Out With The Old
…and in with the on-trend. What’s “in” changes each year, and home trends in 2019 will be no different. Here, local experts discuss what trends will be everywhere in Ocala, on social media and around the country—and how you can implement them in your own space.
Where do home design and décor trends come from? According to the pros, what’s stylish on the runway one year usually has an effect on what’s stylish to decorate with the next.
“If you look at what’s on the fashion runway in 2018, it’ll show up in home fashion in 2019,” says Suzanne Rice, a licensed interior designer and owner of Suzanne Rice Design Consultants, LLC. “Whatever the colors seem to be for clothing, those colors translate into home décor the next year or two. Pink was in fashion in 2017 so last year we saw pink sofas, pink leathers, pink everything.”
Ronaldo Sosa owns Architecture Studios, Inc. based in Ocala and is a registered architect and licensed interior designer. He says the biggest home building trend of 2018 was the open concept floor plan, which should stick around into 2019 and beyond.
“Open concept is still going strong—I think we can safely say multiple living spaces are something of the past,” he says. “As prices increase, people are trying to squeeze out more value from their home-building projects. An open concept means having a space that checks a lot of boxes. With many families now, everyone has a lot less time, so the kitchen now is an important aspect of the overall living pace of the home.”
Materials for home exteriors are changing, though. Hardier versions of classic looks are becoming available on the market.
“You can get the wood siding look with cementitious siding so it’s maintenance free for years to come,” Sosa says. “There are a lot of plastic companies out there making their products more realistic with patterns and textures on siding to look like wood. That’s generally something we’d install up high where your eye can see it but you can’t hit it with the weed eater, for example. It used to be if you wanted river rock or that craggy look, those were your choices. Now I’m seeing stone products that are more linear and contemporary looking. If an owner wants to spruce up the outside, that’s available.”
Many of Rice’s Ocala clientele are looking for one thing: a simplified home with lower maintenance.
“I think the trend is easier living, especially in Florida, where people come to live even part time. They want to entertain, have fun and not be a slave to their home,” she explains. “I see technology as what drives it. You can look through magazines all day long, but when you do it yourself, you want less maintenance and for things to be simpler.”
Phillip Mark, owner of Abio Construction, is well-versed in building homes that will carry their residents into the future.
“There are several new trends in home automation: controlling appliances, controlling the environment of the home, communications and entertainment, security and robotics,” he says. “The concept of the smart home has evolved dramatically over the last several years. The overall price for smart home items has dropped to the point that they can be added to any new or existing home without major expense. The interconnection of all home appliance products is making everyday life easier.”
For example, Mark says a Google Home or Alexa base is enough to begin building out a smart home that works for you, no hardwiring or supercomputer necessary.
“Google and Amazon base stations allow appliances, communication devices, entertainment and security to all work on simplified platforms,” Mark explains. “For instance, starting with an Alexa base, it’s possible to control the temperature, call a relative, play your favorite songs and record TV shows, and just asking questions of Alexa starts changing how we interact with a smart home. This is the future now. These base units are built to grow and change as the technology evolves. This further reduces the cost to add new and perhaps currently unimagined pieces of equipment in the future.”
And although it may not debut in 2019, Mark believes robotic tech, like the iRobot Roomba vacuum, may become a more common smart home addition.
“In the near future, the robotic world should be entering into everyday life. The marriage of robotics and artificial intelligence is moving faster than anyone imagined. Combined with the home base stations, the mobile robotics will perform simple tasks to start and more complicated tasks in the near future. Google and Amazon are both buying and developing robots that will have a direct connection to the Google home center base and the Amazon Alexa.”
One of the best ways to take advantage of smart technology is to replace those higher maintenance aspects of a house.
“Smart lighting and smart homes are very appealing to people in Florida—and especially in Ocala. If you’re a part-time resident, you want to know everything is working and running whether you’re down here or in your other home,” Rice says. “Now using your phone or computer, you can lock and unlock your doors and affect your AC, your safety, etc. With online shopping, a lot more deliveries are coming to your door now, so people are looking for techniques and ways to secure their packages once they’re delivered.”
Rice says advances in flooring are creating alternatives to real wood floors, ensuring a low-maintenance but tidy home.
