Buyers like a material that looks or feels natural, even if it's not the genuine article, Phipps says. For example, "granite (for counters) is still popular, but it doesn't have to be granite," he says. "It can be stone, another natural material or something that looks like stone."
"We're seeing lots of different materials and lots of reusable materials, which is interesting," he says. "Also a lot of unusual uses of hardwood -- like pine flooring (reclaimed and) reused for counters," or terra cotta slabs -- beautifully glazed -- used for countertops, he says.