5 Trends We Can't Wait to Say Goodbye to In 2017

See which design trends our editors are ready to see phased out in the new year.

By: Ryan Reed

The past year brought us new home design trends that we absolutely love (bold wallpaper and colorful kitchens, for example), but some are in need of a refresh. Check out which trends our editors feel have had their time in the spotlight and need to evolve in 2017.

Shiplap / Farmhouse-Chic

A Ship-Shape Farmhouse Kitchen With Wood Paneling

A Ship-Shape Farmhouse Kitchen With Wood Paneling

Fixer Upper hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines painted one wall a neutral gray and brought in shiplap for a feature paneled wall, matching detail in other parts of the home. A white subway tile backsplash and quartzite countertops add a modern element to the rustic space. Industrial-style shelving made from plumbing pipes and wood planks offer open storage, and a custom kitchen island made from vintage wood contributes style and utility in the kitchen.

From: Fixer Upper

I’m tired of shiplap and the whole cottage-inspired, farmhouse-chic look. There. I said it. I like when Joanna Gaines does it because that’s her signature look. But if you have a 'Fresh-Baked Pies Here' faux vintage sign, then I expect there to be real pies in your kitchen. — Kayla, Managing Editor

Decorating With Shiplap

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Original or Added?

Chip and Joanna found original shiplap paneling under dated drywall in this Craftsman-style home, but you can purchase salvaged or new pine boards to create the look at home.

Add a Little Shiplap

Create a taste of rustic style by adding wooden box awnings over your home's windows, like Joanna Gaines did in this Craftsman-style living room. Or, use the weathered wood to create a built-in bookshelf.

Contrast Rustic Shiplap With Modern Elements

Fixer Upper hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines brought in shiplap for a paneled feature wall behind the farmhouse sink. A white subway tile backsplash and quartzite countertops add a modern element to the rustic space.

Complement Shiplap With Pine Shelving

Complement rustic shiplap with industrial elements, like this sculptural shelving unit made from plumbing pipe and pine planks.

Try Painted Shiplap

To create a cottage-style space that features all the texture associated with shiplap, just reach for the white paint.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images ©2013, HGTV/ Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights

Frame a Fireplace Focal Point

Here, a portion of shiplap wood siding has been uncovered, painted white and framed to elegantly extend the fireplace mantel.

Add Painted Shiplap Walls

Here, painted shiplap walls add subtle texture to this open, airy living room.

Painted Pine Ceiling

Bright white paint adds a modern touch atop the pine ceiling, and reflects light around the open living room.

Make it Cohesive

Choosing one wall material for an open concept home unifies connected spaces. Here, designer Joanna Gaines repeated the painted shiplap walls in this home's living room and entryway.

Mix Rustic and Modern

For an more contemporary look, Chip and Joanna Gaines paired painted shiplap siding with thick, streamlined wood shelves in this built-in shelving unit.

Tip: See What Lies Beneath

Since shiplap was commonly used as insulation in farmhouse-style homes, check under the existing wall surface before starting a renovation project. In this home featured in HGTV Magazine, designer Joanna Gaines found shiplap walls hidden under crumbling wallpaper. She peeled off the dated pattern and reinvigorated the room with a fresh coat of white paint.

Photo By: HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC

Add White-Washed Shiplap

For a more rustic painted look, copy the look from Joanna Gaines' home kitchen: white-wash the pine surface to add brightness without covering the wood's characteristic knots and imperfections. 

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

Create a Rustic Vaulted Ceiling

Rough-hewn pine boards overhead draw the eye up to the vaulted ceiling in this bedroom designed by Chip and Joanna Gaines.

Try a Bathroom Feature Wall

Chip and Joanna Gaines decked out this master bathroom with new gray paint and a shiplap accent wall.

Pair Rustic Wood With White

White elements, like the tub, countertops and accessories, keep spaces featuring rough-hewn wood siding feeling light and airy.

Try Pine Outside, Too!

Love the look of pine paneling? Try it on your home's exterior, like Chip and Joanna did on this midcentury modern-style home.

