Take a look through the fall decor catalogs or browse the aisles of furnishings stores and you’ll see a recurring theme: matte finishes.
“Matte is having a moment right now,” says Donna Garlough, Joss & Main’s style director. “Especially in white, black, chalky grays and pastels. It works because accents and lighting in a matte finish pair so naturally with some of the furniture trends we’re seeing.”
The velvety, non-glossy sheens offset the natural walnut tones and satiny surface of midcentury wood furniture. And they offer a dramatic contrast to glam elements like burnished and polished metals, clear acrylic, and high- and medium-nap textiles.
“A matte piece can be very grounding, and neutralize the look,” Garlough says.
Manufacturers are using a range of techniques, like lime washes, eggshell paints, powder-coating and ceramic firing. When honed instead of highly polished, marble, stone and other materials develop a soft matte glow.
Spanish design shop Mermelada Estudio’s spare, linear Alchemy bed frame at CB2, in matte black, is a backdrop for linens of any style. (www.cb2.com ) Joss & Main’s Elizabeth floor lamp is cast in matte black steel, giving its slim profile a bit of an industrial look. (www.jossandmain.com )
Lumisource’s matte black Austin dining chairs also have an industrial vibe, and would complement a rustic farm table. Or you could pair them with a dining table with midcentury panache, like the Aeon, a satin-finished ash slab on matte, powder-coated steel legs. (www.wayfair.com )
Pottery looks especially chic in matte finishes. Check out CB2’s Roz planter in cream or deep taupe, as well as the Hendricks vase, with a crisp, white, faceted motif.
Room and Board has an exclusive collection of porcelain vases crafted by New York’s KleinReid Studio, based on Hungarian ceramicist Eva Zeisel’s modernist designs. Her curvy vessels, rendered in matte gray, carbon and ivory, might adorn a tablescape or mantel. (www.roomandboard.com )
At Hive Modern, Swedish designer Clara von Zweigbergk’s Cirque pendant lamps were inspired by her trip to Copenhagen’s Tivoli district. Bands of spun aluminum in matte hues suggest playful carousels, cotton candy makers and wheels of fortune.
Jean-Marie Massaud’s Namaste free-form melamine plates resemble flat stones, and come in earthy hues. The geologic vibe is echoed in Patricia Urquiola’s Phoenix coffee tables, a series of honed, low-slung laminate or wood veneer slabs perched on matte steel bases. (www.hivemodern.com )
The trend has found its way into the kitchen, too.
Williams-Sonoma has a dramatic suite of matte black Le Creuset cookware in its fall collection. Canvas Home’s Madrid cutlery is ebony steel and titanium. (www.williams-sonoma.com; www.canvashome.com )
For crafty decorators, the new matte spray paints can be fun to experiment with, says Garlough.
“You can paint anything with it, and I do mean anything,” she says. “I’ve seen stylists paint everything from an old telephone to an eggplant and turn it into an objet d’art. It’s crazy how cool you can make something look with a coat of matte paint.”