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4 Contemporary Design Trends to Lighten Up Your New Year

Feb 21, 2014 12:52PM ● By Erin Frisch

Use simple fixes to take your home from ho-hum and dreary to light, bright and fantastic. Start the new year with sparkle by coaxing elusive sunlight inside, and directing it around your space. Begin with airy treatments that highlight -- rather than hide -- your windows, and finish with the addition of new and trendy lighting fixtures to lighten up all the dark corners lurking inside your home.

Light, Airy, Organic Window Treatments

  • Sheers: Heavy, dark and draped are out, and sheer is in. Lighten up your space and your conscience with minimalist window treatments that filter and diffuse the sunlight as it enters your room. Sheers add an element of privacy without sacrificing view, and if you shop around, you'll even find sheers that feature a thermal backing to help improve not only the appearance of your windows but their energy efficiency as well.
  • Solar Shades: Serving the same function as sheers but with a decidedly more masculine appeal, solar shades come in an attractive array of colors that add a dignified hint of playfulness to any space. Add the fact that they help block harmful UV rays and the intense heat of the summer sun, and you have the perfect, non-pretentious window treatment.
  • Wood: As the popularity of bamboo shades continues to trend, wood-grained blinds and woven shades are becoming popular choices for homeowners looking for more Earth-friendly decorating materials. Alongside bamboo, count matchstick and grass among the types of window treatments forward-thinking designers are vying for, as HGTV points out.
Muted Wall Colors

Everything from acid yellow to the calming ocean tones of the sea are expected to trend in 2014, according to the Wall Street Journal. While muted colors -- those with a black base -- gain a foothold in the world of favorite paint colors, bright white, gray and beige become relegated to the back page of the "Things Not to Do" book of design.

Large-Scale, Non-Traditional Flooring

  • Large-format tile, cork and luxury vinyl are among three popular choices for contemporary flooring this year. Each has its advantages:
  • Large-format tile is in. Size 12-inch by 24-inch, and larger is experiencing a sudden surge in popularity. In addition to requiring fewer pieces to cover a floor, this type of flooring features more tile, and less grout. This is always a plus when it comes to cleaning.
  • Cork is durable, colorful, easy on the feet and legs, and kind to the environment. What's not to love? Today's cork flooring comes in an impressive selection of styles and colors, and its acoustic qualities go far in muffling the sound of foot traffic.
Luxury vinyl is nothing like those flimsy sheets of plasticized rubber that decorated your grandmother's house. Today's luxury vinyl floors mimic every material from hardwood to natural stone. When it's installed correctly, you have to look hard to see the difference.

Glass and Rich-Finish Lighting Fixtures

Pendant lights that feature antiqued glass and brushed nickel are expected to adorn the kitchens and entryways of contemporary homes this spring. Rich finishes are in. Oil-rubbed bronze, chrome, and copper offer an element of longevity that's missing from polished brass.

Crystal and glass lighting fixtures are always in vogue. Save money by opting for a mini chandelier in place of a full-sized fixture. This is the best way to obtain a contemporary look on a cheap chandelier budget.

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