By Susan Risoli
Spring brings a feeling that all is fresh and new. For many homeowners, this is the season for freshening up their living spaces, with a renovation project or a new interior design. This spring some trends are emerging in the ways people want to enjoy their homes.
Denis Lynch, owner of Setauket Kitchen and Bath in Setauket, finds that clients expect to use color differently than in years past. Paul Rosen, owner of Paul A. Rosen Interior Design in Commack, agreed. Lynch said today’s kitchen designs often include “a little splash of color,” expressed in the color of the cabinets or in the color of the hood over the stove. Or the client might ask to make the kitchen island a different color from the rest of the room, “or maybe use color in an accent piece on a far wall.”
But the colors are “nothing too bold,” Lynch said. “People are going for muted colors now.” Rosen said that when it comes to kitchen cabinets, his clients have been leaning toward “light color wood, with glazes.” When it comes to wall paint colors, mushroom, taupe and very light shades of purple are popular now, Rosen noted. So is gray. “Don’t look at gray as being dark,” he advised. “Using multiple shades of gray, that’s very handsome.”
Many homeowners are paring down and embracing an uncluttered way of life, and their home design choices may reflect that. “If anything is trending, it’s that people are going a little bit more contemporary,” Rosen said. “They want very clean, straight, simple lines.” Lynch said he finds the same preference for a simple, clean look is making itself known when clients come in to discuss a new kitchen or bathroom. One way that is evident is “instead of frosted shower doors or shower curtains, they want clear glass doors,” he said. “It also makes the room seem bigger.”
There are also trends in the materials used in home renovation and decorating. An industrial feel, with stainless steel elements throughout the home, is growing in popularity, Rosen said. For the latest looks in countertops and vanities, “quartz has come a long way,” Lynch said. The material is actually a composite of ground natural quartz mixed with polymer resin, via a manufacturing process. “It used to look very fake, like plastic,” Lynch said. “Now it looks more like natural stone, even though it is a man-made product.”
Setauket Kitchen and Bath has been using mostly porcelain flooring, Lynch said, and what is “very popular now” is porcelain tile that resembles wood flooring.
Wallpaper is making a strong comeback, Rosen said. He thinks it’s because “wallpaper stays clean forever. And you can get patterns today that are just phenomenal.” Choosing wallpaper instead of paint, he said,” is a good way to get a nice, dramatic look.”
Some aspects of putting a home together are classic, regardless of trends. Rosen said some types of furniture — such as sectionals — will always be in vogue if the room can accommodate it. As for fabrics, he has found that cottons and linens never go out of style.
Another thing that doesn’t change is the way design professionals interact with their clients. Some people have strong ideas about their home projects. Others need more guidance. Lynch recalled one customer who came into his showroom with “an old glass soap dispenser and asked us to design a bathroom that would coordinate with it.” But other clients aren’t sure what they want. “As a full-service construction company and design center, we take the project from design to completion,” Lynch said. “We have designers on staff, who will talk them through the project.”
Something for interior design clients to remember is that “you have to bond with your decorator, like you’re going on a date with somebody,” Rosen said. He starts the relationship off on the right foot by interviewing a client, to find out what appeals to them about their home and what they would like to change. Decorators can keep the relationship harmonious, he advised, by understanding that each client has a budget to work with. “Nobody ever says to their decorator, ‘Here’s my checkbook. Spend all the money you want,’” Rosen said. “You have to be frank and honest about how much things are going to cost.”
Part of what his clients are paying for is that “I am the insurance package that helps you not to make a mistake” in home décor, Rosen said. Thanks to their specialized knowledge and skills, “Decorators can mix different patterns very cleverly, like putting a plaid and a stripe together.”