Nest now: Home design trends for 2015

The valley’s home landscape can begin to feel a bit tired after a while — row after row of beige cookie-cutter houses with matching doors, fixtures and landscaping.

The inside of our homes can feel equally bland at times, with standard beige paint, builder-grade cabinets and sandstone-tiled rooms.

But armed with some basic design tips, a little creativity and a budget that can run the gamut from high to low depending on your comfort level, you easily can make your home feel unique, personal and on point with the latest trends.

Where to begin? What was hot just a few months ago may be on its way out now. Here, we offer tips from pros about what to look for and what to avoid.

Best of all, you don’t need a handyman or construction crew to achieve many of these looks.

  • Top trends

    Trough sinks, floating vanities, purple bathrooms

    Trough sinks have been popular in kitchens over the past few years, but now they are moving into bathrooms, too. Styles, like pricing, are all over the map. Trough insets mounted to the underside of a bathroom countertop can run a few hundred dollars. Oversized troughs set on custom vanities can soar into the thousands. Some models are square or rectangular, some oval and rounded. Models that sit directly on countertops can be swapped relatively easily with existing on-counter sinks. Designs that are mounted and installed likely will require a professional.

    A step beyond pedestal sinks, floating bathroom vanities mount directly to the wall and hang without support or legs. They can be sleek and slim with little storage, or deep and wide with shelves or drawers. Consider both look and functionality when choosing a style. Low-profile models will offer little or no place to stash toilet paper, cleaning supplies and towels.

    This doesn’t have to mean deep royal plum or bright electric purple — although it certainly can. For a more subdued, conservative feel, choose lavender or lilac. Do your whole bathroom in a splash of purple — darker floor tiles with lighter walls, for example — or choose one tiled wall or enclosure to accent and highlight. If you’re really hesitant, paint your walls a crisp white and decorate with small pops of color: purple towels, rugs and accessories. A single periwinkle orchid can breathe life into even the most antiseptic of bathrooms.

  • Top trends

    Multiple appliances and European cabinets

    European cabinets are frameless cabinets, without the adornments and ridges that characterize the cabinets in so many of our local kitchens. They are by far the most popular kitchen cabinets in the world, dominant in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Canada. Now, they are making their way stateside. They lend a cleaner, more contemporary look to kitchens and, added bonus, allow for about 10 percent more storage than traditional framed cabinets

    If one dishwasher is handy, how about two? A fast-growing trend among high-end properties is multiple appliances in one kitchen. Think two refrigerators, two dishwashers, multiple ovens. It is handy for entertaining and lends an air of opulence to a home (even if, in many cases, the appliances go unused.) If you don’t have the space or budget for doubling up but still want a modern kitchen with the latest gadgets, try incorporating a built-in, in-wall cappuccino maker; a warming drawer that keeps food hot; or a refrigerator drawer that looks like a typical cabinet but actually is a mini-fridge.

  • Top trends

    Gold, copper and brass

    Until recently, many homeowners couldn’t rid their houses fast enough of outdated gold-colored hardware, opting instead for the silver look of brushed or satin nickel. But warm metals — brass, copper and gold — are making a comeback. The key is using the finishes selectively, to add warmth and interest to your home without dating it. Easy ways to get in on the trend: Install gold hanging-votive lighting over a kitchen island; buy a metallic copper-and-glass end table; accessorize with a brass candelabra, or add a simple gold faucet to a bathtub or bathroom sink.

  • What’s in

    Animal prints

    Hides are in this year — cow, zebra, tiger, leopard; real (at least in the case of the cow) or faux. Buy a throw rug, cover a chair or accessorize with pillows. Pair with bone and horn accents in the form of picture frames, bookends or art pieces. Just don’t go overboard. The goal is to bring a bit of nature and whimsy into your home, not transform it into a hunting lodge.

    What’s out

    Chevron print

    Chevron’s zigzag stripes became all the rage in 2013 and 2014. The pattern popped up in homes and offices across the country in wallpaper, pillows, rugs and other accessories. But the print’s popularity contributed to its fast demise. A little Chevron here and there can be fun and unexpected. When everyone on the block uses it, its novelty wears off.

