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In photos: Think pink for spring (and 9 other hot design trends)

This year, decorators are experimenting with pink, loos are getting the high-glam treatment and Napoleonic is once again dynamite when it comes to decorating

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Arab Lessons: All eyes are on North Africa these days, including those of designers. As the people of that region struggle to implement new democratic frameworks, their rich heritage continues to inspire many in the West, which has a long history of adapting Arabic motifs. Most recently, wallpapers evoking intricate iron grillwork and lighting suggestive of traditional Moroccan lanterns have hit the market. Perhaps most excitingly, Carl Hansen & Son is reissuing Ole Wanscher’s Egyptian Chair which was designed by the late Danish architect in 1957 and had been in production through the 1970s, when it was discontinued. According to Carl Hansen, which is distributing the chair for the first time in North America, “it was in Egypt that [Wanscher] found inspiration for this folding chair beautifully carved of solid oak or mahogany, with a saddle leather seat.” Farrow & Ball’s Tessella wallpaper (BP 3604), $245 per 10-metre roll at F & B dealers across Canada (visit www.farrow-ball.com for locations).

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Into the pink: We could all do with rosier outlooks in these still-uncertain times. Perhaps that’s why almost every major paint company has included pink, from pale to electric, on its 2013 hot list. If it’s visual serenity you’re after, you can’t go wrong with the soft Sico shade – a pink that’s actually called Discreet Brown (6084-41) – shown here. If you want a little more verve, go for Benjamin Moore’s Pink Flamingo (CSP-1175), a cheery coral pink that will have you looking at the year to come through you-know-what-coloured glasses.

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High-glam loos: If Pinterest is any reflection of current sensibilities, the numerous boards celebrating opulently appointed bathrooms suggest that luxe is the look for lavatories now. This desire for decadence goes well beyond spa-style comfort, encompassing free-standing tubs, acres of natural stone and vanity tables fit for a Hollywood star. Also big are splashes of colour, as this ultraglam loo accented with Benjamin Moore’s Lemon Sorbet (2019-60) illustrates.

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Water (that) works: Every year, it seems, kitchen manufacturers push the innovation envelope a little bit further. This year, they’re all wet – intentionally so. From fixtures to appliances, the newest and most exciting kitchen-design features have to do with water. After some preliminary, less-than-perfect attempts at motion-sensitive faucets for home use, for instance, the industry appears to have finally got it right with Kohler’s Sensate kitchen faucet, a new touchless fixture equipped with the company’s trademarked Response technology, a state-of-the-art sensor that responds within 20 milliseconds for consistent on/off operation. In other words, “no bare-skin taps or awkward waving necessary,” according to U.S.-based Kohler. Sensate kitchen faucet, from $675 at Kohler dealers across Canada (visit www.kohler.ca for locations).

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Empire strikes back: Napoleon? Dynamite! Sure, the diminutive French emperor usurped his power, rode roughshod over most of Europe and brutalized Egypt. But as The Eye of Napoléon, an exhibition running at Ontario’s Art Gallery of Hamilton until May, makes clear, Corsica’s most notorious son also had great taste, his savoir faire inspiring its own decorative movement. To indulge your own Napoleon complex, let this be the year that you introduce a pair of handsome Bergère chairs, an inlaid Empire table or even an exuberantly canopied bed into your home, whether it’s château-style or not. Do draw the line, however, at the two-cornered hat. Italian-made Empire side table, $5,375 at Barrymore (www.barrymorefurniture.com).

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Get bent: Creative types have been known to bend the rules, but rarely this literally. Unveiled for the first time in Canada at the Canadian Home Furnishings Mart in Toronto recently, this delightfully zigzagging console table by Montreal’s Trica Furniture (which calls it, appropriately enough, Zigzag) is as functional, offering built-in nooks for mail and periodicals, as it is chic. Although it’s available in a range of wood and metal combos, the single colour, all-metal model shown here is especially elegant, suggesting a lightness that belies its durability. Powdercoated metal Zigzag table in white, $370 at furniture stores across Canada (visit www.tricafurniture.com for retailers).

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Space-age chic: As his appearance during last month’s Oscars telecast demonstrated, Captain James T. Kirk (as played by the eternal William Shatner) can still entrance a crowd. The same, of course, can be said of the now-retro, then-futuristic sixtiesera modernism that characterized homes when the original Star Trek aired. These days, though, manufacturers such as Quebec-based Huppé are updating the traditionally high-gloss look by incorporating rich wood finishes and fresh, vibrant colours, bringing it, if you will, down to earth. Lyrics wall and floor unit in L-10 configuration (up to 26 configurations are possible), $5,899 at Huppé dealers across Canada (visit www.huppe.net for locations).

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Auto detailing: You’ve heard of smart design? Now there’s Smart-car design. In collaboration with the maker of the trendy little autos, Canada’s BoConcept has fulfilled an apparently driving desire to create a car-themed furniture and accessories line. Called Smartville, the collection encompasses everything from black upholstered swivel chairs and neon-yellow coffee tables to the rug, called Tiretrack, pictured at left. No need to tread carefully here. White/black 67-by-94½-inch Tiretrack rug, $849 at BoConcept (www.boconcept.ca).

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Hard light: Last fall’s mania for metal bed frames has extended to lighting fixtures, especially table lamps. Out are porcelain bases and standard linen shades; in are industrial-style models made of oxidized or antiqued iron, brass and steel (shades included). Acid-treated Heavy Metal table lamp by Diesel with Foscarini, $1,355 at retailers across Canada (visit www.diesel.com for dealers).

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Large-scale weaves: Less might be more, the meek may inherit the Earth and small can indeed be beautiful. But in certain cases, oversized is where it’s at, as a recent crop of grandiosely woven furnishings – witness design goddess Patricia Urquiola’s exaggeratedly stitched Biknit chairs for Moroso – attests. To be sure, pieces this dramatic tend to work best when incorporated, yes, sparingly. But if someone tells you to go big or go home this year, you can easily do both. Knit PVC Biknit chair by Moroso, from $8,510 at Klaus by Nienkamper (www.klausn.com)

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