Fleeting Fashion A Look at Interior Design Trends

Every decade or era has its own design "˜look.' Remember the shag carpeting and wood paneling of the 1970s or the chrome-and-glass overkill of the 1980s and early "˜90s? Thankfully, those trends had their moment and have since been put out to pasture, but like the fashion industry, there is always something new lurking around the corner - such as a bold new color scheme for paint, or an exotic flooring material.

So far, there hasn't been an identifiable "look" to the 21st century - no iconic lava lamps or carpeted walls - and according to designers, that's a good thing. "Today, we're designing a more personalized, eclectic style," says Marjorie Hilton of Marjorie Hilton Interiors in Manhattan. "The days of the signature designer stamps are gone - that was part of another era. However, there are still people around who perpetuate their own look, and there are people who attach themselves to a look."

New Yorkers are also simplifying their decorating schemes too, says Bob Goldberg, co-owner of Interior Design Force in New York. "We're all about getting away from the truly fussy and overly decorative styles - it's all in the finishes, with maybe one or two special items that make statements. You are always going to have the traditionalists who will want to show more and more and clutter every inch of the wall. That's classic - almost like a black dress. But today, if you're looking for a trend, New Yorkers are paring down. They don't have items like the heavy drapery treatments. You can still have trim and detail, but it's subtle and sophisticated."

Enduring Elegance

Personalized, eclectic and simple doesn't mean, however, that New Yorkers have tossed away elegance. In fact, says Tanny Farah of Tanny Farah Interiors on Manhattan's East Side, designing for today's New Yorker still means elegance, but with a stronger emphasis on comfort.

"My clients want comfort," says Farah. "They want to use every room in their apartment, and they want to maximize space and make it more organized, but they still want it to look elegant."


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  • I need ideas of how to decorate a large family room with the orininal old wooden paneling STAYING up. I hate it, but can't afford to replace it or can't paint it due to renting. Need to decorate around it and hate the rustic look.
  • claire d arcy Keary on Sunday, February 1, 2009 8:36 PM
    i would paint the above panel in a light color ,like vanilla or butter or use a wall paper with stripes not too large with a rich red in it.Place a very large sofa with big armrest in a brown leather as intense as the brown in the wood panel.....If you can t afford leather let s do it in a rich red velvet! !,Add armchairs,don t have to be the same..Don t forget 2 high and wide green plants,a large painting above the sofa and smaller ones in the room:(or posters).Try to find a pedestal and put a vase or a statue onit and put a large rug on the floor(a flokati why not !?),and promise !!it s not going to look rustic!!! I am french but use to decorate houses in Belgium,and they are full of wood panelling!!!and the result can be beautiful...Iwas going to forget<curtains ! definitely,from top to the floor and a bit more ,like a very long evening dress..and to finish a big chandelier with other small lamps around the room....Now,enjoy what you have done !! Have a nice time !!