Planning to build your dream home this year, or maybe remodel the house you already own and love? We talked with the design team at Merrill Construction Group to find out the dreamiest features and hottest finishes on homeowners’ must-have lists this year. Learn what these experts consider to be 2019’s most enviable design elements, home features and more so you can imagine your new space with these trends in mind.
Open Floor Plans: Still a Must-Have
A top priority for homeowners these days is entertaining, and wide-open floor plans are a must-have for many families. “If you’re in the kitchen cooking, you want to be able to see the dining room or see the living room so you can socialize with whoever you’re having over,” says Alex Morgan, Lead Architect and Drafter with Merrill Construction Group.
Design continuity becomes a more important consideration when spaces are open and interconnected, adds Morgan Brubaker, Designer and Selections Coordinator with Merrill. “People are wanting more continuity throughout the house, and when you walk into a home that has all these segregated spaces, it feels very disconnected,” Morgan says. “Bringing a sort of flow where spaces interact amongst each other is very popular right now.”
Kitchens: Move Over White, Here Comes Color
For several years now, the trend for kitchen color schemes has been less springtime and more winter — think white on white. Now, however, more homeowners are trending toward color. “White cabinetry has been the most popular trend for years. Honestly, white shaker cabinets have been over-popular,” Morgan says. “Lately it’s been nice because clients are finally willing to explore with color in their cabinetry. Lately we’ve done a lot of navy cabinetry in kitchens, baths and powder rooms. We’ve also done charcoals, lighter grays and even muted greens.”
Navy cabinetry, in particular, is booming, Alex adds. Homeowners not afraid to go bold and might choose navy for all cabinetry, but another popular option is to go with white cabinets along the perimeter of the space and navy on the island for a pop of rich color. “We have one project right now that’s a big kitchen where all of their cabinets are blue, and you might think that would be overwhelming, but it’s actually quite nice,” Alex says.
It’s All About That Quartz
Now that cabinetry is getting some color, the trend in countertops is the opposite – bright white. “Quartz is still the material of choice. It’s even more popular than granite at this point,” Morgan says. “Since people are exploring color in cabinetry they’re really wanting to bring in clean, bright countertops, especially with dark cabinetry.” Veining is popular to add visual interest, so quartz styles with a marble look are especially hot. “People want to see interesting veining, whether with grays or golds throughout the countertop,” Morgan says.
Another advantage of quartz over granite, she adds, is that it can be ordered in unique, custom sizes both big and small. Because it’s a man-made material, the buyer isn’t limited by the size of the slab.
Bathrooms? Think Clean, Elegant, Classy
Much like kitchens, bathroom designs in 2019 are also seeing a bit more color. Though spa-like, white- and gray-washed spaces are still popular, some homeowners are opting for color on cabinetry, and recently Alex completed a project with stained bathroom cabinets. “Painted cabinetry is so popular now, so it’s nice to see people going for a wood look,” Morgan says.
White or gray tile in the shower is still a popular choice, and subway tile remains all the rage. However, homeowners are exploring more now with grout color – Morgan recently worked with a client who chose navy for the grout. “Which is interesting,” she says. “And that’s becoming popular as a way to create a focal point in a space.”
As for countertops, Alex says there’s no reason to overthink it. Many clients opt for “the same countertop in the kitchen and bathrooms just to have that continuity throughout the house.”
Top Brass: It’s Everywhere
Whether in the kitchen, bathroom or elsewhere in the house, brass is ubiquitous, and as a classic choice, it has staying power. “We’ve had a lot of clients very attracted to brass fixtures – plumbing, cabinet hardware, door hardware and lighting throughout the entire house,” Morgan says. “So brass is definitely back, no doubt. It adds contrast and warms the space more so than stainless steel or polished nickel. I would say that’s one of the more popular trends we’re seeing.”
Adds Alex, “I feel like people are steering away from colors and finishes that make things feel cold, sleek and modern and moving to things like brass fixtures – things that bring more warmth into the space. It feels more homey and friendly.”
Plus, brass looks stellar when paired with that oh-so-hot navy cabinetry.
What’s on the Wall?
With more homeowners seeking that cozy feel Alex mentions above, white walls are morphing to creamier shades that invite warmth and atmosphere. Grays are still popular, as well, and there’s a hue for every design style, whether warm, cool or neutral. “People are starting to explore with darker colors too – and accent rooms, not just accent walls,” Morgan says.
As for backsplashes, a key trend is to take them all the way up. “A full-height backsplash is an opportunity to expand the space and make it feel larger,” Morgan says. In some cases, clients are taking their backsplash material all the way to the ceiling for a sleek, harmonious look. Homeowners in 2019 are also more willing to experiment on backsplash designs. “It’s nice to finally see people wanting to explore new patterns and experiment with different materials and not solely focus on subway tile,” Morgan says.
Another favorite look among clients these days, Morgan and Alex add, is to extend the countertop slab onto the backsplash. “You can get a thinner veneer quartz to put on the backsplash,” Alex says.
Concrete’s Not Just for the Driveway
Another way homeowners are experimenting with materials is in their use of concrete, Morgan points out. “One of our favorite design elements, and we’re starting to see it a little more depending on the style of the home, is concrete in the interior,” she says. “People are using it on countertops, but it’s also starting to be seen in concrete tiles, on the floor and walls, and on backsplashes. It’s a nice way to bring in texture and a natural element to the design.”
And, though concrete might bring to mind a modern aesthetic, in its latest iterations that’s not always the case. “I just did a project in a traditional-style home and put in concrete tile floors throughout. It really created this crisp, timeless overall design,” Morgan says. “That’s an interesting trend that I hope to see more of.” Adds Alex, “It’s easy to work with, it doesn’t narrow down your choices, and you can pair it with anything and make it work with any style.”
This article is sponsored by Merrill Construction Group. All photography provided by Merrill Construction Group.