This week, I’ll tell you about the home design trends that I saw a couple of weeks ago at Design and Construction week in Orlando. In preparing for this episode, I reviewed episode 5, called Home Trends 2016. All the design features that I mentioned last year are still relevant in 2017, so take a listen to episode 5 to hear what those 2016 features were. But, 2017 brings with it some additional home design trends that you may want to include in your new home.
Before I discuss those 10 trends, I want to tell about a Pro Secret. I don’t have a Pro Term this week, I have a Pro Secret.
This secret is something that I’ve heard about several times over the last year as I’ve done research for this podcast. I got a chance to confirm this secret during Design and Construction week when I talked with a builder who has been in the business for 35 years. Now, as with most things, this secret is not 100% true, 100% of the time. But it’s a rule that many builders use.
Ready? Here it is.
Many contractors overcharge their “professional” clients. So, if you’re building a house and you’re a doctor, lawyer, engineer, professor, business owner, or any other professional that the contractors deem as “well off,” you’ll be paying more for materials and labor than their other clients—even if you choose the exact same materials and scope of work.
If you’ve been following BYHYU for a while, you know that the builder gets a builder’s fee that usually equals about 10-25% of the cost of the house. In addition, builders quietly mark up materials and labor by 10-25%. If the builder thinks of you as a regular, middle-class Joe, he will most likely mark up materials and labor by 10-15%. But if you have a “professional” career, the builder is more likely to mark up materials and labor by 20-25%. Same labor and materials, but a bigger mark up, because the builder thinks you have a bigger paycheck. SMH.
That builder that I met with the 35 years of experience assumed I was a new builder, so he kind of spilled the beans. He advised me that charging well-off clients a greater percentage is just how it is. He told me to hide the extra markup within the labor and materials costs so the clients wouldn’t recognize the extra charges. He had no shame or embarrassment about this and he wasn’t apologetic because this is just the way that it is.
Warning... If you have a “professional” career and you want to use a builder, you might want to buy your own materials, or keep quiet about the exact nature of your job.
Alright, moving on to the list of 10 Hot Home Design Trends for 2017.
For countertops, Quartz is King. Now, granted, natural stone is queen, but quartz seems to be the countertop surface of choice for kitchens and bathrooms in 2017. That’s because you get much of the beauty of marble, granite and quartzite, without all the maintenance.
Quartz resists scratches, bacterial growth, heat and stains and, in contrast to natural stone, never needs to sealed. Quartz is manmade material that is also called engineered stone, or manufactured stone. It is made of about 93% crushed, natural quartz combined with pigment and resin. You might know the quartz by the brand names Silestone, Caesarstone and Cambria.
If you can’t decide whether you want quartz or natural stone in the kitchen, you can use both. It’s not uncommon to see quartz combined with marble or quartzite in the kitchen. For example, you might put quartz on the kitchen island along with a coordinating marble or quartzite on the other countertops. Quartz is also being used for kitchen backsplashes.
And we’re finally seeing quartz in shower surrounds. For years, I’ve wondered why quartz wasn’t used more often for shower walls. It’s mold and mildew resistant and there are no grout lines to clean. Quartz is a beautiful and practical trending option for kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
Take a look at the video below from Caesarstone for beautiful examples of quartz.
2. Wall Tile
Although quartz is king for countertops, tile is making a huge statement on walls, backsplashes, and fireplaces. What makes wall tile unique this year is its application. Instead of the traditional placement of tile only behind the stove top, or extending it just a few inches above the countertop, tile is becoming a major focal point. In the kitchen, wall tile spans from the countertop all the way up to the ceiling, in many cases.
Not only are we seeing entire walls of tile in the kitchen, but another trend is to extend tile from floor to ceiling in bathrooms, powder rooms, laundry rooms, and mudrooms. I call this “Tile Wallpaper” because tile is being applied like wall paper would be.
And tile is being used in living spaces too, like the family rooms and great rooms. You might see a feature wall in a great room with large scale natural stone tile. And tiled fireplaces are all the rage— again with the fireplace tile extending all the way to the ceiling.
What kind of wall tile is most popular? Well, almost anything goes, but for the wall, large and medium scale tile seem to be more on trend than small mosaic tile. Tile made of marble, limestone and other natural stone is a hit, and porcelain tile with the look of natural stone, or the look of wood planks is very hot right now.
During Design and Construction Week, I saw a lot of dimensional tile and tile with interesting shapes. Plus, cement tile that’s painted with dynamic patterns and colors. But 2017 will also be big for simple subway tile in neutral colors. Subway tile will never go out of style.
3. Open shelving and Simple Shaker Cabinets
Remember when cabinetry incorporated lots of ornate detail like corbels and carvings that looked like leaves and grapes, curly-q’s and God knows what else. Well, the days of those overly glazed, overly fru-fru cabinets are gone.
Cabinetry of the 2017 has simple clean lines. Shaker style cabinets and open shelving are leading in design. Painted cabinets, without a glaze, are popular. And as far as colors go, white cabinets are still the leading choice, but black and shades of gray and blue are also on trend.
Stained wood cabinets are a bit less popular than painted cabinets in 2017, but wood cabinets are still a good option. Just avoid stains that are too yellow or too red or too orange. Stains that are pure brown, grayish brown or distinctly gray on more on trend this year. And we’ll still seeing a mixture of cabinetry finishes in the kitchen. For example, you might have the island painted or stained one color and make the rest of the cabinets anther color. Or maybe you have dark bottom cabinets and lighter upper cabinets.
Finally, people replacing some, or most of their upper cabinets with open shelving to give the kitchen a more open, airy feeling.
