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Home Improvement Trends

From the bone-chilling cold climates of the North and Northeast, to the sun and moderate temperatures of the Southwest and West Coast, the trends of home improvement and interior design are strikingly similar.

A survey of general contractors, painters, floor installers and interior designers in nine states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Texas, Virginia and Washington) was conducted recently to determine home improvement trends as they are happening-not just as manufacturers are predicting.

Some highlights of the survey are:
* Most professional painters are painting interior walls shades of white. Homeowners’ choices for exteriors are earth tones and taupe.
* Homeowners are choosing hard, stone-like, solid surface materials for kitchen countertops. The second most popular choice is tile, although the trend seems to be moving away from tiles on countertops. The preference is for solid materials—if not laminates, then such solid plastics as Corian and Wilsonart. Tile is usually installed on the backsplash.
* Tile floors are the most popular choices of homeowners from Seattle to Virginia, according to the survey. A close second is laminate flooring that looks like wood. Home improvement specialists are seeing a gradual movement toward natural materials that come from sustainable resources that are affordable, recyclable and easy to maintain.
* Large family rooms and sunrooms are popular today, along with such home extensions as exercise rooms, master suites, hearth-room kitchens, screened porches and elegant bathrooms.

The use of color in designing interiors can be highly effective in creating an appealing environment. Studies on color association have been conducted to learn how different colors affect people. Someone’s choice of color for their home depends on many things-trends, size of the room, lighting and childhood influences, for example.

Red is the strongest of all colors. Raspberry reds express excitement, high energy, warmth and vibrancy. In fact, raspberry is a stimulating and active color that would also be appropriate for an entry hall. Warmer reds, also inviting, can provide an intimate atmosphere in a dining room.

Experts point out there are many different shades and tints of colors-each with a distinctive personality. The experts advise that color selections be based on how you feel about a particular color. A room filled with bright lively colors may energize one person; another person may find the brighter hues exhausting.

Interior designers are a great starting point for homeowners wanting to remodel or just to have a new look. They work with you to evaluate your needs and communicate these needs to the architect and the contractor. Also, interior designers help enhance a home environment through their understanding of design and space and their expertise in combining creativity with quality design.

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