Our Spring 2016 Preview: Dreaming In Color

Spring 2016 inspiration for Ballard Designs catalog

A preview of our Spring 2016 catalog

The daffodils may not be in bloom quite yet, but our ideas are and we can’t wait to share them with you. Spring is a time for revival, and we’re showing you how to wake up every room in our new catalog. It all starts with a dose of fresh color and a few new great accent pieces.  

Karen Mooney, Senior Vice President of Brand Management, gives us the scoop on our favorite looks in the new catalog and shares her five favorites.

Ballard Designs: We’re so ready for spring, and this catalog is a perfect jumpstart for that. What was on your mind when planning the catalog?

Karen Mooney: We were dreaming of spring in bloom and all the beautiful colors of the season. So this catalog has a lot of color. We started with this kind of Easter egg palette and balanced out that sweetness with lots of neutrals, clean lines and pairings with deeper, bolder colors.  

Living room with coral accents

BD: I think that’s what we noticed first — the little surprises of colors in every room. 

KM: You can inject any color you love into a room. Take this room — it’s inspiration for those who are afraid of color, because it doesn’t take a lot of commitment to make a big impact. These drapery panels aren’t expensive — it’s not like having a sofa in orange velvet. To make that big color statement, we reiterated that coral with the X-Benches and rug. But when you’re tired of this look in two years, switch out the panels and move the benches to another room — we love them at the foot of the bed. Suddenly, the coral in the rug and the benches gets toned down and becomes more of a supporting actor in a room when it’s paired with neutrals, like camel, gray or navy.

What’s interesting about this room is that we built it around this Sea of Poppies print. This is a customer favorite, so we try to show it in a different way every season. Feeling newly inspired to create a room around the same piece of art is not always easy, but this room instantly clicked when we decided to pull out those beautiful spring oranges and reds in the piece. It feels fresh. So pulling colors from your art is another way to decorate a room.

Yellow upholstered chairs for a Spring inspired living room

BD: Let’s talk about yellow, because this is a new color for us.

KM: When we were looking at that easter egg color palette, we knew we had to have some yellow. It hasn’t always been big for us, but we were really drawn to it this season, beginning with our outdoor fabrics. We added a buttery soft yellow to our Canopy Stripe collection and paired it with a bright white stripe for a very clean look. This Sunbrella® fabric ended up translating so nicely in our interiors that we upholstered a bench in it. We balanced out that yellow stripe on the other side with a pair of Thurston Wing Chairs, and there’s even a touch of yellow in the boat print above.

Ballard Designs yellow buffalo check bedding paired with a blue headboard

BD: Yellow seems to play well with our core palette of blue, too.

KM: Yes, it does. It layers beautifully with a spectrum of blues, from marine blue to peacock to navy. We added Butter Yellow to our Gwyneth Buffalo Check, one of our customer favorites. Mixing it with teal linen, as we did here, suddenly feels a little French and so much fun.

Isabella headboard with blue bedding

And in this bedroom, we put Soho Velvet Lemongrass on the bench and paired it with our painterly navy and white bedding. It feels so alive, which is exactly what we want this time of year.

Dining space with banquette seating

BD: We also have this large-scale stripe, called Escalera Maize, shown here on the Coventry Bench.

KM: We love this new stripe. It feels so fresh. Stripes have been a staple for us in our outdoor fabric, and now we’ve moving it indoors. It makes a great statement.

BD: We usually show our banquette Coventry seating in a more casual setting, such as a breakfast nook. Why does it work here in this more formal dining space?

KM: We’ve had the Coventry Bench forever and it was designed to give people that built in look. We started getting requests from customers for a longer version that could be used with longer tables, so we developed a 6-foot length. It’s especially great for a dining room that’s longer and more narrow. Not only is it practical seating and super comfortable, but it’s also a great way to add that extra texture in your dining room with a little fabric. It softens a room that’s going to have a lot of hard edges and a lot of legs. Here’s a little secret: spray your upholstered dining seating with Scotch Guard® to protect it from spills. Works like a charm!

Blue and white living room

BD: This is a bold and beautiful room. Tell us about it.

KM: Our new fabric, Charlotte, is having her coming out party! This is a paisley floral pattern that we designed and developed in-house and decided to make into panels and throw pillows. The repetition of the pattern and the classic navy and white palette really pulls it all together. If you only had one thing in this fabric in the room with that rug, it might not be as cohesive of a story. It wouldn’t have that punch.

There’s a lot of pattern, but it doesn’t feel chaotic because we threw in some contrasting elements. The geometric shapes of the Lindley rug play against the more organic flow of the floral pattern. A striped rug would do the same thing. And that modern abstract print tempers the traditional floral. The polka dot pattern adds another fun layer. So when people walk into this room, they understand there’s a lot of style going on and it feels very intentional.

Acrylic side table and drapery rods from Ballard Designs

BD: We’ve introduced even more acrylic pieces in this book.

KM: We had such a great reaction to the pieces we introduced in our winter collection, we decided to add more. The Hexagon Side Table is great next to a chair or bunched together as a fun coffee table. The drapery hardware is stunning with the brass accents. These acrylic pieces are little chameleons, because they can go into any space and become whatever you want them to without overtaking the space. And the quality is amazing.

