5 Lasting Home Design Trends

There are five strong trends happening now, and not one has a single thing to do with the color of the year! These are so much more lasting and significant. These can impact your quality of life, comfort and health. These will likely trend far beyond 2015 and 2016, only growing stronger and more beneficial. 

01

Automation and integration. You’re probably seeing this trend almost everywhere in your life right now. Your phone syncs automatically with your car to play music through its speakers and take calls hand-free. You scan your energy bar’s wrapper into your fitness app to add its calories, protein and carbs to your daily counts. You watch TV on your tablet while riding in an Uber car that you summoned with it, too.It’s not surprising that this digital integration and automation trend has extended into the remodeling realm. There are ovens that are controlled remotely from your phone, outlets that include USB ports along with standard electrical receptacles, countertops and medicine cabinets with built-in chargers, home security systems and much more Jetsonian excitement to come.Some of this isn’t really new. Home automation has been around for a while, but it is now becoming far more mainstream and user friendly.“This industry used to be all about thermostats and lighting — focused on energy savings. Today’s it’s everything from temperature, lighting, shades, audio, locks and security — all focused on convenience as well as energy,” shares Dan Jackson, research and development manager for Crestron Electronics, one of the manufacturers in this fast-growing industry. “Home automation is woven into the fabric of our life,” he adds. “A true smart home is responsive — something that understands you and lives with you.”

02

Healthy Living.  Everyone from teens to seniors is running races, tracking macros and looking at ways to stave off the flu. Healthy living is ranked as one of the major remodeling goals of millennial parents in a recent survey. This has spurred the growth of products like hands-free faucets and toilet flushing, steam ovens and steam showers. All of these innovations are aimed at taking the best care possible of yourself and your family. Stress management is part of that equation for many, and the reason why amenities like steam showers are experiencing double-digit growth. “The benefits of steam are both physical and emotional. Improved circulation, respiratory health, better skin, better sleep; steam showers have gone from being a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have.’ Wellness in the home should include elements that create a sense of calm, the chance to reinvigorate mind and body,” says Martin Siwy, vice president of steam shower brand ThermaSol. The idea, Siwy notes, is to create a personal spa at home. You see that focus extending beyond products into space planning and design. There has been growth in home fitness rooms, wellness centers to accommodate medicine and vitamins in the kitchen or bath, a major emphasis on spa-style master baths and an overall focus on using materials that are less toxic for humans and pets alike. Healthy living trends are likely to expand as more millennials become homeowners.

03

 

Sustainability.  There is a strong connection between the healthy living and sustainability trends. There are also overlapping benefits. If, for example, the paint you use is healthier to breathe, it’s also healthier for the planet. Hands-free faucets reduce the spread of germs in your kitchen and bathrooms. They also reduce water use. Reduced water and energy use are not just niceties now; both have been mandated in California’s latest building codes — the strictest in the nation. Given that this is also the most populous state, manufacturers have adapted to the new rules with stylish new energy-efficient LED fixtures, high performance water-saving toilets and shower heads, ever-more-efficient appliances and home charging stations for electric cars. “Energy efficiency and healthy home products are overarching trends that are working their way into the American home,” notes Kermit Baker, chief economist of the American Institute of Architects. “With the increase in frequency of severe weather events, backup power sources will be more common. Products that promote a sustainable lifestyle and reduce energy consumption and water usage will also increase in popularity.

04

User Focused Design.  Perhaps it’s our smart phones and tablets spoiling us into wanting every area of our life to be personalized and user-friendly. This has certainly been the approach to home technology. Just about every control pad you operate today — whether it’s cooking or showering — has been influenced by Silicon Valley to be friendly and customizable. User-focused design extends into many other trends as well. For example, aging in place and accessibility are becoming must-haves for many. “As the baby boomer population ages, accessibility features top the list of trends across the board; handrails, wider walkways, walk-in showers — features that allow these spaces to be used by those with physical limitations will continue to increase,” AIA’s Baker notes. “These investments aren’t targeted for added resale value but rather long-term comfort for the homeowner. ”The user-focused trend also shows up in the growth of low-maintenance materials. Engineered stone tops that are easy to clean and never need to be sealed have become the most popular in the industry, surpassing granite in designer surveys. There are faucets with spot-resistant finishes, upholstery fabrics and carpets with ever-stronger stain resistance and self-cleaning toilets. User-focused equals convenience for time-challenged homeowners.

05

Clean and contemporary. Low maintenance carries into unfussy styles that not only look cleaner but are actually easier to keep clean. Sleek cabinet fronts without elaborate molding or heavy hardware look more contemporary and fit better into modern multitasking lives. Contemporary is the dominant style being uploaded by designers, notes Peter Sallick, co-founder of new high-end design shopping site Dering Hall. “We have more contemporary lighting products than any other style,” he says. “We see this reflected in materials like glass and metal, but also with lights that are contemporary but maintain an organic form. ”Organics also show up in wallcoverings on the new style site: “There’s a great diversity, from traditional to very contemporary. Some of our most popular coverings come in materials like linen and grass cloth,” Sallick says. Materials for drapery and upholstery are also trending contemporary, he adds. “We’ve seen many subdued looks, but also plenty of colorful, clean looks that pair well with contemporary furnishings.”
 
Last Words. What’s most important is not incorporating the latest trends; it’s choosing those that fit how you and your household live. The best investments are those that fit with your lifestyle, home, neighborhood and budget. The good news is that there are so many more great options to choose from today!

excerpt from Jamie Gold, San Diego Union Tribune

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