Mad About . . .

10 Beautiful Rooms: Trends versus Reality

4th December 2017

This week I thought we’d do 10 Beautiful Rooms in a slightly different way. Essentially chosen by you or people like you. A few days ago I went to the annual trends dinner at Houzz where we ate delicious food and talked about our trend predictions for next year.

printers black kitchen by devol

open plan kitchens was the most searched item on Houzz in 2017 (printers black kitchen by devol)

It’s all very well to talk about the future but the fact of the matter is that we can pontificate all we like (and we do) but trends can take a long time to filter into the mainstream – I reckon we spend at least two years talking about them before anyone actually does them and then by the time it’s the norm, the trendsetters have moved on and are having a completely new conversation.

mint velvet sofa from rose and grey

the search for velvet sofa went up by 80 places (mint velvet sofa from rose and grey)

So I thought it would be interesting to harness the power of Houzz and find out what people are actually looking for and researching for their homes. It’s not possible to see what they’re buying (yet) but it’s interesting to see what they are considering rather than listening to more guff about stuff that we think will be fashionable in six months but none of you are probably going to buy for at least another six months after that. And I speak as one guilty of doing a lot of the talking.

onkel sofa in blue

this is the onkel sofa by normann copenhagen in navy blue – one of the most popular searches on Houzz

After all, one of the questions I am most often asked about is trends. Should I paint my walls grey or is it a trend? I’m worried that if I have a blue kitchen I’ll go off it because it’s a trend. I love brass but it’s expensive and do you think it will date fast because it’s a trend?

Those very clever people at Houzz compared the top 10 search terms with last year for me too so you can see how things are changing. But the key thing is don’t take this too much to heart. Do, as always, what you want to do.

marble bathrooms search has gone up by 88 places (image by Kate Watson-Smyth)

Right then to the most popular article on the site this year. Is it all over for the open plan kitchen? The new buzz word is broken plan, although people aren’t quite searching for that yet. Open-plan is still the most wanted, but broken plan means it’s zoned into different spaces perhaps with steps or different flooring to create the zones rather than one completely open space. Utilities and pantries are also kept separate from living spaces. At the risk of predicting a trend, this is what’s coming but we won’t get into that today as we’re talking about now rather than then.

the hunt for a black kitchen has massively increased (image via shootfactory)

Now here’s the shocker; grey has fallen by 44 places compared with last year while green has gone up by 29 places. Now I’m not bored with grey but it’s possible that a) some people are or that b) it has become such a staple neutral that people don’t need to look for pictures of it any more because they know about it and how it will look. Green, on the other hand, is also a tricky colour and one that is much newer to the fashionable interior so perhaps requires a little more photographic reassurance before anyone commits.

green has risen as a search term while grey has dropped (image via devol)

While copper seems to have fallen off the top ten search terms altogether it seems to have made its way in by stealth as the hunt for rose gold pictures has risen by an astonishing 523 places to storm into the top ten. It’s the same thing isn’t it? Unless you’re a metallurgist I defy you to spot the difference.

Mind you the one thing that I really did think would have disappeared by now was hygge. But no it’s up by 393 places. Which just proves my point about how long it can take for something to go from niche to mainstream and drop off the list completely. We’ll have to see where it comes next year.

vintage bulkhead lights in this black kitchen with copper sink and reclaimed wooden floor

copper has dropped off the search list to be replaced by rose gold (image via The Mousehole, luxury rental)

The only other search that has come close is for black kitchens, which has risen by 320 places, this year. That doesn’t surprise me too much although I would also be interested to see how many people are buying black kitchens as opposed to just looking at them.

Having said  that while black kitchens have shot up the list, blue kitchens has only risen by 73 places which I find odd as I would have thought a blue kitchen was slightly softer than a black one.

black kitchens are more popular than blue ones when it comes to houzz searchs (image via devol)

Next up in the top ten interiors hit parade is marble bathrooms. That has risen 88 places which perhaps isn’t huge but then it’s an expensive look to have so it’s not going to be for everyone.

The final two search terms which are gaining in popularity are blue sofa and velvet sofa which have risen by 301 and 80 places respectively. Again, I would have expected it to be the other way round wouldn’t you?

dining room painted in Benjamin Moore Tarrytown Green

dining room painted in Benjamin Moore Tarrytown Green (image by Kate Watson-Smyth)

Lastly in our top ten search items is under-stairs storage. We’re so practical at heart aren’t we? I love the idea of decent understairs storage but chose a downstairs loo with some coat hooks instead.

