home design trends
An inviting outdoor oasis is a perfect escape, rain or shine. (Courtesy of Pauline Debra Noel, Principal Designer, Debra Design Group, Hempstead)

Exciting but practical: Find out what’s in store for home design as 2021 unfolds. 

Zillow forecasts that this year will be less about keeping up with the latest style trends, and more about the features that increase our homes’ functionality and comfort – and in some cases, even add value.

For starters, some people are saying “bye-bye” to open floor plans.

“We expect to see a rise in intergenerational living in 2021, as young adults settle in at home and aging parents move in with adult children, sparking a preference for homes with more privacy features and separated living quarters, like backyard cottages, mother-in-law suites and double primary bedrooms,” says Amanda Pendleton, Zillow Home Trends Expert.

This month, another pro – Pauline Debra Noel, CEO and Principal Designer of Debra Design Group in Hempstead – offers Press readers her cool insights on hot trends. She has been helping homeowners reimagine and redesign with Zoom rooms, home offices and gyms, smarter kitchens, fun multifunctional family spaces, and fab home theaters. She says, “The way we design, the materials we use, how we furnish our homes, will forever be altered post-COVID.”

A desire for a home with a dedicated office tops the list of reasons Americans working from home say they would consider a move, according to a Zillow survey. But many homeowners who are staying put choose to revamp instead. Talk about a recent project. Everyone needs a place for fun, exercise, recreation, relaxation. Parents need office space for Zoom meetings. Our clients have asked for it all! Even the smallest space can be converted into an office. That was the case with an Elmont home. Our design partner, Creative Re-Design, turned an 8-by-8 spare bedroom into a gorgeous office for a busy boss lady!

Homecation amenities, like a pool or spa-inspired bathroom, add value and will become even more appealing to families, while smart home technology, like touchless faucets and self-cleaning toilets, will be must-have upgrades that help keep germs at bay, according to Zillow. Share your take on current trends. Everyone is looking for nonpourus materials that are easy to clean, and reduce the likelihood of infection. The main focus has been on using finishes that are antimicrobial. This year, we’re starting to look at metals, stones, and woods that are antimicrobial. While copper, brass, and bronze are hygienic, they also warm up a space much better than the past common (cool) brush or polished nickel. Woods like bamboo, oak, and cork are extremely durable, but they also stop the growth of bacteria. Quartz has been a favorite for a while; demand has dramatically increased because it is one of the most sanitary nonporous stone on the market to date.

Another trend: pocket doors. People still love the open floor plan layout, but with the kitchen island, dining, or coffee tables now becoming the pop-up office, more people are requesting pocket doors, to semi-close off rooms. Also in high demand: motion lighting. The virus can be transmitted through high-touch surfaces like light switches. Therefore, homeowners prefer to install motion switches throughout the home during reconstruction. This trend has added value by being an energy saver.

Intergenerational living is becoming a necessity as young adults and grandparents alike find themselves moving in with family. Have you had more requests for a revamped attic or basement? Basement projects that were being put off for years suddenly have become the priority. Families are cleaning out the basement to now become livable space: a grandparent suite or young adult’s apartment. One Baldwin client actually bought their home based on the guest suite in the attic. They asked us to include the furniture selection and decorating as part of our overall home redesign.

A Zillow survey found that 41 percent of people value a well-equipped kitchen more than ever, due to social distancing recommendations – and to show off their new culinary skills. Are clients asking for special elements in their cucinas? Clients have always asked to take down a wall between the kitchen and the other living spaces to open up the space. But more than ever, they want to add large islands to sit and congregate with family and friends while preparing meals and eating. For a Long Beach client, we added a small island in addition to the existing peninsula, and a tufted velvet high banquette for luxury seating comfort. 

Outdoor retreats are superpopular these days. Any tips? Folks have been adding outdoor heaters; smokeless firepit inserts are a hot item right now. Upgrading your outdoor space can definitely add value to a home. On average, these outdoor features — kitchen, fire pit, gathering areas — can add approximately $5,000 to $10,000 to a home’s value.

Debra Design Group can be reached at 917-940-2772 or debradesigngroup.com.

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