A Common Thread: Playful Products at Maison&Objet

Fringe, feathers and fish — oh my!

Editors' note: Wondering what's new in the world of design? Trend forecaster and HGTV home's design director, Nancy Fire, travels the world to keep her finger on the pulse of what's hot  and she'll be sharing her favorite finds with you all year long!

The saying goes: "If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life." I definitely got that vibe while visiting Maison&Objet Americas in Miami Beach last week. I always say I have "PFP" (passion for product), and it's so nice when you visit a show with the same sensibility. Check out some of the playful products I found along the way that make my passion for product that much stronger.

Porcelain Forms

Photo by: Nancy Fire

Nancy Fire

FOS Ceramic is a manufacturer of art and design that has created handmade porcelain objects in Italy since 1987. These contemporary pieces are the result of continuous experimentation in centuries-old techniques that are playful as well as elegant. The asymmetry and layering of clay panels on these pieces allow us to accept imperfection as a playful statement, especially when paired with metallic accents.

Catching a Ride

Photo by: Nancy Fire

Nancy Fire

Martone Cycling is a fashion- and design-driven bike company offering bikes that make a bold, personal style statement through updated color and fab accessories like this handlebar basket. These urban commuter bikes are the center of style, structure and savvy transportation and are offered in a variety of playful colors.

Flying Fish + Fern Faces

Photo by: Nancy Fire

Nancy Fire

Leave it to the Roberta Chilling Collection to bring a chuckle to outdoor style with these flying fish and fern face planters. Who says the outdoors can’t be creative and cool with hand-painted, upcycled artwork and face planters?

Fringe Forever

Photo by: Nancy Fire

Nancy Fire

Based in Miami and a new exhibitor to Maison&Objet this year, Morada Haute Furniture Boutique brings fashion-forward details to furniture. It's inspiring to see trim used in a non-accent way, bringing personality and wit to an everyday interior item. I will never look at chairs the same way again!

Feathers + Fish

Photo by: Nancy Fire

Nancy Fire

It's the perfect pillow talk to combine bold, orange feathers and hot-pink fish on your sofa for some stylish entertaining this summer. I particularly love the mix of materials that might not be commonly used together. Design by Dransfield & Ross

Center of Attention

Photo by: Nancy Fire

Nancy Fire

Based in Argentina, Weplight created these wooden wonders from a flexible veneer which helps make a unique lighting aesthetic both in size and shape.

Designers Share Their Top Design Trends for Summer

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Bright and All White

“When the weather turns warmer, and the days become longer, people tend to clean out their homes, reduce the clutter and gravitate toward bright, white spaces,” says interior designer Amy Elbaum. An all-white color palette is crisp, clean and refreshing. “Kitchens and bathrooms always work well in white through the use of tile, stone and cabinetry,” Amy adds. She recommends avoiding clutter and dark, oversized furniture to ensure a light, airy feel. 

Forget Pattern Play

Gone are the days of patterns galore, according to interior designer Sarah Stacey, who says the design world is beginning to embrace tonal palettes with a minimal use of patterns instead. “I love this trend, because we have been inundated with pattern for the past 10 years,” Sarah says. “I think people are so busy, and this type of design is relaxing and calming. It allows for you and for your eyes to rest.” For a quick fix, swap out patterned curtains or throw pillows for something solid but textured, and stay within the same color family. If you’re starting from scratch, find pattern in architectural elements and create a palette from varying shades of one color.

White Wall + Tertiary-Colored Furniture

“I am loving crisp white walls (Decorator's White by Benjamin Moore to be exact) combined with bold-shaped furniture in tertiary colors,” says interior designer Caitlin McCarthy. She says the summer trend is ubiquitous in her Southern California design work. Bring the look together by adding metallic accents, and consider mixing brass, chrome or copper. “The effect is clean and breezy without being stale or cold.”

From: Caitlin McCarthy Designs and Caitlin Murray

Playful Statement Sculptures

Add some charisma to your home with a statement sculpture. “This trend is ideal for summer, because it evokes a whimsical, carefree attitude,” says Caitlin. “Have fun and celebrate your personality in your home to create summer vibes all year long.” Choose a piece with spunk, like this frosted glass number with a crown-like brass urchin resting on top. 

Painted Concrete Tiles

Painted concrete tiles are becoming more popular and more accessible. The tiles, which often feature intricate patterns, are available at a variety of stores to accommodate a range of budgets. “Not only do these tiles work in a traditional setting, but they can work with a modern style as well,” say designers Jennifer O'Dowd and Joanna Gick of J & J Design Group. “Their patterns are gorgeous and fun and add a sense of history and depth to any space.” Consider using them in your kitchen or a frequently used bathroom for flooring or a backsplash.

