The Decade In Design

As the year 2010 was ushered in, interior designers took a look at the past decade in design. Formal living and dining rooms have officially been ushered out at the same time that the home office has been embraced. We want to bring our work home, but we want our leisure spaces to be all-inclusive.

Opened Wide

The new living room combines media, comfort, and kitchen. We want our rooms opened wide with everything we want and need at our fingertips. Downtime has become rare and elusive, so we don't want to waste any time or space—the space in which we relax must be user-friendly.

Meantime, Americans have rushed to take advantage of current technological trends, bringing them right inside their homes. At one recent conference for the housing industry, Benchmark Homes' Steven Bomberger commented, "Ten years ago, baby boomers didn't know how to program their VCR. Now they want computers, structured wiring, programmable thermostats and security systems."

Economic Downturn

The beginning of the century found Americans buying huge mansions, but the downturn in the economy at the end of the century's first decade saw people reassessing their home spaces and changing them <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; text-align:right; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; direction:rtl; unicode-bidi:embed; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:612.0pt 792.0pt; margin:72.0pt 90.0pt 72.0pt 90.0pt; mso-header-margin:36.0pt; mso-footer-margin:36.0pt; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> significantly . In 2000, people were buying big furniture: sectional sofas and huge coffee tables, but now those same people are going minimalist. Still, one oversized space has retained its niche: the spa bath.

Baby-boomers delight in having a spa-like space inside their homes. These tie-in well with current trends such as having a comforting environment for aging bodies, adding the luxury feel of travel and hotel spaces, as well as the forced necessity to spend more time at home. Philip Tracey of Homegoods explains, "The spa bathroom is the new two-car garage—a must-have if you ever want to sell your home."

Outdoor rooms are also very big right now. People want outdoor kitchens and dining spaces. Sleeping areas, however, do not work well under the stars. All of this has created a need for weather-resistant materials and furnishings, fire-pits, and commercial-quality heaters to lengthen the season spent in the great outdoors.

Recycling Materials

Americans are also recycling materials and are conscious of using materials and appliances that are kind to the environment. We're using more wood, our linens may be produced from bamboo, and solar collectors heat our water. Relatedly, the urge to go green is competing with our technical side as we demand low-VOC paints, home energy efficiency, sustainable flooring, and wireless computing.                       

At the same time we've also mixed it up by bringing technology into our homes front and center. It's now okay to have a computer or a television at the heart of your home. We became more practical and our lifestyles more casual, as the decade wound down.