Home decor trends forecasted for 2024 focus on unique color pairings that balance joyful, attention-getting tones with timeless hues that are more subtle. This combination of dynamic and refined shades offers plenty of interior design inspiration, from paint colors and fabrics to building materials and trims.
Earthy shades will continue to spark interior design ideas but with added warmth. For instance, instead of home interiors heavy on white and beige, imagine palettes of taupe and greige, a combination of beige and gray. These colors offer a versatile backdrop for you to experiment with bolder shades and accents, injecting more personality into spaces.
Here are some other predicted color trends for home interiors and exteriors:
(See Also: Color Palettes Inspired by Winter)
What Is Informing Color Trends for 2024?
The pandemic inspired a desire to create more calming, restful spaces, but other factors have been driving home renovation trends recently. For instance, an interest in sustainability has spurred a yen for nature-inspired aesthetics, along with minimalist color schemes. Rapid shifts in the economy, society, and technology also play a role, with consumers craving a subtle ease and a way to balance contemporary design and timeless elegance.
Experimenting with different color pairings, such as splashes of vibrant hues with classic tones, is a way to explore creativity and infuse energy and imagination into our space.
How Can I Use Color Trends for 2024 in Home Designs?
Colors set the atmosphere and tone of a space, impacting our emotions and our well-being. Some hues can even influence a space’s functionality and productivity, such as using muted blues or greens in a home office to promote concentration and focus.
Here are a few ways to incorporate 2024’s color trends into home remodeling ideas:
(See also: Easy Ways to Add Color to Your Home Exterior)
Whether you’re ready to jumpstart 2024 with a fresh color palette or aren’t sure where to begin, Westlake Royal’s Visualizer Tools give you an idea of what a completed project can look like before you begin. Play with colors and experiment with textures to create the perfect combo that reflects each home’s style.
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https://www.builderonline.com/design/interior-finish/move-over-neutrals-color-to-make-its-return-inside-homes-in-2024_oDealers Ramp Up Adoption of Ecommerce, Other Technologies
The construction and LBM industries are notorious for their slow adoption of technology. This includes ecommerce, which has lagged behind the pace of other industries. But the pace of adoption is increasing, driven by several factors, most notably the pandemic, wider acceptance, and demand from the next generation of customers and workers. And, perhaps surprising to some, AI is also playing a role.
According to LBM Journal’s 2023 LBM 100 survey, 40% of dealers offered online sales in 2022, a 9.5% increase over the previous year. Of those, 27.4% of orders were for curbside pickup.
“We’re hearing from almost every dealer we talk to that there is a real awareness that ecommerce is a needed element,” said Mike Berger, managing editor for LBM Journal. “The buying habits not just of consumers but also pros have changed so much since the pandemic started.”
Consumers have gotten used to logging onto not only Amazon but also home improvement retailers like The Home Depot and Lowe’s to compare prices and make purchases; LBM dealers are realizing that they need to ramp up their own ecommerce to keep up.
“Ecommerce is here, it’s only going to increase, and dealers are going to need to make every effort they can to accommodate it,” Berger said. “Younger folks coming into the LBM industry are bringing with them patterns of commerce they’ve already developed. To them, it’s second nature to be able to go to their phone, go to an app, place their order, and be done.”
While ecommerce has lagged, LBM dealers have made strides in other areas of technology. In its 2023 Construction Supply 150 report, Webb Analytics noted that while construction suppliers continue to devote a low percentage of revenue to technology, they’ve made remarkable gains. “Online bill presentation now is common, with online payment capabilities close behind,” the report explained. “The next big trends will involve notification of delivery status and online information about whether a product is in inventory. Both are likely to be features of customer-facing apps for smartphones—another growing trend.”
Dealers have responded to customer demand for easier access to accounts and pricing by making it easier to pay bills or check inventory online, a must-have for building pros who do office work after regular business hours because they’re on the jobsite all day. Online access may also be beneficial for customers for whom English is not their first language.
“Despite spending an average of less than 1% of revenue on technology—far below most other industries—leading dealers have gotten dramatically more techie over the years, especially this decade,” the Construction Supply 150 said. “We’re at the point where more than two-thirds of responding CS150 dealers make it possible for their customers to see purchasing history and bills online, and another quarter of the dealers plan to add that capability. Over half permit online bill payment, and another 30% plan to roll out the feature.”
One reason ecommerce might be slower to adopt is because pricing and supply in the building sector isn’t always black and white. Supply chain challenges, particularly over the past few years, have made it harder to predict what is available, and pricing can be impacted by a number of factors that vary customer by customer.
But, ironically, technology is helping to address those challenges, as well. “The stock issue is gradually improving as dealers get better warehouse systems,” Webb Analytics President Craig Webb said. “The pricing is getting better in part because dealers are getting more sophisticated at being able to categorize customers.”
