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Top five home design trends for 2014

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

Steve Bennett Builders

Perhaps the most fundamental shift in home design over the past 25 years has been the open concept kitchen.

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, Pa.

“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

Mitchell Channon, ASID IL

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, or lighting.

“There is also a trend towards subtle glamour – neutral palettes with dazzling details,” Frederick said.

Universal design makes its way into every room of the house

Nancy Hugo, CKD

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

Silestone by Cosentino

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 resists staining.

Energy efficient and water-saving appliances become standard

The Bath & Kitchen Showplace

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 dishwashers.

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