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Looking Back: 5 Design Trends of 2012 – Revisited | Chedva | October 11, 2012

2012 design trends, still relevant?

photography by Sivan Askayo

Can you believe it’s already October? This time last year I had guest bloggers post about their predictions for 2012 design trends (which turned out to be very accurate, actually) and on May, I visited the ICFF trade show in New York, where many of those trends were present (and presented). Six months later, it’s time to examine – are those trends still relevant? And actually, were they ever relevant? Would they impact real people designing their real homes or just keep showing up in trade shows and showrooms? Below are some of my thoughts, I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments!

jeni tu for wilsonart contest tangerine tango

Trend 1: The Color Orange

Each year, Pantone announces the color of the year, and this year it was orange. Tangerine tango, to be exact. Many designers and companies used this trend in ways that were, in my opinion, jarring and very un-chic. One of my favorite tangerine moments was when I saw the chair (above) by Jeni Tu at ICFF – it was surprising and fun, and looked great with the wood. Is it relevant? I think the designs that made best use of those trends were by designers who would have used orange even if it weren’t “on trend”, like Jonathan Adler, who always favors color and Mid-century Modern shapes. Do you agree?

Trend 2: Back to Simplicity

Another trend that can be seen in this chair (one of my favorites of the show, can you tell?) is the design world getting back to simpler shapes and materials. There were a lot of simple geometrics to be seen – both classic and modern. I think the design world is a little tired of all the bells and whistles and we are getting more of a basic vibe when it comes to furniture. Especially tables and chairs. Is it relevant? Yes, I think we will only see this increase in 2013.

 Trend 3: Pattern-fest!

I know I just said 2012 was the year of simple, but somehow that was not true for wallpaper and fabric. Maybe, as shapes went back to basic, patterns got a “permission” to go wild? Anyway, I was very happy with that since I’m a pattern lover (shocking, I know – or not, if you look at my blog’s logo). What I LOVED is that many patterns seemed to have stories behind them, like those of Grow House Grow, which are actually based on stories or those of the Flat Vernacular and Eskayel that just look like art. I do think more and more people are using wallpaper as an accent and not wrapping it around a whole room, though. Is it relevant? I think patterned wallpaper are still a bit overwhelming for a lot of non-designer people, but I do think we see much more pattern in small doses, like throw pillows. Designer Anna Romero (above) actually made her patterns for both pillows and iPhone cases, which was very sweet. I’m curious – do you have pattern at home?

brass trend jonathan adler votives

Trend 4: Brass, bronze, copper and everything shiny

One of my favorite chairs in the show was the copper Real Good Chair by Blu Dot which was, indeed, real good. That was just one of the many, many copper, brass and bronze furniture I’ve seen in the show and over the year. Actually, when I’ve asked Jonathan Adler “what’s exciting you now?” he answered “brass!” and that what he answered when I asked him what’s the next big thing, too. Is it still relevant? I think when it’s used with simple shapes and/or is true to a certain design era, it’s kept from being tacky and can really shine (pun intended). Do you agree? This may be a trend that some people LOVE and others consider really tasteless.

Trend 5: Humor!

Well, humor is not exactly a trend, but I think in 2012 more and more designers tried they’re hand in being ironic, sarcastic or humorous through design. This is where the real pros were a cut above from those who just jumped on the wagon… There’s a huge gap between those who just try to “sell” the design by making it a gimmick and the true designers, that can make a cookie jar you’ll use every day and still find funny in a few years. And if Jonathan Adler comes to mind again, that’s because I think he’s the master of tasteful, humorous design (see his candle holders above) or in his words: Happy Chic. Is it relevant? Humour is always relevant, but I wish designers would edit more. One well-intended pun is quite enough for a piece of furniture.

Phew, that was quite a lot! Now, I want to know: What do you think? Do you think those trends are going to continue on to 2013? Did you have a favorite trend or something you wish that would become one? Let’s talk about this in the comments.

The photos in this post are all by my friend Sivan Askayo, who’s not only an amazing photographer but also a great blogger and host – we had a fabulous time together in NY! The first image is of Flat Vernacular wallpaper.

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18 comments to the post

  1. I loved your summary of the design trends of 2012. I totally agree that the trend for going back to simplicity will only increase in 2013 – along with the increase in use of natural materials like wood.

  2. Igor says:

    I love this retrospective on interior design trends, Chedva! I agree with you – I think simplicity, natural materials in furniture and textile design will grow in importance. I also think that patterns and colours will not cease to be trendy, either. It is the combination of ideas that seem ambiguous at first glance that add interest and style to a home.

  3. Nina says:

    I have to say I love the color orange, always have and painted my front door a bright orange last year. Loved seeing it used more in interiors, furniture and accessories. Also happy that brass and copper are back in style, I agree with you that it’s the shape that keeps it from being tacky. Looking forward to a colorful, patterned yet simple 2013…

  4. Great post. I will never get tired of orange & I totally agree with the back to simplicity movement.

  5. Chedva, what a lovely blog! I followed you over from BYW and am really glad I did. I’ll come back often. Not an orange fan but with simplicity, patterns and humor you have me.

  6. Orange is everywhere, you’re right! I, myself, am appreciating gold’s comeback in all things this year. Something warm and european about gold :)
    ~Becca from BYW

  7. Kristen says:

    Hi Chedva,
    What a great write-up! Let’s see…I was never super into the whole orange idea (it’s not a color I love and I think now with this whole “color of the year” thing, designers are regrettably just using color because it’s trendy, rather than it’s a color that fits with their design aesthetic), but I think it might be here to stay. And I totally agree with you on the simplicity idea, and that’s one I really hope sticks around! :) And yes to everything shiny (always), but I am particularly drawn to the idea of copper – it must be because I was born in the 70s when I remember it being super popular. I’m kind of digging the rustic-industrial trend now…of course I need to buy a trendy loft to live in first (where I think that style looks best). Maybe someday! :)

    • Chedva says:

      Love hearing your thoughts, Kristen. I agree about the 70s, and I think it’s great that era is finally getting the limelight in decor (Rachel Zoe seems to embrace it in fashion).

  8. good post. I like the layout of your blog. How did you set it up. Found you on BYW

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