As we spring ahead and turn the page on cold-weather hygge, we find ourselves celebrating the change brought by the warmer months, and, as Princeton designer Leslie Campbell suggests, giving in to our urge “to throw open the windows, fluff the cushions, and add some flowers.” With that in mind, we picked the stylish brains of six of our area’s most talented interior designers for their must-try trends for spring. This group’s beautifully diverse philosophies run the style gamut, from Katie Eastridge’s tailored glamour with rich color, classic lines, and modern art; to Bruce Norman Long’s classic style of proportion, balance, and decorum; to Judy King’s dynamic mosaic of pattern combined with the rustic and refined. The result: wonderfully fresh takes on color, design, and texture—with a dash of time-honored style to keep it all grounded. Here’s to sunnier days. —Rae Padulo
Nature and her exuberant florals
These aren’t your grandma’s florals: Think large-scale patterns, vibrant blooms, and bold hues. From his offices in Bryn Mawr, PA, and Princeton, NJ, Bruce Norman Long sees “the return of great classic fabrics with exuberant florals and patterns from past decades being recolored and reintroduced.” Hopewell designer Shelby Tewell turns up the volume on a classic office chair with a lively floral print. And don’t forget those walls. “Wallpaper!” suggests Tewell. “It can turn any room into something jaw-dropping.” Case in point: the whimsical butterfly wallpaper of a dining room project by Pennington-based designer AJ Margulis—a happy tribute to Nature’s little creatures and colors. “Spring always brings on an urge for more pinks and greens … the colors of nature!” she declares. Afraid of print? Try Pantone’s color of the year: a fresh yellow-green called, appropriately, Greenery, to bring a little spring inside.
BEYOND THE PALE
Pastels move past the nursery
Pale pastels are having their moment. Long observes “the resurgence of pastels in paints and fabrics, such as soft coral-pinks, greens, and violets. I think some of these soft colors are replacing the ‘safety’ of off-whites and beiges. Pastels allow people to embrace color without being risky or bold.” Of the pales, Tewell says her clients are looking to “soft, soothing color to create a calm home environment, and balance the busy lives everyone is leading.” So pair them with muted neutrals for a soothing backdrop, as Judy King did in this ethereal foyer, or if you’re feeling adventurous: Punch up the pales with deeper hues for maximum impact.
GLEAM A LITTLE GLEAM
Modern metallics’ subtle sparkle
“Brass is back,” proclaims the Princeton-based King, who suggests the use of metallic accessories to allow the warm, reflective surfaces of golds, bronzes, and brass to bounce light around a room. An accessory is an easy-to-try element that can be incredibly impactful, like the gleaming coffee table in an elegant living room by Princeton’s Katie Eastridge. Today’s metallics are more subtle than those of yesteryear, and according to Margulis, soft brass finishes signify the return of sophisticated interiors—adding a bit of glamour and luxury to the overall design of a room.
WOOD: THE NEW WHITE?
Trim goes dark
Though white woodwork has been de rigueur for many years, there’s been a recent turn toward darker trim, wainscoting, staircases, and furniture, and it’s been adding big impact and dramatic contrast to wall neutrals and pales. “Gorgeous, deeper woods—all balanced out against lots of white,” signals this welcome move to more sophisticated interiors, says Margulis. The trend toward lighter walls and darker woodwork is embraced by Campbell, too. “It is refreshing after so many years with nothing but white used for the woodwork.” Or use a deep tone for a room’s furniture, like Campbell’s dining room project. Afraid that very dark trim is too much of a commitment? Try a lighter shade, like Eastridge did with a delightful pale gray on the ceiling trusses in this Great Room space.
The balancing act of white and color
Like laundry draped across a clothesline, a brilliant white can give any space a fresh, clean look. Eastridge recommends balancing bright white with accents of your favorite colors. She uses the crisp combination of white and green as an example: “By combining neutrals and a bright white with a clean green background, a room is at once approachable and elegant.” A white-based palette can also allow a touch of bold color to sing, like the red piping and pillows in this master bedroom by Long. A timeless, simple backdrop to colorful wall art and bright accessories, crisp white is a unifier, no matter if your taste runs classic or contemporary, rustic or polished.
(Article originally appeared in Bricks & Mortar: Spring/Summer 2017)