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Top 10 features in today's dream home

Wall-to-wall orange shag carpeting, pink tubs and toilets and boxy fluorescent light fixtures may have been hot in their day, but try selling a home with these items now. If potential home buyers don’t pass the place over altogether, they’re bound to try to bargain down the price.

So what are today’s home buyers looking for? According to decorators and real estate agents, today’s top 10 design trends are:

1. Upscale appliances
Instead of standard white, homeowners today covet upscale stainless steel appliances because of their quality and sleek modern design. Another popular look is overlaying refrigerators and dishwashers with wood paneling to match the cabinetry.

2. Wine coolers
With the increasing trend toward entertaining at home, kitchens with integrated wine racks became prevalent a while back. While still popular, the latest rage is incorporating wine coolers that not only keep wine handy but chilled.

3. Designer-look kitchen cabinets
Kitchens today are no longer hidden away from the main area of a home. They’ve become one of the central living areas and homeowners want the space to be warm and inviting. Cabinets are being spruced up through a mix of cabinetry shades and styles. Dark maple cupboards and drawers may be offset with an island in a cream paint finish to break things up and add depth and pizzazz. Similarly, an antique buffet alongside sleek modern cabinetry can be a great way to add a touch of unexpected drama.

4. Natural stone
Anyone who’s had the pleasure of placing a hot cookie sheet directly on the counter without a care in the world can attest to the joy of stone countertops. Practicality aside, stone says luxury and comes in a myriad of natural palettes. Of all types of stone, granite typically requires the least amount of maintenance (which is likely why it’s the most popular), but marble, limestone and sandstone are also gaining ground in the counter department.

5. Flat-screen TVs
When it comes to watching TV in style, flat screens are where it’s at -- especially as prices become more affordable. A growing number of consumers have been designing rooms around flat-panel technology, mounting them right into the wall. However, you may want to place the unit on furniture or attach it to a swiveling wall mount-bracket to avoid hassles if you upgrade to a larger screen down the road.

6. Outdoor rooms
According to the American Institute of Architects, outdoor rooms are on the rise -- and for good reason. They’re an easy way to create more living space. Today’s dream home features a deck, patio or porch enhanced with professional landscaping and quality outdoor furnishings.

7. Natural flooring
The latest news in upscale flooring is that Brazilian cherry (also known as Jatoba) is overtaking oak as the most popular hardwood flooring. Bamboo is also becoming increasingly popular and has the added benefit of being a grass that is sustainable, grows fast and is great for flooring.

8. Vessel sinks
Vessel (above-the-counter) sinks are making a big impact in powder rooms. They look like big, freestanding bowls sitting on the countertop. Paired with a wall-mounted faucet, or built onto an antique dresser, they create the hottest of looks.

9. Designer tubs
Forget about whirlpool baths. Today’s interior designers point to soaking tubs as the trendy unit for washing away stress. Designed with high, sloping backs for reclining, soaking tubs are more streamlined than whirlpools and a lot less noisy.

10. Five-star showers
A welcome alternative to traditional metal shower stalls, today’s new frameless glass showers provide total transparency and can make a small bath seem larger. The trendiest stalls have marble tile, a seating bench and an oversized rainfall showerhead.


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