors, textures, and materials. Break up large surface areas with layers and incorporate natural materials. Running out of decor ideas? Repetition of objects looks wonderful, too, especially if it ties into the theme of a room. Accessories are a fun and low-commitment way to make your interiors come alive; simply move them around or swap them out for a different look!

green accessories in Plan 1 at Flair

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neutral accessories in Plan R1 at Origin

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kids decor in Plan 2 at Dover at Compass Bay

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wood accents dresser decor in Plan 2 at Celadon

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white kitchen detail

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lavender vignette in Plan 1 at Trend

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bar accessories in Plan 1 at Dover at The QUE

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greenery and decor at Loden

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kids decor in Plan 1 at Center House

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white accessories in Plan 4 at Skye

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office space at Allevare

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pet storage in Plan 1 at Skye

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colorful glassware in Plan 1 at Skye

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black mirror in Plan 1 at Origin

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black and white decor in Plan 6 at Verge

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console table styling at Loden

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cocktail table decor in Plan 1 at Skye

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black and white gallery wall in Plan 6 at Verge

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console table styling at Loden

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Big on Style Multi-Functional Spaces

It’s been a year since we’ve been mostly home-bound, and if you haven’t gone out and purchased a larger one, chances are you’ve looked for ways to maximize the space you have. Our needs have changed and expectations of our homes have evolved, and sometimes there isn’t room to expand. Multi-functional spaces are a trend that isn’t going away any time soon, but it can be a real challenge keeping these areas looking great when they have to accommodate various purposes. But there’s nothing a little necessity and creativity can’t solve! Approach these spaces with intention and an air of ingenuity so they blend with the home’s existing decor. Think about matching functions, like adding a school/study area to a playroom, or game tables to the garage for some family recreation. We’ve even seen some creative (and brave!) parents add their workspace to the playroom. In 2021 layouts are more informal, and main living areas are now offices and makeshift home gyms, so adding storage furniture for laptops, other office items, and workout equipment will keep clutter down. Set your Zoom ‘stage’ in the room with the best light and background (great wallpaper or artwork is a plus!). Create a transitional space from indoors to outdoors to expand your living area. Make the most of your patio or deck with comfortable seating for working in the afternoon and dinner al fresco with the family. Thoughtful execution is key to stylish spaces that work for everyone. See how we’ve created multi-functional rooms for our clients for some inspiration!

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Moments of Calm: How to Create Them in Your Home

It’s always fun and eye-opening to review our most popular blog posts of the year, and looking back over 2020 we definitely noticed a trend. Posts that featured calming and soothing decor and ideas, like neutral paint colors, curved furnishings, soft textures, and moody bedrooms enjoyed the most views. And because 2020 was, well, 2020, it’s no surprise. With all of the upheaval and turbulence happening around us, it’s natural to want our homes to feel safe, serene, and peaceful. As we’ve turned our focus inward, our homes have become our safe harbors, places of refuge, and retreat to enjoy calm, quiet, and some much-needed zen. We’re seeing more interest in creating the resort or staycation experience at home, like private spaces for yoga, meditation rooms, pools, and spa-worthy bathrooms.

It’s also easy to add elements of calm without committing to a renovation or remodeling project. Consider the power of paint to set the mood of a room, from creamy whites and alabaster to luxurious dark hues. Wood furnishings warm up a room and create connections to the outdoors. Sheer curtains diffuse natural light and cast a lovely glow. Treat yourself to little luxuries that offer special moments of rejuvenation and joy. Make up the bed in ultra-soft sheets and a washed linen duvet and bring sumptuous and oversized towels to the master bath. And never underestimate the restorative potential of a well-placed candle, pillow, or potted plant. Elevate the every-day in the home to reground, uplift, and enhance well-being!

 

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Pantone’s 2021 Colors of the Year Are How We’re All Feeling

December is an exciting time in the design community. Not only is it an opportunity to reflect on the year’s trends and predict what’s going to be popular in the next, but it’s when Pantone makes its annual Color of the Year announcement. Their big reveal set the design world aflutter because their team of color experts selected two distinct hues instead of one for 2021 (only the second time in its 20-year history) — Ultimate Gray and Illuminating (bright yellow). Designers often embrace the language of color to communicate a theme, motif, or narrative, and this duo channels the ambivalence and uncertainty of our times, as one tumultuous year comes to an end and a new one of possibility begins.

“A message of happiness supported by fortitude, the combination of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is aspirational and gives us hope. We need to feel that everything is going to get brighter – this is essential to the human spirit.”

The pairing of Ultimate Gray and Illuminating channels a message of resilience and hope, satisfying our need for constancy and strength as we look ahead to a brighter future. Gray is grounding and a lovely neutral base, while bright yellow is vibrant, full of life, and a shining beacon for a better tomorrow. The combination is versatile, striking, and adapts equally well to residential and commercial environments. We could easily see it paired beautifully in a living room or conference room, on products or packaging, in textiles, building products, paint, and clothing. And while none of us knows what 2021 will bring, embarking on the new year with a mindset that reflects strength and optimism is a good way to begin.

