Asymmetry is everywhere. Slightly off-centre placement of everything from kitchen units to plug holes are appearing.
Baths are big, spacious and stand alone, rather than built-in.
Colour has been muted since September 11 and brown is hugely popular. “People want to feel secure, and brown offers that,” says Andrea Lucena-Orr, colour forecaster with Dulux Paints. You’ll find colour tips and advice at the Dulux website at www.dulux.com.au and a fun colour profiler on the Taubman’s site www.603010.com.au.
Cleaning is enjoying a boost with the advent of green cleaning options such as micro-fibre cleaning cloths and steam cleaners. The maxim is to clean a little every day and avoid the need for heavy duty cleaning solutions.
DIY is sexy. Small jobs include giving tile and laminate surfaces a face-lift with White Knight (cleaner, primer, gloss finish, and grout pen). Enquiries 13 16 86; www.whiteknightpaints.com.au
Ergonomic design eliminates the need to bend or twist. Design the benchtop and sink at the right height for you, install a Fisher & Paykel dish drawer at waist height and the oven at eye-level.
Feature walls are big in the 2004 home – a rich, warm wall of colour in the kitchen and the texture of tumbled marble or pebbles on a bathroom wall.
Flat pack kitchens have suffered from bad press for years but the DIY revival is changing that. Plus, you can save anywhere from 20 and 40 per cent.
Glass still features strongly as a splashback in the kitchen and a thick, single sheet of toughened glass is still the number one choice for showers, if there is a shower cubicle at all.
Heated towel rails are now a bathroom essential. They mean warm towels and reduced mould.
Handles are square-edged, or not there (push catches or tapered edges).
Internet shopping extends to planning and buying your kitchen on-line. Try www.marquaedt.com.au; www.smartpackkit.com.au; www.ikea.com.au.
Informal and casual living has gone as far as it can according to trend forcasts. There will be a swing back to luxury.
Joinery is sophisticated and elegant. Lines are invisible or work with the design.
Kickboards have disappeared where cabinets are wall-hung or reduced in height as cabinets lengthen.
Lighting is getting the attention it deserves. Install a general light with dimmer control, specific task lighting over kitchen work areas and mirrors in the bathroom and ambient or display lighting.
Man-made materials – acrylic polymers such as Corian and Marblo and composite quartz products such as Caesar Stone – are enjoying a renaissance. They are durable and seamless.
Mirrors in the bathroom are large, either running the length of the vanity, or up the wall from the vanity to the ceiling.
Natural materials are always winners – stone, marble, and timber.
On-line research cuts out running around time. Most major brands have websites, which can range from simple product descriptions through to fully interactive three-dimensional sites.
Patina and provenance remind us of our past and add a human touch to clean, minimal living spaces.
Quality cabinet hardware, such as hinges, drawer runners and handles, last a lifetime and are a joy to use.
Research is the key word. Find out about materials and appliances on-line at www.infolink.com.au; www.selector.com.au and use resource centres such as Home Ideas (in all major capital cities except Sydney) at www.homeideas.com.au and the Sydney Building Information Centre at www.buildingcentre.com.au.
Sample pots of paint mean you can try the colour before you buy. You can be more adventurous without the risk or expense, especially if you don’t like the result.
Square is in. Square or squared-off sinks, many shaped like troughs, are appearing in both the kitchen and bathroom.
Storage, lots of it, sells. Built-in storage; shelves; pullout units, and corner carousels have become essentials.
Tiles in the bathroom are matt, run floor to ceiling, and are uninterrupted by borders.
Underfloor heating. It’s a luxury and daily delight.
Vanities are square-edged, streamlined, and mounted off the floor. They can be dark, light, or a combination of both.
White is still the most popular colour choice, just make sure it’s matt.
Xyloid finishes, those that resemble wood, continue to flourish.
Your individual decorating style is far more attractive than a room designed within an inch of its life.
Zenithal tallboys, narrow, slender and vertical storage units, are used as feature display units in both the kitchen and bathroom.