Design Diversity ‘Rules the Day’ With Homeowners

by WOHe

Design Diversity ‘Rules the Day’ With


ATLANTA There are several “cutting-edge” home design and color
trends very much in play among kitchen and bath consumers these
days, but a wide diversity in homeowner tastes and buying
preferences is “ruling the day.”

That’s the view of a team of global product
merchants (GPMs) and product managers associated with the 52-store
EXPO Design Center chain, the upscale retail initiative launched by
the Atlanta-based Home Depot. The project managers and GPMs
recently released their views on home design trends, based on
visits to international trade shows and contacts with

In the kitchen, Shaker-style cabinetry is in high
demand, EXPO product managers and GPMs observed, adding that
“sophisticated styles” in dark mahogany finishes will be mainstream
in the next few years.

“The boom in stainless steel appliances (which,
EXPO officials said, still has not peaked) is driving consumer
interest in darker woods, which balance well with stainless
appliances,” observed Armin Deutsch, EXPO’s global product merchant
for kitchens.

“To further soften the futuristic look kitchens
took on a couple of years ago, a backsplash in green, blue or
another muted color is an important design ingredient.”

Deutsch also noted that granite countertops remain
extremely popular. “While polished black granite has a stronghold,
consumers are seeking more unique etched or honed granite styles
and unlimited color choices,” Deutsch noted, adding that he sees
the engineered stone countertop category also “growing

Also among today’s key kitchen trends is a move by
consumers toward unique built-in appliances, including narrow
refrigerators, indoor grills and steamers, and wok burners with
single- or dual-fuel choices.

In the bath, the “at-home spa” trend that started a
few years ago is “practically commonplace,” according to EXPO
officials. In-demand products, they say, include shower panels
offering adjustable body sprays, electric towel warmers, sauna
systems, whirlpools and hygienic products such as bidets and
electronic faucets.

Other key home design trends, according to EXPO
officials, are as follows:

  • Blues and greens “are sure bets” for consumers
    interested in integrating nature and water themes into their homes.
    “These blues and greens are not pastels,” said EXPO official Scott
    Mitchell. “They are distinct colors sky blue, indigo blue, apple
    green and turquoise. Bringing the outdoors inside the home will
    become a major theme, with the use of more wood and stone, as well
    as nature-influenced designs on fabrics, lighting and

  • Upcoming products “will have much softer, feminine
    lines and the look of hand-made quality with lots of contrasting
    materials,” according to Mitchell. “[There’s seemingly] a rebellion
    against the mass-produced look and a desire for more unique,
    artist-inspired pieces,” he said.

  • EXPO merchants noted that it’s an “eclectic era”
    for homes, with design “diversity ruling the day” and a strong
    American undercurrent making its presence felt. Mission,
    Southwestern, Colonial and lodge styles are the broad trends,
    replacing the recent dominance of Asian and Middle Eastern styles,
    they said, adding that stripes, animal prints and nature-inspired
    motifs are popular accents. EXPO officials also predicted that a
    “more sophisticated Southwestern style will emerge,” blending
    American Indian, Spanish and European styles.

  • For hard-surface flooring, wider planks and rustic
    woods are much in demand, as are darker tones, bamboo flooring and
    exotics like Brazilian cherry. The earth-tone shadings of antiqued
    tumbled stone, or the more intense palette of slate tiles, are
    being sought to harmonize with nature-inspired design themes.

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