homeowners are returning to the hearth to spend quality time with
family and friends. Ensure your abode is making a (positive) lasting
impression with tips from local experts on the hottest trends in
1. In new homes and remodeled spaces, Curt Stern at Jon
Schlagenhaft Design notes quality over quantity. Reducing total square
footage allows for luxury finishes such as custom millwork, marble or
inlaid mosaic tiles, and granite or quartz countertops, as well as
2. Kitchens are the hub of the home, and islands are stylish,
functional additions, says Steve Sobieski of Weisflogs Design Center.
Make yours a focal piece with glazed paints or stains, a different
finish from other cabinetry and oil-rubbed bronze or dark finishes on
3. Wood tones are transitioning from dark espresso stains to a more
natural look that emphasizes the grain. Carlos Lopez of Design Within
Reach recommends furniture in black walnut, blanched or bleached oak
4. Maple and alder are popular for kitchen cabinetry. And
customization is key, according to Jon Schlagenhaft of Jon
Schlagenhaft Design. Custom cabinets and bathroom vanities offer more
storage than stock items.
5. For storage that doesn’t compromise beauty, Lopez suggests the
Matera bed, which offers space efficiency and clean lines with hidden
drawers. Sean Yoo, who designed the collection, says, "Design is
about solving problems and offering solutions that add ‘value.’"
6. Now even more valuable is the mudroom, a necessity for efficient
organization, Sobieski says. Beyond the typical "cubbies,"
these rooms house the "catch-all desk" formerly found in
kitchens, more cabinetry and space to charge electronics.
7. In every home, environmentally friendly elements are must-haves.
Go green with organic bedding at The Home Market, recycled glass
decorative balls from Urban Abode, recycled glass tiles from Weisflogs
Design Center and sustainable woods, like the Double Teak Dining Table
at Design Within Reach.
8. When decorating, go for the eclectic look, a mix of styles for a
finished, designed space rather than showroom aesthetic. Combine
traditional with vintage or modern pieces, or consider the Louis Ghost
Armchair at Design Within Reach, a French provincial form in clear
9. Along the same lines is coordinated contrast. Dawn Adamec at
Urban Abode suggests a sofa and settee from different vendors, and
throw pillows in contrasting fabrics, patterns, textures or colors.
Another option is a dining set with a natural wood table and painted
wood, wicker or metal chairs.
10. Expand your living and entertaining space with porches, decks
and patios — a perfect complement to professional landscaping, says
Mary D’Agostino, an interior designer who works with Trustway Homes.
Fire pits and heaters make these spots comfortable nearly year-round.
11. Even outdoors, interior comforts are available. All-weather
products now include furniture, fabrics, area rugs, artwork and
electronics. But with Wisconsin’s unpredictable climate, it is best
to take precautions, D’Agostino warns.
12. Inside, open-concept floor plans can result in a lack of
defined spaces. Remedy that with area rugs, like the Little Field of
Flowers Rug from Design Within Reach, featuring six die-cut flower and
leaf shapes in three tonalities for movement, texture and color.
13. Color concepts begin with a neutral palette. Lopez says black
and white is a mainstay, while gray is a fresh trend. Adamec lists
taupe, beige, charcoal and brown. She also points to colors with a
neutral tone, such as taupe or puce-tinged purples and grayish pinks.
14. Add a punch of color with blue-green, red, orange, chartreuse,
lavender, fuchsia or cornflower blue. These colors are perfect for
accessories, which are more affordable and easier to transition with
the next trend, Lopez advises.
15. Color is an important element in bathroom sanctuaries, says the
design team at Weisflogs Design Center. Sobieski recommends
personalized ambiance, achieved with themes of passing clouds,
sunsets, water reflections or flowing water.
16. Sobieski’s bathing spaces are transitioning from the
whirlpool focus to personal, heated showers with multiple showerheads,
body sprays, scents and sounds. Now available is a master system that
can be programmed to "morning wake up, relaxation, after workout
and more," he says.
17. Lighting is key in any space. Schlagenhaft sees a combination
of antique and contemporary fixtures, with a preference for classic
designs. Sobieski uses pendant styles above kitchen islands and
recessed lights in open areas, with multiple circuits and dimmer
switches for mood lighting.
18. When accessorizing a room, always use odd numbers and different
shapes, Adamec says. She mixes textures and heights of three
candlesticks, or a collection of wire architectural pieces for another
version of the eclectic look.
19. Art is making a comeback, Lopez says, particularly pieces
produced in Milwaukee’s significant design community. Bring art into
focus with a neutral background, and ensure balance within wall space
and to the scale of your furniture.
20. No matter what catches your fancy, remember, "Less is
more," says Kate Barrette of The Home Market. "Begin with a
few key pieces, both functional and beautiful, then add a few great
accessories for an aesthetically amazing result." M