5 Trends to Try This Fall

We round up our favorite looks from the 2016 Black Interior Designers Conference.

After exploring several showrooms at the 2016 Black Interior Designers Conference, one thing is definitely clear: Designers and consumers alike want beautiful yet functional styles they can take from season to season.

Open-Concept Kitchen and Dining Area With Rustic Table, Vault Ceiling

Open Kitchen and Dining Area With Rustic Table, Vault Ceiling

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 does not need to translate to having modern décor. By blending pieces, such as retro dining chairs, Chinese antiques, 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

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

Soothing neutrals, unique textures and features that appear to have been designed by Mother Nature herself shine this season. Mix those elements with the clean, sleek lines of modern design and it creates a look that’s formal, but unstuffy.

Here are five tips to bring the look home:

Go Organic

Curved Green Sofa With Natural Wood Coffee Table

Modern Living Room With Curved Sofa and Log-Wrapped Coffee Table

This living room incorporates uniquely designed furniture to bring about a huge wow factor. The curved green sofa sets the stage for the room’s modern style, but also offers plenty of practical seating. The log-wrapped coffee table adds a touch of nature and makes for a wonderful conversation piece. A traditional-style side chair is paired with a minimalist side table. A large photograph, a tall vase of greens and a few accessories add the perfect finishing touches.

It’s often too easy for modern style to feel cold, so many designers are turning to wood, raw stone and more natural features to create a warm, down-to-earth feel in their spaces.


We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: Neutral does not equal beige. It’s more about the way you use it rather than the color itself – try any muted shade of your favorite color as a backdrop to lift other items in your space. Designer Nikki Chu – who has her own paint line appropriately titled “The Perfect Shade of Neutral” – even laughed, saying she prefers to work with more toned-down hues.


Take a closer look – from velvet sofas to throw pillows with buttons fashioned from coconut shells, everything in the showrooms invite you to touch, feel and ask questions about where it came from. Create personality in your space by building up different textures rather than focusing on one flashy statement piece.

Make It Shine

Whether you’re a gemstone collector or you’ve waiting for brass to make a comeback, add a hint of sparkle to your décor with hints of gold, copper or your favorite precious metal.

Bring on the Rugs

You’re not limited to just one area rug per room. Another way to build up more texture and interest is by layering rugs. Choose rugs in a similar color scheme to avoid design chaos. 

Layering Rugs 101

See All Photos

Start With Sisal

Nicole Gibbons, blogger and creative director of So Haute, mixes style and texture in her New York City apartment. "I'm not one to follow trends, but the layered rug look is definitely a hot design trend," she says. "I see it everywhere from popular home furnishings catalogs to the portfolios of top interior designers."

Her advice for getting started: If you're layering your rugs on a hard floor, allow at least 12-18 inches of space on all sides so that you can see the contrast between the rugs. Photo courtesy of Nicole Gibbons.

Piece It Together

Sometimes one rug just won't do — not when you can add several in the same pattern and color family to fill a room with a sense of place. Consider layering kilims to anchor large pieces of furniture. "The idea was to make a big patchwork collage out of different kilims for a playful and nonchalant effect," says photographer Mieke Tacken.

Do know, however, when to edit your rug design to avoid the unkempt or "Ali Baba's tent" look, recommends designer Don Raney of Civility Design, Chicago. Try Orientals lined down hallways for a similar effect. Photo courtesy of ICE.

Photo By: Mieke Tacken

Make It Yours

Kelly Burt-Deasy, trend manager for Cost Plus World Market, has seen the layered rug trend surface in the past few years. Interestingly, customers always buy more than one rug from the company at a time, she says.

If you're looking to layer, Burt-Deasy says the key is choosing rugs that have the same fabrication/construction. "It makes your rooms feel very individual and one-of-a-kind," she says. "That's the bigger trend: People wanting to add their own personal touch instead of the room looking like a catalog." Photo courtesy of Cost Plus World Market.

Choose a Neutral Base

Large, rectangular living rooms are blank canvases for rug layering. Dress up a jute with a more expensive wool rug like Los Angeles-based designer Kristen Hutchins did here. "I love jute because it is softer than sea grass and more stain friendly than sisal," says Hutchins, who says the key to layering rugs is making sure the larger, main rug is neutral. "If you start out with a larger, neutral rug as the base, you can add a fun, patterned rug to define just the seating area." This means your top rug would fit within the sofa and chairs and be anchored by the coffee table. Photo courtesy of Kristen Hutchins.

Go Hot for Hide

Graphic designer Danielle De Silva of Sydney, Australia, took inspiration from design blogs and replaced a former white flokati with sea grass and zebra hide in her modern, minimal living room. "I went for a large natural rug to anchor the sitting area, with a smaller faux zebra hide layered over it for the pattern, contrast and interest I was after," she says. The scale and shape is important: Both rugs here can be seen due to the hide's irregular shape, while the sea grass provides a nice, neutral frame. Photo courtesy of Danielle De Silva.

Pick a Pair — or Three!

An advantage of layering rugs is undoubtedly saving money: Several smaller, affordable rugs can combine to fill a corner of your room or furniture vignette with lots of personality. Here, a zigzag dhurrie rug is surrounded by two different, smaller woven rugs in complementing colors of burnt orange, orange-red and gray.

The key to this room by West Elm is "pairing rugs that have a common detail — a color, material or motif" to not only harmonize but create an appealing contrast — and stretch your design dollars. Photo courtesy of West Elm.

Photo By: Courtesy of West Elm

Layer Over Carpet

In children's rooms and nurseries, layering rugs can add extra cushion for first steps, first falls or the occasional wrestling match. The trick is to think outside the area-rug box and explore other options. In this nursery, a large white bath mat from Target sits atop carpet, unifying the white throughout a room filled with retro robots and pops of orange, green and blue. Design by RMSer ladyamare.

Prepare a Soft Landing

Kathleen Shannon of Oklahoma City has a bit of a rug addiction. As she began to run out of space, she started layering them and discovered that lighter rugs together brought more weight to anchor an interior. In the bedroom, two identical rugs from Target run next to each other ("I loved that they looked like a metallic Pantone swatch book," says the freelance designer and art director of www.andkathleen.com), while the sheepskin IKEA rug rests on top. Photo courtesy of Kathleen Shannon.

Next Up

How to Preserve Pretty Fall Leaves With Wax Paper

Learn how to lock in the pretty colors of autumn with this easy trick.

Fall Inspiration: Outdoor Decorating Ideas

It's not too early, I promise.

5 Ways to Brighten Your Home During a Dreary Winter

Don't let the dark, cold days of winter get you down. Check out these easy ways to freshen your decor to help keep your home sunny and warm.

Plant Succulents in Pumpkins for a Modern Fall Tablescape

Add fresh color and life to your fall decorations with succulents planted in tiny pumpkins.

6 Fabulous Ways to Decoupage Pumpkins

Break out the Mod Podge, it's time to decorate.

How to Make an Edible Fall Harvest Centerpiece

Use seasonal produce to create a one-of-a-kind display for your Thanksgiving table.