3D interior design of a modern and minimalist living room

Notable Atlanta interior designer weighs in on making your place pop

As the weather warms up and our thoughts turn to relaxing days spent outside our homes in the sunshine, many of us are left with the realization that the inside of our homes and apartments feel shabby and old. To give us some trendy design inspiration for projects and ideas to tackle over a weekend that don’t break the bank, we turned to the name behind Robert Gaul Architectural Design. Gaul has offices in Atlanta and New York and works on projects across the globe with a primary focus on high-end residential interior design.

What are the looks you’re seeing most often or your clients request most often? What are the big trends?

I’m seeing lots of simplified rooms, but with a contrast of scale and furniture styles. I call it “comfortable, but classic.” It’s a juxtaposition of contemporary furniture with antique or vintage accent pieces. Gray, white or neutral rooms with pops of color are very popular as of late.

Changing out accessories seems to be a great way to make an aesthetic change without spending too much money or investing too much time. What kinds of fixtures should we look for?

Yellow and pink metals are very popular this year, as are classic brass, copper and rose gold. Consider experimenting with black finishes for bathroom fixtures and contemporary lighting.

What makes this season’s trends interesting?

It’s the types of color combinations we’re seeing. Think about incorporating bright greens, yellows or cobalt blues. For accents, I like to use strong colors derived from nature. There are also flooring options with interesting stain colors and finishes or unexpected sizing, like wide planks. Large-format wall and floor tiles are also worth considering.

What are some of the easiest ways to mix classic styles with the new trends? How can we get the look without making over an entire room?

Find one or two interesting pieces from antique shops, flea markets or unique home furnishing stores. Consider contrasting a fine antique wood piece with a rich, worn patina with a modern sculpture of contemporary glass object, or incorporate one small chair in a bold fabric or accent pillows using lush or “lux” fabrics. I prefer soft, comfortable, neutral fabrics on large furniture pieces with added pops of color.
Think in terms of scale for tiles or wood flooring, and texture for wall coverings and fabrics. Get rid of the brown and boring. Lighten and brighten the space.

What are the textures, fabrics or other materials we should be considering?

Porcelains or ceramics with strong, bright glazes and classic shapes. Asian or mid-century add a unique perspective to a room, as do vintage items from the ’60s, ’70s or ’80s. Even industrial artifacts or antique Italian or vintage glass.

What can someone do to incorporate these new trends without breaking the bank? Are there any specific DIY projects or accessories that can transform an existing room?

Get rid of the brown and boring! Change the color palette and lighten and brighten the space. I often update the lighting in a room where I want to make a big change quickly. Adding texture to a room with a wall covering or beautiful fabrics is an easy change, as is simplifying existing window treatments.

Find one or two interesting pieces from antique shops, flea markets or unique home furnishing stores to add something different.

Are the styles in Atlanta and the South different from styles you’ve seen other places? Are our trends different/uniquely Southern?

Atlanta appears to be very diverse and keeps up with the trends. I don’t find the trends in Atlanta to be “uniquely Southern.”

What’s a tip you could give to our readers who are looking to punch up the style in their own homes?

Get rid of all of the clutter and refine the elements in the room. I like to provide a focal point to simplify everything.