Interior Design Trends for 2016

Many of the top interior design trends predicted for 2016 are starting to look like what is old is new again. After reading the article, “25 Design Trends Coming to Homes Near You in 2016” (see the slides from Houzz below), I noticed several of the trends were incorporated into our home more than 10 years ago. One of the trends, for example, is letting the sun shine in by adding a sunroom, “A sunroom is a top dream space for many homeowners” (trend 18 in the article). Sunrooms have been incorporated into home design for decades.

Adding a sunroom as well as a mud-room for the dogs were the first renovations we completed for our 1930’s farm house which we purchased back in 1999. Several of the other current trends were also incorporated long ago.

Kitchen Design

Two-tone kitchen cabinets: this trend is first on the list of 2016 interior design trends in the article. Back in 2001, we mixed natural maple and darker mahogany cabinets throughout the kitchen. The darker cabinets are adjacent our stainless-steel range/stove and sink area (sink base cabinet). This option seemed practical to us given the darker cabinets show less dirt at two of the kitchen work areas; both get the most use and abuse over time. Our upper kitchen cabinet is the darker mahogany which includes an under-cabinet light (now an LED strip). The remaining floor cabinets are all natural maple.

Kitchen design trends
Two tone cabinets, non-traditional brick wall/backsplash, workhorse island with deep storage drawers.

Barely there kitchen: the 2016 design trend includes the open kitchen layout with fewer wall cabinetry and appliances that tend to fade into the background. Although the home designers tried to sell us several wall cabinets for our kitchen reno, back in 2001, we only added one upper wall cabinet – yes, just one. Instead, we went with furniture and lots of storage under our “workhorse” island which is now another one of the 2016 trends.

Workhorse islands: we were told the kitchen island we wanted was way too huge, and now large kitchen islands are the trend. With deep storage cabinet drawers, our kitchen sink, and room for seating, we made the kitchen island the central feature in our kitchen. And, I’m glad we did given it is the gathering place for guests whenever we are entertaining.

One more thing, we incorporated our dish washer into the island in a unique way. We elevated the dish washer about a foot off of the floor and added a larger storage cabinet to the island (located at the back of the dish washer). The countertop is raised at this location and makes a great place to serve appetizers, etc. I highly recommend raising the dish washer off of the floor; it is so much more accessible and you are not bending down to the floor to fill or empty it. I’m surprised this hasn’t caught on by now with the designers.

Surprising backsplash and countertop pairings: “You could play it safe with white subway tile and granite countertops, but sometimes safe is so boring.” Also when renovating our kitchen, we incorporated a brick wall and backsplash into the design. Once a fireplace in a dinning room attached to the kitchen, we placed a large range/stove in front of the former fireplace location. Although it didn’t fit the designer’s recommended working “triangle” in the kitchen nor was it a traditional design, it works well for us.

Many of the interior design trends don’t appear to be new at all, but maybe the designers are just catching up with creative home owners that have taken control of their own design insights.


Greg Magnus

Homeowner General Contractor (GC), Professional Geologist (PG), President, AIM Custom Media (

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