Design Trends What’s New in Colors, Materials and More

New York is and has always been a city that celebrates reinvention and change, and that storied reputation has attracted generations of tastemakers. Interior design is one of the city’s largest talent pools and taking advantage of this valuable resource is one of the benefits of being a New Yorker. Trends come and go, and striking a balance between current and timeless can make a huge difference in the value of a property. We spoke to some experts in the field about how to approach a design project and what trends and innovations seem to be the most lasting and worthwhile to have come around in recent years. 

Of-the-Moment Trends & Demands

There are many ways to revamp a property’s look and vibe—from a completely restructured lobby to a new coat of paint in an of-the-moment color. When considering a common space overhaul, the goal is to create a look that will sustain for at least 10-15 years, and possibly longer. 

Joel M. Ergas, FASID, of Forbes-Ergas Design Associates, Inc. in Manhattan says, “For a lobby, if you give it good bones in the layout, it can go a long time by just replacing the perishables.” Ergas says that one of the most notable and seemingly lasting trends he’s witnessed in the past 10 years or so has been the need to accommodate the increase in package deliveries thanks to what he terms “The Amazon Phenomenon, which is driving some of the need to renovate. [It] has led to a need to rethink technological needs in terms of cameras and other technologies associated with managing deliveries, as well as needing appropriate space to accommodates the influx of packages.” 

Susan Lauren, principal of Lauren Interior Design, LLC located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan says, “One of the most prevalent design trends I see today is that building interiors tend to be more modern and contemporary. This may be to compete with the construction of new high-rises that are going up all around the city, which tend to be very modern. Their interiors are architecturally clean and minimal, and the fabrics tend to have more texture and less pattern. Secondly, colors tend to be cooler than before. Tan and beige carpets were the rage a few years ago but today, clients prefer carpets with shades of gray.” Ergas agrees. “The trend has been toward neutral color palettes and often in the grey family. Nevertheless, the neutrals want to be clean and bright.” 

Taste and trends can dictate a lot in the design world, but what is available to fulfill those desires is also dependent on what the market and manufacturers supply. According to Lauren, “A variety of new materials are continually developed for the design market. One of the biggest advances has been in the flooring industry. There’s now a great variety of excellent porcelain products, which are less expensive and more durable than other materials.” Given the current trend in color and the use of new materials, it is easy to understand why one of today’s most popular materials is a porcelain that looks like gray-stained light wood.


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  • The Board is everyone's customer. A scope of work, or "wish list" is a good idea to create before a board looks outward. Keeping in mind they accommodate commercial project dynamics for all residents, which may be quite different than a residential project scope. The professionals mentioned in this article for commercial interior design are some of the best in the business, and they work best in terms of design, while incorporating code compliance. A scope of work may include, wall covering, carpet, paint ceilings, hollow metal doors frames, light fixtures, cable trays, or signage, for a corridor renovation. A board that can purchase direct, can shave tens of thousands of dollars off a projects budget. It depends on the manufacturer, and good procurement practices. Working within the harmony of manufacturers helps the interior design process toward a reality. On the flip side, keeping in mind, the project they are on-- in many cases is also the board members home at the end of the day!!!