Trends come and go, but every now and then, we see a collection and instantly know that it's going to appear in every stylish home for years to come. Forget what you think will be popular in 2017, and commit this one trend to memory: the "new modern."
"The first thing I did was speak to the young people in our team and ask them What excites you right now in design? What pieces do you actually want to live with?" says West Elm Creative Director Johanna Uurasjarvi. The result? An achingly cool collection that signals the next evolution of midcentury modern design, a shift toward organic shapes, sculptural silhouettes, and easy-to-style blush tones.
"We are entering a new era in design," Uurasjarvi tells MyDomaine. "There is an exciting movement toward new, original forms, architectural and clean shapes with refined and thoughtful details."
West Elm isn't the only authority embracing this trend. New York–based interior designer Kiki Dennis adopted a similar aesthetic in a stunning Brooklyn brownstone project that's garnered attention. "I think a sculptural chair or light fixture can really have a huge impact on a space," she says. This carefully curated look—a blend of rounded sofas and chairs, accents in muted jewel tones, and orb-like lighting—is about to be big.
Follow these five simple steps to be one of the first to adopt spring's coolest trend.
STEP 1: Start With a Statement Chair
If you're not prepared to completely refurnish your living room, don't worry—this trend works best paired with existing decor. "It's very rare to furnish a room from scratch, so we design pieces that work back with items that you already have," says Uurasjarvi.
The key to perfecting this trend is to consider the silhouette of each item and make sure curved lines are juxtaposed with straight edges. "It's all about contrast, balancing the light and the heavy, the round and the square," she explains.
"Soft and feminine round shapes are really popular right now, but you don't want everything round," she cautions. For example, balance the curved silhouette of an accent chair with a geometric rug or table to achieve harmony.
STEP 2: Add Glass Accents
Now that you've offset curved and straight silhouettes, turn your attention to furniture material. "It's all about balancing lightness," says Uurasjarvi. "If your sofa is heavier, just put a glass table in front, and it opens up the whole room."
Interior designer Kiki Dennis took a similar approach when designing this Park Slope brownstone. "We knew very clean, modern furniture would help to balance the architectural detail and keep the space feeling fresh," she tells MyDomaine. She chose a pale blue Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair as the focal point and balanced it with "a textured flokati carpet and curved metal and glass coffee table [to] reinforce this soft modern feeling."
STEP 3: Introduce Unexpected Colors
Color is a key part of perfecting this trend. "I like starting with neutrals then adding a cool-tone palette," says Uurasjarvi. Don't stop there, though. "Then, go back and add a pop of accent color. [Choose a] pillow or vase in a color that adds a little twist," she recommends.
If you're unsure which base colors to utilize, Dennis recommends neutral and blush colors with an earthy undertone, which will act as a versatile canvas. "I think nudes and blushes that have an earthy base are ultimately more flexible and have more longevity. [They don't] feel too overtly feminine or one-dimensional."
STEP 4: Trade Art for Mirrors
Practicality and beautiful design don't have to be mutually exclusive. This trend encourages a blend of form and function, where ordinary items like coffee tables and mirrors are treated as individual works of art.
"Mirrors are like the forgotten wall art," says Uurasjarvi. "They're not just for function." She predicts curved, frameless mirrors will start appearing in every stylish home in place of, or next to, art. "I like mixing them with wall art because they don't compete. When you put two paintings together, you need to make sure they work side by side—that's hard. Mirrors don't have that issue."
STEP 5: Invest in Orb Lighting
You've invested in curved furniture, balanced the room with a glass coffee table, introduced a burst of color, and adorned your walls with organic-shaped mirrors. Now for the final touch: lighting.
"Lighting is going through such a renaissance!" says Uurasjarvi. "There is so much excitement at the moment in lighting design, and it really has become one of the biggest art pieces in a room."
Opt for orb-shaped lighting that doubles as a sculpture. She recommends bulbous floor lamps, brushed brass table lamps, and orb pendant lights that instantly draw your gaze upward.
When pressed about the longevity of this new trend, Uurasjarvi is adamant: It's not going anywhere. If you're nervous about investing in a curved sofa or statement light only to find it's no longer in style months later, don't worry. "This is only the start," says. "There is so much more to come." Watch this space.
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