“I always like to break down new trends into a couple of categories — technology and aesthetics.

“When considering technology, we’re becoming an LED society. There doesn’t appear to be any going back. We’re getting very close to the second leg of the Energy Independence and Security Act that was signed into law in 2017 by former President Bush that raises the efficacy of our lighting. Halogen lamps and incandescent fixtures will not meet those new standards.

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“Matte black is a fresh look and can coordinate with nearly any other finish and color scheme.”[/mks_pullquote]

“Customer surveys have told us that consumers don’t want to illuminate their homes with fluorescent lighting, but they are very comfortable buying LED.

“We’ve been peeling away different layers of light that have turned to LED. Probably the first was landscape lighting, second was likely architectural accent lighting, and now most of the recessed cans are being replaced with LED. Undercabinet lighting is very slowly being replaced with LED.

“I think bathrooms will be next area to start making that switch. Contemporary fixtures are almost all LED, while many highly decorative pendants and chandeliers are still using incandescent technology. The last layer to turn will be the slightly more traditional designs.

“It’s also undeniable that smart home technology is here to stay. Alexa/Google voice-activated systems are now in about 10 percent of American homes and will continually find its way into more residences. Showroom salespeople first need to make sure they understand these technologies so they can be comfortable selling them. Every showroom needs to have someone who can answer customers’ questions about smart home technology. When you show a comfort level, it will rub off on your customers.

“CEDIA is an international organization of 3,700 member companies that are considered the authorities of home technologies. I encourage showrooms to connect with local CEDIA members who can help advise on the installation and benefits of smart technologies. They can do any of the work needed for cables besides electricity and ensure a home’s products are properly connected for a true smart environment.

“When it comes to aesthetics, the shift to LED is a driving factor in lighting design. Think about how much contemporary products have changed since the introduction of LED systems. This technology system is so compact that it has allowed manufacturers to pare down the size of their fixtures. There are products sold today that would have been impossible to build five years ago. It has really freed up designers because they no longer need to figure out how to hide a light bulb. Until just a few years ago, the light bulb was always the thing designers had to start with when coming up with a new fixture.

“I don’t think traditional product will ever fully disappear, but I doubt it will be as popular as it has been in the past. Today’s trend is to more of a contemporary, modern look. Soft contemporary is a great compromise for homeowners who want a middle ground between true contemporary and very traditional. Styles have been very clean and simplistic in the last eight to nine years; I think you’ll be seeing a bit of a shift in that, with more ornamentation coming back. It’s almost a Hollywood glamour type of feel.   

And of course, everybody’s talking about matte black. I first noticed it on a Jason Wu-designed bath collection for Brizo about eight years ago. It really started catching on two or three years ago. People with bigger budgets were looking for something besides chrome and oil-rubbed bronze. Matte black is a fresh look and can coordinate with nearly any other finish and color scheme. It adds another color without forcing you to change out all of your hardware, which can really add up throughout a home.”