By Barbara Hobbs
Buying a new house is an opportunity to build your dream home, to choose the design options that are most important to you, to have a home that is unique and personal for you and your family. Remodeling an older home gives you the same possibilities, whether it is a do-it-yourself project or you bring in professionals to do the work for you. But what are the options that homeowners are selecting, what ones are losing their popularity and what’s new for 2016?
The sleek contemporary look so popular in home design for younger homeowners has influenced the designs that are popular. Some details highlight the modern look – straight lines, high tech features, sleek hardware and lighting, contemporary bath fixtures, or restaurant type appliances. However, homes looking for a cozier atmosphere borrow some of these features while modifying it with farmhouse sinks, crown molding, soft colors, and more traditional exteriors.
Some Trends are Still Strong
The most popular home design trends include open concept living areas, stainless steel appliances, and energy efficient home heating and appliances – and these continue to be popular among Triangle homeowners.
The visual warmth of wood is still preferred by buyers—not only for the living areas but for kitchens, hallways, bedrooms, stairs and loft spaces. “The darker wood tones are definitely the most popular,” states Julie Knight, marketing coordinator for Dan Ryan Builders, “and many homeowners are extending the wood flooring to other first floor areas.” She also adds that wood box stairs are very desirable and add to the look of the foyer.
Iron balusters are beginning to dominate the look in stairways. With their lovely basket designs, the balusters add a unique look of delicacy to the stairways and immediately draw the eye of those coming into the foyer of the home. There are many woods, textures and finishes to choose from to complement one’s individual lifestyle. The beauty of the wood floors combine with its ability to unify the look of the whole house, often making it seem even larger.
Kitchens Reflect New Trends
White-on-white kitchens are on the list of the ten new trends in home design according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). It’s a trend that’s been noticed by Saussy Burbank Homes according to Michele Upchurch, design center coordinator. “Kitchens are still the heart of the home,” Upchurch noted, “and we are seeing more quartz countertops being selected over granite. Buyers are looking for that clean white feel, and we can accomplish that with white cabinets and some of the white quartz countertop selections.” Most buyers still prefer stainless steel appliances although some have chosen to install white appliances to complete the look. However, a new slate finish is now offered and has the advantage of being a flat finish that shows fingerprints less but still has the look of stainless steel. Other new options seen in kitchen selections include open shelving in place of upper cabinets and gray color tones in the cabinets.
One of the passing trends in kitchens is the use of subway tiles. Replacing the smaller tiles with their multiplicity of sizes, colors and shapes, subway tiles presented a smooth clean look to kitchen backsplashes. Contemporary range hoods were frequently mounted against a dramatic background of subway tiles extended to the ceiling line. Bathroom tub and shower surrounds featured subway tiles for a while but are less popular now.
For All You Oeniphiles…
A popular trend is the frequency of wine racks and wine coolers in kitchens, not only for the wine aficionados but for the casual wine consumer as well. Whether it is crisscross design added to the cabinetry, or the small below counter wine coolers, up to wine rooms incorporating walls of wine storage, as well as tables and chairs suitable for wine tastings, the homeowners are able to work their appreciation for the beverage into their décor.
Another new trend is the appearance of transoms over doorways into living areas, dining rooms or offices. This architectural feature adds light to the rooms, interest to the doors and added height to the space. Palladian windows often added to windows facing the front of the house are less popular.
Master Baths are Changing
Master baths are a special retreat for homeowners where more and more spa features are appearing – chandeliers, vessel sinks, dramatic tile selections, and wall-mounted fixtures.
But the most dramatic new trend in master baths is the replacement of the huge soaker tub that usually occupied a large corner space. Newly popular is the free standing tub, often a work of art in itself, installed away from the wall with no tile surround. Elaborate or simple, modern or traditional, the tub adds drama to the bath. These tubs will be either sitting directly on the floor, on a pedestal or on claw feet – an imitation of tubs from former times. Mostly white porcelain tubs, they can have sides of varying colors and are even available in copper or stainless steel. The faucets are either floor-mounted, wall-mounted or attached to the side or end of the tub, often including a spray in addition to the faucets.
Some homeowners are opting for no tub at all, preferring a larger walk-in shower with multiple shower heads or a steam shower. Heated floors are popular, as are heated towel racks.
New master baths are also now trending to have closet access directly from the bath. This creates a true dressing suite for the homeowner who is then able to go from shower to fully dressed in the same space.
Color Choices Mark New Interest
The color palette in a house reflects the era of the house’s construction as well as the tastes of the homeowner. Elegant, rich neutrals are featured in M/I Homes — warm grays, silvers, taupes, and blushed neutrals that are comfortable to live with. Textured fabrics, carpeting and flooring add interest to the neutrals as well as mirrored and metallic accent pieces. Soft, dusty relaxing shades of blue, green and berry reflect a spa-like feel for any home and cross all generations within a single home.
These neutrals provide a great backdrop to introduce pops of color like aqua, a big color for the 80s, but who knew it would come back? The new popular accent color is one of many shades of blue showing up in home décor – not only in window treatments, but in wallpaper, accent walls, pendant light fixtures and children’s rooms. It combines well with the trend to use gray as the base color for neutral walls. “Gray is definitely here to stay,” says Knight.
Wallpaper is appearing again in foyers, in dining rooms, in powder rooms and in accent areas of homes. With its variety of types, wallpapers can add textural interest as well as color tones and patterns to these spaces. Geometric shapes, metallic or gold overtones, textures and thematic patterns add panache to a room or drama to a home’s entrance.
Outdoor Living Areas Still Popular
Families always enjoy outdoor living areas – from simple patios to elaborate outdoor kitchens and pool surrounds. These extensions of the inside living areas provide visual interest as well as additional areas for the family members to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Builders like M/I Homes are finding that screened porches are increasingly popular—an area that is not only bug free but contains pets or children playing there. Small or large, these porches can include lighting, ceiling fans, fireplaces or fire pits, and piped in music as well as furniture arrangements that make the space as appealing as the inside living areas.
Choose New Trends Wisely
New innovative home design trends are the highlights of the Home Builders Association’s fall Parade of Homes as well as of the spring Southern Ideal Home Show. It’s what gets us excited about viewing new houses and going to these shows. It’s what guides selections of new homes for buyers or of remodeling projects for homeowners. Home design trends are what make a house look new and unique and updated. However, whatever choices are made, it must be remembered that those selections may date the home and affect its resale value. Families may decide it is more important to have a fourth bedroom than to dedicate space to media rooms or “man rooms.” Additional wall space may be more significant than having a fireplace. Changing color preferences may be easy to accommodate if it means painting a wall but not if it involves retiling a bathroom floor or installing new kitchen or bathroom countertops.
The dominance of contemporary styling, the influence of loft style décor, the introduction of the industrial look, the appeal of a cozy home all affect the trends for 2016. Making choices for details like floor plans, colors, cabinet styles, floor coverings, tile and countertops all reflect the trends we see in new homes. Make your “must have” lists carefully to create a home that fits your family’s wants and needs and that will have lasting appeal.