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Consumers trade bling for long-lasting value in floors and other decor

June 18, 2013

Oak Hardwood FloorsWith the recession still fresh in many homeowners' memories, a shift has taken place not only in how much people spend on decorating but also on their design style. It's more important than ever to make improvements that will have long-lasting value such as installing wood floors like Anderson's Rushmore oak collection.

"People are not wanting to make expressions of extravagance in the same way," Hugo Tugman of Architect Your Home told The Telegraph. "I am glad to say we have stepped back from the brink of bling."

Only a few years ago, it was just homeowners with a special interest in conservation who asked their architects about ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

Now, designers are finding their clients expect green construction, sustainable materials and energy-saving features to be automatic when they order home renovations. All-glass additions that were popular pre-recession features, for instance, have increasingly given way to solid construction with large windows and glass doors instead.

Change in finishes
Interior finishes are less flashy than they were at the start of the 21st century. Stainless steel is still popular, but many home decorators are also incorporating more rustic-looking wood coverings for appliances. Granite has lost favor among some consumers who are again looking at  composite materials like Corian.

In flooring and other wood construction, lighter stains have replaced darker tones, which generally are more expensive and difficult to maintain. A natural look that doesn't disguise the wood grain has made heavier stains in home design look out of fashion. Along with sustainably sourced woods, customers have shown a renewed interest in man-made fibers for carpeting rather than higher end silk and wool combinations.

More daring choices
Safer choices in soft neutrals for walls have been replaced by industrial shades of gray, the return of bold colors - particularly bright yellow - and geometric patterns in wallpaper.

"At the start of the century, people were terrified of color, but over the last couple of years we have seen them start to use it in big blocks," said Joa Studholme, color consultant at Farrow and Ball.

Window treatments have also become more simplified with blinds and shades often used without the addition of curtains or valances. But a wider variety of some styles like roman shades are also available in a wide range of colors, textures and patterns for the homeowner who wants to devise an individualized look.