STYLE

Runway to room: Home decor meets catwalk with fashion-inspired trends for summer

06/15/2012 12:54 EDT | Updated 08/15/2012 05:12 EDT
TORONTO - Whether you're longing for a freshly decked out interior or simply seeking some additional items to spruce up your space, get ready for the runway to roll into your home as the weather warms up.

Patterns, prints and colours which have made a splash on the catwalk are leaving a similarly stylish imprint on home accessories and furniture this summer, as the worlds of fashion design and decor become ever-more entwined.

In generations past, people generally followed a strict formula when it came to decking out their homes, noted decor expert Michael Penney, who dispenses his style wisdom on CTV's "The Marilyn Denis Show."

"They would say, `I'm doing a French provincial style' and they would do their whole house in one look and they would leave it like that for 30 years — and that was sort of the way people decorated," he said. " But now... when you look at fashion magazines, you see that designers and stylists are pairing all different kinds of styles, all different looks together, and shoppers themselves are free to create their own mix in their clothing.

"I feel like in the same way they're doing that at home and they're getting a little more brave, and they're realizing they don't have to do a formulaic look."

The style blogger partnered with HomeSense to translate inspiration from the runway into fashion-forward interiors.

Penney highlights art deco-inspired glam among the noteworthy fashion trends transitioning to decor. Geometric patterned prints popping up on throw pillows and wallpaper along with metallic finishes are all reminiscent of 20s-era styles.

Creamy pastel hues featured in feminine blouses and trousers are being spotted in bedding and linens, with pale pinks and buttery yellows in the mix. But it also extends to furniture, with classic pieces like a wicker chair saturated in robin's egg blue, Penney noted.

Floral prints remain a mainstay on and off the runway. Blossoms and blooms that have adorned scarves, blazers, trousers and dresses for the warmer months are also being seen on linens, bedding and pillows, in a look Penney describes as "unbashedly" feminine and romantic.

Vancouver-based Nancy Marcus writes a regular column on her blog, Marcus Design, with posts on items trending in fashion and their connection to home interiors.

Marcus echoes Penney concerning colours, noting a prevalence of pastel hues, and shades such as mint and turquoise translating from coloured denim to sofas and different pieces for the home.

Another style trend making a comeback on the fashion scene — and within Marcus's own home — is the use of gold and brass accents. With purses, bracelets and watches getting the gilded treatment, so, too, is decor. Marcus said she is personally collecting metallic pieces, and trying to incorporate brass fixtures for use in a bathroom reno.

Marcus said there is also a resurgence of animal prints — particularly zebra and leopard — emerging in wallpaper and rugs.

"The easiest way to bring in these colours and prints would be through smaller accessories which actually allows you to change them up when the trend is going to change for fall."

But don't be too quick to turn your living room into the animal kingdom. Marcus suggests a little caution with use of bold prints and patterns, saying it's vital to "allow pieces to speak."

"It's important to consider your purchases together and not pick and choose as you go along and end up having an entirely floral room."

Penney says the No. 1 way to incorporate fashion- inspired trends into your home is through textiles.

"Each one of these looks can be distilled into a pattern or fabric, and the best way to use fabric in an inexpensive way is usually through a cushion or a throw or some kind of accent soft good."

For those shelling out a bit more on investment pieces, Penney says the key is to find an item that melds trends with timeless design. One such example in his deco look would be the sculptural crystal lamps.

"Those are never going to go out of style, but they are actually an art deco design that comes from that period."

With this season's decor looks may have a strong feminine focus, he said many of the 20s-era styles —with the black, white and cream shades and geometrics — also lend themselves to the masculine touch. Decor enthusiasts can also play up the fashionable aspects of the decade by using fabrics like tweed and wool in their space, noted Penney, who recently opened the Whitby, Ont., home decor store Penney and Co.

For those challenged to define and discern their own decor style, Marcus suggests creating a design board and to seek out eye-catching imagery and items everywhere from print magazines to Pinterest as sources of influence.

"You may find that that actually translates to exactly what you're choosing for your fashion pieces as well."

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Online:

HomeSense: www.homesense.ca

Marcus Design: www.marcusdesigninc.blogspot.ca

Michael Penney Style: www.michaelpenneystyle.com

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