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People make careful investments in home design products that will last

October 03, 2013

Hardwood FloorsThe interest in green building practices, sustainable materials and energy efficient products has become ingrained in the building industry, in large part because customers expect it. Homeowners now want more from their investment in home improvements and that includes choosing features like wood floors that provide long-term beauty and value. The durability of Anderson Floors' Monroe collection is just one example.

In addition to changing the way people spend their home design dollars, the recession caused a shift in decorating styles. Interior finishes are less flashy now 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.

"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."

Natural materials
At the High Point furniture market earlier this year, metal was a predominant material at the country's largest home furnishings exposition. Reclaimed metals were particularly popular in a nod to sustainability, with metal links and metallic hardware as furniture add-ons.

In flooring and other wood construction, people prefer a natural look that doesn't disguise the wood grain and heavier stains have gone 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.

Choices in soft furnishings
In room design accents, there's renewed interest in needle-crafted pieces including embroidery, quilting, cross-stitch and needlework for use in soft furnishings. They dovetail well with the vintage styles such as large floral patterns that are reminiscent of the 1930's and 1940's.

Wicker furniture, a front porch mainstay for generations, has renewed popularity inside the home. Adding deep cushions with decorative pillows to chairs and chaises softens the look of wicker and related materials such as willow, bamboo and rattan.

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.

Blander choices in neutral wall colors have become less popular than sharper, industrial shades of gray along with bolder accent colors and geometric patterns in wallpaper.