3 design, construction trends for 2017

Feb. 6, 2017

Several Anthropologie stores have been built using reclaimed wood. Photo courtesy of San Francisco Chronicle

With 2017 well underway, design and construction professionals have their sights set on the year ahead.

And while it experienced mostly flat growth in 2016, the construction industry is projected to grow in 2017, with an estimated 5 percent increase in construction starts – for a total of $713 billion – by the end of the year.

To stay a step ahead of industry growth, the following are three key design and construction trends to keep in mind this year.

Low-maintenance products

When it comes to construction, the less stress, the better. Low-maintenance, high-performing products, such as technologically enhanced wood, are growing in popularity across all building sectors. Some benefits of low-maintenance products include, less time to keep clean, less annual maintenance and longer total life expectancy.

One way low-maintenance products can be used is in cladding and decking materials. While wood is often seen as a building material that requires continued maintenance, sustainable alternatives that require little-to-no maintenance are becoming more prominent in the market.

For example, Kebony is a low-maintenance lumber material that does not require any additional treatment beyond normal cleaning, which is particularly pleasing for many deck owners. Removal of dirt deposits, sand and other particles is simply done with a brush and soap and water.

Rustic wood aesthetic

From weathered flooring to antique furniture, the distressed, rustic wood trend has infiltrated homes and buildings across the country, and particularly in the Northeast.

The mountain lodge or log cabin look inspires rustic structures. Some key features include weathered wood, log construction and stone siding. Home building isn’t the only type of construction taking the rustic trend into consideration, either.

Retailers such as Starbucks and Anthropologie have incorporated rustic elements into their design.

Starbucks, for example, uses an earthy color palette across the brand and includes hints of burlap and exposed wood. Step foot in any Anthropologie store and you’ll see a unique, homey rustic design, complete with antique furniture and weathered wood floors. Several of its locations have even been built using reclaimed wood.

E-commerce solutions

While the selling of building and construction materials has traditionally been done in-person or in-store, e-commerce is gradually gaining traction. Many building product dealers are adding new sales channels, like e-commerce sites, to their offerings. These sites are giving small dealers the exposure the need to compete with large retailers like The Home Depot or Lowe’s. Smaller retailers can successfully compete with large box stores through the addition of a consumer friendly e-commerce platform.

Rather than maintaining inventory on their own, smaller distributors can create their own websites to attract customers and capture sales online, while leading buyers to smaller dealers to complete the sale in-store and pick up the product. In addition to helping smaller distributors stay competitive, e-commerce websites also offer customers – such as contractors and homeowners – the convenience of online browsing for product comparison, cost savings and shorter completion times for construction projects.

Duffy McCarthy is owner and operator of Duffwood, an online retailer for local building materials based in the Northeast United States.

Topics: Architectural Firms, Building Owners and Managers, Construction Firms, Consulting - Green & Sustainable Strategies and Solutions, Exteriors, Flooring, Great Commercial Buildings, Interiors, Office Buildings

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