Positive Influence

Hope is slowly being restored in the market; and though the numbers may not be close to what they were a handful of years ago, housing starts are popping up across the U.S. Another result of the recent recession is that current homeowners have decided they’ll stay-put and instead of making a move are choosing to update their existing home. Lastly, there are opportunists who are purchasing foreclosed homes for investment and are then performing makeovers for future sale when the market improves. Each of these factors influence 2012 design trends.

Not surprisingly, many homeowners will to stick to the “safe” – tried and true – colors as their primary home choice. And frankly, it’s understandable that safe neutrals will continue to dominate people’s choices as they remain uncertain and concerned about false stops and starts in the economy. These neutrals include all the light whites as well as light and mid-tone beiges. Interestingly enough, many folks are becoming more comfortable using colors in the gray family – a great example of how interior color trends eventually translate into exterior design. As gray has become a more prevalent interior option, it’s likewise made strides as an acceptable and stylish exterior alternative. Also important to note – because the “green” movement continues to evolve, with more people becoming aware of the ramifications of the ecological issues, there’s a rise in the number of houses that are being designed with more natural color schemes such as green and brown.

The big color story is actually related to accents and accessories; in other words, those elements that are easy and less expensive to change or update. Shutters are a great place to show changes in trends. We see that colors such as wines, plums and blue-greens – which were once considered “unusual” as exterior accents are now accepted as somewhat conventional.

Housing designs are predicted to include more porches, from small to wraparound. This element offers many opportunities for the addition of cleverly designed posts, columns, corbels, mantels and decorative moldings. The front porch movement, it is said, was caused by the increased number of people wanting to stay home and enjoy the company of their family, friends and neighbors.

In general, exterior building products are being offered in a wide array of new colors, profiles and materials. Roofing shingles alone come in dozens of profiles and in some cases they are being made from recycled materials. This is a terrific example of a growing trend. It seems that we’re increasingly choosing wisely to use what was once considered “waste” to produce smart and beautiful building materials.

Along with recycled material there is continued growth in the solar energy market. This affects the roofing industry as they look for ways to disguise or integrate solar panels. Window manufacturers are seeing the use of more and larger windows to light home interiors while being energy efficient. By deliberately incorporating windows in this fashion, we bring the outside in and make rooms appear larger.