Design Trends Unique to the Puget Sound
Individuals in the market for property in Seattle and its surrounding areas can expect a special selection of designs unique to the region. The Pacific Northwest fosters a sense of outdoorsy comfort mixed with retro pieces combined with the sleek sustainability demanded of its high-tech culture. Think exposed brick, plaid prints, woven fabrics and a vintage record player situated in open layouts with plenty of natural light. Design lovers can discover one-of-a-kind style combinations.
The Pacific Northwest is the only temperate rainforest in North America, bringing lush vegetation and tall evergreens to the natural landscape. Culturally, Seattle’s hyper-modern tech scene blends effortlessly with the hipster vibes from its college-aged set. There is also a celebrated Native American influence that contributes natural fabrics and bright colors to the region’s aesthetic. The Puget Sound design scene is undeniably unconventional and impossible to capture anywhere else.
An Architectural Tour
Seattle is home to some seriously inventive architecture that combines modern creativity with old-school functionality. In fact, some of Seattle’s buildings have made the Favorite Structures list of the American Institute of Architects. Visitors can admire a massive library constructed with sharp angles of glass and steel with floor-to-ceiling windows on every side. Baseball fans enjoy a brick-facade stadium with a fully retractable roof (a modern necessity for a city that collects 38 inches of rainfall a year). The environmentally minded will appreciate what some consider the greenest commercial building in the world, with a self-sustaining solar array, a recycled rainwater collection system and six stories of composting toilets. Turn a corner and one might find a Victorian-style mansion, featuring intricate wallpapers and stained-glass windows reminiscent of the city’s classically inspired past. A walking tour of Seattle provides a feast of one-of-a-kind buildings.
Beauty in Practicality
One iconic Puget Sound trend is the craftsman-style home. This residential model began in the early 1900s; designers strived to cultivate a feeling of welcome and craftsmanship, with large porches, stained-glass windows, open floor plans, hardwood accents and fireplaces. Craftsman homes came in vogue in the 1920s, largely in response to the ostentatious Victorian style from the previous century. After the significant population growth in the early 1900s, the city needed more affordable housing. Seattle residents wanted practical, informal homes that incorporated exposed materials native to the region, like timber and river stones. Today, many of these natural materials are more difficult to come by, and these century-old homes are a highly desired style.
The region’s design trends for 2021 predict a continued celebration of warm colors and functionality. No doubt in response to the extreme shift to work-from-home culture for the area’s tech workers, interior designers have capitalized on creative ideas to recapture space with the home. The Asian-American population along the San Francisco Bay has increased significantly in the past decade, and no doubt has inspired a surge in simple, clean spaces with low furniture and storage options. The pandemic likely underscored much of what made Seattle design special; people stuck at home have increased the natural light and outdoorsy aspects of the home. In fact, 2020 plant sellers benefited from an indoor gardening craze. People are thinking of new ways to maximize the space in their homes, as pricey real estate limits families from purchasing more square footage. Trend watchers predict more efforts by homeowners to finish basements and attics or to screen in porches.
Mix and Match
Because of the various contrasting styles throughout the region, from Victorian to modern to Native American, Pacific Northwest designers envision all kinds of eclectic style mixing. Big blends include farmhouse decor and modern silhouettes. Quilting patterns and rustic touches add depth to otherwise simple pieces. Design lovers may hear the new term Japandi, a clever way of describing pieces that highlight Scandinavian function with Japanese minimalism. At first glance, these two cultures seem unlikely bedfellows. But their shared love of neutral colors, clean lines and natural materials work stunningly well. The style also emphasizes sustainability, and most pieces in this genre are manufactured in an eco-conscious way. Both cultures encourage the addition of greenery and nature-based decor. Seattle is a leading U.S.-tech city that values convenience and function. Yet the area attracts those who love the outdoors as well. Japandi style perfectly balances the regional aesthetics.
Those who move to the Puget Sound will find new spins on classic mediums, making room for personality without compromising the city’s celebrated heritage. Design trends this year highlight craftsmanship, nature, function and sustainability — and, like the city and its people, designs should always be unique.