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10 top looks for 2014

By Marilyn Kalfus
Orange County Register

There it stands. The old, dependable night table. The one that supports your bulging lamp, your alarm clock, that pile of books and magazines.

But maybe not for long.

The night table is shrinking. One model, the Diva, is a sleek, pared-down twist on a traditional nightstand. But it has a handy USB port.

“Nobody needs an alarm clock anymore,” says James Nauyok, whose California furniture showroom offers the snazzy new night table. “It’s on your phone.”

And that old pile of books? They’re in your e-reader, he says. How about the lamp? Rooms these days have built-in task lighting.

You get the picture.

As the real estate revival spreads, home designers and decorators are taking some of their cues from fashion. Lifestyle changes and technological advances also rule the roost. That’s evident in the looks in vogue for 2014. Here are 10 that are popular now.

1 Baths

Showers with multiple heads, frameless enclosures, heated floors and towel racks are big on homeowners’ wish lists as they look to “embellish the shower experience,” according to the Web’s Zillow Digs. A bathroom remodeling survey by the home design site Houzz found that 4 out of 10 people are even willing to ditch a tub. Some bells and whistles for showers skew younger, Houzz says: Homeowners under age 45 are more likely to choose rain shower heads (45 percent) and multiple shower heads (24 percent).

2 Bedroom furniture

Versatility is big, whether it’s a bed with storage compartments or other pieces with drawers and doors that could work in the bedroom, dining room or elsewhere. (And consider downsizing that night table!)

3 Floors

Porcelain flooring that looks like wood or stone is coming on strong. Improvements in the manufacturing process offer a more natural, varied appearance. Maintenance is a breeze.

“You install it, and that puppy is done,” said Mai Williams, a designer at a California flooring store. With the porcelain you’ve got the look of (wood or stone), but you can wreck it. You can throw plates on it.”

House flippers especially like porcelain, which is cheaper than wood, she said. “They want to differentiate themselves from the other beige house that someone else just did. They’re going for more design, but at a lesser price point.”

4 Kitchens

Homeowners with a sophisticated sense of style will seek out black kitchen counters this year, according to Zillow Digs. Designers like black paired with a lighter marble or light gray. Zillow also sees open shelves and glass-front kitchen cabinets gaining in popularity.

5 Hot colors

A veritable rainbow. Pantone, the color forecaster, has anointed “Radiant Orchid” as the star of 2014. But at Dwell magazine, Editor-in-Chief Amanda Dameron cited indigo as the “it” color, as well as Benjamin Moore’s Gunmetal, a medium gray. Other designers say aqua blue is all the rage. Interior designer Sheldon Harte cites a darker look: “I’d say brown is the new black.”

6 Upholstery and fabrics

Corduroy has become so popular for furniture that manufacturers emboss leather to look like corduroy. Harte has put purple corduroy on a gold-leafed bergere. He and other designers also cited sheer, gauzy wools and linens as the trend in draperies, rather than heavy, swooping materials. “It’s really about bringing the outdoors in and the indoors out,” says Nauyok. “You don’t want these heavy drapes that create the barrier.”

7 Indoor/outdoor furniture

Outdoor furniture, with its new palettes and patterns, can do double duty and come indoors. “With every year and (new) technology, we just see more sophisticated design. It gives people of lot more options,” said Dameron of Dwell Magazine. So it’s really OK just to drag those pieces inside? “There are no rules,” said Sheila Schmitz, editor of Houzz. “If you want it inside … you put it inside.”

8 Midcentury modern

Maybe it’s the influence of all those websites devoted to midcentury style, or shows like TV’s award-winning “Mad Men,” or the popular homes by post-World War II developer Joseph Eichler. But perennial favorites such as Eileen Gray tables, Barcelona chairs and satellite-shaped chandeliers are in demand. “

9 Metallics

There’s nothing like a blend of bling to evoke old-time Hollywood glamour. “You’re now mixing gold, bronze and silver,” said designer Michael Streit owner of California Style Home Collections at the Laguna Design Center in Laguna Niguel, Calif. As he talked trends, Streit gestured to modern chairs in a platinum and gold fabric, set on each side of a shimmery, mirrored accent table with a gold and pewter lamp.

“The great thing about this new trend is that it’s fun to mix and match,” wrote Allie Early at the Haute Residence website. “Try blending mercury glass with silver and gold accents to give your home a sophisticated polish that matches most color palettes.”

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10 Heirloom pieces

With the economy improving, homeowners are going to spend more on pieces for posterity rather than on “temporary furniture,” said Jessica Bennett, an owner of Ebanista, a furniture store at the Laguna Design Center. “Every piece needs to have a detail, a finish, a curvature, a carving – something that makes it unique,” she said, “that you feel like you could’ve found it in the antique store.”

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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

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