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Design, home remodeling trends for 2017

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The New Year is quickly approaching and bringing in tow the latest interior design and home remodeling trends.

“Generally speaking, kitchens and bathrooms are the most remodeled parts of single-family homes,” said Marie Owens, a designer at Muskego-based Callen Construction, a remodeling company celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Here are Owens’ insights into the interior design trends consumers can expect to see in the coming year.

The first trend for 2017 involves using LED lights as accent lighting under cabinets. “When used correctly, this technique actually gives the illusion that everything in the kitchen is floating,” said Owens.

Next is remodeling for accessibility. It is becoming more common for people to continue to stay in their own homes as they grow older and an idea called Universal Design allows them to do this comfortably.

“Remodeling for accessibility means making choices such as eliminating trip hazards, transitions between rooms, for example, and stairs in favor of open designs that maximize mobility,” Owens said. “Common updates in bathrooms include removing the bathtub, installing lower curb showers, using higher seat toilets, and placing grab bars in the shower.”

The make-it-your-own trend continues, giving homeowners the freedom to mix design styles in a way that’s pleasing. “For some, personalization means a mix-and-match approach,” Owens said. “For instance, a traditional home can have contemporary elements, which offers a nice blend of styles and provides more visual interest.”

At one time, metal was mainly used as an accent, but now it has become a central element, especially in bathrooms and kitchens. “Blending different color metals is a good way to ad texture and visual interest to a space in a trend-forward way,” said Owens.

“Smart homes” and “connected homes” are becoming more popular, as technological advances offer homeowners flexibility, convenience and even money savings. There are a countless number of options, especially when it comes to wireless technology. There are, for instance, refrigerators that send you reminders to buy milk, lighting ambience controlled remotely and smoke alarms that alert you when the batteries are low.

Just a few years ago, tub-and-shower combinations tended to define bathrooms’ floor plans. But now, larger, more elaborate showering spaces have become the trend. “Stand-alone showers often include multiple sprays and jets, as well as a bench for sitting,” said Owens.

Storage-filled basements and dark corners are long gone. Today’s remodeling trends include basements that serve as escapes, whether for visiting guests, work-at-home parents, or devoted hobbyists.

“It’s a way for homeowners to remodel without an addition,” said Owens. “Lighting becomes a very important element in lower levels, as it’s important to look for ways to brighten this space to lessen the underground feeling. This can be accomplished by adding an egress window, white-painted ceilings, light trim, and wood floors.

“In addition, many designers would simply place recessed lights in the center of the rooms. This approach is not only uninteresting, it also adds a lot of glare to seating and ‘relaxing’ areas,” she added. “A more interesting approach is to add what is called a wall-washing effect by placing recessed lights approximately 18 inches from the perimeter walls in an interesting pattern. This will create a coned pattern on the walls while giving a feeling of expanding the area and possibly highlighting some artwork at the same time.”

For a long time, wood has been a popular element in many homes. However, even in the design trends of just a few years ago, it was typically limited in its use and restricted to one surface, often the floor. Today’s remodeling trends include a combination of types, styles, and stains of wood in all forms. The material can be used in flooring, walls and in furniture. “The key to this trend is to abandon any thought of matching in favor of a mixture of grains and colors to add visual interest,” she said.

The desire to have a connection between kitchen, eating and living spaces continues to influence both the construction of new homes and remodeling projects. Open kitchens have remained popular in part because they can help prevent someone cooking food from feeling isolated from the rest of the family.

“Another way to enhance this connection is by incorporating an island with connected table-type seating,” Owens said. “This keeps family and guests out of the workspace, but close to the action of what the cook is preparing.”

Finally, an attic getaway is the remaining trend on the list. Similar to basements, attics offer a way for homeowners to remodel an existing space, instead of constructing an addition. “Attics offer precious square feet for guest bedrooms or even family getaways. The focus is less on what’s missing, such as ceiling height, and more on design tricks and aesthetic choices to make the space comfortable, bright, and personalized as much as possible,” Owens said.

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