Top 13 Design Trends for 2013!

Gerald Forsburg Associates releases its Top 13 Design Trends for 2013, and goes far beyond simply picking the right colors.
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Dec. 14, 2012 - PRLog -- The holidays are upon us and 2013 is just around the corner.  It’s that time of the year to look at the design trends.  Pantone just announced that 2013 will be the year of the color Emerald.  We take things a bit further here, discussing Foundations for design trends in 2013.

Instead of simply reporting trends, we believe in setting them!  And you should too!

11.  Location, Location, Location
There is a big trend towards returning to the City, but this isn’t reserved for just the Big Cities.  Many smaller towns around the large cities offer affordable housing stock and great lifestyles.  What’s more is that these Towns are “walkable communities” in the original sense of the phrase.  They offer small mom & pop type shops; quaint and quite trendy restaurants; and can afford easy commutes for a day in the Big City.  The services are often better, as is the attitude of the community.

Planned communities can be wonderful places to settle.  But not all are alike.   New Towns are communities that have been designed with people and community in mind, and designed by planners rather than engineers.    

12. Aging in Place & Multi-Generational Living
Aging in Place is the motto of 2013 and beyond!  This doesn’t mean staying in place necessarily, but is most often seen through renovations of an existing home.

Like other real estate improvements, kitchens and baths have the highest return. Aging in Place improvements often consist of readying the home for wheel chair accessibility, should it ever be needed.  If you’re a bit younger, but with aging parents, the “Granny Pod” is the hottest things around!

Fifty-five and older communities (aka “Retirement Communities”) are quickly dying off – pun intended.

11. Classic is Back
Much like your wardrobe, Classic never goes out of style.  Ralph Lauren lunched its New York City Flagship store in late 2010, and it is high-classical fashion. Everyone loves it.  The whole design is very controlled, yet fresh and engaging. There is an increasing number of architects and designers who have returned to studying antiquity in order to understand classical beauty.  The masses want something they can relate to – designs with character and human proportions.   And Traditional (which is rooted in the classical) is being re-found.

10.   Less is More  
In the ongoing concern of the global economy, “Less is More” will be a continuing design trend for at least the next 10 years – not in a minimalist sort of way though.  It’s all about downsizing.  Rather than simply doing with less, the idea here is Quality over Quantity. It is also about rethinking values in design.

As an example, you could spend $1M to have a home of 6,600 square feet, but at a cost of only $150/square foot.  At this price per square foot, you only get builder-grade quality.  Contrast this to scaling the square footage back to 2,500 square feet, but spending $400/square foot.  You now have a home that is not only full of the best quality materials and design on the market, but is much more manageable in regards to maintenance and utility bills.  It is also highly marketable! (Incidentally, highly custom designed homes - you know, the ones with all the great details that make it to all the magazines - range closer to $750-1000/s.f.)

9. Simple, but not Simpler

We’re talking Efficiency in Design, not stark minimalism here.  Rather, the idea is to keep the floor plans and elevations of a new home streamlined, purposeful and multi-functional.

Squeezing out every inch of usable floor space is imperative.  Designing spaces that have multiple purposes is a way to achieve a simple floor plan while maintaining a level of complexity and interest.  Such “simpler” designs require lots of refining during the design process.

Add value through energy efficiency.  The design of the home’s systems needs to be simple, but not simpler.  Better energy efficiency can sometimes be complex. Think solar-supplemented In-floor radiant heat.

8. Bold and Beautiful
Strong lines and bold patterns.  Ornamentation is making a comeback, but not in a Rocco way of doing it.  Large florals are a here to stay.  Rigorous geometric patterns are going BIG.  Be bold and make a statement.  If you don’t like it in a few years, just paint it over! Again, refine, refine and refine some more.  

7. "Something Old, something New, something Rough, something Luxe…"

One word: Texture.  Add it to walls, floors, even ceilings .  We’re not talking popcorn ceilings.  Think moldings, woods, fabrics.

Rough Luxe is here to stay, at least for a while yet.  The Wall Street Journal published a story last week stating that the world of interiors has a new manifesto. Rough Luxe is “a study in contradictions, an attempt to reconcile the antique or the just plain old with the contemporary, the accumulated with the newly acquired, the decrepit with the pristine.”  Rough Luxe is about being purposeful, but mixing things up a bit.  Be careful though: this style can quickly become cluttered.  No one wants that!

Use salvaged materials ( next to shiny new fixtures and hardware.  Up-cycling is now a HUGE industry.   It’s neither for everybody nor every home.  But it has its place.  

For a truly responsible up-cycling venture, purchase an old property and give it new life!

6. Natural Products & Traditional Craftsmanship
There has been a long-standing myth that man-made products are “maintenance-free” and that natural products are pricey.  It’s simply not true.

Natural products are renewable products.  Stone lasts the longest.  Wood, when maintained properly, can last for centuries.  Natural products will not only age gracefully if not maintained, but they let you know when they are about to fail.

There is a trend to return to age old techniques, too, like three part stucco and interior plaster work, but with the advantages of modern materials and technology.  

5. A Personal Touch
This doesn’t mean monogrammed linens (though those are nice too.)  The key here is authenticity.  For starters, design your own home.  Hire your own designer and get something you REALLY want.  This isn’t reserved for your dream home. Many architects and designers are happy to work within even limited budgets.   Plus, there are a lot of products on the market that are “available to the trade only”.  That’s how you get truly custom!  

4.  Buying Local
Local (indigenous) materials are being used more than ever. Ask how they were made and where they originated.  Granite, as an example, is mostly shipped to the U.S. from Brazil and other parts of the world.  The fossil fuels used for this transportation render it non-sustainable.  Soapstone is a far better choice for many applications such as countertops, flooring and even shower seats, and there is only one operational soapstone quarry in the U.S. - Alberene Soapstone (!  It’s bold and beautiful, and doesn’t need to be sealed.  Color selection is quite limited, but it is local (to the US) and a 100% natural product that stands the test of time.  

Read the entire Trends here:

*Gerald Forsburg, owner and principal designer at
Gerald Forsburg Associates ( in Virginia, has over 20 years in architecture and design.  Read the entire Trends here:
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Tags:Architecture, Home Design, Lifestyle Trends
Industry:Architecture, Lifestyle
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