“Everybody loves the look of wood, but with the digital scanning and photography today there are wonderful materials—especially in Ocala for people with farms and horses—like tile that can have the look and feel of wood to your hand,” Rice explains. “Luxury vinyl plank is not only environmentally responsible, but the texture, plank size and replication of wood graining has brought it from commercial use to residential. Its resistance to pet nails, dirt, scratching, low maintenance and realistic duplication of real wood make it very appealing to all age groups.”
“Luxury vinyl tile has a 15- to 25-year guarantee on wear and quality. It looks great and wears very well. Just make sure the products are tested and meet the quality standards required by the U.S. government,” Mark adds.
Other flooring materials of the future include porcelain tile planks with ceramicides added during the firing process to increase their durability, according to Rice. Sustainable cork flooring is also seeing an increase in popularity thanks to its soft texture and is great for use in front of sinks or work areas to allow softness underfoot without a raised rug or mat.
Michael Koontz is the owner of Koontz Co. and is a licensed interior designer. Like many home trends, furnishings are heavily influenced by fashion—but just as much so by technology.
“In the high end, it’s usually related to haute couture clothing. Colors start at the top and dribble down to the mass market, like the IKEAs of the world,” he says. “For the last decade, technological innovation has been a driving force of change with all the computers, phones and televisions that are interactive. Furniture is going to go along with that.”
For 2019, furniture trends seem to be about distilling the way people use a room by including furniture that makes their lifestyle easier.
“Furniture is being made to accommodate computers, too, with docking stations built in,” Koontz says. Motion in furniture pieces has become huge, like recliners or sofas that can be run with a battery or an electric cord. At market, they’ve introduced middle seats that can recline. And of course, we have to go along with what people actually do in rooms and help them provide function, like not have to rearrange things when people come over to watch TV. Sectionals for a while were out, and now, they seem to be holding their own as part of that trend.”
Neutral furniture—the beige, gray, greige and off-white staples—have dominated the last few years. That will likely continue into 2019.
“Currently, neutral is huge everywhere, in all categories. Gray seems to be turning warmer; it has been a cool gray used with lots of white, and now it seems to be moving more into the off-whites and warmer grays. It’s still regional. In Miami Beach, it’s white and black. In this part of Florida, it’s not like Miami, so it’s maybe a little toned down,” Koontz explains. “Sometimes it’s just the accent colors that change. Some of the easier colors people love to deal with are blues. In the high-end market now, you see that changing to introductions of green.”
Kitchen & Bath
Anyone who has spent hours scrubbing grout with a toothbrush on their hands and knees can now rejoice, because there is no penny tile in sight for 2019.
“In bathrooms, grout has always been a problem for people. New on the market is a larger format of tile, so essentially in the shower we can have three or four slabs and you don’t have the same level of maintenance. These are rectified and have minimal grout, and in smaller showers, a 5-by-10-foot slab will appear as seamless, true marble,” says Rice. “Many baby boomers want to age in place, so being able to walk into their showers and having the linear drains is great. I’ve used cork floors in showers because they’re soft on your feet. I think design is connected to construction and technology in that way.”
As for kitchens, the same low-maintenance tendencies are taking priority.
“People are moving more toward quartz so they can get the look of marble without the care of marble. People seem to be doing bigger islands, and with quartz you can get much larger slabs and waterfall them down. That gives a clean look, and you can still get the farmhouse look without having a product that can give you some challenges in caring for it,” Rice says.
Chrome kitchen finishes are still all the rage, but mixing metals can help update the look of a kitchen or bathroom.
“Brass and chrome continue to shine. In a kitchen try a brass/chrome combination for hardware on cabinets, chrome for the faucet with stainless appliances and brass pendant lights,” explains Rice. “Added to the mix is black nickel and matte black on fixtures or hardware. These can be mixed together where black nickel is the star of the show and matte black takes the background. For example, faucets are available in matte black now and you can add a composite black sink on a white quartz countertop with black veining. Use black nickel hardware and black stainless appliances with white or grey cabinets. With this combination you can be contemporary or casual depending on style of hardware.”
