When it comes to home styles in the U.S., we often broadly categorize them by region. A Southern style home might have columns and a spacious wrap-around porch with rocking chairs. We think of Californians as loving their mid-century modern ranch-style homes or Spanish style abodes. When we envision the midwest, farmhouses, and Craftsman-style homes may come to mind.
When the rest of the country thinks of home styles in the Washington, Virginia, and Maryland region, chances are they envision houses influenced by 18th-century colonists: symmetrical colonials clad in brick or wood siding.
But these are sweeping characterizations. As time has passed and our world has become more transient than ever, it’s fairly easy to find any of these styles anywhere — often with a mixture of many styles in a single home. And with Americans’ current obsession with home decorating media, a wide variety of architectural and home interior styles has been introduced to the masses, homogenizing home styles throughout the U.S. even more. This blurring of home styles is seen especially in interior decor.
Brenda Magnum Miller, an award-winning interior designer, has been helping clients in the DMV region for 15 years. She currently owns a furniture store and works as a designer for Ethan Allen. She’s seen trends come and go and has noticed that while the mid-Atlantic states have many colonial-influenced homes, these have been updated to reflect modern tastes.
“Most of the home styles that I work on range from traditional to contemporary,” says Brenda. “However, more of the traditional homes are updated to include larger rooms, creating an open concept with lighter finishes. We call these ‘transitional’ designs.”
Her clients’ updates range from extensive renovations to changes as simple as paint colors, floor coverings, and drapery. “But even the simplest of changes make a big impact,” she says. “Wall-to-wall carpet is being switched out for luxury vinyl tile. Kitchen countertops are being replaced with granite or quartz.”
She’s also seen how the COVID-initiated building boom has changed interior design and created many new opportunities for interior designers. One of the biggest changes comes from the explosive work-from-home culture.
“There is a great need for office areas for both parents,” says Brenda. I see many converting living rooms to office areas, adding bookshelves and French doors to enclose these spaces for privacy.”
She’s also seen many basements incorporating areas to homeschool children and creative work stations added to closets. This adaptation involves removing closet doors, shelving, and clothes rods to make room for desks, cork boards, and dry erase boards.
The COVID-related changes aren’t confined to the indoors. “Outdoor spaces are also being expanded for entertainment areas,” she says. “People want larger patio areas with outdoor kitchens. Fire pits and pools are emerging more than ever before.”
What else is trending in home design? Maximalism — a “more is more” home décor — seems to be bucking the minimalist movement. Maximalists see minimalism as too quiet and even cold. They replace subtle or monochrome palettes with vibrant hues. Minimalism’s streamlined, simple and sometimes stark backdrops are giving way to bold textures, layers, and luxury. Achieving maximalism without clutter is important if you want your home to be warm and welcoming. Maximalism gone awry can create chaos and a feeling of unrest.
Here’s a 2022 forecast for five more “ins and outs” in home décor.
In: Picture or abstract art
Out: Word art
Not much needs to be spelled out here. Just remember: a picture tells a thousand words. Ditch the words. Hang the picture.
Out: Shabby Chic
Moving forward in 2022, people still look back to design styles from the past. A nostalgic aesthetic might draw from the Victorian or Art Deco eras, but in an old-meets-new way, more upscale than Shabby Chic.
In: Floating shelves
Out: Closed cupboards
Yes, closed cupboards hide clutter, but floating shelves give you an opportunity to create artful vignettes. Why hide those pretty bowls you selected? Bring them into the light and add a complementary picture and a few cookbooks and you have warm and personalized wall space.
One of the residual effects of COVID is sure to be a change in our everyday health habits. Hands-free faucets and soap dispensers, touchless toilets and trash cans are surging in popularity.
In: Quartz counters
Out: Granite counters
Granite used to be the countertop of choice and is still a kitchen luxury, but quartz is coming out slightly ahead these days. Quartz is harder and less porous than granite which helps keep your counters more impervious to bacteria.
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