BD: There’s been a lot of talk around the office about picking the right side table, and we even wrote a blog post about it. What is your number one tip for shopping side tables?

KM: Look around the room. See where people are going to sit, and then think about where they’re going to rest whatever is in their hand. Every person needs access to a table, or otherwise it’s uncomfortable. So start there and figure out how many tables you need. And make sure it’s big enough to hold your drink and a lamp or whatever else you want to put there. You don’t want someone to have to move everything on the table to park their drink.

Cafe folding collection from Ballard Designs

BD: In many parts of the country, it’s too cold to get outside just yet, but it shouldn’t stop us from planning for warmer days ahead. We love this outdoor scene.

KM: It’s no secret we love Paris. Who doesn’t? Our bistro-style tables and chairs were inspired by the sidewalk cafes in Paris and let you recreate that look in your own backyard. The pieces fold up for easy storage, so they’re great for entertaining. I’ve had the table and chairs in black in my backyard for years and they still look great. We’ve updated the collection this year with our favorite pop of coral. We’re loving the look of mixing the colors — and the striped cushions adds that extra twist.

Black and white striped party cabana

BD: This year we have a Party Cabana — something we’ve never done before. What was the inspiration?

KM: Everyone in this building loves their home and love figuring out fun, new ways of entertaining people. So when we were brainstorming a backyard party, we talked about the things we dream of having. I guess you could say we developed this cabana for us! It comes in two sizes — there’s a smaller towel valet for poolside and a larger one for setting up a bar or buffet. You could also have an intimate dinner for six inside or put a deep seat in there to escape from the sun when you’re lounging in your backyard. It’s incredibly versatile.

Round outdoor seating collection from Ballard Designs

BD: This season we stepped outside the box a little bit with Navio. Tell us about this curvaceous seating.

KM: When you’re outdoors with friends having a long, lazy dinner or sitting by the pool or porch watching the kids play, you want your seating to be comfortable and geared toward easy conversation. That’s what inspired Navio. It’s an easy conversational piece that curves around and envelops everyone in this intimate space. It’s like dining at a round table — no one is out of the loop and everyone is equally engaged. Plus, you can insert these little side tables if you want extra storage and tabletop space or you can push the seating pieces together.

Red campaign chest in a neutral living room

BD: We love the layered neutrals in this room with the one spot of color in the Campaign Chests. But there’s something in particular that caught our eyes — that fun and playful fabric on our traditional Bergère Chairs.

KM: Our new Nairobi fabric is fun. Here, it gives a wink at tradition. It says, “I appreciate the historical significance of the Bergère, but I also know how to have fun.” Putting something lighthearted on this classic silhouette makes it seem even more sophisticated. You’re not taking it so seriously!

Karen’s Favorites

Horizontal striped curtain panels

Madeleine Panel

Since the moment Suzanne talked about developing these in the design meeting, I have been waiting for them to be made, so I could put them in my dining room. I already have them up and I love them! We like that really wide horizontal stripe — it’s a little unexpected. They’re beautifully made.

Campaign Chest

A very classic design with very clean lines that lends itself to a lot of spaces. The white is modern and glossy, and the red has a more Asian feel, so either way it’s a fun little piece to put at the end of your sofa or by your bed.

West Indies Bath Vanity from Ballard Designs

West Indies Vanity

When I was renovating, I was looking for a bath vanity, and they’re incredibly expensive and often ugly. It’s hard to find tasteful, affordable vanities, and I think we have to pay attention to every room, even the bathroom. Ballard is beginning to move more into the bath, and we’re creating some very stylish options for vanities and hardware. That’s why I love this one. The details are lovely. It’s made in Italy and has a Carrera marble top. We have another vanity coming out in the summer, and, of course, we have the Casa Florentina Casoria Vanity, which is available in 15 finishes.

Ballard Designs tape trim program on Parsons dining chairs

Designer Tape Trim

We selected five of our favorite fabrics and paired them with these chic designer tape trims. You can choose one of these combinations to use on any one of our four classic accent pieces, including the Parsons Chair, Upholstered Cube, Hayes Ottoman and Louise Bench. This kind of beautiful dressmaker detail is hard to find unless you have something custom made for you. It adds such polish to a room.

Tote bags from Ballard Designs

Tote Bags

I have an obsession with tote bags. I cannot have enough! They each offer something different, and we have an amazing selection. You’ve got the metallic touches, the fun fringe and pom pom detail. Of course I use them for little trips or take them to the beach, but I really think it’s a fun way to manage yourself. I use them as a filing system. I’ll keep one by my desk at the office for things I need to take home that day and one by my sofa at the house for when I’m flipping through magazines and I find great ideas for work. I can just throw them in there as opposed to having stuff all over my coffee table. Then I can just pick it up and take it to work. I love using totes as my catchall — they’re an easy way to corral and organize the little things that can get out of control so quickly.

Shop our entire Spring 2016 collection here. For more design inspiration, visit our Pinterest Boards, or find more gorgeous rooms in our Photo Gallery

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Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.