Change is good. And a new year seems to coax list-making aspirations, whether it's to lose weight, exercise, be more productive, get organized, streamline or rethink your home decor.
Well, rethink at least some of it, that is. A top-to-bottom redo probably is cost-prohibitive for most. Extreme makeovers will take more of a time and energy commitment, too, but tackling smaller spaces is so much more doable. Tweaking also is possible with strategic additions and subtractions. Simple things like eliminating clutter or switching out accessories can go a long way.
If possible, consider a different layout, creating an alternative grouping of chairs, floating a sofa or clustering small stools that can double as tables. Paint or wallpaper a wall for a subtle or dramatic difference. Think about small things for big impact -- like hardware on cabinetry or trims on sofas, chairs, pillows or drapery.
From Pinterest to Houzz, most everyone now is weighing in on what will be the hot trends for 2017. What's in? What's out?
Don't get obsessed, because while home design is closer to fashion than ever before, it's still more long-term. So big-ticket investment items must have staying power, which means, at the end of the day, they should fall into the "classic" camp. Save the edgy, shock-and-awe items for the occasional accessories that shake up or amuse.
Those of us who cover international design markets pick up on currents and undercurrents, and forecasters note directions and trends a few years out.
You still can read those lists. But temper your response with what really speaks to you, rather than what's trending. What makes you feel good? Is it a riot of color or a layering of neutral hues with textures and warm metallic accents? Are you missing a single piece of furniture that will make a difference? What do you like -- or dislike -- most about your decor?
As we head into a new cycle of home furnishings, kitchen and bath, and housewares shows, here are some subjects that are on the design radar:
-- Of course, green. Greenery is the Pantone Color Institute's color of the year. We talked about green last spring, when such fresh shades always make sense, with the after-winter longing for regeneration.
"Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate, revitalize and unite, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose," says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.
"Through its reassuring yet assertive vibrancy, Greenery offers us self-assurance and boldness to live life on our own terms, during a time when we are redefining what makes us successful and happy," Eiseman adds.
-- Expect to see green in pattern, as well. Designers at York Wallcoverings and Chella Textiles feel that Greenery is a powerful mood-maker that complements corals, enlivens yellows and balances blues. Whether splashed in whimsical watercolors, set in straight-up stripes or fused into florals and paisleys, their designers say that Greenery sets a welcoming tone, indoors and out.
-- Shades of amethyst. From rich regal purples to violet purples to lavender grays, the hue can be either robust or laid back, but always interesting.
-- And white. Layering shades of white in mixed textures never goes out of style. Ditto for black and white's longevity. Whether it's a modern toile, punchy op art print, geometric pattern (as in a fabulous painted glass table from Sauder), stripes (a small-scale, curvy stone striped pedestal table from Ambella Home Collection). And don't forget blue and white -- another perennial favorite.
-- Performance rules. For years, there has been a growing appreciation for performance fabrics. Companies like Sunbrella and Crypton have been partnering with well-known fabric brands such as Thybony and Kravet. The result? Amazing textures, including chenille and boucle weaves and extraordinary velvets, colors and patterns that most definitely push indoors, as their fade-proof, easy-to-clean and durable attributes especially appeal to families with children and pets -- and just about anyone else who loves a good look with no-fuss and low maintenance.
-- Details make the difference. Hardware can be FUNctional, as an embellishment that totally enhances the design. In modern style, overscale pulls on buffets or dressers are dramatic. Unexpected jewelry-like features, such as in the acorn pulls on Larry Lazlo's acorn chest for Guy Chaddock, look like dangling earrings.
-- Details, part deux. An extra well-edited touch in upholstery makes a noticeable difference. It can be simple, homespun, elegant and lush, but the newer styles are not over the top (as in piles of bullion fringe). Contrasting buttons in tufted back cushions, tape trims that read like striping, contrast welts that define the edges, or even sparkly crystal buttons on a burlap cushion. It may translate as larger scale nailheads, or nailheads in contrasting colors to punctuate. In draperies, it's about ties, unusual borders and bands and decorative modern tassels, all in a modern mode.
-- Handcrafted. Other ornamentation, such as embroidery, is again coming on strong, as is an appreciation for crafted furniture, like Ryan Dart's dimensional functional art tables and chairs.
-- Geometry. Geometric looks definitely make their mark in patterns on wallcoverings, fabrics or tiles. Others, especially circles, can make quite the statement in casegoods, particularly table bases and consoles.
-- 3-D. The extra dimension is surfacing on the fronts of cabinets, on wallcovering, and even in a new look we first saw last year -- an Arte 3-D paper covering the front of cabinetry, from a Roche Bobois collection.
Carved or laser-cut wood and layered metals and woods are another approach. And at the last Cersaie tile show in Bologna, Italy, there were plenty of eye-popping tiles that made flat counterparts simply boring.
-- Masculine notes. From pinstripes to herringbone and plaid, there's a decided input from men's fashion.
Speaking of plaids, they are most definitely having a moment again. At French Heritage, there were full-out traditional Tartans. But more neutral grays seem so right and gender-apropos for all. And there are unexpected color pairings and applications, as at Guy Chaddock, where an open furniture console is "lined" in a fetching colorful plaid.
-- Mixed media. A modern patchwork mixes up metal, wood and upholstery, as in a chair by Bernhardt.
-- Bar stools. They play a huge role in kitchens that spill into breakfast or family rooms, so manufacturers are offering more of a range of interesting designs.
-- Pendant lighting. This option continues to enthrall, especially with newer applications, such as over nightstands next to a bed.
-- Good as gold. Metals such as brass, both shiny and burnished are feeling at home, are continuing to edge into the kitchen and the bath with faucets. Pairing warm and cool metals has never been cozier. There are some who say that copper is over -- just don't tell that to Tom Dixon, whose copper lighting and accessories are iconic.
One or more of these ideas may resonate. Otherwise, there's always next year.
-- Ambella Home Collection, 877-242-3939, www.ambellahome.com
-- Bernhardt, 828-313-0795, www.bernhardt.com
-- CR Laine, 828-328-1831, www.crlaine.com
-- French Heritage, 800-245-0899, www.frenchheritage.com
-- Guy Chaddock, 855-535-6992, www.chaddockhome.com
-- Hancock & Moore, 828-495-8235, www.hancockandmoore.com
-- Italgraniti, www.italgranitigroup.com
-- Joanna Gaines/Loloi, 972-503-5656, www.loloirugs.com
-- Joe Ruggiero/The MT Company, 336-889-3424, www.themtcompany.com
-- Layla Grayce, 770-599-7896, www.laylagrayce.com
-- Nima Oberoi, Lunares Home, 415-621-0764, ext. 100, www.lunareshome.com
-- Norwalk Furniture, 419-744-3200, www.norwalkfurniture.com
-- Paragon, 800-547-7746, www.paragonpg.com
-- Regina Andrew, 734-250-8042, www.reginaandrew.com
-- Robert James Collection, 619-397-1484, www.robertjamescollection.com
-- Sauder Furniture, 800-523-3987, www.sauder.com
-- Sunbrella, 336-221-2211, www.sunbrella.com
-- TA Theodore Alexander, 336-885-5005, www.theodorealexander.com
-- Universal Furniture, 336-822-8888, www.universalfurniture.com
-- York Wallcoverings, 717-846-4456, www.yorkwall.com
(For editorial questions, please contact Clint Hooker at email@example.com.)