Design Within Reach #Trending 2013


On Wednesday night, my mom and I attended a session on interior design at the one of the ubiquitous home furnishings store in Toronto, Design Within Reach. The theme of the evening was “#Trending 2013”, with 3 industry experts talking about what’s hot/on trend in design this year. On the panel was Andrew Sardone (editor of the Life & Style section for NOW Magazine), decorator Alanna Davey, and art gallery owner/designer Alison Milne. In addition to the fact that we got to spend an evening surrounded by timeless classic furniture in an awesome venue (and the fact that there were snacks and beer and wine), the panel was a really interesting way to spend a Wednesday night.

Waiting for the panel discussion to start. DWR was transformed into an auditorium with noting but designer (timeless) chairs and couches.

Waiting for the panel discussion to start. DWR was transformed into an auditorium with noting but designer (timeless) chairs and couches.

While the theme was #Trending, in reality the key message was “A Return to Rooms”. While the last few years have been all about entire house decor, bringing every aspect of a home together, all the panelists agreed that we are making a return to focusing on individual spaces and rooms. A lot of that has to do with how open life has become, especially with constant online activity and interactions – solitude, a space to call your own, is the hottest commodity right now.

A key trend that the panelists touched on is the idea of rooms becoming what they are meant to be. Kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms – rather than becoming multi-purpose entities, there seems to be a trend towards using these rooms exactly as they are meant to be used. This even goes as far as a pretty permanent design element of built-in furniture, designed to last. There’s definitely no commitment issues in interior design these days.

When it comes to the subject of materials that are on trend right now, there was a lot discussed about more earthy/natural feeling textures. Gone are the days of chrome-on-chrome – there is now a movement towards metals like brass and copper (which Alison pointed out actually work well with most decor and colour schemes, as they are neutral tones) as well as more of a “bringing the outdoors, in” mentality (living walls, brick and stone accents).

The panel also talked about my favourite part of home design – colour. The end takeaway for me was that you need to be completely comfortable in your colour choices – don’t pick something super bright because you think it’s hot, but don’t dull down your colour choices because you’re afraid it’s “too much”. Use your favourite colours as accents (be it through furniture, art on white walls, colour blocking with monochromatic or complimentary colours) or use a blush of colour in your painting or wall paper as a means to add warmth and dimension to what could be a “blah” neutral room.

I think the two biggest takeaways for me from the panel were: don’t be afraid to be bold and consciously invest in good furniture (when you can). In terms of being bold, ideas like painting or patterning a ceiling in an otherwise white room, finding modern takes on traditional patterns in furniture (like quilted chairs), or using a giant painted wood panel as a commitment-free way of adding colour to your space, all inspired me. And the panel completely reinforced the idea that, rather than buying cheap pieces to fill a space, take your time and save your money for quality, long-lasting pieces of furniture that can live on for generations.

All said, I’m now even more excited to start decorating a real home sometime soon!