2018 Design Forecast

I set aside some time in January to consider the design I’d like to create this upcoming year. I prefer not to chase “trends” but instead, I aim to create interiors incorporating both classic and eclectic elements. However, I also understand the importance of knowing what other designers are trying. I do a lot of research, paying attention to what I personally connect with as well as what I feel isn’t working. There are several design shifts I’ve come across recently that I find particularly exciting and worth sharing. Here is my official Design Forecast for 2018. What design styles are you looking forward to seeing more of in 2018?


The modern farmhouse has been in the design spotlight for awhile now, and with that, we’ve seen an endless amount of shiplapped walls. While I plan to continue utilizing wall texture to incorporate charm into a room, I have been exploring other ways to achieve this look.

Board & Batten

I love board and batten. It is a bit time consuming but can be done by the average DIYer and is an affordable way to add character to a room. We added it to our bedroom a few years ago and I still love the result. Check out the before and after here.

Plastered Walls

I am dying to use a plaster wall finish in a room. Application requires a skilled professional but the transformation oozes old world character and is worth the extra effort. Plaster walls have a slight variation in the color that evokes an old English countryside or Parisian loft, making regular walls look plain and boring.

Vertical Paneling

Don't remove that knotty pine just yet! By giving paneling a fresh coat of paint, you can keep the original character of your home while given your space an updated look.


Subway tile is a classic and will always have it’s place in traditional and mid-century modern homes. However, because of it’s affordability, it has been used to the point of ubiquity and has started to feel a bit uninspired. I have been eyeing another classic influenced by my 1939 bungalow bathroom - square tiles. These uneven hand-made zellige tiles from Clé feel extra special.

(Image via Cle Tile)

(Image via Cle Tile)


Speaking of hand-crafted tiles, the artisanal movement continues to gain steam and won’t disappear in 2018. Whether making a beat up vintage table the center of your dining room, highlighting your space with worn brass fixtures or painstaking wood trim details, or accenting with hand-thrown pottery and knit rugs, mixing crafted elements into a home nods to the perfect imperfections of history. Tap into the Japanese worldview called Wabi-sabi, which focuses on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.


I may be alone on this one but I am starting to feel a bit turned off by overly open-concept homes. Instead I find myself drawn to the intimacy of a home layout with smaller rooms that one can escape to. The key to striking a functional balance is to make sure the floorplan has good room flow - meaning the rooms open up to each other and have more than one entry/exit per room. In my ideal iteration of this, a home would have one large entertainment space: a kitchen that is open to a living room but set apart from the rest of the house. A casement doorway or change in ceiling height is a great way to give the main space some separation. I do still (and always will) appreciate open-concept modern homes that are laid out in a very intentional way. I just think “open-concept" has been taken too far and often the space feels a bit exposed.


The problem with paint color trends, is that because paint is SO hard to get right, most people get it wrong. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen a room or house painted “gray” but in reality it is more of a purple color. Gray is actually one of the hardest colors to get right. A year and a half ago I had a client starting a kitchen renovation and really wanted gray cabinets. I was hesitant, and instead steered them towards a dark moody blue color that turned out perfectly. I am so glad they were on board! If you want gray, pair gray accents with brown and creams. It might be counter intuitive, but this combination feels fresh and modern.

( image via Joseph Dirand)

(image via Joseph Dirand)


Built-in islands have long been a staple in the kitchen. They are a great way to maximize seating and functionality. The down side is that kitchen islands can often take up a lot of visual space and feel cold. I love kitchens that use dining tables in place of an island, for a more homey vibe. And with a kitchen this beautiful, who would want to eat in the dining room anyway?!


Unpainted. wood cabinetry is back and better than ever. The warm, natural tones look great in kitchens and bathrooms balanced against the hard, cold surfaces of tile, stainless steel appliances, and stone countertops. To help keep wood in the kitchen and bathroom from looking like the dated spaces of our grandparents homes, remove the upper cabinets to prevent the space from feeling heavy and dark. Pair wood with contrasting style choices like white tile and countertops.

(image via E lle Decoration)

(image via Elle Decoration)


Nothing says 2016 & 2017 like the exposed industrial stainless steel range hood over a stainless steel kitchen stove. I have always loved the look of built in range hoods and their timeless appeal. Pair them with a statement stove and you've got an amazing chef-worthy space!


Organic elements add warmth to a room and I love the idea of connecting the interior world to the outdoors. Bringing in these natural, imperfect elements adds a relaxed feeling to the home and provides a nice balance against manufactured materials.