Acrylic Furniture

Light and Bright Home Office With Pink Acrylic Chairs

Light and Bright Home Office With Pink Acrylic Chairs

Natural light illuminates this modern home office which includes two pink acrylic chairs positioned behind a wood desk with white metal legs. Pink tulips fill a light green garden pot and sit atop the desk, while a bright blue lamp on a nearby metallic end table provides a pop of color.

Photo by: Lindsay Pennington

Lindsay Pennington

I personally don’t think it does anything for a room’s design aesthetic. And let’s be real here—it’s just glorified plastic. — Farima, Assistant Editor

Open Floor Plans

White Modern Great Room With Gray Fireplace

White Modern Great Room With Gray Fireplace

Pops of gold and accents with unusual shapes and textures give dimension and visual interest to this vast great room. The light-colored hardwood floor maintains the airy feeling throughout the space.

Photo by: Jim Tschetter

Jim Tschetter

I’m all for optimizing the home for entertaining and functionality, but when there’s an echo in the living room, that’s not 'open' — that’s cavernous. It seems like opening up the kitchen, dining and living spaces just creates more room for clutter (and noise) to spread. I’d like to see more creativity in home flipping, making outdated floor plans work for modern life. Let’s embrace the quirkiness of old homes and be more judicious about knocking down walls in 2017. — Molly, Apple News Editor

Open-Concept Kitchens and Living Spaces

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Creative Solution

In a new home, designer Jodie Cooper took the concept of dramatic lighting to new heights, using a custom-made "bulkhead" suspended from the ceiling by chrome rods to light the kitchen and dining area. "The bulkhead also helps to visually define the kitchen area without losing the loft-style feel," she says. And, she notes, "having a modern kitchen doesn't need to translate to having modern decor. By blending pieces, such as retro dining chairs, Chinese antiques and a rustic dining table combined with Turkish patchwork rugs, we created texture and layers, which add a kind of Bohemian style to the home to create what I call a 'Global Eclectic' interior."

Photo By: Jodie Cooper, Jodie Cooper Design; Photo by D-Max Photographers

Details Matter

In a contemporary addition, architect Robert Wilson chose materials and fixtures carefully to create a multifunctional space with a unified style. For example, a row of pendant fixtures over the kitchen island not only acts as a visual punctuation mark, dividing the workspace from the adjacent seating area, but also "injects a glow of bright yet polished radiance," he says. Tile flooring throughout the entire room keeps the look simple and pulled-together.

Photo By: Robert Wilson, Granit Chartered Architects; Photo by Andy Beasley

Indoor-Outdoor Appeal

Perfect for casual weekend living, this Hamptons beach-house dining/family room has a close connection to the kitchen, as well as to outdoor living areas. Glass doors on the ground level slide all the way into the walls, opening the family/dining room and living room to an expansive deck area. The rooms can be entirely open or protected from mosquitoes with a screen system, allowing for summer breezes, ample entertaining areas and restoring connections to nature. "A consistent — but not overwhelming — thread of blue follows throughout these ground-level spaces: blue kitchen cabinets, blue custom rug and touches of blue walls," note the architects.

Photo By: Stuart Disston, AIA, Austin Patterson Disston Architects; Photography: Peter Murdock

Unifying Design

In an open-plan concept, designers strive not only to create separate zones within one large space but to make the end result feel cohesive. In this home, the designers at Carlton Architecture + DesignBuild did both with finesse. "We divided individual spaces with furniture groupings and circulation. Common materials such as steel, rift-sawn white oak cabinetry, and dark stained oak floors are used to unify the three areas," they explain.  

Photo By: Carlton Architecture + DesignBuild; Photography by David Dietrich

Let There Be Light

Large glass sliding doors with clerestory windows above stretch across the whole rear elevation of this open-plan space, maximizing daylight in the kitchen, living, dining and study areas. "Light cascading through from the rear of the property lends an airy and fresh feeling, creating an enjoyable space to entertain family and friends," says architect Robert Wilson.

