What Design Trends Will Gain Momentum in 2011?

John G. Swanson
January 3, 2011
THE TALK... | Aesthetics & Style

Builder Magazine recently ran an article looking at 10 design trends for 2011.  It suggests we can expect more homes that are simpler and smaller. Green remains strong, and is expected to become even more important when it comes to interior finishes (note Kolbe's new offering in Recent Introductions this week). One material that's predicted to see gains is glass–not in windows and doors–but in countertops and appliance surfaces. 

What it all means for our industry is hard to tell.  On the downside, smaller homes translate into fewer windows.  And simpler may seem a little threatening, but the overview suggests that while homeowners are downsizing, they still want quality. 

So what do you think will be the big "design" trends for our industry in 2011?  I've suggested a few possibilities in our poll question of the week.  Of course, you're not limited.  If you think there's another trend we should be on the look out for, email me or post a comment below.  And, if you think I'm wrong about any of the potential trends mentioned, I'd also like to hear from you about that. 


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Glass has indeed emerged as a very popular material amongst homeowners who are going for a modern concept. It is now not only used traditionally for screen doors and windows but has been implemented in many other furniture pieces like tables, TV consoles and storage cabinets. Glass is indeed beautiful to embed in furniture but it most certainly needs extra care because of its nature being fragile.

hi john,very interesting toppic, i see a demand for market design,i have concentrated on multi versitile single products, that are linked to one market but have large implications in many others.i invented a composite door glass that is now emerging in other markets ,kitchen doors, garage doors and internal wardrobe doors ,bathroom cabinates, advertising glass counter tops, and now branded beverage advertising(corperate logos in glass cafe tables) this product is growing because customers are demanding quality localy scorced well designed glass products , that suit reginal design trends, but also meet emerging strict building codes,

 back to the design issue. even with a great product it is extreamly difficult to get companies to make a decision on thinking out side the box , they usually oppt for a variation of a preivious design. or even worst get a rep or sombodys wife to design products, design is paramount get it right and the worlds your market, dont take the design aspect seriously enough and stay as you are, but dont expect your competetors to do the same.

paul richards england.


Survey Results as of 01/10/2011:

What industry design trend will gain the most momentum in 2011?


More interior and exterior finishes and colors on vinyl windows





None of the above





Expanded fiberglass door style options





Increased demand for wide-opening door systems





Fewer bows, bays and round tops





More skylights--regular and tubular





I can't say I am surprised by this week's poll results.  The number of vinyl window makers offering products with painted and laminated finishes has grown steadily in recent years. I still get some mixed signals from people when I ask how many non-white products they are actually selling, but there must be momentum there. 

It makes a great deal of sense.  Back in the late '80s and early '90s, wood window producers started offering an ever expanding range of finish options. They began with a wide range of exterior colors and then several started expanding wood species options on the interior.

A corrolary to this trend, I believe, is the trend for window and door manufacturers (and door pre-hangers) to provide more.  The fact that windows and doors can come to the job site finished in different colors and woodgrains or species, of course, also means that more products are coming to market pre-finished.  Builders, contractors, remodelers and homeowners don't want that task and apparently are willing to pay to let the manufacturer do it.  

This trend to offer more can also be seen in manufacturers increasingly supplying not just windows and/or doors but exterior trim components.  Again, certain customers see an advantage in getting everything cut-to-size, matched up and ready to install.  It costs more than the window and/or door itself, but the convenience factor in getting everything in one big package makes a lot of sense.

So I don't know whether it qualifies as a design trend, but it's one thing I see happening in the market.  And I'll be looking for more evidence of this trend walking the floor of the International Builders' Show this week.  I expect to see much else too. 

By the way, if you're there and you see something I should know about, please email me and let me know.  I'm always interested in hearing what piques the interest of industry attendees.  It's a big show and I can never see everything.  


  • I espect to find houses with wide opening doores and windows because people are incouragede to reduce the use of electricity becuse when they use electricty to power aicons more electricity will be used as compered of using free ventilation,and  bigg openen window and doors will give people  free ventilation and if the house is free ventilated,people can enjoy and feel as if they are outside their houses,the interior of the house should be asthetical appealing as well as the exteria of the house.

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