By Jennifer Van Galder
I first fell in love with interior design as a child. My mother is an interior designer who inspired my sister and I from a very young age. She used to take us to design projects, centers and showrooms across the U.S. This led me to pursue interior design and architecture courses at UCLA while working for the Kreiss collection, a renowned high-end furniture manufacturer on Melrose Avenue.
It was my twin sister who eventually came up with the idea of opening home furnishing retail stores to the public that offered custom-made designer goods as well as design services. She approached my mother and I, and soon after we opened our first venture named Maudlin. I initially moved to San Diego from Los Angeles in 1992 to open our second storefront location.
This year marks my 25th anniversary in the San Diego interior design industry. Following my mother’s retirement and my sister’s departure to the apparel industry, I have now built upon a solid foundation for my own business called Van Galder Design For Living. In doing this, I’ve found that trends, forecasts and relevancy are key when staying competitive in this vast market.
Here are the five dominant trends I forecast for 2017:
- Truth and individuality
- Window treatments
- Mixed metals
- Natural fibers
I believe 2017 is the year of truth. No longer will people be spoon-fed their design aesthetic from one store or a catalog; they will become more individual again. Their emerging identity and confidence will be accentuated by color: green, orange and purple will elevate basic grey and beige tones.
Window treatments will emerge as the detail that has been lacking in much of design post-recession. They will be used to punctuate or even camouflage windows and views.
Metals will mix and include a combination of chrome, copper and iron for hardware and lighting in the same space or environment. Natural fibers such as wool, linen, banana silk and jute will be combined in rugs and fabrics, adding softness and organic elements to the decor.
Five trends that I believe are on their way out in 2017:
- Lies and inauthenticity
- Bohemian and ethnic prints
- Subway tiles
- Handwritten signs
Last year was the year of lies and untruths and, on occasion, it was evident in design. There was a need to be safe and follow the crowd with matching sets of furniture and homes morphing into one another from commonplace one-stop shopping for furnishings. Wonderful ethnic Suzanni patterns became overplayed and displayed at every low-end retailer across pillows and rugs.
In 2017, classic ceramic subway tiles will be overtaken by more natural materials such as limestone, cement and marble. Differing patterns like herringbone will be mixed together to create layers of interest and texture. Finally, DIY handwritten signs will no longer be considered art!
Tips for staying competitive in 2017:
- Embrace technology
- Expand your knowledge base
I think the most impactful way technology has affected our business is the fact that there are no longer fixed business hours. As an independent contractor, I am available via text, email and cell phone at all hours of the day. Lines have certainly become blurred in regard to business hours and private lives. For me this has been a blessing because when I’m involved with a client and a project they have my complete attention and devotion.
Technology has also significantly impacted the industry with the ability to quickly find products and design resources online. This has created an ongoing collaboration with my clients of finding inspiration in photos, vendors and materials from all over the world! Although technology has aided the industry, it still does not reduce the need for intuitive spatial awareness, creative thinking and developing a strong emotional connection with my clients.
The technology is great, but after 25 years in the business, I still get inspiration from travel, art, music and my design colleagues. And I look forward to the coming year of truth and individuality in design.
Jennifer Van Galder is the owner and founder of Van Galder Design for Living in La Jolla. Van Galder has worked in the interior design industry since 1988 and describes her aesthetic as “classic with a clever and fresh twist.”
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