Interior design trends, forecasts

Interior design trends are always altering, varying and changing as new ideas and merchandise enter the world of home design. It's exciting to see what new trends are making a difference and what forecasts will fill the future of design.

Who exacting are making these design predictions and how are they getting their information? Specialized marketing professionals in each industry make it their business to compile information for various products, including the interior design field. They gather information from huge trade shows like the Kitchen amp; Bath Show or Design Association Conferences, among a multitude of other places. They track sales of new products and find out which products are loosing sales because of a shift in attitude and outlook.

An example is the surge in sales of quartz counter tops vs. granite counter tops. Quartz is a man-made product and can come in larger slabs with fewer seams, is non-porous and doesn't require proper periodic cleaning. The manufactures have gotten their process to a point where when you look at it, you can't tell if it's granite or quartz. Don't get me wrong, I'll always love granite, it's range of veined colors and special movement of minerals that make it so unique, but there appears to be a shift in higher sales of quartz that is trending. Has granite had its day as more choices and sales in other products are moving into the spotlight? Trends can flash out or come and go, so only time will tell for sure about granite.

The No. 1 forecast for 2014 and beyond is all about style. Style has opened up to incorporate a more "transitional look," a bridge if you will between contemporary, old world and traditional. This gives homeowners a chance to add to or subtract without completely tossing out all of the old and bringing in a completely new style. It does require though, more design expertise to keep the best aesthetics, balance and scale in furnishings, compatible colors, enough textures to be interesting and the functional purpose of a room. Parts or all of any room can be updated to incorporate the fashionable new trends as homeowners themselves change from single to families to empty nesters to retirees.

The other for sure trend is that the younger generation loves their gadgets and technology. That translates to more electrical ports, probably re-wiring of some rooms at home and possibly a larger electric panel to handle all the demand. The No. 1 location for added electrical enhancements is in the kitchen/family room. There we see an electrical "free for all" that encompasses more overhead lighting, general lighting, task lighting, mood lighting, up lighting, down lighting, decorative lighting, charger receptacles and multiple outlets. LED lighting is showing up everywhere in overhead fixtures, refrigerators, dishwashers, wine storage and vanity mirrors. Lighting has stepped up to become a major component in any room design.

Painted kitchen cabinetry is gaining in popularity. This trend often features darker paint and stained finishes such as black or gun metal gray that show off dramatic lines due to the nature of grained wood in the cabinetry. For example, dark stains on oak cabinetry are used to resemble the popular wenge wood or gray tones to give an ash look.

There is a broadening palette of painted white and light shades of cream making a major impact on cabinet finishes choices. Major cabinetry manufactures like Merillat and Christana report that white paint, in all its various shades, remains the top choice among their customers and they have added gray stains to address customer requests for this color also. Cabinetry in warm gray shades are a natural bridge color between wood floors in browns and stainless appliances in silver. Painted cabinetry tends to be easier to live with long term and is less likely to show its age and can stand the test of time.

Trends in interior design for 2014 are toward the neutral tones and a subdued palette in all areas of design, which brings a calmer surrounding for us to retreat into. Comfortable spaces to relax, refresh and regain our energy are basic to homeowners of all ages.

o Ahwatukee Foothills resident Carol Sampson is an award-winning interior designer and author of 35 years. Reach her at (480) 759-6763 or visit

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