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Originally published March 21, 2014 at 8:01 PM | Page modified March 29, 2014 at 9:03 AM

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Home-design pros take cues from fashion, tech worlds

Here are trends that are popular now in new homes and in home makeovers.


The Orange County Register

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There it stands. The old, dependable night table. The one that supports your lamp, alarm clock, and stack of books and magazines.

But maybe not for long.

The night table is shrinking. One model, the Diva, is a sleek, pared-down twist on a traditional nightstand. But it has a handy USB port.

“Nobody needs an alarm clock anymore,” says James Nauyok, an executive at Baker Furniture, which offers the snazzy new night table at its showroom in Laguna Niguel, Calif. “It’s on your phone.”

How about the lamp? He had an answer for that one, too: Rooms these days have built-in task lighting.

You get the picture.

Home designers and decorators are taking some of their cues from fashion. Lifestyle changes and technological advances also rule the roost. That’s evident in the looks in vogue for 2014.

Here are trends that are popular now in new homes and in home makeovers.

Bathrooms: Showers with multiple heads, frameless enclosures, heated floors and towel racks are big on homeowners’ wish lists as they look to “embellish the shower experience,” according to the Zillow Digs website.

In fact, home-design site Houzz conducted a bathroom remodeling survey recently in which 4 in 10 people said they are willing to skip having a tub.

Bedroom furniture: Versatility is big, whether it’s a bed with storage compartments or other pieces with drawers and doors that could work in the bedroom, dining room or elsewhere. (And consider downsizing that night table!)

Floors: Porcelain flooring that looks like wood or stone is coming on strong. Improvements in the manufacturing process now offer a more natural, varied appearance, compared to the sameness of pieces from the past.

According to Mai Williams, design gallery manager at Floor & Decor in Santa Ana, Calif., house flippers especially like porcelain, which is cheaper than wood.

“They want to differentiate themselves from the other beige house that someone else just did,” she says. “They’re going for more design, but at a lesser price point.”

Hot colors: Pantone, the paint company that annually proclaims the color of the year, has anointed “Radiant Orchid” as the star of 2014.

At Dwell magazine, Editor-in-Chief Amanda Dameron cited indigo as the newly pervasive color, as well as Benjamin Moore’s Gunmetal, a medium gray. Other designers say aqua blue is all the rage.

Upholstery and fabrics: Corduroy has become so popular for furniture now, Harte says, that manufacturers emboss leather to look like corduroy. He’s put purple corduroy on a gold-leafed bergère.

Harte and other designers also cite sheer, gauzy wools and linens as the trend in draperies, rather than heavy, swooping materials.

Indoor/outdoor furniture: Outdoor furniture, with its new palettes and patterns, can do double duty and come indoors.

“With every year and [new] technology, we just see more sophisticated design. It gives people of lot more options,” Dameron says. So it’s really OK just to drag those pieces inside? “There are no rules,” says Sheila Schmitz, editor of Houzz. “If you want it inside, you put it inside.”

Midcentury modern: Maybe it’s the influence of all those websites devoted to midcentury style, or shows like TV’s award-winning “Mad Men,” or the popular homes by post-World War II developer Joseph Eichler. But perennial favorites such as Eileen Gray tables, Barcelona chairs and satellite-shape chandeliers are in demand.

Heirloom pieces: With the economy improving, homeowners are going to revert to spending more on pieces for posterity rather than on “temporary furniture,” says Jessica Bennett, one of the owners of Ebanista, in Laguna Beach, Calif. “Every piece needs to have a detail, a finish, a curvature, a carving — something that makes you feel like you could’ve found it in the antique store.”



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