Boho-Cali Chic

Midcentury furniture has been making its way back into our homes for quite some time now, but designer Megan Tagliaferri of FLO Design Studio says there’s a new twist. Mix your mid-mod pieces with bohemian or Moroccan-inspired accents in a neutral but textured room, and you’ll be right on trend. “I love the casual and approachable sensibility of this style," says Megan. "I also love the punches of graphic Moroccan patterns with heavy texture."

Buffalo Check Patterns

“For a while now, we’ve been loving buffalo check patterns,” say designers Kirsten Krason and Erin Morgan of House of Jade Interiors. “This summer, we are looking forward to seeing them more and more in a variety of colors.” The best thing about this trend? The pattern is classic, which makes it easier to splurge on a fabulous fabric. Kirsten and Erin recommend trying out the trend in your home on a smaller scale (think pillows and throws) before committing to something bigger like a chair or bench. If your home has coastal undertones, consider a buffalo check in blue and white for a nautical feel.

Photo By: House of Jade Interiors

Urban Pools

The latest backyard trend proves pool parties aren’t just for the suburbs. “Increasingly, we are integrating swimming pools into the rear yards of tighter urban conditions,” says designer Carmel Greer of District Design. Carmel says water can be integrated into the smallest of outdoor spaces, even if it’s just the sound of water. “Try to view your small outdoor space as an opportunity to craft a special courtyard rather than just viewing it as a disappointingly-small yard,” she urges. A combination of planting, fencing and architectural elements can help create boundaries while also creating a sense of intimacy.

Muted Palette + Natural Materials

“A trend that we see this summer is a fresh, muted palette accented with pops of bright color and natural materials, in addition to organic shapes,” say designers Lindsay Boswell and Ali Levin of LABL Studio. The look is calm, breezy and bright without feeling boring. Embrace the trend in your home by painting your walls a neutral color. Lindsay and Ali suggest a warm, dusty sand hue such as Benjamin Moore’s Sonoma Clay 1242. Then, accessorize with natural materials like woven baskets or sisal rugs. Complete the look with a bright accent piece similar to the multicolor stool shown here.

Color Pops: Small But Bold

Summer brings with it bold flavors, sights and sounds. This year, we’re noticing bold color is along for the ride too. “For anyone who shies away from using color for fear of the bold or fear of tiring of it quickly, the ‘small pops’ theory is one that can be done easily and affordably and removed just the same when trends (or personal preferences) change,” explains interior designer Allison Lind. This red chair was once a tired heirloom gathering dust in an attic. A coat of glossy cherry red paint and mud cloth upholstery gave the chair — and this hallway — just the update it needed. If furniture is too intimidating, opt for brightly colored throw pillows or an accent rug.

Brass Is Back

“The reintroduction of brass in interior finishes is an undeniable nod to maritime design without being literal,” says designer Liz Stiving-Nichols of Martha’s Vineyard Interior Design. “Nautical influences are timeless but also on trend.” To evoke a nautical feel in your home, swap out existing furniture knobs for brass pulls, like the ones that grace this sleek white dresser. Also consider using brass accent pieces. Knickknacks, lamps and mirrors can update a room in a snap.

Bring the Outdoors In

Whether it’s with your color palette or choice of materials, fully embrace this season by bringing a bit of the outdoors inside your home. Liz believes this helps your indoor and outdoor spaces feel cohesive. Here, the breezy-blue walls match the color of the sky, making the entire living space feel as if it could be outside. Underfoot, a sandy-hued rug feels natural and appropriate. Design your space to mimic the specific look and feel of your home’s locale.

Or...Bring the Indoors Out

“As summer approaches, we are designing our outdoor spaces with the intention of bringing the indoors out,” says interior designer Brooke Wagner. “This way of designing an outdoor space creates an inviting environment that draws people in the same way an indoor space would.” This look works best with a combination of indoor-style furniture and outdoor fabric. Make the space feel intimate with throw pillows and an indoor/outdoor rug.

Staycation Station

Hanging chairs are totally on trend this summer, thanks to their appealing look and comfy feel. “Woven seats keep things from getting too warm, and as the air cools later in the evening, a decorative throw blanket can easily cozy things up,” says interior designer Regan Baker. She suggests keeping the materials as natural as possible to maximize the essence of the outdoors. Carving out a space for relaxation outdoors creates vacation vibes without ever having to leave your home.

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