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Realities of Real Estate: What’s hot in home design

One of the most interesting aspects of our job is the ability to see a wide variety of homes, as well as the style with which people decorate them. Over the many years that we’ve been real estate agents, and certainly since our youth, the basic layout for a house has evolved to meet changing consumer needs and wants. Plus, new fashion trends have dictated many makeovers to help keep a property up-to-date.

So, along with the beginning of the New Year, we thought it would be interesting to see what the Internet has to say with respect to what’s hot and what’s not for housing in 2015. Some of the changes we’re seeing will have lasting appeal; others we imagine will come and go with width of men’s neckties and the length of ladies skirts.

Here are the top home design trends according to Zillow, CBS MoneyWatch and Realtor Magazine. And, based on our experience in visiting thousands of homes over the past few decades, we’ll put in our two cents worth regarding what changes might contribute to enhancing the value of a home, and which ones could end of being nothing more than a flash in the pan.

In writing for the popular real estate website, Zillow, Alexa Fiander has a list of five things that will be in for 2015 and four that will be out. The five that will be in are, gold fixtures, cowhide, wallpaper, blue accent colors and mid-century modern elements.

This is a list that we’re pretty skeptical about. We’ve seen a lot of buyers turn up their nose at gold fixtures, and although they might eventually make a return, we think it’s probably a bit too soon for those gold faucets and shower heads to be considered retro chic. As for cowhide, wallpaper and blue accent colors, that’s pretty specific stuff. Even though it’s the first thing most buyers change in a new home, wallpaper can be fun. So it might have a shot at a limited comeback. Blue is a nice color, and the article states that blue “is the perfect complement to marsala, the 2015 Pantone color of the year. We didn’t have a clue what color marsala was; it sounded more like some kind of Italian pasta. But, after looking up marsala, we’d agree that it looks quite nice with blue. On the cowhide, we don’t think buyers will get all that excited over seeing Elsie’s backside spread out in front of the fireplace, but you never know. And finally, Mid-century Modern Elements are a fancy way of saying the furniture your parents have left over from the 1950s.

The four trends Zillow predicts will be out in 2015 are chevron prints, bright colors, solid painted accent walls and matching furniture.

Ilyce Glink, a nationally syndicated columnist, in writing for CBS MoneyWatch helps us understand what’s in by providing a list of what’s out. The list of what she sees as passe for 2015 includes, brass hardware, kitchen desks, TVs in children’s rooms, chevron prints, whirlpool bathtubs, naked windows, mirrored furnishings, over-the-range microwaves and faux finishes.

First off, we feel bad for anyone who went heavy into chevron prints. This is the second list to trash them. Like the color marsala, we were also a bit unsure about what constituted a chevron print. However, after Googling it, we’d agree that they’ve got to go. Just looking at them gives you a headache. We agree with whirlpool tubs. They’re something buyers always want, but after the first candlelight soaking, it’s something most homeowners seldom use. We also understand about the kitchen desk. Desktop computers have been replaced by iPads, and landlines have been replaced by iPhones. So, the kitchen desk has become wasted space. Over-the-range microwaves made the list because it’s hard for short people to safely remove a big bowl of hot soup. Combination convection, microwave ovens and other technology might eventually replace microwaves altogether.

Glink also had two items that she thought would be popular in 2015. Those were big showers and tiled counter-tops.

Our last list is the longest. It comes from Realtor Magazine; they have “21 Hot Housing Trends for 2015.” Here they are: coral shades, open spaces, off-the-shelf home plans, freestanding tubs, quartzite, porcelain floors, smart homes, charging stations, multiple master suites, fireplaces and fire pits, wellness systems, storage, fancy garages, keyless entry systems, water conservation systems, salon-style walls, copper fixtures, a more human scale, luxury beds, white kitchens and outdoor living spaces.

We don’t have room here to address all these ideas, but let’s address one in particular. For coral shades, Sherwin-Williams says that coral reef (#6606) is 2015’s color of the year. Well, this presents a problem. You see marsala is the Pantone color of the year, and we don’t think coral reef looks very good with marsala. So, people will need to make a choice between the experts at Pantone and to color gurus at Sherwin-Williams. Thankfully, white kitchens look great with either coral or marsala shades.

Bob and Donna McWilliams are practicing real estate agents in Maryland with more than 25 years of combined experience. Their email address is McWilliams@BobDonna.com.