Ease, comfort, and a return to rustic touches marked this year's interior design trends. As we've noted, bright pops of color -- such as purple, teal and emerald -- coupled with cool neutrals made up the palate of 2013. But what about the overall decor? We scoured the blogosphere and checked in with Sheila Schmitz, editor at Houzz, a home design and renovation site, to round up the year's interior trends.
1. Brass Went Big
Brass was one of the big predictions for 2013, and it didn't disappoint. This metallic accent has a warmth that stainless steel lacks, but still blends well with other metallics. It easily transitions from modern to classic and works especially well for fixtures, from pendant lights to plumbing.
2. Wood Became Even More Ingrained
Natural-looking wood grains appeared in more than just floorboards. Blonder woods showed up in kitchen cabinets and butcher block counters, offering a light, modern feel while still adding a homey comfort that white or steel can't match. As one custom cabinet business owner noted, customers wanted clean lines coupled with a sense of craftsmanship.
3. Tile, Tile Everywhere
Nontraditional tile exploded, Schmitz said. Tile with a natural touch continued the wood trend, with grain and uneven edges that mimicked boards. "That's borrowing a little bit from the salvaged-barn-wood trend from a few years ago," Schmitz said. And it's not just for the kitchen and bath. Faux wood tile went in the living room and on bedroom walls.
4. The Farmhouse Utility Sink
A large sink used to be a farmhouse workhorse, and today's trends have cycled back to the deep, double sink with clean lines and classic usage. This design often comes in under-counter or apron styles. The trend has been building for a few years and accelerated in 2013.
5. Comfy Sofas and Chairs
Skip the stuffy furniture. Homeowners wanted sofas to sink into and chairs with perfectly positioned armrests, trendsetting decorator Martyn Lawrence Bullard told The Huffington Post: "Deep seats with well-proportioned arms and heights are vital." That style, he noted, also left plenty of room to indulge in oversized throw pillows.
6. Furniture, Not Architecture
Flexibility in furniture was key, Schmitz said, with pieces that could be shifted, moved and customized, rather than built into an existing room. Kitchen islands expanded like dining room tables for laid-back family gatherings. And multifunctional pieces weren't just reserved for smaller rooms. They helped make a large area feel cozier, with more room for, say, an ottoman -- especially one that also includes some storage.
7. Storage Goes Bold
"Storage has gotten more beautiful," Schmitz said. "People aren't trying to hide it anymore." Homeowners are making better use of their dead space and letting some rooms, such as the kitchen, breathe more. They might put cabinets along an interior wall and leave more room for a window above the sink, or space between a cabinet and the ceiling to open up the room a little. Or, go all out with a storage cube.
8. Technology Comes Home
Almost everyone picked up a few new technology trends this year. But we've already got that covered.
9. DIY Changes to Hire a Pro
After years of decorating on a dime, more people were seeking out professional help in 2013, Schmitz said. They realized that the tile they laid didn't look nearly as good as work done by a professional, and maybe it was worth paying someone to save them time and headaches. In some cases, homeowners might hire a professional for a consult or some coaching to help them through a project.
10. Decorating Piecemeal
Asking for a professional assist with the handiwork hasn't kept homeowners from forging their own paths, which might be the biggest trend from the 2013 design season, Schmitz said. The economic recovery meant people picked up décor projects that had fallen by the wayside. They eschewed buying a roomful of furniture from one shop. "It's a part of the bigger trend," Schmitz said, "where people are really designing for themselves."