9 Design Trends for 2016

color consultant“Best of” lists are common this time of year. We see roundups of the best television shows, movies, Facebook posts and photos of 2015.  With the recent announcement of the new Color of the Year by Pantone and the major paint companies, sights are set on the new year in design. But next year’s trends are formulated by this year’s choices. Who better than a color consultant to focus a keen eye on what was, to point us towards what will be. Here’s a list of the top color and home design trends of 2015 which promise to evolve in 2016.

The Gray and White Kitchen
The all white kitchen, a strong trend over the past number of years has morphed into a newer look ~ the gray and white kitchen. Cabinets are painted gray, any shade, and walls are still white. The white tile backsplash is still part of the equation but sometimes the cabinets are split, with gray lower and white uppers. It’s a more interesting look than the all white kitchen and a refreshing adjustment.

Amy Krane Color 2015 -1Deep Wall Color
The trend is growing for deep, dark wall color. Though most of us gravitate towards a light environment the more adventurous are embracing rooms which envelop in saturated dark color. These rooms are not only cosy, they create the ambience of romance and mystery, perfect for some.

Dark moody wall colorThe Boho Look
The Bohemian look, influenced by merchandise sold at Anthropologie Home and globalism appeals to a hip set who embrace the mix and match, world aesthetic. Here’s where we continue to see the use of Moroccan rugs, most notably the Beni Ourain. This trend combines patterns with confidence and uses color liberally though often set against a backdrop of white walls.

Bohemian decorBlack Gains a Foothold
Black’s presence is growing. No longer considered dour, this sophisticated choice is seen everywhere from house exteriors to kitchen cabinets and interior walls.

black in home decorConcrete Lighting
Polished concrete floors have been part of the modern aesthetic for decades but we’re seeing a growth in the use of concrete in furnishings, accessories and lighting.
concrete lightingScandinavian Cool
The Scandi look is still here to stay. The cool minimalism of Scandinavian decor has broad appeal promoted by the home decor site Remodelista. This trend for a Gustavian palette is all about whites and pales. It includes bleached wood floors and a spare, minimal use of furnishing. The look is airy, clean and light.
scandinavian designPatterned Tiles
As counterpoint to the reduced, clean aesthetic of Scandinavian design, there’s a growing trend towards decorating with highly colored, patterned tiles. These tiles, which are usually cement, encaustic or ceramic, are often geometric and have been used the world over for centuries.Think of Morocco, Turkey, France, Spain and the Middle East as sources of inspiration. They add a punch of strong color and pattern when they’re used and fit in American homes of many styles.
geometric tilesUnfinished Brass
Antique looking unfinished brass is making a statement in the home. This trend might be a backlash against the sterile coolness of the All White Kitchen. But perhaps it’s related to the larger utilitarian zeitgeist formulated by the confluence of many trends; the rise of “heritage” brands like Filson and Woolrich , the “maker” movement, the shop local, organic farmer, small artisan, Etsy phenomenon. Here in upstate NY the youthful Brooklyn types (think bearded guy, not Barbra Streisand) are moving to the Hudson Valley in droves seeking a more “back to the land” existence which affords them space, a rural landscape and cheap digs not available in our cities. (You’re probably thinking how did she get here from brass faucets? But hey…it’s my blog!)

unpolished brassRustic Modernism
The last trend I see I call Rustic Modernism. It’s the combination of two distinct design phenotypes. Mix one part modern minimalism, an austere vernacular which employs a monotone palette with glass, metal and concrete with rustic, primitive elements which change the nature of the space, warm it up and make it more accessible. Think aged wood beams, live edge tables, the soft sheepskin throw and plaster finish on the walls. They come together to create a new country look which contains hallmarks of both trends.

rustic modernismHope you enjoyed this roundup of design trends 2015/2016 by Amy Krane Color. Looking forward to continuing my role as your color guru in 2016!


Dark Houses

Peter Pennoyer's Adirondack House

Peter Pennoyer’s Adirondack House

Dark houses are dramatic! The juxtaposition of a dark color with the lighter sky makes for serious contrast. Of course dark houses blend in less with the environment than lighter or mid tone houses. But that’s a design choice. Dark blue, dark green, dark grey, brown and black are all great choices. A very modern approach is not to use any contrasting trim colors at all, but the success of that is very much based on the architectural style of the house.

One down side of going this route is that fading is much more noticeable when you start with a dark color. Certain colors contain what’s called fugitive pigments and they are known to fade faster as they are less stable. Any reputable paint store should be able to tell you which colors in their lines are not recommended for exterior use ( although they will still sell them for that use). The worst offenders are colors which contain red pigment and some yellows as well. These pigments are used in red, orange, brown, green and even purple color paints, as certain shades of these colors can contain the offending pigment. If the area you’re painting is small, like a door, it’s easier to keep up by touching up the paint.

Just like painting an interior, a higher sheen will wear better than a flatter one but a shiny house is not very attractive. Most people go for the finish just above matte. Usually this is an eggshell, satin or pearl. Some people opt for a dead matte house anyway as a matte finish will really make your paint color pop and certain architectural styles look very good in matte. Take a look at some great dark houses. All photos by Amy Krane, unless noted.

Great Barrington slate colored house.

Great Barrington slate colored house.

Black House, Columbia County.

Black House, Columbia County

Margaret Roach's House Photo by Margaret

Margaret Roach’s House
Photo by Margaret

Columbia County Brown House

Columbia County Brown House

Look at this adventurous treatment of color on these buildings in Great Barrington. Truly, bold with it’s blue and red stripes placed carefully and artfully on the trim.

Great Barrington

Hunter green house trimmed in a wide toned yellow green, Dutchess County, NY

Hunter green house trimmed in a lighter yellow green, Dutchess County, NY

Navy house with turquoise door in Hudson, NY


A Dose of Black & White

Black Modern Farmhouse

Derek Sanders, Modern Black Farm House, CT

There is no combination more graphic than black and white. Using polar opposites creates maximum contrast which translates into drama. Whether dealing with an interior or exterior, the absence of another hue puts emphasis on pattern and that creates focus on form. The addition of another color changes the whole equation. Three colors bring a different kind of balance to a space and more possibilities for complex color relationships. Black house exteriors have come into vogue and for good reason. They make a very big, grand statement. Black and white interiors are tricky to pull off well.

Steven Whiting B+W Bathroom

Steven Whiting Black + White Bathroom

Emerick Architects

Emerick Architects

Bathrooms and kitchens seem to lend themselves to this choice. Perhaps the geometric edges created by the interplay of black and white are best assigned to the hard surfaces in these rooms. Once textiles come into play, the room cries out for more color and some softness. If the palette remains just black and white the room feels cold, lacking the convivial atmosphere most want in a room where people socialize, communicate or relax. Using patterns in black and white help add dynamism. Tiles, especially those with curves in their pattern, help soften the look.

Black & White Nursery

Black & White Nursery

Dawn A. Jones Design

Dawn A. Jones Design









Black and white is also a very adult combination and doesn’t lend itself well to nurseries or children’s rooms. See above. Studies have been done which prove children need bright and varied colors to aid in their development. The living room above exemplifies how austere this palette can appear. Without more color or the intricacy of some kind of pattern, the large color blocks of black and white hold no warmth and little appeal. If you find yourself committed to using black and white in room, use pattern to add complexity. This helps create personality. The addition of other colors adds much, much more.

European Home

Look how adding just the warmth of natural wood below, or the pop of an accent color changes everything. It creates a much more approachable space.

Emma Wessels

Emma Wessels

Navy blue changes the whole dynamic.

Navy blue changes the whole dynamic.