Whether you’re looking for professional help with your design choices or seeking a fun DIY project, the right upgrades can showcase your personal style while keeping your spaces looking current. Mary Meyn, owner of Home by Yours & Meyn, a retail space and interior design firm in Louisville, says that because Colorado has so many transplants, it doesn’t have one hallmark style. Homeowners, do, however, like their interiors to feel visually uncluttered. “We see a very clean look in Colorado,” Meyn says. “People live a great lifestyle here because they are busy with their outdoor activities, so homes tend to be simpler.” Clunky, giant furniture with ornate finishes and flourishes aren’t as sought after in Denver and Boulder these days, she says; her clients are leaning toward neutral paint colors, simple window treatments and lighter wood finishes. Richard Lambert, owner of Unfinished Furniture of Colorado in Broomfield, has been happy to see that beetle-kill pine, a popular wood in Colorado for everything from accent walls to dining tables, is still very much in demand. “Wood prices are going up in general,” Lambert says, “and beetle kill has gotten more expensive precisely because more people are looking for that attractive bluish tint.” We spoke to Meyn and Lambert to glean several examples of both new and enduring Colorado design trends.
NATURE MATCHES ANY TASTE
As more and more transplants arrive here, Meyn says, everything from the traditional stylings of Midwest homes to coastal California décor is present in Colorado. When it comes to your personal style, anything goes these days so long as there are interwoven elements of nature — think plants, branches, stones, sand and herb-themed art.
“You have a big mix as to what people put into their
homes,” she says.
CLEAN > CLUTTERED
“Farmhouse” — a design aesthetic marked by mixing neutrals with elements such as reclaimed wood, wire baskets and shiplap walls — got a lot of buzz for awhile but isn’t as popular in Colorado due to its tendency to look and feel cluttered for some. The farmhouse style also ushered in the age of word art, but it’s played out, Meyn says: Opt instead for a large statement art piece instead of a busy gallery wall of signs (We’re looking at you, “Live Laugh Love.”)
Millennial shoppers are tiring of what Meyn calls “disposable furniture.” Even if they don’t have the budget to buy their “forever sofa” just yet, they prize furniture that will hold up. Look to purchase pieces in real wood over laminate or veneer, Meyn says. And in evaluating whether that set of arm chairs will wear out over time, homeowners benefit from many recent fabric advances: “We’re seeing upholstery treated with non-chemical products,” she says, “and that in some cases can be built into fabrics. They are stain- and soil-repellent if not altogether stain proof.” Look for brands like Crypton and Alta, and Sunbrella, which has grown its offerings to include hard-wearing indoor fabrics.
For families who already own wood pieces they like and desire to match, Lambert says alder is a popular choice. “Alder is known as the great imitator of woods,” he says. “It has the potential to look like many other types of wood and can be stained to go with things you already have.”
On the other hand, he says oak is on the outs; many homes from the 1990s have so much of it, and homeowners who are renovating kitchens, for example, are replacing oak with more current looks like shaker-style wood cabinets.
Lambert also notes that parawood is gaining in popularity; also called rubberwood, parawood is a sustainable hardwood similar to birch or ash; a company called Whitewood Furniture Company makes a lot of products in parawood that Lambert does well with.
Shaker-style furniture — often in maple and marked by traditional round wooden knobs, tapered legs and subtle curves to convey minimalism and gentleness — remains timeless, Lambert says. A popular item in his store is an unfinished pine bookcase with an arch. It’s simple and versatile for many rooms in the house, and features no molding — but an arch adds visual interest.
MAKING IT YOURS
Lambert says both redoing old furniture and making new furniture look old are still major trends. DIYers are deploying distressing techniques on wood, and experimenting with chalk paint or milk paint. (Lambert sells a line of stains and paint called General Finishes.) “People in their 30s are not looking for the run-of-the-mill pieces of furniture,” he says. “They want something they can be creative with.”
> Unfinished Furniture Colorado, 5095 W. 120th Ave., Broomfield, 303.443.8229, unfinishedfurniturecolorado.com
> Home by Yours & Meyn, 721 Front St., Unit B, Louisville, 303.665.2500, homebyyoursandmeyn.com
By Sarah Protzman Howlett. Photos: Home by Yours & Meyn, Unfinished Furniture Colorado