4. Wood or Wood Alternatives
Wood flooring is classic and current. But, much like wood cabinets, you want to avoid stains that are too yellow, red or orange. Instead, stains that are distinctly brown or grayish brown are most on trend.
What’s really emerging in 2017 are wood alternatives like luxury vinyl flooring and porcelain and ceramic tile that have the look of wood. Like I’ve told you before, I’m not traditionally a fan of faux products, but many of the new faux wood products look impressively like real hardwood. And of course, the faux wood is typically less expensive and requires less upkeep than natural hardwood.
Wood planks and wood tile are not only being used on floors, but on feature walls and on ceilings to add warmth and interest.
Although a bright green color called “greenery” was named the color of the year by the Pantone Color Institute, in real life applications, neutrals still seem to be taking center stage 2017.
Yes, you’ll still see pops of color. But the colors wouldn’t actually pop if they weren’t against a neutral background, would they? Navy blue also is very popular this year. Now, navy is one of those shades that some people think of as a color, and some people, like me, think of as neutral.
What’s elevating the look of neutrals in 2017 is the mixture of different neutrals in one space. Instead of having a living room or bedroom that is entirely gray, which can look cold and kind of flat, what you’ll see in 2017 is shades of gray and black and white and tan and dark brown, all together.
6. Oversized Multi-Glide or Folding Patio Doors
Almost every major window manufacturer makes either a multi-glide glass door system, or a folding glass door system. And some manufacturers make both. Traditional 2 panel patio doors and french doors are still a great option if you have a tighter budget. But, many people are opting to splurge on these newer folding door systems, or multi-glide glass doors. These glass doors have multiple panels that allow you to have an expansive view when closed. And when the doors are open, you get a seamless flow from the inside to the outside.
The folding door systems have multiple glass panels that can fold out of the way, inconspicuously to the side. The multi-glide systems have glass panels that can either be stacked to one side, one panel behind the other, or the panels can be pocketed into the home’s wall, so the panels are totally out of site when the doors are open. These new patio door systems speak to the importance of indoor outdoor living and entertaining in 2017.
7. Kitchen Columns
Ok, by columns, what I don’t mean are old school, decorative, roman columns with faux marble paint jobs. Yikes. Today’s kitchen columns are individual units for refrigeration, freezing and wine storage. You’ve seen columns before. Instead of having the fridge and freezer combined in one unit, like a french door fridge, with a column, the entire unit is all refrigeration. Then, there’s a separate unit that’s the freezer. And if you really want to get fancy, you can get a separate wine column too. Columns are sold by most high end and mid range appliance companies. They usually range from 18 inches wide to 36 inches wide.
8. Linear or Horizontal Fireplaces
Linear or horizontal fireplace are just what they sound like. They are wider than they are tall. You might choose one that’s 3 feet wide, or 6 feet wide, depending on your taste and budget. These fireplaces are typically electric or gas fireplaces, not wood burning.
Now, if you have an ultra conservative, traditional home, a linear fireplace may not work with your decor. But, since most new homes that are being built are transitional in style, these trending linear fireplaces will look great in most new homes.
Ok, Pop Quiz. What is transitional design?
We talked about transitional style and design in episode 48 called “20 New House Must Haves—Design Features that Homeowners Most Often Request in New Homes.” Well, transitional design combines the timeless elegance of traditional design with the simple, clean lines of contemporary design. It’s like a hybrid between traditional and contemporary elements.
And linear fireplaces look great in both transitional and contemporary spaces.
9. Free Standing Tubs
Remember when jetted whirlpool tubs were trendy? Well, in 2017, it’s free standing tubs. They come in various shapes from rectangles to ovals to elliptical and even round. As I’ve said in previous episodes, free standing tubs are like bathroom sculpture. They provide a beautiful and practical focal point for the bathroom. Free standing tubs do tend to be pricier that drop-in tubs, but prices have been coming down.
10. Farmhouse Design Elements
Thanks to the popularity of Joanna and Chip Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper, Farmhouse design is definitely on trend in 2017. Even if you don’t want your entire house to be farmhouse chic, you could choose a room or two to add in some farmhouse elements.
Maybe include some bead board or shiplap on the walls of a bedroom or the mudroom. Or think about adding rustic barn board on an accent wall or incorporate distressed and antiqued furniture and accessories. And Whimsical metal and wood signs can serve as artwork.
So that’s my list of home trends of 2017:
9. Free Standing Tubs
10. Farmhouse Design Elements
Up next is this week’s quiz…
1. True or False? Many builders will overcharge homeowners with “professional” careers.
That, unfortunately is true. Not 100% of the time, but it does seem to be an industry wide practice. Many contractors will mark up materials and labor by a higher percentage on jobs for so called professional clients. So, if you’re a doctor, lawyer, professor, business owner, engineer, CPA or some other so called professional, be careful about how much information you share about your career and consider being your own general contractor or at least consider buying your own materials.
2. Which of of the following is not a hot trend for 2017?
A. Tile wallpaper
B. Jetted whirlpool tubs
C. Open shelving and simple shaker cabinets
E. Kitchen Columns
The answer is B. Jetted Whirlpool tubs are not a hot trend for 2017. Free standing tubs are the current trend.
Please remember that the purpose of this podcast is simply to educate and inform. It is not a substitute for professional advice. The information that you hear is based the only on the opinions, research and experiences of my guests and myself. That information might be incomplete, it’s subject to change and it may not apply to your project. In addition, Building codes and requirements vary from region to region, so always consult a professional about specific recommendations for your home.
Thank you for stopping by this week. I hope you got a few ideas for your new home and I hope you’ll join me next week for another edition of BYHYU.