  • What’s in

    Lower-shelf microwaves

    Why not tuck your microwave more discretely into a bottom cabinet or shelf? Many kitchen islands already include open shelving and electrical outlets. The simple and inexpensive addition of a plug can make such a swap possible. If you are building new, renovating your kitchen or are willing to shell out a bit more cash, cabinet manufacturers also make specialty microwave drawers that can be installed underneath a counter top.

    What’s out

    Over-the-range microwaves

    Homebuilders and designers replaced on-the-counter microwaves with built-in models over stove ranges or nestled among top cabinets to save valuable counter space. It was a good idea, but putting microwaves front and center — and up high — can be unsightly and inconvenient, especially for short people and children. They also can limit a homeowners’ ability to install a range hood, which are popular both for look and functionality.

  • What’s in

    Salon-style walls

    Most of us have seen these, and many of us have them hanging on our walls. “Believe,” for example, or “carpe diem” spelled out in vinyl letters looping across our living spaces. The bad news is, such inspirational phrases quickly are falling out of fashion. That doesn’t mean you have to go peeling off your favorite design (although the good news is, most of the decals are stickers that easily can be pulled off with no permanent damage.) But if you are starting a look from scratch or updating old decor and want to stay ahead of the trend curve, it might be best to skip the sayings.

    What’s out

    Inspirational phrases

    Most of us have seen these, and many of us have them hanging on our walls. “Believe,” for example, or “carpe diem” spelled out in vinyl letters looping across our living spaces. The bad news is, such inspirational phrases quickly are falling out of fashion. That doesn’t mean you have to go peeling off your favorite design (although the good news is, most of the decals are stickers that easily can be pulled off with no permanent damage.) But if you are starting a look from scratch or updating old decor and want to stay ahead of the trend curve, it might be best to skip the sayings.

  • What’s in

    Freestanding tub

    Most people think Victorian clawfoot when they think of a freestanding tub, and you certainly can go that route for an eclectic mix that combines old and new. But companies also make a number of modern freestanding tubs that can compliment even the most modern bathrooms. Among the benefits: They take up less space than spa bathtubs, use less water and can add an unexpected flair of style to a room. Plus, the space you save ditching your spa tub can be used to add extra vanity space, a makeup table or a larger shower with shelving and a seat.

    Specialized storage

    Get rid of cluttered countertops and messy nooks by replacing obsolete desk space with dedicated storage — supersized pantries, gift wrapping nooks, a kitchen food prep counter or secondary appliances.

    Quartzite

    Quartzite, formed from sandstone, is virtually indestructible. It is one of the hardest materials in existence. It isn’t water or acid soluble, and it typically lasts longer than granite. It looks much like marble, making it a good fit for kitchens and bathrooms, but doesn’t need to be sealed. As for affordability, the price of quartzite is comparable to granite, but both can be costly.

    What’s out

    Spa bathtubs

    Large, built-in whirlpool bathtubs are a staple in many Las Vegas homes. They have been a go-to bathroom design feature, and upgrade, since the ‘80s. But they take up a lot of real estate, use ungodly amounts of water (easily apparent in your utility bill), and in many cases, sit unused gathering dust.

    Built-in desks

    Kitchen or hallway nooks for computers and paperwork became a staple in homes over the past decade to provide people a place to work, do homework, pay bills or make calls. But technology has made such spaces obsolete. Many people no longer have land line telephones. Desktop computers, and even laptops, have been replaced by smartphones and tablets. Even paper bills are things of the past as people receive and pay bills electronically.

    Granite

    In 2012, granite was used in about 75 percent of new and renovated kitchens, according to the Marble Institute of America. For most people, it’s the go-to kitchen option. But granite has downsides as well. It must be sealed regularly. Its micro-pores can absorb stains and bacteria. It can be marred by harsh chemicals, and it can chip if hot pots or pans are placed directly on it.

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