Photo By: Robert Wilson, Granit Chartered Architects; Photo by Andy Beasley

Cozy Character

For a family home in Houston, the designers of Laura U Interior Design created a comfortable seating area just off the kitchen. The team used color and accessories to create a cohesive look throughout the wide open area. "While the majority of the color palette is neutral, we weave a lively turquoise through each space: pillows and an area rug in the family room, bar stool frames in the kitchen and a show-stopping chandelier in the breakfast space," they explain. "The entire space is further unified through the window treatments which are a combination of Hunter Douglas Silhouette shades and custom drapery with a turquoise band on the leading edge. A cheerful yellow and just a dash of orange set off the color scheme while touches of gold and a natural wood (teak root table and driftwood at the island) add eclectic charm."

Loft Living, Anywhere

Although this open-concept kitchen and dining area is in a loft — in a converted bag factory in Nashville — the principles designer Jason Arnold followed will work in any setting. He says: "The kitchen is opposite the living area, in a large, open space that automatically lends itself to entertaining and family living. We painted the walls, trim and cabinets the same soft grey to make the spaces feel as one. Because it's essentially a large room with a kitchen at one end, I wanted the kitchen to blend seamlessly into the space which is why there are no upper cabinets. Instead, there is a large pantry armoire to the right. The dining table acts as the visual separation from kitchen to living."

Photo By: Jason Arnold, Jason Arnold Interiors; Photo by Steven Long

Twice as Nice

Designing a home for one family can be a challenge, but designing a home to be shared by two brothers' families? That's another proposition altogether — and one architect Matthew Collins of Uptic Studios met with the help of an open layout. "The goal of the project was to create a modern log cabin on Coeur D'Alene Lake in North Idaho," he explains. "Uptic Studios considered the combined occupancy of two families, providing separate spaces for privacy and common rooms that bring everyone together comfortably under one roof. And we not only had to take into account the space itself, but also all of the people who would be living there. One of the brothers is a chef, so we kept that in mind when designing the open kitchen and living room. We made sure to create a common room just off the kitchen, to bring everyone together. A delicate balance of natural materials and custom amenities fill the interior spaces with stunning views of the lake from almost every angle."

Photo By: Matthew Collins, Uptic Studios; Photo by Oliver Irwin

Going With the Flow

For a family home, open, flowing spaces offer plenty of room for together-time, without anyone feeling cramped. "Large bi-fold doors from the kitchen and living area lead onto a landscaped garden creating the perfect link from inside to out for this family," says architect Robert Wilson. "The glass doors ensure natural daylight reflects though the living space across the polished floors, creating a wonderfully bright space."

Photo By: Robert Wilson, Granit Chartered Architects; Photo by Andy Beasley

Divide + Conquer

Creating separate zones within an open layout is simple, but making them feel at once distinct and connected can be more complicated, says designer Jodie Cooper. Here, she manages this delicate balance deftly, using material — a transition from the practical kitchen flooring to the warm wood in the eating space — and color: A soft blue-green accent wall helps differentiate (and add drama to) the dining area.

Family Friendly

For a family with three boys under the age of 12, a sprawling family center that opens out to the backyard was just the ticket. "An open-plan living space made sense to them as they really wanted a room that would be the 'heart' of the home and where they could all gather together and interact, even if they are doing different activities," says designer Nelly Reffet of Twinkle & Whistle Interior Design. To give the space an inviting feel, Reffet took care with her choices of color and material. "One of the possible downsides of open-plan living, especially in contemporary homes, is that the room may feel a little cold and impersonal," she says. "Using 'warm' or earthy materials and/or colors, as well as a mix of textures is a great way to achieve balance, and to create a more lived-in space."

Photo By: Nelly Reffet, Twinkle & Whistle Interior Design; Heather Robbins of Red Images Fine Photography

Natural Approach

For a home set within an ancient woodland and heath in the New Forest National Park, designer Wendy Perring of PAD Studio took care to maximize the connection between the home and its surroundings, while minimizing the impact of the structure on the site. "The main living space is open-plan and designed to cater not just to the changing physical needs of its occupants but to provide nourishment and stimulus to the soul through close contact with the home's natural setting," says Perring.