Remember 2017, otherwise known as the year of the chevron? 2019 may shape up to be the year we move past patterns and into textures to add visual interest to a room.
“Patterns have been kind of replaced with textures, which I guess is the move from shabby chic to rough textures, fuzzy textures and even those glitter fabrics you see,” says Rice.
Some examples? Think woven throws, macramé wall hangings and wooden accents.
Cue New Colors
Not everyone is confident in their color choice when designing their home, but Rice says most homeowners know what they don’t like.
“If I ask them what colors they like, they’re not really sure. Generally, the best question, surprisingly enough, is if I ask what color they don’t like—they do know that answer,” she laughs. “The trend for 2019 appears to be muted tones. Not to compare the colors to food, but many of us know these well—dry mustard, curry, ginger, cocoa, cilantro green, red plum and pink icing. These are all great for accessorizing. The background palette trend stays neutral with grey tones and off-whites.”
For neutral paint colors, Rice notes that one of her favorites is Benjamin Moore’s HC-171, “Wickham Gray,” but says the brand’s AF-690, called “Metropolitan,” is the new “Wickham” for 2019. Keeping walls and key furniture like sofas lighter in color means that as color trends change each year, it’s not so expensive to adopt trends you like.
“If they do their homes in lighter palettes, then they can use accent colors in their accessories. That gives them the opportunity if they’re young to grow through their home without painting over and over again. If they’re entertaining family, they can entertain with pumpkin colors, and if they have a party a month later, they can go to mustard,” Rice explains.
“Pops of color will be strong coming into this year, but that’s easy to accomplish with accessories like rugs and pillows,” says Paula King, owner of Agapanthus home, gift and accessory boutiques. “And those things wear out, so you will need to change them out. Designers will always tell you, and it’s the advice I’ve taken, to get good basic furniture but change your accessories as they wear out. It’s a lot easier to replace pillows than a sofa.”
“With color, the easy way to incorporate it is with throw pillows or accent rugs. Rugs as large as 5-by-7 feet are relatively affordable these days because of computer design and printing,” says Koontz. “A lot of times you’ll see throws across a sofa or at the end of the bed to bring in a color or texture, like a heavy cable knit throw.”
“If the home palette is neutral, you can maintain the trends with pillows, placemats, runners, towels, flowers and things we change anyway,” Rice adds. “You will be surprised how many colors show up in your existing art with accent changes.”
And in a surprising comeback, wallpaper is making its return.
“There is a trend toward wallpaper with patterns and textures,” says Koontz. “It depends on the room, but a lot of tone on tone and realistic natural prints, like leaves, or even geometric forms in rooms like dining rooms or bedrooms. In powder rooms is where people usually go gutsy with all the wallpaper or colors they love. Small spaces like that are a great place to stick in some accents you’d like to try.”
Plants: Yes or No?
If you’ve been on Pinterest this year, you know succulents were a thing. In 2019, will indoor plants continue their reign? Rice says she hasn’t seen many of her Ocala clients looking to add indoor plant care to their to-do list.
“I’ve noticed people are doing more gardening outside and herb gardens, especially people on horse farms—they don’t live in their houses, they live in their barns. Retired people—and these seem to be our two major groups of people—they don’t want to maintain anything, and if they do keep plants they want to be outdoors in great gardens and things,” she explains. “If anything, I see people are looking for quality silk plants because the greenery is nice, but even then, they’ll need to clean it.”
Keep Up, or Keep It The Same?
Trends offer inspiration to update your home, but ultimately, homeowners should assess what they need from their home and design accordingly.
“If you can honestly address your desires and the way you want to live, then your house will be furnished correctly,” says Koontz. “As far as taste goes, there are huge regional differences, all of them valid and fashionable at the same time. Regardless of what I might tell someone to do, or what their mother-in-law might tell them to do, they need to stick to pieces they love. I know of one person who had a room that was perfect, just perfect, and it was too beautiful to sit in. But for her it was her escape hatch. She said the rest of her house was a mess, but, in this room, everything was organized. And that was a function that made that room worthwhile, and for her that was perfect.”
“The best piece of design advice I have gotten is, ‘Make coming home an event,’” says Rice. “Your home should be your signature. We are all unique for a reason. Let it show.”