This past year we’ve spent more time at home than ever before. And while there have been some positive aspects to becoming homebodies, it’s safe to say we’ve all grown a bit weary of our spaces. Add to that the usual inclination to shake things up in our décor come spring, and the desire to revitalize our homes to feel fresh, inviting, and comfortable feels all the more acute. For advice on where to start—and which easy-to-implement changes will make the most impact—we spoke with Ron Werner, co-founder and president of HW Home, a boutique home furnishings company based in Denver, Colorado. Here, he discusses the design trends reshaping the spaces where we’ve been spending the most time—the home office, living room, and dining room—and ways to bring a renewed sense of comfort, beauty, and satisfaction into your home. As Werner says, “A well-designed space is something we can no longer take for granted these days.”
Go for grand-millennial style in the home office
Early on in the pandemic, many households transitioned to working—and learning—from home. Realizing that this “new normal” wasn’t temporary, it quickly became vital for families to improve their existing home offices or create new ones to ensure comfort, functionality, and productivity. Through their home design service, Werner noted one common theme emerging: a request for comfortable, personalized pieces and traditional silhouettes. “Customers were essentially asking for ‘grand-millennial style,’ a look that is defined as the modern revival of homey design elements that evoke comfort, nostalgia, and tradition through vintage-looking furniture, whimsical décor, and personal artifacts from travels and family,” he explains.
To pull off this look while creating a home office that keeps inhabitants motivated, comfortable, and inspired, Werner likes to anchor the area with the Clarence Leather Desk, a stunning and functional piece that pays homage to the traditional silhouettes of a Kittinger desk. Paired with the armless, gently sloping Dayton Side Chair, which can be used as additional seating for your dining or living room, the duo imparts contemporary comfort and effortless style to whatever you declare your WFH space. The brass Felix Table Lamp, a stunning combination of industrial form and traditional glamour, completes the setup as an essential downward task light. For finishing touches, Werner advises weaving in personal artifacts from your travels and family life. Textural art pieces, graphic paintings, framed photos, cozy throws, and vintage touches that have a whimsical flair will also add personality and style.
Make your living room fuss-free
As we’ve logged more hours in our living rooms than usual, it’s given us the opportunity to identify the true needs of the space, as well as its many uses. “Keep in mind how multifunctional a living room is,” Werner points out. “It serves as a place to live, work, and play for everyone in your home.” He finds the look that works best for most clients is a mix of industrial style with modern and traditional design elements. To achieve this style, first assess your overall space with an eye toward de-cluttering. “Make sure you can navigate your space with ease, rather than discomfort,” he says. In addition to considering flow, he suggests aiming for an overall natural and earthy aesthetic by incorporating comfortable organic textiles like low-impact linen and exposed stonework, wood and metal elements, and an overall palette of neutral colors.
For furniture, he recommends low-slung, sculptural sofas, oversized ergonomic chaises, and elevated ottomans. A favorite of Werner’s is the Sinclair Round Ottoman, with its textural cream boucle that can be placed just about anywhere, bringing with it a hip, retro vibe. Add in a bookcase or cabinet to display your family’s artifacts, accent pieces, and books; a piece like the Aiken Cabinet has a modern, industrial design and sliding glass doors to maintain a small footprint. Anchor your room by layering rugs, which will add dimension while protecting your floors, and complete the look by adding statement-making art, like the Milla Wall Baskets, which bring dimension and warm, natural texture to a blank wall. Finally, don’t forget to consider light. Optimize natural light as much as you’re able, but also layer in different types of light—accent, floor, and recessed—for an ambiance that changes throughout the day.
Embrace informality in the dining room
In many homes, the quarantine routine of 2020 turned the once evening-centric dining room into a day use space for the entire family—whether for eating, working, studying, or playing. To that end, opting for a less traditional design in the room allows for the space to be more functional, comfortable, and versatile. Overall, Werner likes to design a dining room not as a zone that’s occasionally used, but as a space that is truly the center of family life and a source of tradition and nostalgia. To create a space that’s warm and welcoming, he recommends starting with a color palette that borrows from mother nature’s hues—golden yellows, bronze, wood browns, deep blues, and sage greens—and building around that foundation.
In terms of furnishings, the piece that anchors the dining room is, of course, the table. Werner keeps things modern yet warm by selecting one that mixes metal and wood, such as the Espandere Dining Table. As an added bonus, choosing a table that’s expandable offers versatility, whether your goal is to create “homework central” or host a seated meal for 12. Next up is selecting seating. According to Werner, you can never underestimate the importance of a comfortable and stylish chair. “It can serve as both a statement and a luxury,” he says. The Ivy Dining Chair is a perfect example, adding sophistication and elegance to any space. Mixing and matching your dining room chairs—and even including a bench for seating—will create a more relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Additionally, adding a buffet, like the Rio Sideboard, offers practical storage for entertaining, kitchenware, or day-to-day work materials. Finish off the space with abstract art to add vibrancy, and don’t forget about plants, which can bring in a wonderful, fresh element to your newly dynamic dining area.