Photo By: Wendy Perring, PAD Studio; Photo by Nigel Rigden

Scaling Up

In a large, open interior — and this is especially important when the space has soaring ceilings — it's essential to choose furnishings and details that fit the large scale of the room. Says stylist Sophie Gunnersen of Studio Stamp: "All the pieces in the room are rather big and bold, and everything has a purpose. The custom-made dining table sits at bar height and is large and chunky. The black AGA cooker is really the key piece in the space — it adds ambience and attracts most people with its warmth. The vertical bookshelf along with the softer green tiles divide the room."

Photo By: Sophie Gunnersen, Studio Stamp; Photo by Tony Mott

All Grown Up

Open-plan living can work on any scale. Case in point: This stylish home Uptic Studios designed for a retiree. "After living on the family farm for decades, our client was ready to move into town to be closer to her children and grandchildren," say the architects. "Always the entertainer, she requested an open great room to accommodate dinner parties, as well as plenty of wall and shelf space for family photos and various mementos."

Photo By: Matthew Collins, Uptic Studios; Photo by Oliver Irwin

From Small to Spacious

Combining two or more spaces can create a sense of flow that makes each individual room seem larger. Case in point: A tight galley kitchen that got a new lease on life thanks to a clever reconfiguration. The architect recaps the project: "Knocking out the wall of an attached storage unit transformed the dark and cramped kitchen into a clean and light-filled space complete with a dining room and garden view. A galley layout makes efficient use of the small kitchen and allows for plenty of worktop space. The kitchen walkway leads the eye to the dining room — which has the same width as the kitchen — and the garden end of the space."

Photo By: DHV Architects; Photo by William Goddard


Wood and Metal Panel

Wood and Metal Panel

HGTV Magazine is sharing the secrets to bringing Fixer Upper style into your own home. architectural salvage “I like to leave a piece of history in homes I design,” says Joanna. A super-easy way to do that: Decorate with windows, shutters, and gates scooped up at architectural salvage shops and flea markets. Or buy new pieces made to look old. Woodland Imports Simple and Minimalist 20" x 10" wood and metal panel, $68.50, wayfair.com

Photo by: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Courtesy of the manufacturer

These faux gate-in-a-frame things need to go away — quickly. Hang pretty pictures on your wall instead. — Jackie, Editor

Easy DIY Wall Art Ideas

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Personalize Your Walls

The gallery wall in this cozy bedroom seating area is made up of several handmade art pieces, many which can be completed in just a few hours.

©Rustic White Photography

Paint Swatches

After amassing a variety of paint swatches from your home makeover, organize them into groups by color. Conceptualize an overall look or design based on the size, scale, shape and proportion of the swatches. Here, a gradient effect was created by lining up the colors and differentiating them by levels of saturation. For a cohesive look, consider cutting all swatches into the same shape using craft scissors. Attach the swatches to poster board using double-sided tape, and then add matting before placing into a frame.

©Rustic White Photography

Nail-Head Wording

Create graphic art for your space with corrugated foam core and nail heads or brass tacks. First, decide on a message, name or combination of words. Next, use a pencil to free-hand the message directly onto the foam core. Using the traced letters as a guide, apply nail heads or brass tacks with a hammer or rubber mallet. Once complete, place the foam core inside a complementary frame and hang.

©Rustic White Photography

Organic Branch Taxidermy

Create the look of taxidermy with all-natural materials. Pick up a wooden plaque and a bag of crafting moss, then search outside for a pair of branches similar in shape and size. Cut the branches back using pruning shears and attach the branches to the plaque using plumbing or cable clips and screws. Once complete, add a nail to the wall and hang.

©Rustic White Photography

Open Books

To create the look of flying-open books, add hot glue to different areas of back-to-back open pages. This will create the look of motion. Once the glue has dried, group several books together and attach them to the wall with drywall screws through the back of each book cover.

©Rustic White Photography

Collected Autographs

Homeowners who love to entertain will surely love artwork created from guests' signatures. Pick up a basic art canvas, then use nails or screws to add trim around the canvas’s edges as a frame. Next, hang the blank canvas in a high-traffic area where guests are certain to gather. Keep a marker nearby and ask guests to add their signatures to the canvas. The random placement of the signatures will result in something personal and graphic which reads differently from far away than it does close up.

