Green is the Color

Greener Architecture

A new year with new trends, new technologies and new beginnings is all what everyone looks forward to. This year is not any different and with new areas to explore and loads of flexibility to adapt, 2009 is surely signaling a year of shifting loyalties towards greener architecture and interiors that will become a habit rather than an option, no matter how luxurious the option is. With the economy slowdown, there is surely less money that would move around but this year, the bend is definitely towards sustainability and environmentalfriendly materials.

With concept malls, though a nascent concept in India right now, coming up; these will surely be a face of future trends and also help both the consumers as well as the designers in bringing forth these trends and also aid in popularizing it. Here is a look at the trends that are going to catch the fancy of consumers, designers, and builders this year. Though some trends of 2008 will prevail but there is always something new to look forward to in a new year and here it is:

The Material Shift

Construction Materials
Some construction materials remain a hot favorite for many like granite countertops and marble slabs but 2009 will see a shift towards more of a 'retro' look that would find the use of simpler and lighter colored stones; mainly drawing inspiration from the 50's era. Color palettes for marble and granite would see more neutral, soothing and lighter colors than any of the years before. Italian marble varieties like the Calacatta Gold marble slabs, tiles in lighter hues will dominate this category for a more polished finish for slabs. Calacatta Gold, Bianco Venatino and Thassos White, all white marbles and very popular in the 50s, will find more takers this year. Also, exteriors would be dominated by materials like native rock and brick.

Green Options for Homes

As mentioned earlier, green living and green products are going to be a habitual buy rather than a luxury. Green home design products like solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling, and water reclamation systems are going to be a popular buy this year. Also, increased insulation in walls and roofs, switching to LED lighting and vegetated roofs will further enhance the green movement.

LEED has never been left behind when one talks of green construction. Eco-houses are now finding consumer's fancy. Houses built of Structural Concrete Insulated Panels, or SCIPs, which are composed of 60% recycled material, will become popular in the coming days. Also, architects will do their bit to improve building facades by integrating energy efficient window glasses, insulations, heat-reflective roofing, green roof gardens, and solar shading devices. While the basic technology for carbon neutral buildings exists, it will need that much required impetus from architects and designers to realize the potential of these technologies.

Energy Efficient Window Glasses
Even prints will take a 'green' turn with botanicals, birds, flowers, leaf and floral prints increasingly becoming popular. With a more feminine look dominating 2009, prints for living rooms and bedrooms would have myriad choices to pick from, with colors inspired by the oceans, deserts, forests and gardens with muted earthy tones, soothing leafy greens, delicate pinks and purples and the soft powder blue hues of garden flowers and green ferns that would dictate the color palette this year. Also popular this year would be mosaics and patchworks that might be found on everything from soft textiles to furniture.

Design Favorites

Some more trends that will dominate the home décor category include sustainable products and energy-conserving components like homes utilizing fossil fuels and adopting nanotechnology and climate sensors for efficiency. Smart homes will look to replace the conventional homes with touch screen controls for lighting, heating, entertainment, and security in the simplest of forms. More emphasis will be laid to the aesthetics and the trend is going to shift towards landscaping and a more holistic approach. Also, materials are forecasted to be more weather-friendly, withstanding strong weather changes and heat. With the cost of materials touching the roof, this year will also see more factory-built modular solutions to bring the costs down. Though prefab, this year is a big NO, more DIY furniture and home solutions would rule the roost.

Flooring trends

Heat Reflective Roofing
Floorings would be dominated by carpet tiles, bamboos and glass, thus making way for new renewable materials that are easily replaceable when worn out than changing an entire wall-to-wall carpet! Porcelain tiles fabricated to resemble rough limestone or travertine will also be a popular choice this year. Kitchens are also taking the eco-friendly route with eco-friendly countertops making way into the kitchens; one of the most sought after material would be laminate, which is making a comeback in the home design category. Countertops made of recycled paper are also being roped as an eco-friendly option as will be Silestone counter surfaces. Designwise, open floor plans would be in huge demand which minimize walls in common areas. Use of low Volatile Organic Paints (VOC), which emits lesser fumes, would be another favored option especially for kids' bedrooms.

Furniture Trends

Furniture trends are the last to change by every passing year as one doesn't change the furniture every year! For those who are inclined to buy new furniture, here is what one can look out for: Wooden furniture has always been and will be in vogue this year as well. Though color has changed this year with more emphasis on ripe tomato and persimmons or any red bases; beige color is out this season, making way for more fruity and bright colors along with a completely opposite trend of white-colored furniture. Lacquered wood is trendy again this year though it is high on maintenance but gives a more subtle look. Dinning room furniture would be incomplete without counter high dinner tables and require high chairs to add a more trendy look to your dinning area.

Furniture Trends

White, high-gloss, lacquered fronts with smooth, shiny surfaces will dominate this season on cupboards, chairs or tables. Contemporary furniture combined with traditional designs would also be a new furniture trend this season like sitting furniture made with braided leather sides and mesh-like seating surfaces, thus combining old methods with new designs. Also, colors like gold, copper and other warm-tone metals and imperfect finishes would be a hot favorite.

Sanitaryware trends

Bathroom designs are sure to dominate the interior trends this year with noisy Jacuzzis giving way to the more silent soaking tubs that are deeper and insulated in 2009. Master baths are making a statement and incorporating skylights and windows, allowing more light to come in. With the retro look in, it is almost dominating the entire look for this year with even the bathroom fittings turning vintage. More bright colors would be part of the bathrooms this year with colors like shades of red, pinks and orange dominating the color palette. Wall-mounted, polyethylene sinks and bath tubs with LED fittings are going to be quite a rage this season. Colored glass fixtures would look to replace the original glass fittings for bathrooms as well as homes. Dark or exotic woods and woodlike finishes for bathrooms will also be popular this year.

Bathroom Designs

With the world going green and adapting materials and techniques for their homes and not just using a symbolic 'green' stuff, gives the designers and builders ample opportunities to come out with various eco-friendly materials that will be hugely popular this year. So, add more green and recycled stuff to your homes and buildings and get the most out of nature as that is the color of the year, GREEN.
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