What new trends in
home design will debut in 2014?
Home design trends tend to move slowly. Homeowners
will see some of the trends that have been percolating over the
past few years, but with new technologies and details that speak to them. You’ll
see appliance-makers embracing the open concept kitchen by making their
appliances more invisible. You’ll see designers taking the most popular
countertop option out there, and making one better. You’ll see more elements of
the home designed to be accessible across multiple generations.
The open concept continues to grow
Perhaps the most
fundamental shift in home design over the past 25 years has been the open
In the past,
kitchens were relegated to one, disconnected room, generally in the back of a
home. Now, kitchens open up into the living space, a trend that isn’t going
anywhere, according to John Petrie, the 2014 president of the National Kitchen
and Bath Association and the owner of Mother Hubbard’s Cabinetry in Mechanicsburg,
“Walls are going to
continue to come down,” he said.
The folks at the
American Society of Interior Designers are seeing the same thing:
“Lately we’ve seen a
focus on entertaining from our clients,” said Jase Frederick, ASID Illinois' director
of communications. “They are looking for spaces that maximize their ability to
gather and relax with friends and family.”
And as more Americans
embrace this concept, appliance designers are taking the next step by creating
appliances that can seamlessly blend into the kitchen, which can then blend
seamlessly into the family room. Using different finishes, or different
concepts entirely such as the microwave drawer, Americans are trying to hide
the most obvious parts of the kitchen.
Neutral colors beat bright colors
Neutral palates continue to dominate in the home.
Even though painted
cabinets are popular, most are still being painted white, Petrie said,
whether it’s antique white or arctic white. Sandy tones and gray tones are
also popular, sometimes to the dismay of designers.
Instead, bold color
continues to pop up in small details, such as in a back splash, throw pillows,
“There is also a trend
towards subtle glamour – neutral palettes with dazzling details,” Frederick
Universal design makes its way into every room of the house
While the idea of
universal design, a concept in which a space is designed with aging users in mind,
has been around since the 1960s, it has only recently taken off. More Americans
want to age in place, particularly after seeing home values plummet throughout
the Great Recession. They want to know the home they already have can
accommodate them as they age. Therefore, more homes are being designed to meet
those needs, and the design elements range from putting a master bedroom on the
first floor to substituting levers for knobs to open doors.
Drawer appliances are one
of those little changes that more Americans are incorporating into their homes
that make them more accessible. Microwave drawers and warming drawers can hide
away in cabinets, beneath countertops, but still function like their
counterpart products. This way, they’re not hanging above a hot stove or
countertop, so those with limited mobility or in wheelchairs can still easily
reach them. Dishwasher drawers and refrigerator drawers are also
more easily accessed for those with limited mobility.
“That’s the point of
the drawer, it crosses many generations and ages in places as well when it becomes
hard to lift things up,” Petrie said. “The same thing goes for the shower. One
of the other changes we’re seeing is barrier-free showers that don’t have a
threshold in them for anyone to step over.”
The showers are also
larger, and sometimes can accommodate benches and bars to
make showering easier.
Say goodbye to granite and hello to quartz
As far as kitchen and
bathroom countertops go, factory-engineered quartz is the new granite. While granite has held
strong as the most popular countertop material for more than a decade now,
quartz is starting to overtake it.
Quartz has the same
look and feel as granite, but it’s more practical. Quartz is more durable, so it
better resists cracking and chipping, and it is non-porous so it’s easier to clean and
Energy efficient and water-saving appliances become standard
While the green trend
may not be as hot as it was a few years ago, homeowners are still opting for
new appliances where the energy or financial savings is readily apparent.
Touchless faucets have
skyrocketed in popularity. Not only are they easier when you’ve got your hands
covered in kitchen mess, but they significantly cut down on water use — a savings
homeowners will notice in their water bills.
Homeowners are also
abandoning big master bathroom tubs that are costly to fill. They’re more interested in high-efficiency shower heads, toilets and
Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally syndicated columnist, best-selling book author, and radio talk show host who also hosts "Expert Real Estate Tips," a Internet video show. She owns ThinkGlink.com as well as Think Glink Media, a privately held company that provides consulting, content and video services to companies and non-profit organizations.