Let’s face it: Americans have come to appreciate the homes they are in, giving up the “trading-up” mentality that dominated not so long ago. And this is a healthy transition, as we learn to appreciate what we have and invest in our homes to make them even better.

Remodeling dollars are precious, and homeowners want to direct those dollars where they will make the biggest impact: rooms that are most used, rooms where guests are entertained and rooms where family gathers. What that translates to is an uptick in remodeling kitchens and baths. What do clients want for their investment? They want something personal and unique. They want a design that is functional but fun to live with.

And they want a professional to guide them through the selection process to a relevant design.  Kitchen and bath designers are in high demand. Today more than ever, consumers recognize the benefit of having a professional create their design to avoid costly mistakes.

The following was derived from research conducted by the NKBA (National Kitchen & Bath Association) and from a recent interview with Jackson Design and Remodeling—a multi-faceted, award-winning design firm in San Diego, Calif. (www.JacksonDesignandRemodeling.com). Two of their senior designers, Bonnie Bagley Catlin and Sol Quintana Wagoner, participated in an open roundtable discussion, sharing their insights as to where design trends are headed for the remainder of 2012 and into 2013. Some surprises are on the horizon, and floor coverings, in particular, will play an integral part in these evolving trends.


When we refer to timeless design, one of the key elements is color.  Pantone color experts proclaimed tangerine tango as their Color of the Year for 2012. A global color mix of orange and coral, it is a major player in interiors.

Designers find that their clients are gravitating towards stronger colors not only as accents, but as major players in the design. That’s a startling change from prior years, as beiges and “greiges” were previously the most common choices. Now it is not unusual to see lime green countertops, or artisan backsplashes combining oranges, greens, browns and metals. Even divergent color schemes are striking a successful chord. Imagine a color scheme of navy, black, chartreuse and bronze. Pretty exciting visually, and a great example of what’s on the horizon.

These new directions are rooted in high fashion as well as graphic design. As consumers are exposed to more universal color trends, they are developing a greater comfort level with strong color. It’s interesting that we no longer have a long turnaround time between runway colors and colors finding their way into the home. Newcomers to the color palette will be true blues, navy, pastels with punch, and secondary neutral comfort colors. Grays are not vanishing, but are taking a supporting role in design.

Floor Coverings

As K&B design continues to command more of the remodeling market, floor covering manufacturers are paying closer attention to materials and finishes that work well in those rooms. Usually liquid spills and high-traffic patterns are two big considerations when choosing flooring.

One of the answers to that comes in the form of luxury vinyl planks and tiles. This one segment of the floor covering market is experiencing astounding growth. Designers are looking to companies that have longevity in this market and offer a portfolio of stunning products. Remember the “timeless” quality homeowners are looking for? They are willing to pay a bit more for products that have a proven track record and exceptional styling.

The experts at Jackson Design look for color, realism, surface texture, and unique styling in LVT. Wood looks do not need to match cabinetry, so choices that complement natural woods are important. The huge advantage in specifying LVT is getting the look of natural materials, but with ease of care/maintenance and extreme functionality.

This was a great opportunity to ask designers what they need from their flooring professionals. The answer was loud and clear: installation expertise, innovative materials to work with, and on-going updates as to what’s new in the marketplace and how it will perform.

Design Styles

This was hard for the designers to pin down. Because we are breaking stodgy design rules and creating fresh, new styles, the terminology to define these is still being developed. Blended design seems to be the new frontier. Here are some of the emerging trends described:

Beaux Arts Design– design elements rooted in both vintage andcontemporary styles join forces to produce this new style of design. Curvilinear edges and a mix of old and new exemplifies Beaux Arts. Vibrant colors in artistic combinations are a signature of this style.

Art Deco Design– this isn’t a new design style, but it lends itself to some pretty clever interpretations. Art Deco originated in the 1920’s and flourished right through the WWII era. At its best, Art Deco’s linear symmetry represented elegance, glamour, functionality and modernity. Black and white always played a significant role in Art Deco interiors and that continues.

Oceanside/Coastal – we can’t all be fortunate enough to have a seaside home, but we can certainly enjoy an interior design that brings beachfront living to our world. Watery blues, crisp linen whites, crystal and chrome touches, combine with marine motifs to accomplish a “beachy,” casual interior.

Rustic/Modern – imaginecombining rich natural woods, glass, and chrome in the same room. This is exactly the hybrid style represented by Rustic/Modern. The comfort of a mountain retreat merged with high-style contemporary makes it unique and challenges traditional rules of design.

Contemporary/Organic – this design style is intriguing. Clean lines and interesting neutrals are punctuated with organic shapes and natural materials. As an example, rough sawn wood combined with smooth, white foil cabinetry creates a dichotomy of style that pleases the senses. Add greenery to taste and Mother Nature has come home.

If your take-away from this column is that design has taken on a whole new persona, you are correct. Designers agree that there has never been a more exciting evolution in design than what we are seeing now. Forged by the fires of a struggling economy and a quest for our own personal “safe haven,” these new styles are reshaping how we think about design.

Flooring professionals need not feel overwhelmed. A number of savvy retailers have already aligned themselves with professional design consultants if they need advice. In addition to your expertise, they can offer guidance to create a complete, unique design for your customers. And, of course, the floor covering is always the star player.


Photos courtesy of Jackson Design and Remodeling