Top 10 home-decor and design trends for 2016

Mixed metals, luxe kitchens and smart home tech are trends expected to be big in 2016.

Kara G. MorrisonThe Republic | azcentral.comView Comments

A new year already has ushered in a muted pastel color palette and a continuing obsession with shiny metallics. Home trends don't change at the drop of a hat. After all, most home furnishings are an investment that should be able to withstand annual fads. But these home colors, materials and layouts look like they're here to stay. Here's our look at top 10 home-decor and design trends for 2016.

Luxe kitchens

The Great Room concept isn't going anywhere. Families love floorplans that join a kitchen and dining area with an open living room. But this means kitchens keep shifting to look more like those rooms. They are more posh, less utilitarian. Homeowners are personalizing kitchens with bold appliances, cozy seating, stone surfaces and cool fixtures — from sculptural faucets to interesting pendant lights. Yes, stainless-steel appliances are still popular, but furniture-style cabinetry, open shelving, appliances in black (or whole kitchens in black) or even bright colors that pop are trends that are expected to continue.

Tiny house movement on display at Arizona fairgrounds, 1/15-17

Mixed metals

When brass and gold came back a couple years ago, it felt like a jolt from the 1980s. The trend has just kept growing, getting more sophisticated and fun. From copper to gold, vintage brass and even rose gold, the trend continues. Platinum, pewter and silver didn't go away, and are back in full force as well. The mixed metals trend is a nod to luxe fixtures that look at home anywhere in the house. Like jewelry to fashion, you can't go wrong with a little sparkle in home fixtures and decor.

Top 10 home-decor and design trends for 2016


Pantone announced Rose Quartz and baby-blue Serenity as its top hues for 2016. The pale pink, especially, has been embraced in home decor. It works with bolder hues, including gray, navy and taupe. And anything shimmery, including brass, copper, rose gold, chrome and pewter. "I think the colors are spot on, because everything is more muted right now," said Scottsdale interior designer Britany Simon, a runner-up on Season 7 of HGTV's "Design Star," now filming episodes of "Hotel Impossible" for the Travel Channel. "I’ve moved more to the muted tones."

Timeless materials

Marble (or more durable quartz that looks like marble), hardwood floors, brick, subway tile. These traditional materials are timeless, authentic and can work with most home styles. Owners of Rafterhouse, a Phoenix company that renovates midcentury ranch homes in the Arcadia neighborhood, specializes in using these types of materials in its remodels, which are intended for modern families. An HGTV pilot called "Rafterhouse" aired in the fall, and the two couples are working on a longer-format pilot for HGTV. If it does well, they could get their own series. It all goes to show transitional interiors with timeless materials used in a modern way resonate with homeowners.

Vintage touches

Flea markets are still big. In part, we're tired of mass-produced junk. We like things with longevity, that are handmade or remind us of our childhood. Midcentury Modern furnishings continue to be popular, as does handmade pottery and artwork. In the last few years, flea markets have taken off in the Valley, with some weekend mega events that draw thousands of shoppers. Prime flea-market season runs through May. Kalli Gleave, who started Old Brick House Vintage Market, recently moved to a new downtown Mesa location that's three times bigger than her former space. And other local markets continue to grow in size and frequency.

Coming soon: Fabrics, jewelry and textiles in "Rose Quartz" and "Serenity," the 2016 Colors of the Year

LED lighting

It took a few years, but LED lights are finally affordable and come in almost any size imaginable. The lights last years longer, stay relatively cool and save energy. There's really no downside, unless you like changing lightbulbs. LED bulbs fit almost any fixture and look much better in the statement lights and pendants that are still trending than those ugly, spiral compact fluorescent bulbs.

Smart everything

If your garage door doesn't open with a smartphone, and if you can't check your thermostat setting from thousands of miles away, you're just not up to date. Custom homes used to boast expensive gadgets like these, but the devices are in the affordable range now and make sense for almost everyone. Nest, the thermostat and smart-gadget company that was purchased by Google, also has a smartphone-enabled security camera ($199) and a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm ($99) that sends text alerts. Expect more fun, affordable and helpful home tech this year, such as Echo's "Alexa" by Amazon, the Siri (or Jarvis for "Ironman" fans) of home tech. Alexa, $180, is a sleek-looking personal assistant/speaker that will tell you the day's weather forecast, play your favorite songs and turn on smart lightbulbs (like Philips Hue) and other smart gadgets with voice commands.

Cool Homes: Best patios

White linens

Maybe it's the Airbnb trend where any house can be a hotel. White bedding — especially washable duvet covers, sheets and towels — are still in, especially for master suites and guest rooms. Cozy throws and pillows that are easily updated can provide pattern and color. Stylist/designer Emily Henderson once wrote about staying at a nice New York Airbnb for the first time: "Note to homeowners — just provide white sheets and nice bedding. Nobody really wants to sleep on brown sheets … too much mystery." There is also a trend toward linens in floral and geometric patterns, but clean, non-fussy bedding is still key.

Efficient floorplans

There's a tiny-house movement for a reason. The Great Recession taught us to reassess. We don't need sprawling floorplans with inefficient rooms. We want homes that are well designed, with more space in central living areas, great flow and clever, built-in storage.At the Jan. 15-17 Maricopa County Home Show at the Arizona Fairgrounds, you can walk through eight decorated tiny homes that are 400 square feet or smaller and meet Alexis Stephens, "Tiny House Expedition" blogger and documentary filmmaker. The movement may not be for everyone, but we can all learn more about living well in efficient spaces.

Clever storage

Well-run homes have well-placed systems, from places to charge our tablets and smartphones to family command centers (with calendars or whiteboards) to areas where we can sort through the mail. The best- designed homes keep clutter at bay before it piles up on the kitchen island or table. Arizona homes don't have mud rooms, but we do have drop zones. These can be cool custom locker/cubbies for families with young kids, multipurpose craft/laundry rooms or just well-placed desks — a furniture piece that's getting more attention right now.

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