Trends 2014

First things first: a strengthening latte! The location, Dineen Coffee Company in Toronto, turns out to be the perfect hang-out place for any design fanatic; the tiled floor, funky lights and overall décor are absolutely gorgeous!

With replenished energy and a big dose of anticipation, I'm off to the 2014 edition of the Interior Design Show to see what's hot, hip and history in the world of design.

Follow me, as I take you through some of the trends seen at the show:

Mix, match and make it yours!

This was a recurrent topic throughout the show, especially among tile and flooring companies. The idea is to create a unique and personal statement in a room, by mixing pieces of different patterns and colours. With tiles, for example, you can put them on a limited area on the wall above the range in the kitchen, or you can introduce a tiled square  into the floor below the range. Other times, you might decide to go big and bold, with a result that looks like a real piece of art, worthy of a prominent placement in your home. The photos show tiles from Cerágrès and Mettrosource, and rug modules from FLOR.

LEDs lead the way

We are experiencing a revolution in lighting, thanks to LEDs. Their small size and low heat output make them incredibly versatile. Not to talk about the savings in electricity they offer! Instead of old days' single, bright light source, LEDs distribute light evenly over larger areas. Dimmable and available in various light levels, strip lengths and lighting types - whitish, yellowish, "day light", etc - they have opened up a new world in lighting. Just look at these pictures. And we're only at the beginning of the evolution...

My designer friend Git and I are trying out the H-Chair,
featuring an overhead LED strip controlled with a touch
on the underside of the seat.

Geometry and pattern galore

We've seen the chevron zigzag for some time now. And even though I've recently heard many people say that they're tired of it, it's still hanging in there, along with other highly graphic patterns. Geometric designs are especially hot these days. They are particularly interesting when the colours involved are varied, so that a sensation of depth is created. The kitchen backsplash at this booth by Caesarstone is an example of that.

Opposites attract

Good design often comes from contrast - in material, size and colour. We continue to see many interiors where "rough" materials, like concrete, steel and reclaimed wood, are juxtaposed with objects of a light, fluffy or transparent appearance. For example, it's common to use acrylic chairs around a chunky, primitive-looking table, and fragile glass chandeliers in rooms with exposed brick or concrete. A twist on this phenomenon is the way some designers use industrial materials to create objects that look delicate, light and airy, like the steel pendants by Rob Southcott, below. Another twist is when transparent material is used in exaggeration to make compact and bulky-looking pieces, especially light fixtures. There were lots of them at the show.

Big is beautiful - playing with scale

Design theory in former days dictated small furniture for small rooms. "The right thing" for a tiny space was smaller pieces, and small-scale prints and patterns on fabrics and wallpaper. Those days are gone. Today, as a result of more minimalist design ideals, many designers favour bigger - and fewer - pieces of furniture, no matter if the room is big or small. The show featured many bold and over-scaled pieces - take a look.

Fabrics and wallpaper set the tone

HGTV star Sarah Richardson's booth was a popular stop at the show. Her new fabric line through Kravet is beautiful, and purposely designed, so that all fabrics in a specific colour family - there are six - go together. To achieve a layered designer look at home has never been easier! Finnish design company Marimekko's fabrics and wallpaper also stood out with their playfulness and bold colour combinations.

Every home needs some quirky

There has to be room for some fun in design as well as in life. Often it's through the small details and decorative pieces that we introduce a hint of humour and quirky into our homes. Perfect as conversation starters, these pieces also make our rooms more personal and less serious. I was especially excited to see Spanish porcelain company Lladró's collaboration with designer Jaime Hayon. The harlequin and pop-art like figurines of the Fantasy collection were very different from the traditional pieces Lladró is normally known for.

Warm up to wooden pendants

There is nothing like wood to instantly warm up a space. Today, we are seeing a lot of light-coloured wood, as opposed to former days' heavy-looking, dark species. One area where wood is becoming increasingly popular is in light fixtures. These wooden pendants stood out:

The Plane Cloud pendant from Storyboard Furniture is
made of steam-bent strips of recycled wood. One side
of the curl is finished with a Scandinavian, traditional
soap finish. The other side is spray painted and available
in close to 100 colours.

Here are a few more highlights from the show:

Colourful outdoor chairs from Innit Designs.
Jardin de Ville's fun and creative booth,
featuring Swedish brand Skargarden
outdoor furniture.

Miniature kitchen from Kid-Chen Co, made of
Canadian Maple plywood, and non toxic paint.
Outdoor quilt and couch from Jardin de Ville.

Side table with integrated iPad holder,
from Nieuw.
Clothes hanger from Nieuw - perfect for a small space.

What do you think, will quirky, bold and fluffy be design styles you adopt this year? I look forward to your comments!

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