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Design Insight

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.

 

Photo Credit: Chameleon Design

Photo Credit: Chameleon Design

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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!

Photo Credit: Chameleon Design

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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!

Photo Credit: Chameleon Design

Photo Credit: Chameleon Design

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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!

Photo Credit: Chameleon Design

Photo Credit: Chameleon 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!

Photo Credit: Chameleon Design

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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.

Photo Credit: Chameleon Design

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Built-In Style

We’re singing the praises of bold, beautiful built-ins! Built-ins add character and distinction to any space and open up more ways to style and add personal touches. Best of all, built-ins are as functional as they are beautiful, and can be customized to accommodate how you want to use a space. A built-in bench at the entryway can double as storage for shoes, bags, and personal items. Create a media cabinet to keep cords, DVDs, and Xbox out of sight. Uncork a bottle of chardonnay at the perfect temperature every time with a luxe built-in wet bar (and invite us over)! An unusual or non-standard wall cut-out in a bedroom or bonus room is an ideal spot to build in a study desk for the kids or a work-from-home situation. A combination of open shelving with cupboards with drawers is a fantastic option for displaying treasured and collected pieces with the ability to stow other items when not in use. Built-in versatility, function, and style is a designer’s dream trifecta!

Photo Credit: Chameleon Design

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Tile Style to a T

Never underestimate the big impact of a little tile. One of our many style secrets is thoughtful and strategic use of this versatile material. Whether it’s for a statement-making accent wall or simple kitchen backsplash, tile creates a foundation on which to layer and build to support a room’s style. Use bold-patterned or brightly colored tile as the star of the show, or select a muted neutral hue to serve as a supporting actor to subtly round out a space. Subway or herringbone are on trend yet timeless and Insta-worthy. A thoughtfully selected motif on floor tile creates a dramatic sense of arrival. From sophisticated and classic to modern and whimsical, tile options are practically limitless.

Photo Credit: Chameleon Design

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Spruce up Your Outdoor Space

Enjoy the great outdoors safely, responsibly, and from the comfort of your home. Today’s prime real estate? Your own backyard or outdoor space! As we all stay home to help flatten the curve, getting some sunshine, fresh air, and vitamin D is crucial to our health and wellbeing. It’s time to create your staycation oasis to namaste (or rosé) the afternoon away. Not much space? No problem. Whether your home includes a yard, deck, patio, or balcony, you can trick out your space to make the most of what you’ve got. Comfy seating, a table, outdoor rug, water feature, fire pit, candles, and your favorite playlists are just a few ideas for creating an outdoor retreat. Take advantage of the spring season as much as possible. Take your next Zoom meeting on the patio. Break out the Kindle and a cocktail. Go ahead, set up that hammock. And don’t forget the front of the home. Get out there and do some yard work or gardening, and wave to the neighbors and passersby to maintain community connection. We’re all in this together!

Photo Credit: Chameleon Design

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Styling the Face of Your Place: the Entryway

We love a good entryway because it presents an opportunity to make a first impression and create a sense of arrival. Big, small, or somewhere in between, the entry introduces the style and character of the rest of the home. Hang a statement-making chandelier or a modern wire pendant in a grand entryway with lots of volume, or play up a more intimate space with bold wallpaper or paint for visual appeal. And it’s a great space to take a bit of a design risk with a creative vignette, a larger-than-life wall covering, eclectic art, statement pieces, or a ceiling treatment. 

An entryway can also be functional and serve as your family’s drop zone to stow personal items as you head in or out for the day. Thoughtful, well-considered storage and organization are crucial to maintain a stylish and clutter-free space. Place a decorative basket beneath the entry table for recycled mail, add a tray for keys and sunglasses, install a bench with storage for shoes and bags as space allows, and include a coordinating canister for wet umbrellas. And don’t forget a mirror for last-minute touch-ups before heading out the door!

Photo Credit: Chameleon Design

Photo Credit: Chameleon Design

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Photo Credit: Chameleon Design