What's hot: High-tech with soft touch
have long been the family gathering spot, and home renovations continue to reflect
this trend with added features to keep people entertained and content. Televisions
and computers -- with waterproof, wireless keyboards -- are being integrated into
cabinetry and freezer doors.
Wilson says many homeowners
are hoping to achieve a seamless look to their
appliances by matching the materials in appliances
and cabinetry. "Refrigerators and dishwashers
have interchangeable panels that can be used
to hide appliances and make them blend into
the kitchen," she says. That olive green
fridge that used to seem adorably retro? Now
it just seems old.
Along those same lines, Phillips says people have
shown more interest in integrating appliances that used to sit on the countertop.
"People are building things like high-end coffeemakers into the cabinetry,"
he says. "It's a luxury item that has become more affordable."
Remodelers are eager to bring the spa experience
home, says Phillips, and that doesn't just
mean enormous tubs. "We're seeing whirlpool
tubs with added aromatherapy" components,
he says. Speakers are often integrated into
designs so homeowners can put on a soothing
tune while they soak. Some even go so far
as to add mood lights -- large, color-changing
LED light panels that cycle through a full
spectrum of colors.
popular upgrade is a flat-screen television placed behind a two-way mirror; people
only see an image when it's turned on.
Once sequestered to the corner of the basement, laundry
rooms are moving up -- they're often found on the same level as bedrooms.
That's partly because washers and dryers are a lot quieter than in years
past, and partly because they're more attractive, too. As a result, homeowners
are paying more attention to the looks of these spaces.
Wilson says homeowners are considering
a wide array of options to outfit their laundry
spaces: "People have hanging racks, folding
areas, appliances that let them dry clean
their own clothes, and machines that let them
steam their own clothes," she says. "It's
a much more luxurious space."
The cool, sleek look of modern design is making way for a
warmer, more inviting look, says Phillips. "Stark and sterile is out,"
he says. "We're seeing people who want to have welcoming and comfortable
spaces. They don't want to feel like they're in a museum." Golden
hues are growing in popularity, and the brightest colors are taking a back seat
to more muted, natural colors and tones.
Of course, the key to a great
home renovation is making sure it fits your
needs -- a souped-up space is only worthwhile
if you'll use it.