Real Estate

New Home Trends for 2014

Posted January 22, 2014

By Rebecca R. Newsome
For New Homes & Ideas, Jodi Sauerbier, Publisher

New Homes & Ideas


Hello, New Year!

In bidding farewell to 2013, most of us inevitably take some time to assess what we accomplished over the past 12 months and what we’d like to achieve in the year ahead. Although a plethora of resolutions are often considered, the short list tends to include spending more time with the people most important to us, committing to better diet and exercise habits, expanding our horizons through travel, hobbies, and new skills, and enhancing our living spaces as a vehicle for enhancing our lifestyles. Naturally, New Homes & Ideas is focused on the home front and those resolutions revolving around living spaces. Who doesn’t want to live in an environment that brings out the best in us? As we consider domestic improvements, whether it’s purchasing a new home or sprucing up our existing quarters, let’s review what national research and local experts tell us is trending in 2014!


Open floor plan


Open Floor Plans Continue to Reign

As has been the case for a number of years, open floor plans are a given in home design. Open plans promote interaction among family and guests, as walls are not a barrier. Open plans also permit the ability to divide space for various uses, giving us the flexibility to increase or decrease the size of specific areas as occasions command. We can add a table to the dining area or add chairs to the great room for large gatherings, or create niche areas; all on an as needed basis. Yet one more benefit of open plans: an increased capacity for natural lighting throughout the living areas. Yes, please!

Think Classic

According to Pam Craig and Debby Gist, designers at Homes by Dickerson, we should expect style to become more classic than industrial in 2014, with more curves and rounded corners, and fewer sharp lines. Anticipate the use of graceful yet simple cove moldings where walls and ceilings meet. While comfort and style most certainly continue to factor in, classic function dictates design in 2014.


Open-plan kitchen


Multi-Generational and Universal Layouts: More Important Than Ever


With an aging population and longer life expectancies, blended families are more common than ever before. Pam and Debby say they are seeing more and more grandparents moving in with adult children, resulting in the need for home plans to accommodate more than one family unit in a single home. Missy Parker of Corbett Design Build agrees. Second master suites, mini kitchens, and elevators play roles in these homes, as well as universal design, making homes accessible not only as our parents age, but as we age too. The trend of aging in place continues as it has for the past few years; it’s just affecting more of us now.

With That Said, Downsizing is Still Big Too!

Numerous requests continue to pour in from those of us looking for smaller living quarters with top notch features. One level living including hardwoods, high ceilings, crown molding, granite countertops, and screened “reading” porches are in high demand, says Allison Moriarty, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for M/I Homes. Although these homes may include a bonus room and/or an extra bedroom upstairs, they are geared towards spending time on the main level. Oftentimes lawn care is included for these homes, Allison adds.

Neutrals Rock… With Pops of Vibrant Hues, of Course

Various shades of warm gray top the charts for neutrals in living spaces, with caramels and cinnamons making appearances in more private areas, such as master bedrooms, dens, and keeping rooms. Colors are now trending away from cool grays and true browns, say Pam and Debby. Bright pops of color for front doors, accent walls and the backs of built-in shelving express our ingenuity, providing contrast to create a feel-good factor and an elevated intensity of passion and luxury. Look for vivid accent hues of royal blue, purple, magenta, green, orange, and yellow in 2014.

Carpet Designed for the Whole Family (Including Fido!)

As with walls, gray is the carpet color of choice in 2014, says Brentwood Carpets CEO Harry Harles. Previously popular textured carpet, such as the mini-shag, is out; soft, textured “Saxony” carpet with a smooth, velvet-like appearance is in. Carpet fibers have dramatically improved over the past few years to become more durable than ever before, with built in products to include enzyme treatments that act as a moisture barrier between the carpet surface and the padding below. After cleaning stains in the past, they would often reemerge from the padding to the carpet surface. With this new technology, accidents and spills don’t reach the padding, thereby making carpet a low maintenance element in our homes.

Take a Walk on the Wide Side

Although most of us prefer the feel of carpeting under foot in our bedrooms, we usually prefer hardwoods in the main living areas of our homes. Many of us cover large portions of our hardwoods with area rugs for comfort, but we tend to love the style and elegance that hardwood flooring provides. Natural wood floors in traditional widths of 2.25” – 3.25” are still popular, but look for wider widths of up to 5 inches as well as random widths in darker colors in 2014. Technology now offers hardwoods finishes that provide scratch and stain resistance, as well as moisture and humidity resistant engineered products. Hickory, oak, and birch are big in the new year.

