Home trends with interior designer Drew McGukin at “New York Now,” the international home, lifestyle, and gift market at the Javits Center in Manhattan.
Drew McGukin is known for his easygoing manner as much as his love of bold patterns and beautiful textures. As head of his New York-based firm, Drew McGukin Interiors, for nearly ten years, Drew has worked on a wide array of projects on both coasts. We walked the “New York Now” trade show with him recently, and he shared his thoughts on the trends he’s seeing in home design.
If I had to take this show’s trend down to one word, it would be “natural.” I’m seeing a lot of natural elements, in pattern, texture, everywhere. Some references are subtle while some are very literal—like florals and leafy patterns. I feel like there’s a genuine desire to add natural materials and texture to a space. It’s all very organic. There’s an authenticity and artisanal quality to all of it. I’m sure on one level it is an extension of the movement to be greener and take better care of our world.
As part of an overarching trend toward rooms that are light, bright and fresh, there are lots of softer shades and pastels. With so much noise coming at us all the time, people are just looking for calming palettes, and lots of natural light. That said, we’re having a real yellow moment, in fashion as well as interiors. It’s massive right now. I had someone ask if it’s because of the outfit Amal Clooney wore to Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding. While I wish we could give her all the credit, I think she got the dress because it was yellow. Since it usually takes two to three years for a color to make it into the mainstream, I predict we’ll soon be seeing a red that’s not just red, but maybe a little burnt orange; it may sway a little rustic red or a little crimson.
PURE AND SIMPLE
Going back to the noise, I’m finding that people are becoming exhausted with stuff. For too long, clients have come to us with vast places to fill—and yet they want their homes to feel designed, tailored, warm, like everything belongs. Now I’m hearing more of: “Stop overwhelming me with stuff!” We did a beautiful loft space recently, with a library that had to be filled. We were spending thousands a week on books—and trying to make it look like we didn’t just buy them yesterday. I had to buy seventeen picture frames in one afternoon—and they had to feel “collected.” By the time we were done with the library and had moved onto the study, we seriously simplified. We mirrored the backs of some shelves and displayed pieces of pottery that we commissioned from a ceramic artist in Brooklyn. It was beautiful, clean, orchestrated, organic, and textural—with a real backstory.
Because we’ve been leaning toward more clean-lined, modern spaces, some people are wondering, “Where are all the antiques?” The fact is, quality vintage pieces are becoming harder to find in the U.S.; our flea markets have more junktiques than antiques. You can still buy beautiful old things, but you have to get out there to find them. The Paris flea market is still incomparably awesome! But here, I see more designers repurposing antiques. If they’re well made with good bones, we’re refinishing them to make them look unexpectedly modern.
I’ve delivered the trend report for the KBA (Kitchen and Bath Association) for the last two years, and I’m here to say that white and gray still rule. There’s still an overwhelming preference for quality cabinetry and natural stone surfaces. I recommend you choose timelessness over trends: either something highly stylized, like an iconic Poliform kitchen—or classic cabinetry with a simple panel detail that can be transformed by paint and accessories. I’ve been asked if it’s possible for kitchen islands to get any bigger—I doubt it! I recommend scaling down and letting functionality rule. For example, we took a super-duper-long island for one client and broke it in two, creating a T, and a workspace that works without being over the top.
Whether you like to follow trends or just be inspired by them, subscribe to The Art of Making Home and check us out on Instagram @ethanallen.