From tiles and color to furniture and lighting, here are 8 inspiring design ideas that won’t disappoint.
Beyond the Wall
Bold uses of color are everywhere these days, from painted, upcycled pieces of furniture to the risers of wooden staircases. One current trend: asking your imagination to expand to new heights.
“Add interest and enthusiasm to a room by coordinating the ceiling with an accent wall or other dominant color in the room,” suggests Dee Schlotter of PPG Pittsburgh Paints. This technique is demonstrated here using the company’s Forsythia Blossom hue. Though it may seem like a bold statement, using bright and even dark — think matte black — corresponding tones on a ceiling often can highlight a dramatic lighting fixture or crown moldings.
Not sure if you’ll be comfortable with paint on the ceiling? One tip Schlotter offers is to buy brown butcher paper from your local grocer or butcher and paint the matte side with the color you’re considering. “Tape it up to the ceiling [using two-sided tape] and see if you can live with it,” she offers. — EKS
“The way it is now, anything goes with textiles,” says Jon Alan Delach, director of design at Today’s Home. In more than 40 years as a designer, he says he’s seen it all, but some trends still excite him.
One in particular is using a mix of fabrics to upholster pieces of furniture. The technique mixes texture — for instance, the leather and silk bergère pictured in center left — to give a traditional piece a sense of depth and modernity. You can also use this style to create a statement sofa or armchair by using textiles that not only contrast in texture but in color.
Delach says he’s seeing a lot of velvet and damask samples cross his desk; both work well with other fabrics to create a modern mixed-media look. — EKS
Clean-lined, modern fixtures have replaced the ornate and traditional, Tuscan-inspired lighting selections that have been go-tos in recent years. Don’t even try to sneak a crystal onto that chandelier; rather, think industrial chic, suggests Caytlin Thor of Cardello Electric Supply & Lighting.
Thor says many popular luminaires now come in spherical shapes and metallic finishes. She’s also seeing an increased use of mercury glass. The silver patina on a shade or lamp base creates a romantic, vintage vibe while keeping its industrial aesthetic. Using two statement chandeliers over a kitchen island can create a sense of occasion in a space that’s otherwise utilitarian, she adds.
Contemporary lighting with a touch of glamour is the order of the day, says Suzanne Toth, manager at Lighting by Erik North Inc. in Ross Township. Fixtures feature laser-cut metals such as chrome, polished steel and brushed nickel finishes. Incorporating these styles in bedrooms and bathrooms — and on stairways — adds an unexpected, creative touch, she says.
“Combining a more traditional architecture that is so common in the Pittsburgh area with some sleek contemporary lighting can make a home comfortable and still interesting,” Toth adds. She also suggests using LEDs in pendants and recessed lighting for polished, cost-effective and energy-efficient illumination. — EKS
Back to the ’50s
Give your living room a vintage feel, and try a Camerich sofa in leather or fabric alongside a cherry veneer console with tambour doors to take you back to the classy style of the “Mad Men” era.
Credenzas are becoming much more popular because of big-screen TVs, says Weisshouse owner Stacy Weiss.
“It used to be people wanted an armoire to hide their televisions. Now, they want a credenza to go below it,” she says. “Everyone wants one for a lot of rooms — the living room has a television; the bedroom has a television. This is a great way to ground a television. And [vintage pieces] are less expensive than [buying] new. You’re getting a lot of details you couldn’t get with new.”
The vintage cherry console features metal door pulls with three drawers each inside. Center doors open to reveal storage space as well.
Also popular for fall are organic pieces such as wood side or coffee tables. — LD
You probably wouldn’t expect to find a country setup inside Levin Furniture in Monroeville, but this summer its employees scoured auctions for wood-working tools to accompany an Amish buggy for its display.
The Amish Village Collection combines a sturdy feel with multiple options. Choose your color on bedroom and dining room pieces, and switch up the hardware. You’ll choose from the drawer handles to the style of chair or table leg. Two big draws of the fall collection are its varied options and its American-made origins, says Christopher M. Pelcher, Levin senior vice president of merchandising.
“Here in Pittsburgh, our customers [appreciate] a product that is made in the U.S.,” says Pelcher, who with a colleague has traveled to watch the work in progress at the factory. “It’s so gratifying to see the people who are making the product.”
Wood options include oak, cherry, maple, quarter sawn oak and hickory. — LD
Bling is Back
Heading into fall, the trend in tile calls for snazzing up traditional tastes, says Jean O’Fiara, tile specialist at Splash Kitchen Bath Home, with locations in Cranberry Township and Murrysville. While classic Carrara marble remains popular, a line of jewels placed through the middle is becoming the norm to dress up a room. Porcelain also can be used as an alternative to marble.
“Bling is very in right now,” says O’Fiara. Embellishing tile with pieces of recycled glass is currently popular, she adds.
“Stone with glass is more classic,” O’Fiara says. “Everyone says glass is contemporary. It really isn’t. It depends on how you use it.”
The “bling” can be incorporated anywhere in the home. Kitchen backsplashes are becoming glitzier, and interspersing glass or jewels in trim or flooring can dress up an otherwise conventional bathroom.
Tiles made of natural stones with modern twists such as Carrara, Statuary and Calcutta are relevant now, O’Fiara says.
“They’ve been around since the Victorian age, and they’re coming back with a vengeance.” — LD
New spins on traditional styles reign this fall at The Tile Shop in Robinson Township. Popular choices are porcelain and ceramic tiles that resemble wood but are more durable than hardwood, says shop manager Jessica Newsom.
“You can still get that hardwood look with something that’s going to last a lot longer,” she notes.
Other new products feature marble, with retro looks incorporating basket weave and subway tile making a comeback. Modern takes on retro style include increasing the tile’s size, which creates the illusion of more space in the room. Tiles often have been made in 3-by-6 inch sizes, but 4-by-8-inch and 4-by-16-inch sizes are more prevalent of late.
“We love the old classic styles, but we want to see something new,” Newsom says. — LD