The mid-1990s have not been a time of revolutionary changes in the look of home furnishings. In fact, we've seen little innovative styling of any sort in the past few years.
Color trends, however, have been changing rapidly. It's goodbye -- and good riddance, some would add -- to mauve, green and gray combinations as well as to "rose dust" and aqua blue. This year, we're saying hello to the brights. White, yellow and Prussian blue are definitely "in," and now it's also chic to flaunt red, hot pink and all the other loud colors that were considered utterly outre during the past decade.
Relentless advances in technology continue to produce breakthroughs in the use of materials for floors, walls and cabinets.
Natural materials are still quite popular, but increasingly we're seeing them used in unexpected combinations with manufactured materials. In the cases of carpets, upholstery and drapery fabrics, naturals such as wool and silk are being blended with rayon, nylon and other "miracle yarns." These novel fusions often make the finished product stronger and more soil-resistant, giving consumers better value for their buck.
New printing and dyeing techniques can make carpets as texturally interesting and as color-saturated as any yarn-dyed Axminster woven carpet at twice the price.
But don't think in terms of look-alikes. The new materials and manufacturing methods are leading residential interiors into a new age that will almost certainly be distinct in its appearance. Styling will eventually catch up with the recent advances in durability and maintenance.
It's already possible to create a well-designed interior with the new materials. For example, technological innovation has given us the all-white laminated kitchen cabinets shown in the photo. This is truly a seamless design; progress in manufacturing techniques has done away with the "laminated look" that featured visible joinings of surface sections.
We won't be seeing many nicks and scratches either, thanks to the rocklike resistance of the new generation of laminates.
Wilsonart's eighth-inch-thick surfacing veneer covers the molded, paneled cabinet doors and formed counter tops seen in the photo. In addition to being nonporous and stain-resistant, the new material has inconspicuous joints that are impervious to dirt and moisture.
Its cost-effectiveness can most appropriately be compared to other solid-surface materials such as wood or stone when used on cabinets or counter tops.
Despite the current stylistic torpor, the 21st century is being greeted by plenty of exciting developments in the field of interior design. As these examples suggest, computers aren't the only items that are supposed to make our lives easier in the coming years.
Pub Date: 5/11/97