Interior design trends toward a relaxed, softer feel

Published 8:13 pm Thursday, August 10, 2017

They’re the colors of nature, of sky and sand and waves seen on a walk down the ocean shore; of earth and clouds and river in a sweeping view from waterfront home. The colors of nature aren’t relegated to the exterior anymore — they’re coming inside.

This is coastal charm and it’s the latest trend in home décor. Shades of blues and beiges, soft colors in subtle patterns that don’t jump out at the visitor to a given room. It’s today’s direction in design as more and more people move away from formal and fussy to a more easygoing way of living.

“I think what’s great about this current trend is it’s not overly fussy. It’s relaxing, and it’s easy to live with,” said Susan Sizemore, with Watson In Homes.

Watson In Homes does plenty of interiors and Sizemore said she’s seeing homeowners opt for the coastal look as opposed to the bright prints of the past. But what the coastal look lacks in eye-grabbing boldness, it makes up for in other ways.

“One of the main elements of that coastal look is texture — lots and lots of texture,” Sizemore said. “That heightens the look, keeps it from being boring.”

Slubby and knotted fabrics pick up where bright prints leave off, and the style is not limited to a home’s interior: outdoor fabrics made to withstand the elements are moving in that direction too.

“Outdoor fabrics have come a long way,” Sizemore said, adding that she’s now seeing people choose to go with outdoor fabrics for indoor furniture, especially for furniture that needs to be a bit more resilient, such as that found river and beach cottages.

Sizemore said she believes the coastal look is tied into larger home design trends — that of less formal, more open spaces that combine living, dining and kitchen areas, as well as the growing trend of reclaiming the old to make into something new.

“I like the words rustic elegance. It’s kind of the new trend. It’s really popular,” Sizemore said.

Old bricks used for an accent wall; hardwood floors rescued from another structure and restored for a new home; weathered barn doors repurposed for interior use; exposed beams complemented with the soft, natural colors create a cozy, comfortable atmosphere.

“It’s a very soothing, calming way to decorate. It comes across as relaxed. You can kick off your flip flops and relax — it’s that kind of feel,” Sizemore said. “Even if it’s a brand new house, you can give it that softened, weathered feel.”

What’s also contributing to the trend is what seems to be a renewed interest in antique furniture. Sizemore said, these days, Watson In Homes is reupholstering more antique furniture brought in by a younger clientele. Where in past years, younger generations have chosen to buy new instead of taken in family antiques, the trend is reversing and plenty of younger people are bringing in old furniture to be refurbished fabrics of a newer, softer style.

Sizemore said she first saw signs of the coastal look around 2008, when interior designer Jordan Proctor opened her studio Coastal Fog in Greenville, and it’s been going strong ever since.

“She made that her signature look. She started doing it before I started seeing it in magazines,” Sizemore said.

The coastal look as caught on since and Sizemore said, unlike many trends that pop into and out of style quickly, she sees no sign of the style’s losing popularity.

“This one’s got staying power,” she said.