We love the fresh start, potential and possibilities that a new year brings. There is an impulse for change and embracing something new.

This phenomenon happens both individually and as a society. Pop culture, design and fashion trends renew every year. The home decor industry is already filling this clean slate with trend predictions for 2016.

Blue is a wall cover trend of the year (Trina Knudsen, Renovation Design Group)

Elledecor.com reported the Top 10 design trends of 2016 with the help of the folks at Houzz.com. Houzz asked its followers (both consumers and design professionals) to weigh in on the trends for the new year. Here are the highlights:

Kitchens: According to the Houzz trend report titled “25 Design Trends Coming to Homes Near You in 2016,” black stainless steel kitchen appliances are the latest appliance upgrade. These are a darker alternative to the shiny silver metal look we are used to. Other colors are being offered by some manufacturers, such as Whirlpool’s Sunset Bronze finish.

Another trend in kitchen design is the rising popularity of two-toned cabinets. This look has one style on the bottom and a different color or perhaps even a different style on the top. It makes for a unique look that can be adapted to fit different home styles. If you love more than one look, this may be your chance to have you cake and eat it, too. (A word of caution: Just because you like some things doesn’t automatically mean they will look good together.)

Colors of the year: Paint manufacturer Benjamin Moore says the color trends of the year are moving more toward milky whites, lavenders and grayish blue or greige (the new gray and beige neutral). The Houzz report confirms this by noting a trend of layering whites throughout the house and creating white kitchens with a strong dash of color — perhaps in a backsplash or a specialty piece of cabinetry — to add some drama to the scene.

Dining rooms: The Houzz report mentions that formal dining rooms are attracting more attention these days. In our area, we aren’t seeing a demand for the return of the traditional separate room designated only for dining, but there is some push back from the idea that we all gather in the kitchen to hang out and eat. A well-conceived open concept design can give a dining space a clear definition and personality of its own without having to close it off with walls.

More people are opting to keep the formal dining room (Trina Knudsen, Renovation Design Group)

Bathrooms: Trends for the bathroom that made the list were bidets, statement mirrors, bold-patterned wall coverings, and ultra-designed bathrooms with sophisticated elements such as ornate chandeliers and furniture pieces. The overarching trend seems to be an attempt to reduce the typical utilitarian feel of this essential space.

Living rooms: Traditional wood-burning fireplaces have fallen out of favor with our recent focus on air quality issues. Fortunately, the fireplace industry has made significant advances and now offers many models that create the ambience without the inconvenience or pollution. Fireplaces are now regaining their place as the focus of a living room, as the current trend is to remove the tech from at least one area in a home. Living rooms are being seen as that place where one can find a calm respite from the digital frenzy of our lives.

While you may be able to keep up with design trends in your shoes or clothing on an annual basis, home design is not so flexible. Short of updating a room with throw pillows and accessories, home design is generally seen in terms of decades, not fashion seasons. Our design decisions do date our homes; great design turns into “classic” design (such as a wonderful Craftsman bungalow from the 1930s), while design decisions that miss the mark tend to depress both our spirits and the value of our property (remember the lava rock fireplaces from the 1960s?).

Ultimately, as you look at the latest interior design trends, try to judge them with an eye to long-term investment in your home and in the way it functions to support your family’s lifestyle. Leave the trendiest decisions to paint and accessories, which can be changed relatively easily. Choose the more permanent elements of your home carefully, knowing that you will have to live with them for a while. If you will be trying to sell your home at some point, you will do better if your home appeals to the majority of potential buyers.

A home doesn’t have to be unusual or uniquely strange to make a statement. Good design speaks for itself, and tried-and-true design principles don’t bend with every wind of trendy popularity. We are lucky to have design resources such as Houzz, but the resources must always be viewed through a filter personal and home style.

Annie Schwemmer and Ann Robinson, Deseret News

Ann Robinson and Annie V. Schwemmer are the principal architects and co-founders of a residential architectural firm focused on life-changing remodeling designs at RenovationDesignGroup.com. Send comments or questions to ask@RenovationDesignGroup.co

Design trends to watch for in 2016