Key Color and Style Interior Design Trends for 2013

Hem lines go up. Hem lines go down. Before you can say the word…”hem,” the fashion winds change again.

Not so fast in interior design trends, which move on a thankfully slower curve. Design is the “turtle” compared to the fast, fickle fashion “hare.” Further cause for calm for all of you interior design aficionados is this: Multiple design trends always develop at the same time. Unlike their fashion cousins, interior design trends morph and develop in slower fits and starts over a cycle of years.

Here’s what you can expect in 2013.


Gray remains a strong color direction or just an undertone. From dirty vanillas to platinum gray to menswear flannel to steel wool. Lemon Sorbet is named color of 2013 by Benjamin Moore. (Instant 2013 Winner Room: Lacquered gray flannel walls, streamlined upholstery in shades of vanilla with “lemon sorbet” club chairs and yellow banded drapery panels.)

Lemon Sorbet Walls. Photo courtesy of Benjamin Moore

If green was the common go-to color last year, this year it’s back to blue for both men and women (grayed down of course). Navy hits the scene.

Walls in Evening Dove by Benjamin Moore
Walls in Evening Dove by Benjamin Moore

Remember 2012’s “Tangerine Tango?” For 2013, it has already morphed into Coral and Absolute Red. Spicy tones are still around. Apricot got a little more brown mixed into it. Plums got dustier. Pink keeps popping up as a fun dose of pop – but for the right client only.

Style Trends:


Happily, Transitional still reigns supreme. These are the interiors that meld traditional forms with clean modern forms, and with accents thrown about in a strong color or from one of the style directions noted below.

Design by Interiors by Donna Hoffman/ Photo by David Van Scott
Design by Interiors by Donna Hoffman/ Photo by David Van Scott

Hollywood Glam

All those sophisticated grays are here for a reason – to support the Hollywood Glam vibe that continues in 2013. Some mirrored furniture is replaced now by painted woods in say…gray. (I’m not making this up.) The furniture shapes are elegant and right out Hollywood from the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s. Yes, Deco splashes are seen too.

glam gray room


Think anything from deconstructed upholstery (get Restoration Hardware on the phone) to industrial drums repurposed into tables or light fixtures. A sprinkling in a room of even traditional forms and you’d be amazed at how fantastic the look. Don’t believe me? Look at the kitchen in the movie “IT’S COMPLICATED” – with those fabulous industrial steel frame windows and butcher block island.

Kitchen from "It's Complicated"
Kitchen from “It’s Complicated”

Or, look at this ladies’ study and notice the light fixture. It’s all about the mix. Never the extreme expression of the design trend.

Design by Interiors by Donna Hoffman/ Photo by David Van Scott
Design by Interiors by Donna Hoffman/ Photo by David Van Scott

Urban Sophisticate

This is the Madison Avenue Look. Need I say more.

Retro Moves to the 70’s

Contemporary continues to gain ground, but move over “Mad Men.” We’re not discarding the 50’s and 60’s, now we’re looking to the 1970’s, too. California Berber (Shag!) is back; accented pops of “mod” colors and those full, rounded Mary Tyler Moore upholstered shapes. The last few NEOCON (office furniture shows) were like a trip through what I’d imagine Mike Brady’s architecture office looked like in downtown Brady – Bunchville.

Mary Tyler Moore Show Living Room
Mary Tyler Moore Show Living Room

The Take Away

Unlike fashion which is a head-to-toe game, in interior design trends, to be successful, we designers splash new trend feelings and sentiments about. We add them to an existing style palette or into a classically timeless room to achieve head turning results. Gone are the rigid days of strict adherance to a single design style and you are the winner because of it.