5 Decorating Trends to Try This Year—And One to Avoid

By Candace Braun Davison
Photo: Courtesy of Sherwin-WilliamsTry: The Light That Brightens Things Even When It's Off

With mixed metals on the rise, it's no surprise that interior designer Holly Mathis has seen a sudden interest in adding brass pendant lamps to what once was stainless-steel-only territory: the kitchen. "A few years ago, I couldn't talk anyone into a brass light," she says. "Now, it's so popular I've practically memorized the SKU." The no-fuss semicircle works with almost every taste, from traditional to country to steampunk.

Try: The Shine-Free Style That's Surprisingly Low Maintenance

From honed countertops to flat finishes on the walls, the matte look is spreading to all areas of the home, says Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. High-gloss and polished surfaces can feel overly formal, like you can't relax in your own home, which is why some people are gravitating to the softer, unvarnished look matte provides, she explains. New paint technology makes the chalkier finish just as durable--try Sherwin-Williams' Emerald line or Benjamin Moore's Aura collection--and the overall effect is less stuffy than shiny, high-gloss alternatives.

Related: Rethink Your Desk: 5 Ways to Create a More Inspiring Space

Try: A New Twist on a Classic Pattern

Florals are making a comeback, only they're not the cabbage-rose chintz that covered every curtain and sofa set in the '90s. Expect to see an edgier take, with light florals against a moody black background, says Sheila Schmitz, editor at Houzz.com. Pinterest data supports this too: One of the most popular home décor pins being repinned across the social network is this shot of the print on the sides of a drawer, according to social analytics firm Curalate. The pattern peeks out only when you're rifling for your toothpaste or a rogue hair tie, so you won't get sick of staring at it all day, every day.

Try: The New Wicker Balls

That classic bowl of lemons and vase of wine corks are such decorating mainstays that they border on cliché--see Jen Aniston's blowup in The Break-Up and the regular parody-posts on Catalog Living. Now, decorators are getting in on the joke, updating the vessels with quirky one-offs. Wooden arrows and vintage fishing floats found on Etsy are especially popular (like the style shown from Hurst Designs), says designer and Creating the Vintage Look author Ellie Laycock. Consider it the next step in the live-with-what-you-love movement: Even "filler" items in the arrangement should reflect your sense of humor or reveal something about you.

Try: The Fresh Take on the Log-Cabin Look

For years, the mere mention of knotty pine paneling--with its smattering of dark, ringed eyes--has caused decorators everywhere to lunge for a gallon of paint. No more, says Schmitz, who's seen Houzz users start sharing images of ceilings and walls showcasing the speckled panels au naturel. It's part of a larger movement toward adding light wood-grain anything--from a carved coffee table to trompe l'oeil tiles--to the home, and surrounding it with white and cream accents to keep it from feeling like the Brawny paper-towel mascot's man cave. "It could be white trim, or painting the bricks on a fireplace white--anything that lets the room breathe," Schmitz says.

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Skip: The Runway Highlight That Isn't So Real-World

It's not uncommon for a major fashion trend to seep into home décor--color-blocking, greige and mixed metals, we're looking at you--but not all trends translate. Sorry, neon. Sure, highlighter yellows, oranges and pinks can provide a jolt of color to wake up a 10-shades-of-taupe living room; but for many people, it's too intense to stare at every day, Jordan says.

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