Six Interior Design Trends You Can Try from the DC Design House

October 7, 2017

Whether you’re polishing up your home for sale or plan to buy a new place to treasure, interior designers can stimulate your creativity and help generate ideas for your home. If you want to see what designers are doing these days, consider a visit to the DC Design House.

A fundraiser for Children’s National Health System, the 10th annual DC Design House brought together 23 designers to makeover a 27,000-square-foot estate in Potomac, Maryland, listed for $10.28 million by Long & Foster’s Fouad Talout and Pascale Karam. While the designers each have different styles and points of view, a few trends emerge from the Design House.

Look up for inspiration. Ceilings have been getting more attention in recent years, and white is no longer the color of choice. In the master bedroom, Dennese Guadeloupe Rojas painted the ceiling a slightly darker shade of gray than the walls to create a cozy feeling. In the main-level gallery, designers Cindy Grossmueller McClure and Jenna David opted for an elaborate treatment, so visitors notice the dramatic double barrel-vaulted ceiling. They installed white wallpaper with a subtle starburst pattern and then added nail studs along the seams of the ceiling. Nearly every room has an unusual paint color on the ceiling—sometimes mimicking the sky at different times of day or simply picking up a color in the room’s décor.

Layering for every season. Create a soothing and sophisticated bedroom by following the designs of Keira St. Claire-Bowery of Anthony Wilder Design/Build. St. Claire-Bowery layered a sisal rug with a fluffier rug and covered a bed with a fur throw and velvet pillows, all in neutral shades. Several other designers layered rugs on top of each other and placed pillows and throws on top of beds, chairs and sofas to add warmth. The trick is to get the colors right so they complement each other.

Don’t forget the small stuff. If you’ve been told to declutter before you move, then get ready to put your treasures back when you settle into a new home. Interior designers are masters at putting together tabletops and shelves to showcase personal items. For instance, Lorna Gross placed a collection of light blue and white glasses on a clear bar cart in the study, offsetting the dark built-in bookshelves and picking up the colors of the room’s upholstered furniture and artwork. Designers mix heights and colors but find a balance that pleases the eye when grouping items to display. Numerous designers at the Design House used hardcover books in complementary colors or that fit a theme as decorative elements. Case Design/Remodeling designers, placed a few brightly colored books as a whimsical element in a sophisticated “jewel box” bar.

Light up your imagination. Dramatic light fixtures are abundant throughout the Design House, in part because the large rooms and high ceilings can handle oversized chandeliers and pendants. In an upstairs sitting room, designer Romain Baty installed a deceptively simple curved dome black pendant light that echoes the shapes of artwork throughout the room. Marika Meyer used an oversized chandelier with five globe lights to fill the “lady’s retreat” with light and enhance the colorful collection of framed Hermes scarves on the walls. Josh Hildreth’s chandelier in the “collector’s room” features sculptural branches that pick up the nature theme in the space.

Go bold. Bright colors can be found as accents throughout the house, but designer Caryn Cramer opted for more drama in the guest bedroom. Accessible from a hallway painted in mint and black with an unusual leather rug made of recycled belts, the guest bedroom is filled with fabrics of red and orange with evergreen, jade and apricot paint on the walls and lounges covered in complementary fabric.

Get quiet. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the “traveler’s retreat,” an upstairs sitting room designed to be a soothing place to unwind after a hectic trip or just a busy week. Soft, luxurious fabrics on the sofa and club chairs match the tranquil gray and white palette of the room, while a chandelier and sconces add a touch of glamour. Several retreats in the house are deliberately created in smaller rooms where homeowners can find places to relax. The upstairs family room, decorated by Erica Burns, has a similarly serene vibe, with neutral colors and comfortable furniture perfect for a nap. The space has large ceramic pots converted to lamps and timeless ikat print club chairs that add interest without disturbing the peace of the room.

The DC Design House takes place this year Sept. 30 – Oct. 29. Tickets are $35 per person and benefit Children’s National. Visit for information and reservations.