 

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Activate Optimism With Color

Life’s got you down? Bring some color into your home! There’s a reason behind color symbolism, and it’s because of the many positive emotions color can call up, especially when we make it part of everyday living. Bold, wild-at-heart hues embrace the energy of life and self-expression, and are an unabashed celebration of joyful design that makes us feel good. Reds, pinks, oranges, and other bright colors are beautifully disruptive. Yet, despite their seemingly rebellious natures, these showstopping colors work surprisingly well with others. They’re especially eye catching in traditionally neutral styles like minimalism, Scandinavian, or farmhouse. Use them liberally for a maximalism-type effect, or pick an accent or two for an unexpected and playful pop. Uplift your space with bold pillows, chairs, or artwork. Dare to be brave with a painted accent wall. And don’t forget the bedroom with a fun upholstered headboard or vibrant curtains. Think of these wild hues as design therapy — use them to boost your mood, uplift your spirit, and inspire creativity!

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Super Natural Design

Winter is coming and we’ll be spending more time indoors soon, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy nature’s everyday beauty from the comfort of our living spaces. As we balance work-from-home life, children’s’ schooling, holiday planning, and daily responsibilities, the opportunity to bring elements of nature into our homes can help keep us grounded in the present, while establishing a meaningful connection to the outdoors. Material choices are vast and beautifully textural. Dwell among hues of alabaster and cream, warm wood furnishings, leather, stone, brick, or textiles. The appeal of natural design also resides in its versatility. It’s a style that plays well with others, with its soothing neutral color palettes and gentle play of forms and textures. 

Mixing eras, motifs, and moods can deliver a sophisticated yet approachable impression, and while the idea of natural design isn’t new, adding an organic theme to every room in the home can be statement making. Create a sense of peace, respite, and retreat by incorporating materials that complement your style and existing decor. It could be as simple as adding a small water feature to your home office for focus and creativity, or perhaps you prefer the rich welcome wood flooring brings to a room. In the bedroom, update sheets with an organic linen set, or add smoothed driftwood or seagrass as a decorative embellishment. And never underestimate the power of natural light to freshen and energize your home. It’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to invite the outdoors into your home, so throw open those window shades!

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Let’s Talk Tables

It’s time to think beyond the classic cocktail and occasional tables in your living spaces. Consider table grouping or layering for a one-of-a-kind look that’s sculptural and versatile. Their smaller size means more arrangement and use options, like family game nights, afternoon study sessions, or cocktail parties. Table grouping or laying also adds more dimension and texture to a room, providing guests with another place to rest and engage the eye. Tables placed closely together at different heights create more function and circulation space, perfect for townhomes, smaller homes, or those who simply wish to maximize their living areas. The best part is selecting the ideal combination of materials, shapes, and sizes that work with your room’s design and personality! We can’t resist unexpected pairings that work well together, like a solid geometric table with a delicate organic piece, or mixing styles like bohemian and minimalism.  Try the same table style in different colors and sizes, or simply add small stools or ottomans that can easily move to different places of the room as needed. With table grouping and layering, flexibility is the design!

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Wallpaper’s Rightful Moment

If you’re familiar with our work, you know we can’t resist great wallpaper as a show-stopping element. Its statement-making impact has the power to completely transform a space, even more so than a coat of paint. From bold to soft or somewhere in between, wallpaper is almost always the star of the show, a true design A-lister that sets the tone of a room. With that, it’s easy to get stuck in planning paralysis when selecting the right color or print. When adding wallpaper to an established space, begin by considering how your choice will look with current furnishings, decor, and artwork. If you’re starting fresh, let the wallpaper choice anchor the space and design around it! Wallpaper is having more than a moment and we couldn’t be happier. Its rebirth is due in large part to the fantastic new producers that are reimagining it for more modern and contemporary spaces. Wallpaper has come a long way the last several years and is an adventurous introduction to color or pattern. New substrates like wood veneer, grasscloth, cork, and velvet create even more opportunities for texture and depth. And when compared to more expensive wall treatments like paneling and stone work, wallpaper is a lower cost and lower commitment alternative. With all of wallpaper’s choices and benefits, let’s make boring walls a thing of the past!

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Designing Happiness

Can design make us happier? That’s one of the central questions in the field of neuroaesthetics, a relatively new experimental science that studies how beauty stimulates aesthetic experiences in the brain, may help answer. 

In architectural and interior design, pattern recognition and symmetry are both visually appealing and can trigger similar brain activity that occurs during meditation or other forms of deep relaxation. On the other side, a disruption of symmetry can create an unexpected imbalance that’s also pleasing to the eye.

Personality-based residential design aims to create a home’s look, feel, and flow to complement temperament and lifestyle preferences. Introverts and extroverts want different things in a floorplan, especially the use of shared and private spaces, and accommodating them in design can create a home that’s balanced and harmonious. While introverts may tend to favor distinct spaces with doors for quiet and privacy, it’s an extrovert’s world in contemporary home design, with open-concept floorplans that encourage interaction.

It has also been well documented that art can trigger the brain’s release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that evokes feelings of pleasure and motivation. Being mindful of color theory and common color associations may also contribute to feelings of contentment and happiness, depending on the desired mood and purpose of a space. A good design team will seamlessly balance a client’s personality or brand with timeless design forms and emerging research to create beautifully functional spaces.

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