So there you have it. Is the list as you expected? I was surprised there was no pink search. I think that may come through next year as well as terracotta. Also no brass as yet even though the magazines (and I) have been banging on about it for ages. See I couldn’t resist a bit of trend talk after all.

green kitchen by neptune

perhaps green kitchens will be the biggest search next year (image by neptune)

Do add your thoughts on trends and predictions versus real life searches in the comments below.

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  • Shireen Dhaliwal 9th December 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Really surprising there wasn’t a pink search! I do love a black kitchen and gold accents so that got me chuffed! But totally agree, always do what you want to do rather than follow a trend!! I wonder how many searches there will now be for Ultra Violet Velvet sofa…..x

  • Duncan Strong 4th December 2017 at 9:05 pm

    Very interesting to look at what people are really buying – I make doors that fit a well known Swedish make of kitchens units. Dark blue is definitely taking over from grey (just dropped off a set of blue with a bit of grey) but have not yet done any black doors. I’ve done five in Valchromat (dyed mdf) of which 4 were blue and one grey. White is always there, but often combined with oak. I’m keen on veneered birch ply, so being fitted this week is a set in Santos Rosewood to resemble the client’s mid century sideboard. I’m finally about to fit the showroom kitchen in….yes green! Combined with a light burr veneer and some white doors as well. Thinking back to your earlier posts on the latest colour trends I’m about to make a set of doors that are mustard yellow but combined with a greeny grey. So the majority of clients play it fairly safe, (after all they have to live with it) the colour combinations show a sort of transition from one trend to another, but there are always a few who will go for something different.
    Thinking back a few years, I used to run a spray finishing company. In the mid 90’s there was a sudden trend for turquoise kitchens – I sprayed loads of them! Suddenly no-one wanted turquoise, then about two years later I was being asked to respray them in various different colours….

  • Anita Nowinska Art 4th December 2017 at 5:01 pm

    Fantastic article and so interesting. For those of us like artists, whose work is so often bought to coincide and go with trends in colours or styles, this is such a useful observation. Or I’m asked to create work with a particular colour in the mix.
    Although I always paint what inspires me and what I love, I do keep an eye open for colour trends in particular and will use colours I know will be popular. working with designers is especially useful to be able to adapt and use colour they will want for their schemes.
    I’ve always had a suspicion that the trends are not a slavishly followed as first impression might suggest.
    Maybe at the top end of the market, where luxury and design are more often led by interior designers and affluence allows for frequent changes of interiors.
    For those in the middle spending brackets I think change is less frequent, so trends tend to hang around longer and not be changed.
    As with anything though, even if something is hugely fashionable I always think what you love to have in your home is the biggest factor.i like the idea that it takes longer for trends to come in and out. It brings more to the mix.

  • Jill 4th December 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Kitchens and bathrooms are difficult because most people don’t replace them very often, sofas are similar I guess. I want a dark blue kitchen but realistically it won’t get to the top of our to do list for 2 or 3 years. Will I still want one then? I hope so because I think they’re a classic rather than a trend. In the same way we make small trendy fashion purchases – a t shirt, necklace, maybe a handbag we can buy cushions, throws and accessories and we won’t be distraught if we want to hide them away after a year or so. I think you are right about grey, it is definitely more mainstream now and people are more confident in choosing it as an alternative neutral. Reading a certain book helped me with grey choices 😉

  • Jane 4th December 2017 at 10:03 am

    Never mind broken-plan, I have just moved into a broken plan apartment and can’t wait to isolate the kitchen. This may have something to do with the fact that the previous owner ran off (tottered off) with the air conditioning units, but I don’t like opening the front door onto the smell of what I had for dinner the day before, and the extractor fan just doesn’t hack it. Ok, the fan might manage to suck the smells if I keft it on long enough, but one thing I dislike more than yesterday’s onions is noise. But I have never understood the open plan kitchen trend. A kitchen is a working space for most of its life, and generally looks like it too. Whereas how lovely to shut the door on the creative chaos and retire to the withdrawing room, calm, cosy and coming up roses.

  • Anne Boyd 4th December 2017 at 7:48 am

    What a great read, informative and witty, thank you.
    I agree with you on the ‘blue kitchen being slightly softer than black’, however I have done a few black kitchens for people this year, but I am based in New Zealand and people here are obsessed with black. Maybe the kitchens will be green next year, now wouldn’t that be fun!

  • Janet Whincup 4th December 2017 at 7:15 am

    Your comments are spot on. When we recently made a drastic change decorating all downstairs rooms we took ad vice from our local designer friend, Ash @ LiveLikeTheBoy in Colne. I was scared of moving away from our norm. He helped us embrace something from outside our comfort zone. I was worried about newer modern styles/designs blending with our existing ‘traditional’ furniture. He said it was ok to mix old and new and different types/colours of wood furniture etc etc. It all works perfectly.

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