Top Design Trends

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Top Design Trends for Home Sales & Renovations

As real estate professionals, we are immersed regularly in the world of home design.  Whether you are planning to sell your home or simply renovate for your own enjoyment, it’s wise to avoid integrating designs that are on the way out.  A well-designed and staged home is a home that sells for more money.

Here is our list of some top design trends fading out and emerging new:

Fading Out:  Cool Grays

Emerging:  Light neutrals and nature-inspired themes


All gray rooms – walls, tiles, furniture, and accents were all the rage for last the last 7 – 10 years, but that time has come and gone.  Cool grays are increasingly seen as unimaginative, boring, cold and bland.  Even classic Carrera Marble tile and counters are getting some eye rolls these days from the buying public.  A warm gray paint is still desirable, but better choices on your walls are colors with light, warm undertones, whites, and neutrals with pops of nature.  Be careful to avoid yellows, pinkish taupes, and brown beiges which give a room a dated feeling.  Think breathy, airy and light-filled versus cool, cold and edgy.  Add some plants, nature-inspired prints and some wood furniture to warm a space.

Fading Out: Industrial and Farmhouse Decor

Emerging: Modern

Who doesn’t love an Edison bulb?  Well, as it turns out, a lot of people.  A bit of a flash in the pan, Edison bulbs may still spark a reaction from your visitors but as for design trends, it’s a thing of the past along with other industrial aesthetics.  Also fading out is the overuse of barn doors, shiplap, and wicker furniture.  Modern is the way to go.  Be careful to avoid cheaply-made modern pieces and/or minimalism to the extent of creating stark and soulless spaces.  A classic modern look may feature monochromatic or textured walls and touches of wood furniture such as walnut or teak, and hand-crafted accent pieces.  Think uncluttered, light-filled, warm and relaxing.

Fading out:  All White Kitchens

Emerging: Bright Metals, Black Appliances, Bold colors

An all-white kitchen is classic and should never be considered a bad design decision. However, if you are opting for the bleeding edge of kitchen design, ALL white is no longer the go-to look.  Kitchen appliances are going to black stainless steel often with bronze handles.  Bronze fixtures are also en vogue.  (Note: black stainless steel can scratch!) As for cabinetry, bold colors are becoming the rage – deep blue, greens, and other bold color palettes are replacing the plain white conservative kitchens you might see in any new home on the market over the last decade. A word of caution from experienced real estate professionals: if you are undergoing a kitchen renovation and think you may sell your home within the next 5 years, you may be best off opting for white or off-white cabinets on your perimeter and selecting a bold color only for the kitchen island, lighting, and accessories.  These bold color trends may be a fad that could cost you later.

If you prefer to opt for bold, bright colors, check out this article in Washingtonian Magazine for some inspiration:  5 Stunning Kitchens That Prove Going Bold Is Worth the Risk

Black stainless steel appliances
Photo: Kenmore_Homes on Instagram

Fading out: Painted Accent Walls 

Emerging: Wallpaper

Image and Wallpaper: Serena & Lily

Once upon a time deep red, green and blue accent walls were all the rage.  If you’re thinking about an accent wall, just say no.  The new trend is, believe it or not, wallpaper!  Not just any wallpaper though – one must avoid dated-looking florals, chevrons (that was a flash in the pan!), and damask.  Opt instead for geometric patterns, metallics, nature-inspired prints, stripes, and even grasscloth. When selecting wallpaper for your home it would make sense to consult with a designer and professional installer.

If you plan to remain in your home for the foreseeable future, go all out on your design inspiration and don’t worry too much about trends.  However, if you think you may sell your home in the near or not-too-distant future, but want to make some smart updates that you can enjoy for a while, consult with a real estate expert or home design professional.  Ask what changes would make sense and help to increase your home’s value when the time comes to sell.


Brian and Amy Maury of Compass offer a free consultation to anyone considering a home sale or purchase, including advice on renovations that make sense before a sale. Contact Brian and Amy to schedule your free consultation.