HOME TRENDS, IN and OUT
“Don’t follow a trend. Follow your heart.” (Krist Novoselic)
Trends are an important part of our life, 24/7/365. It was fun to investigate the history of trends and read expert opinions about how trends change our lives. Research is fun, and gives me an opportunity to learn!
In a previous segment, I talked about wants versus needs. Trends, I believe, turn our wants into needs, because we want to fit in. We may not have the courage to decide for ourselves what to wear, or how to furnish and accessorize our homes. We turn to others who have done it, whatever “it” is. “The trends we’re dying to keep up with were all started by someone somehow. That’s their identity. Not necessarily ours.”
There’s an unlimited number of trends that influence us every waking minute, every day. Some are obvious, like advertising. We use Google, Pinterest, and Houzz to search for trends, or we may discover them while we’re searching for other things. Other influencers may be subtle, like seeing clothing worn by celebrities, or food packaging.
TRENDS: HOME DESIGN (What’s “in” now?)
SMALLER HOMES WITH MORE DETAIL
McMansions are out. Smaller homes are in. But small doesn’t have to mean stripped down. Today’s homeowners, especially millenials, expect detail-packed, optimally-designed homes, where every inch of space is maximized. When you reduce square footage in a home, how can you maintain storage and detailing? Get creative! For example, use storage under staircases and nooks throughout the home. Focus on design elements that reinforce quality and a feeling of space, such as skylights and sliding doors. The smaller the space, the more you want to give it an airy feel.
As interest in smaller homes grows, demand for infill housing in urban living increases. Many homeowners want the convenience and walkability or bikeability of an urban community. As a result, accessory dwelling units, loft-style homes, and pre-fabricated homes are popular for all age groups.
BUILDING SYSTEMS THAT SAVE NATURAL RESOURCES
Despite what some government officials say, global warming and saving natural resources is important to the majority of homeowners. With the focus on energy and conservation, homeowners want features that offer value as well as style. Here are some sustainable design trends that continue to be “in:”
- Roof solar panels and passive solar design
- Thermostatically controlled skylights that open when the home reaches a certain temperature
- Using sustainable building materials, such as restored wood for flooring and products that contain a high percentage of post-consumer waste
- LED lighting
- On-demand water heating
- Radiant heated flooring
- Rain chains that filter and reuse rainwater
- Air and water filtration systems
LIFETIME LIVABILITY FEATURES FOR ALL AGES (NOT JUST SENIORS!)
The country’s demographics are changing. As the baby boomer population gets older, homeowners demand senior-friendly features in their homes. Consequently, universal design will continue to be an important concept when building new homes or remodeling existing homes. Here are four important features for everyone, not just seniors:
♦ Accessibility. Homeowners are looking for features that enhance mobility, such as built-in elevators and one-story floor plans.
♦ Safety. Features that offer convenience and security are popular, including low-level access showers and grab bars.
♦ Caregiver Comfort. Many homeowners want features that offer comfort for caregivers, such as a private space separate from the rest of the home.
♦ Community. Common outdoor areas like gardens and courtyards offer older homeowners a chance to congregate and enjoy companionship.
Now I’ll explore specific trends for your home, starting with your kitchen:
TRENDS FOR YOUR KITCHEN:
- Abstract island and peninsula shapes. Modifying the shape of an island or peninsula can open up circulation paths, improving work and storage space. The aisleways around an island should maintain a 42” minimum space between countertops (NKBA guidelines).
- Backsplash tile feature walls. Including areas behind floating shelves and flanking chimney-style range hoods. It creates a striking feature wall and transforms an okay wall into a focal point.
- Black. Black stainless steel appliances are popular, because the finish is fingerprint-resistant, and has an iridescent sheen to enhance the other surfaces.
- Contrasting island. Darker colors have caught on, becoming a bona fide trend.
- Cream-colored cabinets. No matter what style, stark white cabinets have been overdone in the past 5-10 years.
- Great room concept. Homeowners are still opening up their kitchens to adjacent interior spaces.
- Quartz countertops. Engineered quartz remains a popular countertop material because it’s lower maintenance and stronger than most real stone, available in a plethora of colors and styles.
- Subway tile. Rectangular 3″ x 6″ subway tile is still popular, but it’s being installed in a herringbone or vertical pattern. Alternative rectangular tiles (up to 12″ x 24″) are popular because there are fewer grout joints.
- Window walls and glass doors. Wider windows and doors provide natural light and views of a garden. It’s important to consider the compass orientation and view year round. Also consider any loss of storage before you demolish your kitchen.
- Wood. Homeowners are increasingly demanding medium-tone woods, especially in kitchens.
TRENDS FOR YOUR BATHROOMS:
- Easy-reach shower controls. Being bombarded with icy water is no way to start a shower. The valve should be placed where you can control the water easily from outside and the inside.