©Rustic White Photography

Layered Paint: From a Distance

While many art stores offer paint supplies which texturize canvases, texture and depth can also be created by layering paint. To layer paint with a textural effect, apply the paint in random areas using a painting knife, ensuring the layers are thick. After several hours of drying, continue to layer paint in different colors and in random spots on the canvas.

©Rustic White Photography

Layered Paint: Close-Up

Remember, as the layers build up around a layered-paint piece, the edges on the canvas can start to look messy and unprofessional. By simply adding four strips of MDF or wood trim along the edges with nails or screws, any eyesores become instantly concealed.

©Rustic White Photography

Gold Leafing

Turn any basic object into a work of art with a gold or silver leaf application. For a high-end metallic finish, all you need are leafing sheets, leafing adhesive and a detail paintbrush. Apply the sheets directly to the objects with a paintbrush dipped into the adhesive, then use the paintbrush to fill in any cracks. For proper display, either place objects inside a cloche, on risers or in an open frame.

©Rustic White Photography

Spray Bottle Art: From a Distance

Drip art is commonly known for its use in grade school art classes. It's created by holding a canvas vertically, then dripping latex or acrylic paint randomly across the top. Another interpretation of this style is spray bottle art which involves applying paint directly to a canvas, then spraying it with a bottle of water to dilute the paint and cause it to drip downward.

©Rustic White Photography

Spray Bottle Art: Close-Up

Add depth to spray bottle art by mixing touches of gold or silver leaf in with other colors. After all colors are added to the canvas, apply the gold or silver leaf to the surface using leaf adhesive and a small detail paintbrush.

©Rustic White Photography

Delicate Butterflies

Sweet butterfly wall art mimics the grace and delicacy of the real thing. To create a similar look, use cardstock paper and cut out butterfly shapes in various sizes. Gently fold the wings, and attach to the wall using a small amount of sticky putty.

Colorful Crate Bookshelves

Simple crates become a work of art and unexpected storage with a few coats of bright, colorful paint. Once painted, attach the crates to the wall by drilling a hole in each corner and screwing to the wall. Courtesy of HGTV Magazine

Photo By: Mark Lund

Framed Textiles

A vintage scarf may be just what you need to brighten your home and add a bit of retro design to your blank walls. Try framing your scarf for an instant statement piece.

Photo Collage

An easy way to make a bold impact is by printing out all your favorite Instagram photos and displaying them in a fun shape, such as the ampersand seen here. 

Painted Ceiling Medallions

While this stunning display looks expensive, it was actually accomplished using a gorgeous mix of inexpensive ceiling medallions. Once painted in coordinating shades, the light-weight medallions can be attached using velcro or a strong glue. Courtesy of HGTV Magazine

Photo By: Mark Lund

Homemade Modern Art

You don't have to be an artist to create a one-of-a-kind piece that both adds style to your space and complements your home's color palette. Learn to make this modern, geometric art here.

Origami Paper Garland

Colorful sheets of origami paper make a striking wall garland when sewn together and hung in a prominent spot, such as above the sofa. Find the full instructions here.

Wall Decor With Woven Baskets

Add gorgeous texture and a brilliant blend of color with a few shallow baskets displayed effortlessly on the wall. To copy this look, try hanging the largest basket first, layering in others. Nail each basket to the wall by the basket's center to achieve the overlapping look. Courtesy of HGTV Magazine

Industrial Decor

Modern Industrial Kitchen

Modern Industrial Kitchen

This modern, loft-styled kitchen features sleek wood cabinetry and simple decor on the concrete floor.

The warehouse aesthetic is one I’m definitely hoping to leave behind in 2016. I’m all for modern decor, but I draw the line when it comes to exposed duct work, concrete countertops, Edison light bulbs and floating staircases. Millennials may love it, but I’m hoping to see these design elements used in a more practical way. — Ryan, Editor

New York's Best Spaces for Modern Industrial Design

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Welcome to the Industrial Age

While many of us now work far from a factory floor, assembly line or loading dock, today's designers are loving this rough, raw, down-to-earth aesthetic more often associated with denim coveralls and lunch buckets than a showroom or shop window.

