February 12, 2013, by Lindsay Mullett

Now Trending…

2013 is off to a fast start, and like every new year, it has brought with it new trends! When I think about my own activities in and out of Columbus in the last few weeks, I’m reminded of how immersed we are with ever-changing trends.  At the stores in the Short North, I see bold patterns layered together, peplum dresses, and emerald green in fashion.  A trip to the ski-slope last weekend, and I was shocked to see neon ski attire and prints on fabrics once limited to neutrals (I admit, I missed the memo on this one).  Cafes and restaurants downtown are sporting signs for “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” and my coffee shop is now full of people on their tablets, rather than a laptop. Even nearby gyms are full of bright patterned LuLuLemon attire and are promoting specialty boutique classes, natural fruit juices, and themed races.  We cannot escape it – trends will always be around us and will always be evolving.

If I narrow the scope to my daily work as an Interior Designer, the trends are endless and overlap many of the ones listed above.  Rustic elements like reclaimed wood, bold patterns, and locally manufactured materials and products line the sheets of my new design magazines.  Emerald Green is Pantone’s color of the year stating it’s “lively”, and “the color of balance and harmony”.  According to Interior Design Magazine, we’ll continue to see flexible, open floor plans that are designed to create a series of experiences, with small boutique-like spaces throughout.  With such a fast paced society, how can we possibly keep up and how do we separate out which trends to adopt within our very own projects?

Here are some personal guidelines that I like to keep in mind when I think of trends:

  1. Is the trend relevant? Just like skinny jeans don’t work for every person, some design trends don’t work within the context of a project.  If certain trends do not fit the personality and culture of the end users, I say avoid it no matter how hot on the scene it is.  A trend should never feel forced.
  2. Can a trend make an improvement to the current way of doing things? Just because a trend isn’t brought up or an obvious fit within a project, doesn’t mean it can’t make an improvement to what is already a set standard or solution.  No project is alike, making it important to be aware of a wide range of current trends to consider in each scenario.
  3. What is the project’s lifespan?  In retail design, trends are extremely important to capture, the environment is significantly smaller and it’s timeline shorter than something like a massive healthcare facility making it easier to take on more of a risk with its identity.  Weigh the impact of the trend decisions you are making with the environments life and consider how a trend will translate in a lifespan.
  4. Experiment and Balance:  If you’re feeling risky and want to take a chance on a more extreme trend, make sure it’s in a smaller portion and balanced with other timeless elements or solutions.  No need to go “all in” with any which trend right out of the gate.
  5. Be cautious of the looming burn out: How quickly is a trend being absorbed in the market and is it on the brink of becoming stale?  We all remember the eighties Mauve and Teal undertaking… (Although I did notice a significant amount of teal in a new textile line…is it possible this may be making a comeback?).  Some trends are here to stay and some trends are fleeting moments in time…use good judgment on each trend’s future before implementing into a design solution.
  6. Is this a trend or an entire movement? There are trends that are here to stay and have become a new way of life such as sustainability.  What was once a “Going green” phenomenon has morphed into a goal not only in many of our projects but also the way we live life.  Some trends make such an important improvement that it’s an obvious choice…do some research and promote ones that continue to have success.

As a designer, it’s a fun part of my job to stay at the forefront of these design trends and since most are intermingled with life outside of the office, it makes it increasingly important to gain awareness through different experiences.   So whether I’m out on the town with friends, shopping, seeing what’s “trending” on twitter, consider it trend research; I’m always keeping my eyes and ears on the next big trend that will spill over into the design world.