- Freestanding bathtubs. The trendy freestanding tub is still popular, but it has more room around it. Maybe it’s in a room of its own, if you have the space and a great private view. If you lack a view, how about installing an electric fireplace? These tubs, like all other trends, aren’t for everyone, though. People with bad backs, hips, and knees should definitely consider a tub that’s safer to enter and exit. Think about your investment, too, that can easily exceed $15,000. You gotta love bathing!
- Natural wood “furniture” vanities. Instead of the tried-and-true cabinets, furniture-looking vanities are preferred by many homeowners. They look great, but how much will they store? And, how accessible will all of your personal-care products be?
- Painted shiplap. Painted shiplap is popular because it adds texture, dimension and character in a room that can often feel sterile.
- Patterned tile floors. Patterned tile is showing up in areas to resemble area rugs. You get the clean feel of tile with all the color and style of a bold rug. It can be warm as a rug, too, if you install radiant heating under the tile.
- Wet room. This is a great use of space, where you can shower before and after you use the bathtub. It’s important, though, to select floor tiles that have a rough texture for safety.
Appliance and cabinet manufacturers have gone out on a limb to introduce new, bolder colors. This has occurred many times before. Maybe now is the time for the new colors to be accepted into the mainstream. Technology has made it possible for tile manufacturers to produce a wide variety of products in different sizes with interesting textures and a broad selection of colors. Hooray for more choices!
What about other rooms in your home? Here are some current trends:
TRENDS: OTHER ROOMS IN YOUR HOME
- Big, bold plants. A dragon tree, a rubber tree or a palm tree can make an eye-catching statement. Before spending a lot of money, though, verify whether it’s dangerous if children or pets munch on the leaves.
- Multi-functional spaces. An office or hobby room that doubles as a guest room is the best example. Murphy beds are preferred over slumpy-looking futons.
- Bold colors. Navy blue, deep red, and burnt orange to bring some excitement into a room. Pair your bold color with calmer, neutral hues. Use strong colors sparingly, either as a statement piece or an accent. Please, no accent walls! They’re out!
- Period-style details. Find ways to inject more character into a room. Successfully paying homage to a certain style is about incorporating small touches of it, rather than trying to copy the look in its entirety.
- Biophilia. Biophilia emphasizes the relationship and connections between humankind and nature. We are calmed by the sight of greenery in the form of live plants and living walls, the sight and sound of water, access to views of natural settings, and tactile organic materials such as wood and stone.
DEAD AND DYING TRENDS
“Trendy is the last stage before Tacky.” (Karl Lagerfeld)
We’ve all made trendy choices that we regretted – trends that have (or should have) died since the 1970s. Be honest: How many of these outdated trends have made an appearance in your home? Here’s a quick list of 45 dead and dying trends:
Mason jar mania
Wicker furniture (inside)
Hollywood mirror lights
Bean bag chairs
Giant silk plants
Lace tablecloths and doilies
White quartz countertops.
Mid-century everything (unless you have an authentic mid-century modern home)
LOVE YOUR HOME AND BELONGINGS
All of us have given in to trends since we were young children. We grew up in homes that were influenced by popular trends chosen by our parents and their parents. There is a certain comfort we can derive from being on the inside of a trend; it helps us feel like we fit in. That’s what advertisers count on. Trends drive our economy. Trends can become dangerous, though, when they’re taken too seriously by consumers who must have the latest and greatest. I believe that trends are merely a snapshot in time; they don’t last. I also believe that trends aren’t for everyone. This is what I ask of myself and of you: Think about every decision you make. Is it something you genuinely want, or is it an artificial need created by an outside influence? What’s the financial impact of your decision? How long must you keep it in order to recoup your investment? Nate Berkus says:
“I believe your home tells a story about who you are and who you aspire to be. We represent ourselves through the things we own. I don’t believe in trends. I believe in collecting things that you connect with. We should surround ourselves with things we care about, that have meaning.”
For the most important rooms in your home, your kitchen and bathrooms, you must make informed decisions to last for years. Falling prey to today’s trend may mean that your home is going to scream “Outdated!” Use a color or style that you love now because you love it, not because it’s a current trend. If you can, project yourself into the future. Visualize your home the way you want it. Get in touch with how you feel about it at a point in the future. I know it’s hard to do, but the time you spend getting in touch with those feelings will help you make an informed decision now. Ask yourself, “How am I going to feel when business associates visit my home in 2024 and say, ‘Oh, you remodeled your kitchen in 2019!’”
These words may be difficult to read (and hear), but my commitment is to help you make informed decisions so you can enjoy your home for years to come. Experience has taught me to listen to the voice inside — my real self, not ego. This quote has been with me for many years, and I share it because I care:
“Be yourself; everyone else is taken.”
Here’s the podcast that’s based on this blog post:
If you are unsure about what to do to update your bathrooms or kitchen, or transform your entire home so it has integrity, I can and will help you! Contact me today to talk about what we can do together!