Photo By: Robert Stolarik

Welcome to the Industrial Age

With its distinctive use of designs and machinery manufactured for hard-wearing utility — like an enameled metal hanging barn lamp or a wire-caged marine light — this aesthetic offers an intriguing mix of materials: raw wood, copper, brass or wire mesh, leather, suede, linen and metals used for tables, chairs, lighting and accessories.

Colors are consistently calm, clean and neutral: the black of casement window muntins and machine parts, the gray sheen of aluminum and steel, the creamy white of subway tile and the weathered taupe of worn floorboards.

Photo By: Robert Stolarik


British retailer Allsaints has 14 stores in the U.S. This one, at 512 Broadway in New York City, uses hundreds of wooden lasts, once used to make shoes, as the backdrop to their shoe department. It's a nice reminder of how shoes were historically made — and how shoemakers copied the human form. Even such simple objects, en masse, can have real design impact.

Photo By: Robert Stolarik


A simple, great-looking and practical choice is shown here at Onassis, a men's clothing store in Soho, N.Y. A weathered wooden ladder is both visually interesting and useful for hanging or displaying clothing, towels, even newspapers or magazines. Light and portable, wooden ladders can be found through a number of online sources at affordable prices (some go for as little as $40).

Photo By: Robert Stolarik


This display table, in the Frye flagship store in Soho, N.Y., re-envisions wood in its raw form. It's not a smooth, gleaming tabletop as we'd typically expect in a retail environment, but it uses the graphic impact of the color, grain and material itself. Imagine the possibilities of dark, dramatic woods like mahogany, a pale choice like ash or maple, or the warmth of cherry.

Photo By: Robert Stolarik


This spiky, spidery chandelier hangs in the business lounge of the James Hotel, offering guests an unusually airy aerie high above Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. Unlike most dreary and predictable hotel business centers, this lounge offers great views, lots of natural light and a lighting fixture that echoes its quirky, off-beat style. The hotel itself sits on the former site of a well-known diner, The Moondance, which appeared in episodes of Friends and Sex and the City and is now in LaBarge Wyoming, pop. 350.

Photo By: Robert Stolarik


Lucky Strike, a bistro on the south side of still-sleepy Grand Street, opened in 1989 and is one of the earliest New York examples of this style. British-born restaurateur Keith McNally later opened other Manhattan spots with the same aesthetic, like Pastis and Schiller's Liquor Bar. His style — a classic workingman's café look — has spawned many imitators. This round marine-style light illuminates each of the café's two tiny bathrooms.

Photo By: Robert Stolarik


Few items are as easy to find, affordable and versatile as a lamp like this one, seen in the lobby of the Ace Hotel in Manhattan. The hotel's designers, Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, of Roman and Williams, say: "We put seemingly disparate objects together and allow them to simmer to see if we can raise the temperature of a space. Our work communicates that voltage between time periods, cultures and styles." They sourced many of the hotel's objects from places like the Brimfield Market, held twice a year in Massachusetts.

Photo By: Robert Stolarik


How ironic! A period look in lighting, like these exposed filament bulbs used here at Public, a restaurant in New York's Nolita, is heating up just as the incandescent bulb is being phased out. The design firm that created Public, in 2003, from a former Edison laboratory, sought design solutions that were low-cost and authentic to the period of the space and neighborhood. Kristina O'Neal, a founder of Avroko, which designed and operates Public, told a reporter they wanted "something a little bit nostalgic, a little bit about old New York, a little bit comforting, but still with [our] own take on it."

Photo By: Robert Stolarik


This collection of brass fans is clearly not meant to provide ventilation at the Frye flagship store in Soho. But a collection like this offers terrific visual impact. The gleam of the metal and the sensuous curves turn these functional objects into a display of beauty. Stark, dramatic lighting adds a feeling of importance.

Photo By: Robert Stolarik


In our technology-obsessed era, there's something oddly comforting about seeing an old-school post office box, especially at the entrance to a chic restaurant like Public. It adds a charming touch, using a utilitarian object purely for its aesthetic pleasure and totally out of context.