Heart to Heart Kitchens, Inside and Out

For many years, the kitchen has been called the heart of the home. As gathering places for those of us with a passion for preparing meals and entertaining, kitchens that open to family living and recreational areas remain popular. Epicurean kitchens continue to sport industrial-style appliances and large granite topped islands with more deep drawers than doors for storage. Refrigerators and freezers look like they’re built into staggered height cabinetry. These elements, combined with ultra cool backsplashes and recessed lighting, complete the feel for this welcoming focal point of the home.

However, “the kitchen” now refers not only to the indoor standard but to an outdoor kitchen as well. Grill islands consisting of built-in sinks, storage, and countertop workspace provide traditional interior amenities outside, allowing us to entertain in a nature-filled environment. Outdoor gatherings are more festive without running back and forth from the interior kitchen to the outdoor patio. Exterior kitchens not only provide culinary convenience, they’re inviting to family and friends in their visual appeal. Look for an upswing of these in 2014.

Singing in the Shower Never Sounded Better

We’ve come out of the closet with a little secret regarding our bathrooms: Many of us have finally admitted that we rarely take a bath. Those of us in this category favor large showers over tubs, with niches, seats, and multi-head shower systems to enhance our singing in the shower experiences.

Bathroom with open shower


Furthermore, although our bathrooms are the smallest rooms in our homes, they can be the most opulent if we make the right choices. Tile selections for 2014 are abundant: Recycled glass tile, subway tile, stone tile, tile with lights, pebble tile, and glass tile mosaics with semi precious stone name just a few of the numerous options. Pair one of these with bold color, and the result is stunning!


Other bathroom trends for 2014 include the installation of a small crystal chandelier for an air of elegance; the inclusion of a TV and/or a fireplace; and removing our shower doors to open up the space in our bathrooms.

We spend a lot of time getting ready for the day in this all-important room… Why not make it luxurious?

Let’s Get Technical

In today’s world of technology and all its trappings, we can do things our parents and grandparents never dreamed possible. One of the newest offerings is the Nest Thermostat, a product that learns our living habits and adjusts our indoor temperatures accordingly, saving us up to 20% annually on heating and cooling bills. Once installed, we set it at the temperatures in which we’re most comfortable for a few days. Within a week, it starts setting those temps on its own. When we’re away from home, the thermostat can be programmed to an energy-efficient temperature; we can then program it with our smart phones or tablets remotely to prepare our homes for the right temperature when we return.

Allison says that M/I Homes believes in the Nest Thermostat to the point that they are installing it in every home sold in January and February of 2014. What a great way to save money and help the environment!

Green Products, Green Plants

Speaking of the environment, green products have become more of a standard than a perk in today’s homes. The Green Home Builders of the Triangle, like other councils across the country, promotes building techniques and materials that produce homes which consume less energy and other resources, facilitate better indoor air quality, and provide a more durable product requiring less maintenance. Whereas these practices and products were once a luxury, they are now expected, as our awareness has multiplied in the benefits of living in energy efficient, sustainable, healthy homes. Improved indoor air quality, lower heating and cooling bills, and increased comfort are side effects of a green built home. These trends will absolutely continue throughout 2014.

Interior green plants, green walls, and garden rooftops will also be hits in 2014. Indoor plants counter-balance wood components, incorporating nature into our homes. Although we may not see it widespread right away here in the Triangle, the centuries-old practice of building green (plant) roofs has experienced a renaissance, providing the structure to reduce heating and cooling costs as well as enhance native wildlife and filter rain naturally. Experts expect this trend to have staying power that will swell into a global movement. Let’s all be on the look out!

Touch, Texture and Tangibles

Touch has been named our biggest sense to focus on in 2014. Fabrics and finishes should invite touch, with textures and tangibles warm and alluring. Experts have stated that the inspiration for this trend is the need to seek order out of turmoil, renew our search for purity, respect the nature surrounding us, and enhance our appreciation for sustainability in residential design. To this end, look for untreated materials as well as recycled and reclaimed materials in interior design as a means of providing a simple, natural aesthetic in our tumultuous world.

Mixed Metals: Not Just for Jewelry Anymore

Ok, we know that mixing metals in fashion works just fine… Why not transfer that practice to our homes as well? Pam and Debby say they’re seeing requests for different metal finishes within the same area of the home; national designers are noting the trend too. Think stainless kitchen appliances, black cabinet hardware, oil rubbed bronze track lighting, and a pendant over the sink with chrome accents. If this designer’s choices are too varied for you, consider selecting two to three metals and go with them. Just remember, 2014 doesn’t dictate matchy – matchy!

Curb appeal

Exterior Panache for Curbside Wow

We know this, but we sometimes tend to forget… The outside of our home makes the first impression on all who enter and all who don’t.  


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