New decor of­fers lighter col­ors, airier over­all look

The Progress-Index - At Home - - HOME DECOR - By Kim Cook

There's been a sub­tle shift in con­tem­po­rary dé­cor; it started to emerge at this year's fur­ni­ture and de­sign shows, and con­tin­ues to gain ground in re­tail­ers' fall and win­ter col­lec­tions.

It's a shift of light, in color and de­sign.

Hues are soft yet grown-up — snow, fog, laven­der, blush. And af­ter years of dark wenge wood and stolid fur­ni­ture, we're see­ing el­e­ments with a lighter foot­print. Blond woods like maple, ash and birch. White­washed oak and pine.

Legs are more ta­pered, pro­files more at­ten­u­ated. There are more re­flec­tive sur­faces — met­als with pati­nas; mir­ror fin­ishes; and trans­par­ent or opaque acrylics.

Much of it has a Nordic vibe, what some in in­ter­na­tional de­sign are call­ing "The New Scandi."

You can opt for a soft, ca­sual ap­proach with weath­ered woods and creamy linens, or a more dressed-up ver­sion with crisply tai­lored whites and bur­nished met­als.

White walls are one easy way to get started. Far­row & Ball's cre­ative head, Char­lotte Cosby, notes how ef­fec­tive whites and pale hues can be to­gether. "Light neu­trals cre­ate an il­lu­sion of a larger space and can act as a can­vas, em­pha­siz­ing art­work and state­ment ac­ces­sories," she says. "Try lay­er­ing whites to

cre­ate a soft­ness and depth to rooms."

Jackie Jor­dan, mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor at paint man­u­fac­turer Sher­win-Wil­liams, sees a shift to soft, monochro­matic pal­ettes with creamy whites, warm grays, khaki hues and grayed blush tones.

"The seren­ity of these col­ors pro­vides a sense of calm to bal­ance hec­tic lifestyles," she says. "They celebrate nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als as well as honed, soft and sheer fin­ishes. These col­ors lend them­selves well to both lux­u­ri­ous spa­ces and ca­sual re­treats. "

As to fur­nish­ings, Kim­berly Winthrop, de­signer for online in­te­rior-de­sign mar­ket­place Lau­rel & Wolf, says, "Bright, clean pal­ettes give Scan­di­na­vian De­sign a min­i­mal and mod­ern feel, while still keep­ing beauty and a hint of glam­our in bal­ance."

She says the look can work es­pe­cially well for work spa­ces, where lighter hues and min­i­mal dé­cor can help fo­cus the mind.

Don't go over­board, how­ever. You're af­ter rooms that look at­trac­tive, in­ter­est­ing and liv­able. Rooms dressed top to bot­tom in un­re­lieved white or one neu­tral hue may look stark and clin­i­cal. Adding tex­tures, eclec­tic pieces and art­work keeps the spa­ces com­fort­able.

Kardiel of­fers a chic tufted ot­toman that pairs white cash­mere wool with stain­less-steel legs. Silky white leather clads a sexy Monroe mid­cen­tury sofa. The Sput­nik din­ing ta­ble is a slim glass slab bal­anced on shapely wal­nut legs. (www. kardiel.com )

At De­sign Within Reach, Swedish de­signer Greta Mag­nus­son Grossman's Grasshop­per floor lamp perches a con­i­cal head on lithe legs; it's avail­able in hues like salmon, putty and blue gray. And sim­ple cir­cles of ply­wood give Dan­ish de­signer Thomas Bentzen's Around side ta­bles a clean, spare ap­peal. Pablo Pardo's Swell pen­dants in matte white with an­odized brass in­te­ri­ors evoke the sim­plic­ity of wa­ter droplets, and come in three sizes. (www.dwr. com )

Light, re­claimed teak and a lacy rope seat make the Bent­ley arm­chair a con­tem­po­rary stand­out at AllMod­ern. A del­i­cate star­burst mir­ror from Ash­ton Sut­ton would add wall in­ter­est with a mid­cen­tury-mod­ern vibe. A set of white lac­quered stor­age boxes could hold tech gad­gets, toi­letries, jew­elry or keys. (www.allmod­ern.com )

Lucite's a won­der­ful ma­te­rial for in­tro­duc­ing the il­lu­sion of airi­ness into a room; there are sev­eral pieces in Wis­te­ria's Dis­ap­pear­ing fur­ni­ture col­lec­tion. (www.wis­te­ria.com )

Z Gal­lerie's got some fun, faux-fur slip­per chairs on acrylic legs, with match­ing ot­tomans. Arm­less slip­per chairs pro­vide seat­ing with a slim­mer sil­hou­ette. (www. zgal­lerie.com )

And the Bor­den chair from Ap­t2B is a comfy, tufted midmod chair that could live in a bed­room, din­ing room or liv­ing room. Col­ors in­clude a warm honey mus­tard or serene gray. (www.ap­t2b. com )

STU­ART GOLDENBERG/KONEKT VIA AP

In this photo pro­vided by Konekt, the Philadelphia de­sign stu­dio Konekt, helmed by de­signer He­lena Sultan, of­fers the Gazelle wood din­ing ta­ble ñ sleek, lithe legs an­chor a slab of white ash or wal­nut. The slim pro­file fits decorís new in­ter­est in lighter woods, sil­hou­ettes and col­ors.

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