By Mike Wojtas
We've reached 2018's halfway point, and that means the year's top fabrics, metallics and woods for home furnishings are coming into focus. What makes current trends so exciting is the sheer variety of materials that have grown in popularity. Whether you prioritize function, comfort or luxury, you'll likely discover a new favorite material to experiment with (as well as some helpful hints on how to style it). So, if you're trying to rethink an entire room, pick out your dream sofa or simply upgrade your decor, look to the latest material trends for some inspiration:
Lounge in Luxury
Shopping around for sofas? Remember one word: velvet. Luxe and elevated, this material couldn't be more fashionable for sofas. Appearance and texture are a major part of its appeal, but it's the superior softness of velvet that's especially well-suited to lounge seating.
Aside from the expected range of neutral hues, you'll start finding velvet in rich blues and playful pops of mustard yellow and blush pink. In addition to bold colors, eye-catching curved frames are also being paired with this exquisitely soft material.
While velvet is fast on its way to becoming a new living room staple, natural fibers like rattan and raffia are trending choices for both indoor and outdoor seating. Of course, these natural woven materials aren't new themselves; what is new, however, is the way they're being incorporated into contemporary designs. Rattan weaves seem to be showing up everywhere, from armchairs with effortlessly cool mid-century profiles to sofas with bold, modern frames.
You can also go organic on a more limited scale by getting familiar with rattan kitchen accessories, as well as storage pieces big and small.
This year, concrete has also been making its mark on patios, decks and outdoor living spaces. Its durability and simple beauty make it an obvious choice for outdoor furniture, from tables and stools to planters and fire pits.
Couple these concrete accents and smaller furniture pieces alongside a woven sofa or chair for a striking blend of organic and modern. Want to take this tried-and-true material in a fresh direction? Bring it indoors. Lamps with concrete bases and end tables with concrete tops will lend a bit of industrial-chic to living rooms, family rooms and bedrooms.
Mix in Metallics
For 2018, brass is shaping up to be the new go-to metallic. Subtler than gold or silver, brass is versatile while still retaining a hint of glam. A brass pendant light with vintage-influenced styling will undoubtedly dazzle, but this metallic is so easy to coordinate, you'll also see it in more unlikely places (think a sofa lofted on brass legs, or desks that mix brass with wood).
Marvel at Marble
When it comes to tiling, terrazzo and marble are on-trend and always stunning—but let's be honest: re-tiling a space is a major commitment. If you're not ready to take this kind of chance on a material that's new to you, get to know it via accent furniture. A white marble tabletop with a black base sets up a basic, yet breathtaking, contrast.
Also, try playing with patterns inspired by the look of the real thing. Expect to spot plenty of rugs and blankets with prints that mimic the look of marbled materials. Go a step further by utilizing patterns in unexpected ways, such as creating a statement ceiling with lively wallpaper featuring a terrazzo motif.
Make It Personal
Concerned that a trend might not be here to stay? While that's always a real possibility, it doesn't mean that an of-the-moment look can't provide your home with lasting value. If a particular material speaks to you, keep exploring it and see where it takes your personal style.
Mike Wojtas writes about design on behalf of Crate and Barrel. His work also focuses on furnishings for kids, families and pets.