Shannon Hatfield: Paint department associate at Lowe's in Hixson
Haskell Matheny: Owner of Haskell Interiors in Cleveland, Tenn.
Rodney Simmons: Owner of Revival in Warehouse Row and Revival Design Studio
John Tidwell: Independent Glass Co.
Becky Worley: Owner of Classic Cabinetry
The beginning of a new year is inevitably paired with lists of forecasting trends, and home decor is no exception.
The folks at houzz.com, an online collection of architecture, interior design and home improvement knowledge, have gathered predictions from designers nationwide to compile their 2013 design trends to watch.
We asked local designers and retailers their thoughts on these trends and whether they are seeing any local indications of their arrival.
1 Gilded Glass: Also known as "verre églomisé," it is a process in which clear glass is gilded with gold or metal leaf on its back side.
Rodney Simmons: We're seeing it a lot in mirrors and mirrored furniture. It's about reflective quality, not reflection of a person or thing. Whenever you have a dark interior, the reverse leafing is lightening and brightening. It's very flexible in how you can use it.
John Tidwell: We do work with an individual who antiques -- or foxes -- mirrors. In our trade journals, you see all kinds of stuff being done in New York or Los Angeles, and eventually it gets to us.
2 Antique brass. The coming year will see more brass incorporated into the home, making a comeback in structural elements, hardware and other embellishments.
Rodney Simmons: Whether we go to market in New York, Atlanta or High Point (N.C.), we are seeing hand-rubbed, unlacquered brass everywhere. It is a beautiful element that develops a patina and life of its own. We're seeing it in furnishings, door hardware and plumbing.
Haskell Matheny: With the popularity of blue and green color palettes, which are cooler tones, we are mixing in lots of brass and soft gold tones in metal furniture, hardware and decorative accessories. The fall High Point market was filled with manufacturers showing this trend.
Becky Worley: We are seeing just a little of that starting to trickle into this market. We're doing a lot of polished chrome and nickel (in bath and kitchen fixtures), but we are seeing a little of those darker gold tones filtering in.
3 Bleached floors. People will use lighter woods for floors and cabinetry again. An increase in methods such as bleaching and painting woods to achieve this lighter tone is predicted.
Becky Worley: Yes, we are seeing this. The woods look washed out or blonde. We're not wiping things down with white glazes like pickled wood. We see (lighter woods) in gray tones or in light yellow like pine. A lot of it is stained wood, but in a lighter tone. People are either bleaching wood and leaving that washed-out look or applying light stains.
Rodney Simmons: The darker the floor, the more upkeep it takes.
4 True blues. Although the Pantone Color Institute named emerald green the color of 2013, interior design will see a surge in "true blue," a deep royal shade without any green tones in it. Runners-up: gray and salmon pink.
Haskell Matheny: I have always loved blue. This year we have created several rooms around a blue palette, especially those that are deep peacock and cobalt blues. Blues are also popular in baths as accents or tile or even just in the accessories. Blues are great because they can be, in certain shades, conservative and traditional, or go very modern in other shades.
Shannon Hatfield: I've sold a little bit of blue, the deeper and dark blues; no pinks, unless you are a little girl. Gray remains most popular -- and browns -- in this market.
5 Downsizing. New-development houses will be smaller as people search for smaller spaces that are closer to downtowns rather than larger houses where they are dependent on their cars.
Rodney Simmons: Yes, a huge faction of our business deals with baby boomers downsizing, reinterpreting their lives. They are vibrant in their lifestyles and, now that they are free of children, they are looking to reinvent themselves in urban settings where they can walk to movies and restaurants. It's the life offered in downtown Chattanooga from the Southside to the river.
Becky Worley: Yes, and because of this we are getting really creative about storage. Everybody wants to keep grandmother's china, but they want a smaller house. You have to really think about what you are going to store and what you are going to use.
6 Faux shagreen. Shagreen is commonly made of the skins of sharks or manta rays. Faux shagreen (manmade and not from creatures) is the new on-trend hide.
Rodney Simmons: We have porcelain vases at Revival that are molded and colored to look like shagreen. There is even a faux shagreen textile. We're seeing wall coverings that look like shagreen. It's very textural and beautiful and wears well.
Haskell Matheny: I always like to throw something unexpectedly fun into a room. Today, people are less formal, less stuffy, in their home design. People enjoy using whimsical fabrics, fun shapes and even unusual materials in the furniture they select.
7 On-demand printing. A rise in do-it-yourself, on-demand printing for fabric, paper and wallpapers is predicted, enabling homeowners to create their own upholstery fabrics and wallpapers. It's a DIY look that has been seen on "Project Runway" when designers create their own fabrics, but not much elsewhere.
Rodney Simmons: No, I haven't seen this. However, we'll make our own art from old photos to make large-scale artwork. We often use our local graphics businesses to take photos, blow them up and print them on canvas and have it stretched. It's a great, low-cost item that is a good way to get impact in a rented space. It allows you to change the wall space where you are prohibited to paint or add a covering to a rented space.
8 Stripes and geometrics. A return to stripes, angles and diagonals is predicted -- on both walls and ceilings.
Haskell Matheny: Today's interiors reflect a more transitional, streamlined approach. Frivolity and excess have been replaced with purpose and clean lines. Stripes and geometrics appeal to this more contemporary look. Working with different geometrics such as stripes, chevrons and circles, you can create interesting and visually beautiful rooms.
9 Weathered kitchen countertops. More clients will want countertops that can take daily wear and tear of family life. This will lead to an increase in counters that come "a bit weathered."
Becky Worley: Yes, we are already doing this in more casual designs. A lot of countertops are flatter, distressed, with a more casual finish. If we do wood tops, a lot of times we distress them before they go in. We're doing a little more concrete. Some of the granite is honed and leathered, so it has a rougher, more casual finish.
10 Timeless neutrals. Designers predict a conscious move away from splashy neons as the go-to pop of color, and a shift toward the use of solids and neutrals with warm brass tones and whites.
Rodney Simmons: It's not just taste as to why neutrals are in, it's the economy. They (homeowners) get a longer life out of them and neutrals are a better value in the long run. In this economy, people are looking for quality and longevity.
Neutral doesn't mean beige -- it can be white, taupe, even black -- just a neutral shade that is a foil for brighter colors. Our approach is: The larger the element (sofa, chairs, carpet) the more neutral it needs to be. Accessories and artwork can be changed more economically and more quickly, giving you a longer life out of those elements.
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...