2011 Trend Report: Color, Fabric and the Details

Before you panic and wonder if the family room you redid last year is going to be passe by March of this year, fear not. Take it from this Bucks County interior designer:  Trends are evolutionary, not revolutionary.

Photo courtesy Sherwin-Williams

Thankfully, they evolve in sweeps and arcs rather than grinding in sharp steps and halts. Take from this 2011 Interior Design Trend Report what you will: whether to know what to expect to see at retail or design magazines, or to jolt you into a fun direction.

Photo courtesy Sherwin-Williams
Photo courtesy Sherwin Williams


2011 New Neutrals: Color remains scary for consumers and my interior design clients to commit to in large doses so the forecast is that neutrals remain hot for 2011 interior design trending, but have now gotten a yummy steroidal shot. Called “the Chameleons,” these new neutrals morph in different light, inspiring questions like, “is it tan or moss? Is it gray or brown?”
Pastels take on vibrancy and clarity. Silvery blue; silvery violet and silvery pink. Combined with gray they’re restful; with chocolate they jump. Meanwhile, dried herb and spicy tones get more saturated while corals and oranges remain hot. Here’s the big news for 2011 Interior Design Trend forecasting…expect to see 1980’s Fashion revisited. Not the shoulder pads, but expect to see some of the hottest selling fashion colors of that time: Teal – rich and saturated, Goldenrod – hard to miss, Bright Navy and 1980’s Purple. (Can you hear the disco music?)

How to use this info: Continue to buy your larger investment pieces in neutral color so they go the distance. Throw your trendy colors on pillows, bridge art and accent pieces. As ever, remember to cut these intense “colorful-colors” with plenty of neutrals for great effect.

Forecast: As the economy recovers, so will the desire for more color.


Plain is gone; complex is in. Expect to see detailed fabrics containing striking pattern, texture and large scale prints. Look for multiple weaves in 1 piece (picture a foreground design in 1 patterned weave and background in another weave…fabulous). Expect to see tapestry inspired fabrics while chenille gives way to boucle. The biggest news: VEL-VET, but now it’s dimensional: it’s cut and carved; shiny or low texture, antiqued or embroidered. Linen remains big, but with less shine – the look for 2011 is dry and warn – countrified and a little nubby.

How to use this info: Safely play here with these trend fabrics by updating accent pillows – perhaps a club chair or accent piece. Be careful about velvet on upholstery please- if you don’t choose wisely – you will see the hind-end-print left behind by the last sitter!

Some fun details on pillows and upholstery for the 2011 Interior Design Trend Report include:

  • Tiny 1.5″ flanged edges on pillows
  • Brush fringe that is so short, it actually just looked like an outline on a pillow
  • Straps and chords that wrap entirely around upholstery. (This was seen at a couple of the big design shows…..Mainstream idea? I’m betting against it…)
  • Crystal details decline; nail head trim is getting more creative. Rather than a simple nail head tac strip border on a chair…imagine a Greek key nail head pattern on a leather ottoman.

Feeling panicked?  Don’t.  Just remember the advise I give to all of my delicious Bucks County and Philadelphia interior design clients when they express concerns about “following the trends” and that expert advice is this:   YOU are the trend with staging power. Buy what you love and love what you buy. Nod to a trend if you love it by way of accents and easily changed items. And if you hate a trend…hold your breath and wait until it passes, calms downs or morphs into something that does strike your fancy.