Perhaps the biggest theme in home decorating going into fall is comfortable, real, personalized style.
"The perfect-home look is over," says Deborah Needleman, former editor-in-chief of Domino magazine. "It is so not of this moment. We're living in a freer time in terms of design and style. You can simultaneously love modern design, rustic pottery, some piece you picked up on the side of the street — all these things can live happily together in your home."
Where fashion goes, home decor is never far behind. And this fall, home retailers continue to take cues from decades past, such as '60s and '70s styles ranging from loose and relaxed to sophisticated and worldly.
Watch for country-style furniture; cottage print textiles; farm animal motifs; quilts as wall hangings and throws; folk art and faux general-store signage as wall art; flour-sack pillow covers; baskets and hooked rugs.
This isn't throwback decor, with armies of ducks marching across the kitchen wallpaper or plaid ribbons festooning every chair; the vibe is comfortable, yet contemporary. The floral prints are updated, and graphic prints are bold.
Wisteria has some striking game boards, unique replicas of old weather vanes and a variety of colorful quilts. Pottery Barn also stocks a quilt collection, as well as crewelwork pillows, galvanized steel serveware and cool repro signage.
Americana is big. You'll see the flag and other patriotic symbols rendered in faux-vintage painted wood, distressed cotton and painted tin. The colors of the warmer months take on a deeper tone, so the lilac becomes plum, and the sunny yellow is now ochre. Burnt orange and deep crimson remain important hues.
If there's such a thing as American Boho, then its sister must be Global Boho: Russian folk prints, needlepointed rugs, Moorish motifs, hammered silver Thai vases, handcrafted pottery and exotic Asian furniture.
Homegoods has been touring the East Coast this summer with a mobile home full of style ideas. They recently set it up in Manhattan; Needleman was on hand, admiring colorful silk pillows, faux croc trays, and other eclectic, luxurious yet affordable furnishings. She's teamed up with the retailer on a fun "Stylescope" — an online quiz that helps you define your own style. Hers, she says, is Bohemian Classic.
"A Bohemian look is a reflection of its owner's particular tastes and interests, and also I think, an appreciation of the best of what other cultures have to offer," she says.
Textures are prominent this fall: faux reptile, suede and hammered tin. Crate & Barrel has several embroidered floral rugs and pillows worth considering, as well as slubby cotton curtains reminiscent of barkcloth. The '70s were also mad for all things Mexican; now we see beautiful Mexican-style ceramics showing up in stools and decorative items. In fact, ceramics of every sort are important; you'll notice lots of interesting craft in lampshades, vases and trays.
In the '60s we were hipsters, in the '70s we were disco fans. We'll see some of the groove and the glamour of these eras now and through the holidays, with metallics, glass and fur playing a role. Black and white furnishings stay strong, with shots of purple, sapphire, lime and chrome yellow. Look for clear Lucite tables, shag rugs, patent leather and steel furniture, and lots of white.
Finding a few beautiful, affordable things that will make a home happy and comfortable is what modern home decorating is all about. And this season, the style range is as wide as it's ever been, so have fun.