Home sweet home has become home smart home — a plugged-in space that is overflowing with technology and numerous electronic devices. It has become more efficient, productive and more secure than ever before.
But is it still home sweet home?
Yes, said Julie Smith Vincenti, owner of the trends forecasting firm Nine Muses Media and curator of First Look, an exclusive program held during Las Vegas Market, the biannual furniture, home decor and gift show that is now scheduled for April 11-15. She knows how to balance the home decor in spite of all the automation.
“Living in a high-tech digital place with extended power and electronics has driven consumers to put more of their discretionary dollar into their homes,” she said. “The home remains a sanctuary, a place of refuge. However, the smarter it is, the more we need to balance and refresh with soft textiles so that surfaces have a pleasant touch. All this serves as a counterbalance to the high-tech presence in the home.”
Since people are spending more time in their homes because of COVID-19, they need to be soothed. The coldness of a home can be removed by color and pattern. When painting walls, smooth surfaces pair well with vibrant pigments like red, orange and marine blue.
More detailed textures are best when used in combination with neutral hues such as cream, black or navy blue. It is important to balance color and texture in a way that isn’t overbearing, yet gives a cohesive look and feel to the room.
“Home furnishings with intriguing finishes, interesting textures and artful weaves are appealing to those who have been sheltering in their homes for close to a year now,” Smith Vincenti said. “These furnishings, called touch points, soothe consumers who seek comfort and calm because of new stressors that have been added over the past year.
“What’s more, these products are a welcome counterbalance to the high-tech and automated elements such as smart devices, appliances, gadgets and components that are increasingly popular in homes today. Many of the touch points leading this trend are made by hand, so they also lend a one-of-a-kind vibe to interiors.”
In describing touch points, Smith Vincenti explained how uncertainty creates a longing for familiarity, exploration, momentum and progress.
“Tactility satisfies the senses, evokes positive memories and awakens imagination,” she said. “Personal expression can come in earthy and savory hues such as stone, clay and sand. There are also lush landscapes, patterned tiles, cherished artifacts and unique accents. These elements come together to define touch points where experience and nostalgia are shaping the next chapter in personal expression. And that personal expression can be applied to the home.”
There are many ways to use texture to make spaces inviting and unique. Choosing the right ones adds dimension to a room and provides a strong element of contrast that allows furniture to complement existing design elements.
“Glass ceramics, throws, pillows and even lighting become focus areas,” Smith Vincenti said. “Then there are area rugs, bedding, vases, mirrors and wall decor or something with fringe. All of these are touch points.
“Natural wood is calming and adds softness to the home. There is a growing interest in jute and other natural materials like rattan and other woven materials. Any product with a wood finish can be soothing.”
Smith Vincenti understands that not everyone can do a top to bottom redesign with advice from an interior designer. So it becomes an issue of layering.
“People live with certain home furnishings that they’ve had for years and that they love,” she said. “That’s good. It should stay that way. These items can be softened and refreshed by layering with a host of different designs. I’m thinking of a big throw with a dense pile in a neutral color. This would have a pleasing touch to the hand and to the eye.”
Textures are not limited to just fabric and can come in the form of paintings, embossed wallpaper and wall treatments. The surfaces of carved wooden chairs, cobblestone fireplaces and woven rugs add their unique stamp to the room’s decor.
Soft woods and fluffy fabrics instill a sense of comfort and hominess to their space, while clustering opposite materials in a close area can create interest and grab attention. For example, a shaggy rug under a sleek metal coffee table provides a balance between the two styles.
Also, fluffy trim on couch pillows combined with tufted sofa upholstery is inviting and presents a comfortable area to socialize. A dark leather couch next to a rich, wooden bookshelf combined with a deep maple desk and metallic lamps makes for an intimate study area.