Eight Key Trends for 2016

By Diane Capuano Franklin

What will you be painting in 2016? If you go where industry trends lead you, you’ll have a diversity of finishes and surfaces to present to your clients. Sleek, contemporary finishes represent a major direction for decorative finishes, but so do glam and glitz. And much of the work that will be in demand over the next 12 months will go well beyond the wall and ceiling.

To bring clarity to what is happening in the industry, we present this list of eight major trends watch in the year ahead.


Trend #1: Understated and Contemporary

Soft texture with stencil design. Project by: Gary Lord, Prismatic Painting Studio

Remember a few years ago when heavy Old World finishes were all the rage? That trend has died down, replaced by more understated and contemporary looks. Gary Lord of Prismatic Painting Studio explains the evolution to this trend: “Today’s decorative painting market is changing rapidly. We are in a fashion industry that thrives on change. Old World finishes are passé as well as heavy textures. What is fashionable is smooth, sleek, understated fashion.”

However, Lord points out that this does not preclude the use of metallics and glitter in the design (see Trends #2 and #3 on the following pages). Also popular, he adds, are large-scale stencil or masking film designs while 3D elements in a neutral tone likewise have an appeal for some consumers.

Large-scale stencil with metallics. Project by: Gary Lord, Prismatic Painting Studio

Rachel Sandor-VanHouten of Faux Effects International Inc. likewise sees less demand for heavier, multi-layered Old World/Tuscan textured plaster finishes. “There still are pockets where this type of finish is desired, but overall this former ‘hot’ trend has declined. It’s all cyclical. Decorative finishing follows the international design and fashion industry, and we all know…. it all comes back in style at some point. As the old saying goes, ‘What’s old now will be new again!’ ”

To Read about Trends 2-8, click on the page or arrow keys below.