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Interior designers stay ‘ahead of the curve’

It’s not easy predicting the future, but several speakers were doing their best previewing new trends and designs in home furnishings and decor during the Summer Las Vegas Market.

The speakers participated in a forum titled Ahead of the Curve. Before speaking, they walked the many show floors and viewed some 4,200 lines of furniture, bedding, lighting, flooring, accessories and gifts that were on display across 40 floors of event space at the World Market Center.

Britany Simon is an interior designer and founder of Britany Simon Design House in Scottsdale, Arizona. She was one of the panelists and noticed that being “ahead of the curve” means “back to the future.”

“Everything that I’m seeing now is somewhat ’70s-inspired, which means warmer colors and less gray,” she said. “People are mixing patterns, and there are animal prints and retro prints. And the ’70s also means we’re seeing more rounded and curved lines to juxtapose the harshness of straight lines from previous years.

“And when I say ’70s, it doesn’t mean green carpet and avocado appliances but a look that is influenced by the fashions of the ’70s.”

Simon said many interior design trends start on the fashion runway.

“I’m an interior designer, but you’ll find me at runway shows around the country to see what fashion designers are presenting in terms of color and prints,” she said. “Much of what is shown on the runways eventually trickles into the home market, even if it takes several years. The fashion world has an influence on home textiles and interior design. It is usually introduced back east and slowly moves west.”

Marie Flanigan, the founder of Houston-based Marie Flanigan Interiors, is also influenced by the world of fashion. She monitors who is taking risks and what fashion trends are coming down the pipeline.

“I pride myself on having an eye for what is trending versus what is just trendy or just a flash in the pan,” she said. “There are trends that are done in a timeless classic way. One example is incorporating metal into furnishings. I notice all the new tactile finishes like brass and bronze that have been here for several years now, and I feel it’s going to stay because there are so many ways to do it.

“Some trends come and go, and it’s my job to see which ones are here to stay. We’re influenced by eras past with inspiration from heirloom furnishings and era-inspired classics such as velvet and rich textures. But the timeless trends of today will still influence tomorrow.”

Flanigan suggests investing in a classic staple, such as a sofa or console, to anchor and shape a room and dictate its design. The anchor can carry a variety of styles and colors that can be added throughout the years, with smaller elements such as pillows that can add color and refresh the space.

Fall floral patterns that were big last year remain popular within the interior world via wallpaper, fabrics and pillows.

Simon concurs that statement furniture pieces can remain in place while adding something new to refresh its look.

“Any type of update should be done in moderation,” she said. “Don’t do anything in abundance, especially if it’s a current trend. For now, find a throw rug that encompasses the ’70s to update the room. You can swap it out in two or three years. It’s fun to try something different than what you have been doing over the years.

“Remember, those statement furniture pieces are items you love and will remain in the home forever. So do everything in moderation.”

There is a bit of old school in Flanigan, who still believes there is nothing like feeling and touching the product.

“In spite of the information age where everything is available via digital platforms on smartphones or the internet, I still want to touch and feel,” she said. “We are being told what is being presented before we ever get to any show or presentation. But the nuance of colors and textures must be seen and felt, and this can’t be done over the internet. Besides, there is so much going on every year and trends are always moving and we need to know where to find those trends. This is exciting as there is something always new to see.”

Flanigan believes the information age is blending styles across the country.

“I think at one point there were different styles in different parts of the country, but the information age has changed that,” she said. “California modern was a trend that is now accepted everywhere. We’re all being influenced by trends from across the world as everyone has a social media platform to influence trends. Anyone can play a role.”

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