2017 Trends and Designer Tips

I hope you are all having a great weekend! A few days ago, I attended a seminar put on by local, 25-year interior design veteran, Karen Jones. She just so happened to be the designer of my favorite house on the Parade of Homes tour this year, so I had to go and hear what she had to say. She talked about today’s design trends, and a few general tips for keeping your home’s interior looking fresh and modern. Here is what she had to share…

2017 Design Trends

According to Karen, today’s interior design style is all about clean, simple lines, neutral colors, and texture. It’s also about embracing function while creating a space that feels comfortable and lived-in. Farmhouse style is still very much in demand, with its sturdy, simplified shapes, shiplap, and rustic touches. However, Karen is seeing many clients who desire a mix between a modern and farmhouse style, or what she would call “urban farmhouse.” No longer are clients asking for Tuscan style, with its more ornate furniture and finishes, and darker, warm colors, and very few clients are asking for formal dining rooms. Today’s client wants brighter more comfortable living spaces, that use a lot of neutral colors (mostly whites and grays), made more interesting with the use of different woods, leather, metals, and textures.

She also mentioned that design styles go through a major change every 7-10 years, so expect your taste and the industry trends to change over time.

Here are a few images of her latest project, which she calls “urban farmhouse” style.

urban farmhouse living room with wood fireplace

Design Credit: All About Home Design

urban farmhouse kitchen with iron ore cabinets

Design Credit: All About Home Design

modern farmhouse dining room

Design Credit: All About Home Design

How to Freshen up Your Home Without Spending a Fortune

I heard several people at the seminar say, “I can’t afford to remodel or build a new house, so what can I do to freshen up my home without spending a lot of money?” Karen’s answer was simple…paint, new accessories, and perhaps new lighting. Paint is an inexpensive and quick way to transform a room.

paint swatches

She also recommended changing your accessories every 2-3 years. In other words, new sofa pillows, new decor, or new artwork. Karen has her own shop, but says you will often see her at HomeGoods, Hobby Lobby, or Target just like the rest of us, looking for great deals on home decor and accessories.

pottery barn pillows

What if My Existing Artwork Doesn’t Go With My New Style?

Karen had some advice for that, too!  She says she often will spray paint the frames and/or mattes so that she can reuse existing artwork in a newly decorated room, or in another room in the house. Here’s a great post on transforming artwork!

painted picture frames

More Paint Tips

Quite a few of us asked Karen about the paint colors and sheens she used in her latest house project (where the seminar was being held), and she had some good information to share. If you aren’t familiar with “sheen,” it refers to how shiny the paint is when it dries.

how to choose paint sheen

When someone asked about what color the ceilings were painted, she said she always paints the ceilings white. Why? Well, if you ever want to change your wall paint color, and the ceiling is painted the same color (or a shade or two lighter), you will end up having to paint both the wall and the ceiling. On the other hand, if the ceiling is white, you will only have to paint the walls! I’ve always had white ceilings, so this was good news for me, and I completely agree with her advice!

painting ceilings white

Karen said she always matches the ceiling color to the trim (door frames, baseboards, etc.) color, but she uses a semi gloss sheen for the trim and a flat sheen for the ceilings. She often uses Benjamin Moore’s White Dove for both the trim and ceilings. Oh, and she recommends an Eggshell sheen for all the walls. Good to know!

Not Enough Lighting?

Ms. Jones said that most rooms suffer from a lack of lighting, which makes them feel dark and uncomfortable. Her rule of thumb is that every room should have 4-5 light sources! Light sources include overhead lights, floor and table lamps, and windows. So, just for fun, count up all the light sources in one of your rooms. If you only count 1 or 2 sources, you may find that adding a lamp helps to improve the look and feel of the room.

Can I Mix Different Metals or Woods?

YES! Karen says you can absolutely mix metals in your home. You don’t have to match all of the faucets in your home, or match your faucets to your door hardware. You may want a completely different look in one room than in another, so don’t be afraid to use different metals throughout the house. Same goes for wood! You can have light wood floors, and darker wood cabinets or shelves, and you can have a variety of wood types in one room.  I would take it a step further and say that you should make sure the wood tones are “in family.” What do I mean by that? Well, each wood finish has a color bias, or undertone. For example, cherrywood has warm, red undertones. Other wood finishes look more gray or yellow. If you make sure the undertones match, you can mix different wood species with different finishes successfully!

wood stains


According to Karen, wallpaper is back! Don’t be afraid to use wallpaper, just so long as it has a beautiful pattern, and it is used sparingly (not on every wall) in your house! Here are a few nice examples from Karen’s latest home design project.

geometric wallpaper in bedroom

Design Credit: All About Home Design

wallpaper in laundry room

Design Credit: All About Home Design


wallpaper in teen bedroom

Design Credit: All About Home Design

In all, it was a great little seminar! I learned a few new things, and the best part was that I got to spend more time in, and hear more specifics about my favorite house on the tour! The Parade of Homes tour is now over, so I’ll have to wait patiently until next year.

By | 2017-08-22T08:47:05+00:00 August 22nd, 2017|Uncategorized|10 Comments


  1. Patricia Krank August 25, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    This was great information! We are planning on building a new home so it’s very helpful. Visiting from Pieced Pastimes!

  2. Mary-The Boondocks Blog August 26, 2017 at 3:39 am

    Melissa this was a great post. I love farmhouse but find it too rustic for my home after all I don’t live out in the woods so this new urban farmhouse sounds right up my alley.

    • mwelsh August 29, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      Thanks Mary! Farmhouse can definitely be too rustic for people. This “urban farmhouse” style, however, is a great modern twist on the farmhouse look, while still having a casual feel.

  3. jenbl96 August 31, 2017 at 9:04 am

    I love the built-ins and that oven hood, BEAUTIFUL!

    • mwelsh September 1, 2017 at 8:07 am

      There was an interesting story about the oven hood. Notice that it doesn’t go all the way to the ceiling? They had to create a passthrough for the hood vent to go into the wall behind the kitchen (which was the office) and up through the roof. In the office, the vent is concealed by a faux brick wall.

  4. Carol August 31, 2017 at 11:29 am

    I agree with many of your suggestions – I change out pillows on sofa and chairs frequently. Curtains and tablecloths also totally change a room. Like the modern country – I’m eclectic and have cottage, coastal with a modern touch.

    • mwelsh September 1, 2017 at 8:11 am

      I like to walk into a room in my house and pretend like I’m seeing it for the first time. That way, I tend to notice little things that need updating or changing. Otherwise, I could walk into the same room 100 times and never think about updating it! 🙂

  5. sizzlesue15 September 1, 2017 at 12:09 am

    Loving greys at the moment. Thank you for sharing your latest trends with us and inspiring us to decorate. #BloggersPitStop.

    • mwelsh September 1, 2017 at 8:11 am

      Thanks! I still love all the grays, too!

  6. K.Rupp September 1, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Thank you so much! This educated me on a lot on design dilemmas. Especially using different color wood and metals together in the same room. I will be referencing this again:) Stopped by from the creative inspiration party! pinned.

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