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Home-design trends include sparkle, handcrafted items and 'Mad Men' style

Six design trends you'll be seeing in stores, catalogues, design blogs and magazines in the coming weeks.

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fall arrived at the Crate and Barrel in Spring Valley a few weeks ago in the form of a flirty yellow sofa.

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"It catches your eye from across the floor," says store manager Jeff Squibb. He calls the sleek Silhouette sofa in textured ochre fabric "a mid-century design given a modern update."

Just as your jeweled flip-flops have lost their shimmer and the school year beckons, furnishings that make a statement are starting to fill stores. Adding a sofa in an unexpected color is just one example of a home decor trend for fall. Retailers and home fashion experts say consumers are looking for ways to express personality in their homes, with something that shows an artisan's touch, displays a pattern, adds a little sparkle or takes a cue from the "Mad Men" set.

So you heard gray was the "it" color? Yes, you'll find putty and cement are major shades at Room & Board this fall. But a diet of gray alone can look a bit like a cloudy day. It might be time to add some purple or persimmon, or perhaps citron.

Whatever shoppers pick up, it should make them feel good. "My customers are always looking to make their home happy to go home to," says Rachelle Roth, who opened Bethesda's Urban Country in 1991. Right now, she's hoping to sell them shiny, black patent leather lounge chairs and chunky throws woven from organic yarns.

Retail chains, looking to make selections friendlier, have added exclusive hand-wrought and environmentally conscious products. The economic downturn has made many consumers choosier and less interested in disposable fashion. West Elm is working with craftspeople and cooperatives around the world; the company has added a line of sleek black pottery made by women in Indonesia.

We've highlighted six design trends you'll be seeing in stores, catalogues, design blogs and magazines in the coming weeks. What speaks to you?

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