Design Trends

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. The hallmarks of a memorable wedding, these are also the cornerstones of next year's home decorating trends. "As Americans continue to focus more on spending quality time at home, how their houses look and feel will become increasingly important," notes Todd Imholte, president of Environmental Graphics (EGI), an industry leader in the production of decorative wall murals. This "cocooning" lifestyle will be clearly evinced in warm color palettes, nostalgic accessories, and classical textures.

"Next year's color palette is already happening," says Gwendolyn Lewis Huddleston, academic director of design at The Art Institute of California - San Francisco. "One of the hottest colors, literally, is 'golden yellow,' which nicely complements the equally popular jewel-toned purples, blues and greens." Americana-inspired dark reds and blues will remain popular as well. "Neutrals are out," echoes Lou Manfredini, a home improvement/do-it-yourself expert and Ace Hardware's new "Helpful Hardware Man." The new-and-improved harvest golds, terracottas and avocados create homes that are not only pleasant to be in, but also offer tremendous flexibility in terms of accessories, wallpaper and carpeting. The key is to use the warm colors as a background in which to showcase the rest of your house." Manfredini also recommends "decorating like nature" by using darker colors on lower parts of the house (the trees), then going lighter as the eye moves up (the sky). The contrast between vibrant walls and white ceilings can be both dramatic and soothing.

But decorating your home in warm, feel-good colors is just the first step. The next is to truly make them your own by incorporating family pieces that evoke fond memories of the past. "Antiques, heirlooms, photos and items we treasure are greatly influencing our home décor," explains Sharon Hanby-Robie, interior designer, author of the "My Name Isn't Martha" book series and spokesperson for the Wallpaper Council. "Laying Grandma's old piano scarf across the back of our sofa, for example, helps keep loved ones part of our everyday lives. It also gives us a much-needed sense of belonging."

Frank Ponterio, of Ponterio Interior Design in Lake Forest, Ill., also sees a trend toward classicism and the traditional, with physical texture like crewel, visual texture like warm plaid, and color that leans toward oxblood, chocolate and tan. And according to Hanby-Robie, patterns will play an important role as we decorate our homes "to stay, rather than resell." Florals, botanicals, tropicals, paisleys, damasks and classic stripes will be particularly visible in wall coverings, upholstery, area rugs and murals.

The fact that murals remain popular comes as no surprise to EGI's Imholte. "Like a soothing color palette or comforting knickknacks, our wall murals give a room that warm, personal touch while, at the same time, reflecting a very contemporary style," says Imholte. "The murals are affordable and easy to install, and work equally well in a living room, family room, child's room or office."

Environmental Graphics' eight-panel, 8-foot tall by 13-foot wide murals are available in 21 nature- and sports-themed styles. Popular designs include Lighthouse Cove, Desert in Bloom and River Portage, as well as the company's newest addition, Dolphins Paradise, that recently won the 2001 ADEX Award for Wallcovering Design.

For a full-color brochure that includes wall mural designs and local dealer information, call toll-free (800) 328-3869. To purchase wall murals, visit your local Lowe's, Sherwin Williams or Home Depot store.

Internet users can visit Environmental Graphics' Web site at to preview all 21 murals, receive installation tips and learn more about the company. Courtesy of ARA Content