Style Matters

Color and comfort make a comeback.

Move over brown, make way for brilliant! A new day in home design has dawned, one that's brighter than ever. Last year's browns and grays are giving way to a full spectrum of upbeat colors, from citrusy yellows to fresh greens. Even the blues are nice and uplifting.

While nature's neons are beginning to take the limelight in today's living spaces, red is emerging as the primary color. No longer the sole domain of the daring, red offers almost unlimited variations and allows unexpected design flexibility. A splash of terra cotta lends warmth to a kitchen. A kiss of rose adds romance to a bedroom. Likewise, a touch of scarlet makes a dramatic statement in a living room.

Neutrals remain a constant, but they're more sophisticated than basic beige or cream. Instead, they're tinged with bold color for added warmth and effect.

Mixing beauty with pleasure.

A new direction in home design not only means new hues, but also new ways of mixing and matching them. Gone are the days of flat, white walls and bland furnishings. Today's bold interiors take the scheme beyond the predictable. Blues mix with green, greens with yellow, and reds go with just about anything.

Once your palette's perfected, start mixing fabrics and styles. Pile on the patterns-the more the merrier. And don't be afraid to experiment with unconventional furniture combinations. Play musical chairs in the dining room, pair a desk with an unsuspecting lamp-the possibilities are endless. One caveat: Your interior milieu should not be a melee. While the look is decidedly eclectic, it's important to achieve an overall balance of color, texture and proportion.

Furniture takes its cue from fashion.

You're ready to start mixing, but you need the right materials. Fortunately, selecting the perfect combination of furnishings is simply a matter of considering your personal style. Like the clothes you wear, what works for your home is what works for you, whether it's contemporary, casual or a little bit of both.

If you look closely, you may find your favorite clothing label on a sofa or armchair. Lexington Home Brands has taken popular style out of the closet, with furnishings from names like Tommy Bahama, Nautica and Bob Timberlake.

Comfort is king.

Now, more than ever, comfort is a key component of interior style. But unlike the shabby chic trend that prevailed in the nineties, the current design trend is at once inviting and sophisticated.

Advances in upholstered fabrics support the new comfort-luxe aesthetic. Light microfibers and synthetic suedes offer a polished look that's washable, though not artificial. Think elegant living room, not don't-touch-or-sit showroom. Above all, today's living areas say welcome home.