Local experts dish on fall home trends

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Eric Hausman Photography. Courtesy of Buckingham Interiors + Design

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As the smoke of backyard barbeque season clears and our living and entertaining needs move indoors, it’s the perfect time to note what’s hot right now in home design and what to expect for fall:

Pops of Bright Color

From vibrant vacuums to shockingly vivid cutlery sets, unexpected splashes of color are everywhere, according to designer and trendspotter Julia Buckingham of Buckingham Interiors + Design.

“It’s exciting because it allows people to be creative in places they didn’t feel that they could be,” said Buckingham, who lives in Wilmette and serves many north suburban clients.

Accessories are a great way to incorporate popular colors without making major decor changes. Jennifer Sterna of Linly Designs in Clarendon Hills and Highland Park suggests timeless main pieces accessorized with small doses of trendy or seasonal colors.

“You can swap out pillows to keep things fresh,” Sterna said. “Your throws and runners from summer are a little bit lighter both in color and weight, you can swap them out for something heavier or something a little nubbier and cozier for fall.”

One-of-a-Kind Furnishings

“Everyone’s sort of tired of the mass-produced ‘I have that vase’ or ‘I have that bedding,’” Buckingham said. Instead, people are turning to artisans and the Internet to find unusual pieces. Furniture with history and unique character is especially popular in the Chicagoland area and greater Midwest, Buckingham said. One tip, she said, is pairing antique pieces with modern touches:

“People often don’t know how to use antiques and they’re frightened that they’re old or they’re smelly or they’re not current but when you add a modern fabric, it repurposes them and gives them new life.”

Bathrooms of the Future

Garrett Dayne, a project designer for the Kohler showroom at Glenview’s Abt Design Center, said he’s noticing more demand for high-luxury and hi-tech bathrooms.

“People will take photos of hotel room bathrooms and spas and bring them to us and said that they want a vacation experience all the time,” Dayne said.

As a result, homeowners are forgoing bathtubs for high-end showers with spa-like steam or water features.

Bathrooms are also going digital, Dayne said. Kohler, for example, offers a showerhead with Bluetooth capabilities; a tub that channels your playlists’ vibrations through the bathwater; and a toilet that uses a touch screen remote.

Changing Storage Needs

Book collections now exist as Kindle files and CDs only take up space in iTunes libraries, but designers said entertainment units and other traditional storage pieces remain. Their purposes, however, are changing. Homeowners now use those spaces to display artwork and visual items. Moving forward, Abe Abrahamian of Abt Electronics in Glenview said, people should consider the evolution of electronics systems as they design their entertainment spaces.

“The biggest thing is people are not going to have so many boxes, everything’s going to be controlled by your [tablet or other mobile] apps,” Abrahamian said.

Multi-Purpose Spaces

With changing family dynamics, a fragile economy and the quest for a smaller environmental footprint, designers agree rooms demand multiple uses now more than ever. Lisa Cote of the Abt Design Center’s California Closets showroom hears frequent requests for foldaway Murphy beds to maximize downsized space or accommodate an elderly relative. Julia Buckingham too, said homeowners are making the most of their space.

“When we were growing up there were rooms in our houses that looked beautiful but you didn’t hang out in there,” Buckingham said. “Families today do not want any extraneous rooms, they want to live and have their family be able to enjoy every single solitary space in the house.”