Whether you’ve just moved to a new place or have called the same address home for a decade, many of us want our homes to look up to date. Splurging on too-trendy pieces that are difficult to change later, like patterned floor tiles or rose gold fixtures, isn’t the way to go for anyone who watches their money carefully. But you can implement many of today’s trends with minimal cost and commitment. Do any of the ideas below appeal to you?
Many people are afraid of wallpaper: it’s easier to pick a color you’ll like for years than a pattern with staying power. It’s also less DIY friendly: it’s trickier to install and remove than a fresh coat of paint. However, wallpaper is on trend right now, and if you want a low-commitment way to experiment, try removable, peel-and-stick wallpaper.
You can incorporate wallpaper in a small area—think kitchen backsplash, for example. For a bold statement, you can wallpaper a ceiling. Designers call the ceiling the fifth wall and remind people not to overlook it when they’re decorating a room.
What patterns are hot? Animal-print wallpaper is one of the top 12 home trends identified by HGTV Magazine. They say it doesn’t have to be limited to kids’ rooms: Grown-ups can use shark, tiger, and elephant prints in powder rooms, in entryways, or on accent walls. Geometric patterns are also appealing right now thanks to their clean lines.
HGTV Magazine likes geometrics on color-block rugs; check out IKEA and West Elm for affordable choices. And one great thing about rugs is they can go in any room and they’re easy to swap out with no tools and no mess when fashions change. Check out these awesome styles by Lulu & Georgia.
Homeowners are increasingly reluctant to dedicate spaces other than bedrooms and bathrooms to a single use. Instead, they want spaces that can serve multiple purposes, especially in real estate markets where space comes at a premium. A home office that can also serve as a guest bedroom, home gym, yoga studio, or all of the above is a great example of flex space. Open floor plans, which remain popular, also make it easy to meet different needs in one space, like cooking dinner while supervising homework.
What makes these spaces work? For one, versatile furniture. Think ottomans with tops that flip over to accommodate both foot-resting and meals in front of the TV. Murphy beds, futons and sleeper sofas can look just as good as any standard sofa. Ultra-thin treadmills can slide under a bed or into a closet.
Continuing on the flex space theme, command centers are becoming a popular way to manage household gadgets. Many households no longer have desktop computers. Instead, they have multiple laptops, tablets, and phones that need regular charging.
Command centers serve this purpose. In households with children, they can help parents manage their kids’ screen time, too. These spaces are also a great way to keep everyone on schedule and keep things from getting lost. They can be the place where everyone puts their keys, purses, backpacks, wallets, time-sensitive paperwork and notes.
Dedicated counter space and at least one electrical outlet (to which you can add a power strip) are key. Hooks, cord keepers and desktop filing systems can help with organization. Add a shredder and recycling bin to help keep unwanted papers from piling up. Ideally, this space is near the home’s most frequently used door—but out of the way of conflicting uses, such as meal prep.
Kitchen drawer storage
As the baby boomer generation gets older, accessible design will become increasingly important. One way to make a kitchen more accessible is to use deep drawers to store kitchen plates, bowls and other everyday items that we tend to keep in less-accessible wall cabinets. Drawers should be accessible for people in wheelchairs as well as young children who need to access a plastic cup. Thinking about using sturdy materials that make them easy to open and safe to close despite the weight of their contents.
Islands in standout colors
White kitchens seem like they’ll never go out of style, but if you want to make your kitchen pop, why not paint the island a different color? Paint is an easy and inexpensive way to change up a room’s look time and again. Consider choosing one of the paint companies’ colors of the year for an on-trend look for the heart of your kitchen. Better Homes & Gardens Style Director Max Wilker is also predicting that rectangular islands may be supplanted by t-shaped islands that allow for more gathering space when entertaining and easier conversations.
One on-trend way to hide those appliances, according to Realty Times, is with a prep pantry, a closed-off utility space adjacent to the kitchen. A prep pantry lets you keep your countertop appliances and food prep out of sight. In other words, they keep clutter and messes out of the way so the kitchen remains an attractive space for entertaining. They also offer a respite for hosts who may need a breather while entertaining—or who don’t have the bandwidth to measure ingredients and socialize simultaneously.
Hidden kitchen appliances
Your home will never have that clean, magazine-worthy look when you’ve got appliances cluttering up the kitchen counter. They’re designed for function over form, they have annoying cords, and they get dirty so easily—especially stainless steel, which shows every smudge and fingerprint (and may be on its way out).
You can hide major appliances with panels that match your cabinetry, and you can hide smaller appliances such as blenders and toasters with a modern take on the appliance garage. That said, don’t go crazy creating custom cabinets for uses that might become nonfunctional or unstylish in a few years, and don’t design a cabinet to perfectly fit a single appliance that will someday need replacing (like an espresso machine). Need a cautionary tale? Just think about those gigantic entertainment centers that use to store our deep, square CRT TVs. Now that flat-panel TVs are standard, thrift shops everywhere are littered with the behemoths.
Whether you’ve got the kitchen renovation bucks or just $50 for paint and supplies, the aforementioned trends offer plenty of options for updating your home’s look. Many even work for renters. And if you’re selling, they can help your home stand out. What will you try? Are you more of an octopus wallpaper person, a clutter-free countertop person, or both? Whatever you love, there are more ways than ever to personalize your space in an on-trend way.