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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 20, 2018

Colors are going brighter not lighter in home decorating

Jan 05, 2018

By Diana Nollen, The Gazette


Get ready to boldly go where no one has gone — for a while, anyway — in everything from wall colors to kitchen appliances.

“2018 is going to be a very bold year,” said designer Aaron Murphy, owner of Aaron Murphy Interiors in Cedar Rapids. “I know we say that often. Especially color — and finish-wise, a couple of years ago it was white, a lot of tone-on-tone, and these warm grays.

“And now, it’s going to be really bold purples, the black onyx and deep charcoals, and a lot of really bold green colors are really coming in,” he said. “The purple is east and west coast – it really won’t trickle down to us quite yet.”

But look for kelly greens and emerald greens to move into the area, as well as earth tones.

“A lot of neutrals have been around for a little bit, but the grays are kind of going away,” said Harrison Bontrager, associate interior designer at Luxe Interiors in Coralville. “We’re getting back to the browns and warm colors. Earth tones are always around. Deep reds give a warm and cozy feel, especially in this area.”

Here’s a look at other trends ringing through the new year at either end of the Corridor.


Don’t look for black on walls, though.

“Black has a lot of different applications: black cabinetry in the kitchen and bath, metallic quartz for countertops, a lot of hardware for door handles and faucets,” Murphy said, “and lighting, for sure. Black finishes for lighting are on-trend. That won’t be your typically glossy black. This is more the matte black finish or not-quite-black.”

It’s heating up kitchen appliances, too.

“Smoky stainless in charcoal or deeper gray is my favorite,” Bontrager said. “I’m seeing that come around more often. Stainless smoky black is the new trend, especially if you go to appliance manufacturers.”


A flare for the dramatic extends to walls, as well.

“Big print wallpapers are coming back,” Bontrager said. “It’s that ‘80s look. Some people hate it, but I personally love it – big, bold and in-your- face.”

Not quite ready to make an all-over commitment? Flirt with big and bold in little ways. You don’t have to go big to go bold.

“We’re doing a lot of wallpaper in small, unexpected places, like alcoves and powder rooms,” Murphy said. “Rooms where guests are going to see and appreciate it.”

Look up for unexpected surprises, too.

“The next step in that is taking wallpaper to ceilings,” Murphy said.

“These real statement ceilings that we were doing in the last couple of years, especially in new construction with beamed ceilings and tiered ceilings. While that still is quite nice and traditional feeling, it’s also quite expensive as far as trim carpentry goes,” he noted. “An easier way to do it, and a little bit more bold way to do it, is to do wallpaper or wallcovering on the ceiling.”

Adding textured grasscloth over head is one way to keep rooms looking up for a long time -- which is important stylistically and practically, since papering a ceiling isn’t exactly easy.

“Grasscloth is not something that’s going to age or trend out quickly like the bold geometric patterns,” Murphy said. “Everyone hates painting their ceiling – no one wants to re-wallpaper their ceiling. That’s even worse,” he said with a laugh.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun in high places.

“We’re playing with ceilings a little more,” Bontrager said, “with different colors and doing something architecturally.”


Family and master bathrooms are not going bold. They’re going neutral to beckon bathers for a little R & R.

“Master bathrooms are going toward a neutral palette, spa-like experience when you walk in. We’re seeing medium- and dark-colored floors that don’t show hair, dirt or dust. And we’re seeing whites and pale pastels colors up on walls to create this relaxing spa-like environments,” Murphy said. “Tile showers and floors are still quite popular, but taking a step back to the neutral zone.

“This is another place we’re seeing black hardware come in, with shower door pulls, faucets and showerhead faucets. That’s your one big pop.”

Subway way tiles have classic staying-power.

“It’s not going away. Subway tile has been around since the beginning of subways,” Murphy said.

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