Stephen’s Design Trend Forecast for the year 2009

Watch for the popularity of wood to thrive in home dŽcor. 2009 will see wood’s use increase across all spectrums in floors, walls, ceilings (bead board) and furniture. Eco-friendly products continue to be in demand. Consumers will buy sustainable building materials that may cost them a bit more up front, but will save them a lot over time.

Watch for a resurgence of interest in vintage furnishings. The modern furniture lines popularized in the ’40s and ’50s fit well with the sensibilities of 2009. Smaller seating arms (like those of studio sofas and Garvey chairs) have already found their way into student housing, big city apartments, and will soon come home to the South as we reclaim, recycle and rediscover yesteryear’s treasures.

There will be a resurgence of French and Delft styles. The simple marriage of blue and white will be huge, especially among a new generation that finds its design inspiration from Crate&Barrel. 2009 will see lots of hand-painted ceramics, embossed dinnerware, and whitewashed woods paired with clear glass accessories and natural linens.

Metallic will continue to shine – from bronze, mercury glass lamps all the way to bedding fabrics. Envision your dŽcor accents translated into modern metallic finishes and textures imbued with a sense of visual excitement and high energy. Particularly noteworthy for 2009 are platinum, dark silver, rose-gold and copper.

The complex dimensions of snowflakes and crystal quality of glacier ice is one of the freshest themes in home design. Imported design schemes from Nordic climes – with their frosty glass, metallic accents, and cube shapes – will redefine the fine line between hot and cool in 2009.

Global trends continue making many inroads from abroad, particularly items and patterns from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. 2009 will see even more of the ethnic, patchwork patterns in warm reds, burnt oranges, browns, plums and olives.

Bold patterns of the former Soviet Union combined with Russian folk art will be embroidered across all genres of upholstery. A caravan of traditional themes from Mother Russia will resurface in patterns of circular motifs and bold colorations in strikingly modern ways.

American patchwork quilts are far from country kitsch. The modern mixture of pieced fabric, tiny flowers, and color-blocked graphics – long heralded by Alabama-born, Manhattan-famous, interior designer Raymond Waites – is coming of age across all continents.

Passionate, warm, and seductive, the red and orange family will have a strong presence in 2009. Crimson and citrus combinations appear in table linens and lamps. Clear reds make a splash in ethnic textiles, sculpted candles and silk flowers.

Speaking of color, the Pantone Color Institute forecasts lively colors and sophisticated, grounded hues with Fuchsia Red, Salmon Rose, Palace Blue, Lavender, Rose Dust and Vibrant Green predicted to be very popular.

Mustard and Plum, last seasons’ two most prominent colors, are pairing up as this next year’s dominant palette. Plum and gold tones stand out while deep purple or rosy lavenders pair well with (and all forecasters agree on this) bold yellows made with just a hint of green.

Neutrals, especially the warm and cool grays, along with boldly colored accent pieces have long transformed ordinary homes into light-filled living oases. But as homeowners reach out and embrace the deeper, more intense paint colors – not only as accent walls, but for entire rooms – a higher level of light is needed for illumination. Lighting manufacturers have responded by introducing chandeliers with more arms (or multiple lights per arm), as well as pendants and wall-mounted fixtures that accept brighter, energy efficient bulbs.

2009 trends are about organic shapes and colors, woven patterns and eco-friendly materials. If there is one overall theme coming for 2009, it might best be called SlowTec – a simple back-to-basics style that is all about less speed for better living – and a focus on quality craftsmanship and eco consciousness.

May you always live in beauty!

Stephen Thompson is an Allied Member of the American Society of Interior Designers. Questions or comments may be addressed to Designer Connection, P.O. Box 361, Tupelo, MS 38802 or to

Click video to hear audio