Photo By: Robert Stolarik


If you've never seen one of these gorgeous black-and-gold vintage sewing machines up close, imagine an entire wall of them! The Allsaints store, at 512 Broadway in Manhattan, is housed in what was originally a Singer factory, so using the machines pays stunning visual homage to the building's history. Artifacts of this quality, en masse, can create an equally impressive wall or display.

Photo By: Robert Stolarik


As you've seen, this style relies on a severely restricted palette of black, gray, cream, brown and white. Here, in the Allsaints store in Manhattan, designers have reused old thread spools, cleverly combining them into an op-art sculpture, their weathered, worn paint adding an unexpected and lovely spot of color in the otherwise neutral space.

Photo By: Robert Stolarik


This object — a block and tackle typically used to offload freight from a boat — is a nice addition to Onassis, a casual men's clothing store in Soho, with its nautical references and flavor of the rough-and-ready life of those who once used it. The color pops against the raw wood of the display tables and echoes the period feel of the cast-iron building in which the store is located.

Photo By: Robert Stolarik


It's easy to forget that wine comes in cases if you usually just buy a bottle or two. Here, at Lucky Strike in Manhattan, they've been repurposed as tabletops, a perfect note in a café offering a classic French feel. This café, one of the earliest in Manhattan to use this style, remains a beloved favorite — one of the city's rare long-term survivors.

Photo By: Robert Stolarik


Freemans opened in 2004 and was described by one critic as a place "where the new Lower East Side, Appalachia, a British hunting lodge and a suburban 1950s dinner party all converge. It's the kind of unlikely restaurant you'd sooner expect to find in a David Lynch movie than in reality, but here it is." The space was designed by Taavo Somer and William Tigertt, and it incorporates a wide range of materials, from taxidermied birds to Thonet-style chairs. These shelves of raw lumber bear the mark of the saw, a rough-edged version of an urban library.

Photo By: Robert Stolarik


Here, wood has been used as a wall covering, adding color and texture in a place you'd least expect it. In a room filled with smooth metal, glass, wool and leather, it adds a roughness and hand-hewn quality that offers a powerful contrast and echoes the artisanal look of the leather goods for sale.

Photo By: Robert Stolarik


The dressing room is usually an ugly, cramped afterthought. Not here. Tall black metal doors with simple handles open into a space that carries through the shop's slightly menacing, steampunk feeling — the subway tile here is not pristine, but artificially aged, like some grungy hotel from the 1920s, not a place to try on a $300 dress.

Photo By: Robert Stolarik


"We were interested in a slightly punk rock approach, while still using a traditional language," says Robin Standefer, one of the two designers who created the Ace Hotel's distinctive look. "When we deal with materials and languages that are historical in nature, we try to approach them with a new originality, a new life," she told Wallpaper magazine. Here, they've combined classic white subway tile with black wooden trim, dark grout, a claw-foot tub with brass faucets and period furniture to give the feel of an Edwardian-era men's club.

Photo By: Robert Stolarik


A trademark element of Keith McNally's restaurant design, shown here at Schiller's Liquor Bar in Manhattan, is the use of subway tile. Simple, cheap, easy to clean and endlessly versatile, it mixes easily with mirrors, ceiling fans, casement windows and black metal chairs. The restrained palette, combination of materials and repetition of form make this space so effective.

Photo By: Robert Stolarik


A terrific material, often overlooked by homeowners doing their own residential design, is copper, available at most hardware stores by the foot in a variety of widths. Inexpensive, durable, easily cut into any shape with light shears, it wears to a lovely patina or can be polished back to a gleaming sheen. This is the bar at Lucky Strike, which opened in 1989 on Grand Street in Manhattan.

Photo By: Robert Stolarik


In France, the local bar is often called "le zinc," thanks to the metal covering the bar; two restaurants, one in Detroit and one in San Francisco, have borrowed that name. Restaurant critic Frank Bruni said of this space, which also incorporates a zinc bar: "I smiled every time I walked into and through Freemans, and I smiled every time I watched someone else arrive. That person invariably did a double take, then giggled. It's sweet of a restaurant to make that happen." Freemans followed this noble tradition when it expanded in 2006 and added this metal-topped bar.

Photo By: Robert Stolarik

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From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

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