Table of Contents
Designers and tastemakers around the world rang out their New Year home trend predictions, from the Pantone Color Institute declaring “velvety gentle” Peach Fuzz the 2024 international color of the year to Elle Decor announcing that “underestimated areas” such as the pantry and laundry room also deserve a design uplift.
Warm colors and organized spaces are ways people in the Pacific Northwest are enhancing comfort and functionality while also personalizing their living spaces with unique tile, wallpaper and textiles, says Mary Miksch, Portland design director for the 77-year-old Neil Kelly design-build remodeling company.
Miksch has also noticed that some renovations made during the pandemic era as a reaction to temporarily closed work, play and vacation venues continue to be needed, and people are looking for permanent solutions to support at-home activities and newfound hobbies. They are also upgrading a home office and entertainment areas.
The last few years “reminded us how much our home is the heart of our family life,” says Miksch, who has applied her architectural background to home design since 2005, and has worked 11 years with Neil Kelly, which has offices in Seattle, Portland, Eugene and Bend.
She predicts more people will want an interior design that is both calming and soothing as well as bold and exciting. “There is a lot to look forward to in 2024,” says Miksch.
Here are home design ideas the Neil Kelly team forecasts will be popular in 2024:
Color, pattern and texture
Neutral colors, stark white and cool gray proliferated during the pandemic as part of the trend for clean, light and open minimalism, but “we have turned a corner and people are looking for cozy color, pattern and texture that appeal to them,” says Miksch.
When getting to know clients’ design preferences, Miksch says she likes to understand the emotions evoked by a certain color and style. That way, she can help clients capture the positive feeling of a particular place and time.
“You can make choices that are just for you that make you happy rather than thinking about your home as a showpiece or looking to sell it to somebody else,” she says.
Ways to bring in design character include installing:
- Narrow vertical lines: Ribbed tile, fluted glass, beadboard, wood slat and pole wrap
- Checkerboard pattern tile in colors other than black and white
- A refined, smaller format herringbone pattern in wood floors
- Striking natural stone with lots of color and a sense of movement
- Dramatic wallpaper and painted murals, even on ceilings
- Painting walls, trim and ceiling in one color, which is called “color drenching”
- A semi-maximalist mix: All of the above and more in a tasteful and personal way
Efficient kitchen island
Being able to entertain in a beautiful kitchen with a handsome island as the centerpiece is a large motivation for a remodel. A well-designed island offers function and fashion with an easy-to-clean countertop that serves as a food prep station, buffet or dining table. Needed gadgets and dishware can be within reach yet hidden in island drawers and cabinets.
“Everyone hangs out in the kitchen, and the island is that central hub that needs to serve different purposes” for adults, kids and pets, says Miksch.
The outdoors is highly valued in the Pacific Northwest, says Miksch, and interior design with nature-inspired greens, blues, terra cotta, mustard and brown colors are soothing.
Organic materials like natural wood and real stone also draw a sense of nature inside. People are now preferring unpainted cabinets and millwork, and spending more on real stone that has natural character, color and movement rather than plain and simple manufactured slabs, say Neil Kelly experts.
People can make a statement with their stone selection, using it not just for the countertop but as a backsplash and a shelf, or as a floating bathroom vanity with an integrated sink, experts say. Stone that’s backlit shows off its color and character.
Arches and curves
Arched doorways, windows and shelving niches that mimic nature add a sense of softness and relaxation compared to hard edges, says Miksch.
Curves can also be introduced with a round mirror or an organically shaped sofa. Pricier examples include spiral staircases, round-edged kitchen islands and cylindrical shower stalls.
Nostalgic design choices
Nostalgic interior design delivers a feeling of familial comfort, and the look of the 1960s’ midcentury modern, 1970s’ boho to disco, and 1980s’ postmodernism are especially popular, say experts. But even century-old pieces are being displayed.
“We’re seeing antiques incorporated into homes in a way that they haven’t been for a long time,” says Barbara Miller, Neil Kelly’s vice president of design. “We’re seeing more area rugs with color, lamps and more homey antiques made of copper and brass.”
Floors are enjoying their moment of flair, with checkerboard tile and colorful mosaics. Wood is being set in herringbone, parquet and other geometric patterns. Putting the spotlight on floors, however, may mean more time devoted to sweeping and mopping, say Neil Kelly experts.
“It’s a balance of finding the right material that will hold up while bringing you the style you’re looking for,” says Miksch. Tile is durable and a great choice for muddy foot- and paw prints, “but no one wants to clean grout on their hands and knees,” she says. Find the right version of a material that offers ease and pleasing aesthetics.
People discovered the true benefit of storage during pandemic stay-at-home orders when goods were stockpiled. “Many people also found a new interest in organization through ‘The Home Edit’ episodes and other sources,” says Miksch.
Storage improvements are being installed throughout the home, especially in the kitchen, bathrooms and closets. Home chefs dream of a walk-in pantry or a prep kitchen behind doors. People with animals may want a special space for pet supplies and a pullout drawer for the animals’ food and water bowls. And countertops can be cleared off if items are moved into cabinets outfitted with a specialized organizing system, say Neil Kelly experts.
Homeowners with open kitchens as part of a great room typically want a consistent look, and many are choosing refrigerator and dishwasher models with panel doors that match the living area’s cabinetry.
“I don’t know that stainless steel appliances will ever go completely out,” says Miller. “But we’re going back to disguising appliances.”
There is also an even greater demand for quiet appliances, says Miksch. “Now that we’re using the kitchen as a multiuse space, (minimizing sound) is more important. If you’re sitting at the kitchen island on a Zoom call, you need to have a quiet dishwasher.”
People are replacing tub-shower combinations with a roll-in shower, which is a safe solution for those with mobility limitations. Miksch has found that a giant open-air shower, however, is not as warm as a smaller shower enclosed with glass or walls.
Although more people are giving up a bathtub for a larger shower area, Neil Kelly Portland Design Consultant Fabian Genovesi recommends maintaining at least one tub in the home for resale.
Upgraded laundry room
Many homeowners interested in designing the laundry room to be on par with the kitchen are splurging on matching the cabinetry, deep utility sink and designer fixtures. There could also be a hang-drying rack and extra counter space to fold freshly cleaned clothes.
Adding design appeal in the laundry room makes the mundane task of washing clothes a bit more enjoyable, say Neil Kelly experts.
With higher mortgage interest rates and a low number of residential properties for sale, people are staying put but still getting the larger space they want by expanding their existing home. They add on to the main floor, create an upper floor or finish a basement to make space for an in-law suite, guest suite or home office, says Miksch.
— Janet Eastman | 503-294-4072