Webb’s Construction Supply 150 found that 35% of dealers have a warehouse management system, but another 26% want to add it. Delivery notification systems are also on the rise, the study found, with 40% of dealers offering it now; 79% of dealers have dispatch/delivery software, which means notification offerings could rise soon.
For now, Berger said, many customers are using ecommerce for smaller items or one-off items, such as a few extra 2x4s or other missing materials needed to quickly complete a job. Consumers are using it as part of their pricing research, which positions dealers to potentially earn new business if they have an item at an equal or better price as a nearby big box store.
Webb and Berger both point to artificial intelligence (AI) as an important factor for dealers going forward.
“It looks like artificial intelligence’s ability to slice and price could be one of the very first ways AI makes an impact on dealers,” Webb said. “It’s possible to collect tons of information about customer history and purchasing patterns, to scrape the internet for what everyone else is selling for, and to look at commentaries on what’s happening with pricing trends, strikes, forest fires, etc., and make pricing recommendations in the moment for customers. [As a simple example,] it’s an automated way of seeing a winter storm coming and analyzing how many shovels you have.”
Berger said one of the biggest fears he hears from dealers is that adding ecommerce means increasing the amount of staff needed to handle it. But dealers who have found success are reporting the opposite, thanks in part to AI tools that can assist with filling out product descriptions, answering common questions, and more. “With the tools that are available, dealers aren’t having to radically ramp up their hiring.”
Existing and trusted software solutions also are playing a key role in getting dealers up to speed. The industry’s leading software providers offer systems that allow companies to run programs for what they want and need while adding or removing capabilities in the future.
Epicor’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, for example, has an option for an integrated ecommerce platform.
ECI announced in July a new ecommerce solution for its Spruce ERP platform. The tools allow dealers to build a professional storefront website and customer portal without the need for coding or web development expertise. “For consumers and tradespeople, this means unlocking the ability to shop online for delivery or in-store pickup, browse products, create accounts, build self-service quotes, pay invoices, and more,” John Maiuri, division president LBMH at ECI, said in an announcement of the launch. “For LBM and hardlines businesses, this means help in avoiding over-stocking since inventory counts, transactions, pricing, invoices, and other information are directly connected between systems.”
It’s clear that more and more LBM dealers are embracing the efficiencies that technology can bring—while recognizing that customers will only continue to expect such conveniences in the future. As technology solutions become more advanced and more user-friendly, there perhaps may be no better time to take the leap.
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Image: iStock.com/gorodenkoff3 Ways Leadership Is Evolving to Ensure Happier Employees and Customers
Anyone who has ever had a bad boss knows there’s at least some truth to the oft-quoted phrase “Employees don’t leave companies, they leave bad bosses.” Along with employee turnover, poor leadership on the part of managers and supervisors can impact employee morale and overall operations to a point of causing inefficiencies, costly mistakes, and, ultimately, unhappy customers.
According to Paul Burleson, Senior Account Executive of National Remodeling Accounts for Westlake Royal Building Products™, we need to see a paradigm shift in our approach to leadership—a significant change in the way leadership is viewed, practiced, and executed.
“Historically, leadership was often associated with a top-down approach where leaders made decisions and gave instructions to their subordinates,” Burleson says. “However, recently, there has been a significant swing toward a more collaborative, inclusive, and participatory style of leadership.”
Burleson describes three ways the old methods are changing:
Overall, these paradigm shifts are a response to the changing nature of work and the evolving needs and expectations of today’s workforce, Burleson says. By adopting more inclusive, emotionally intelligent, and collaborative leadership styles, leaders can create a more engaged and empowered team that is better equipped to navigate the complexities of the modern workplace.
Stay connected with Westlake Royal Building Products on LinkedIn.How to Leverage AI in the Construction Industry
In a rapidly evolving world where technological advancements are reshaping industries, artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a game-changer. People are already using it to create more efficient schedules, develop recipes for their leftovers, and even create code to build websites when they have no web development experience.
But what about industries that are hands-on like construction? AI can’t build a home, right? It can’t put on a roof or replace old plumbing pipes, can it?
No, but it can help make many of the processes faster and safer.
Before delving into the details of AI in construction, it’s crucial to address a common concern: the fear of AI replacing human workers.
Rest assured, AI is not here to replace construction jobs; rather, it is here to enhance existing roles. AI technology can be a powerful tool to aid construction workers, boost their productivity, and streamline processes, leading to more efficient project execution.
The future of the construction industry lies in embracing advancing technologies to unlock its full potential. By integrating AI and construction, we may see remarkable improvements in each stage of the building process, especially during planning. It can streamline processes, reduce costs, minimize errors, and optimize overall efficiency in construction projects.
Here are some of the ways AI might be used (or is already being used) in the construction industry:
AI and pre-construction
Performance and safety during the construction process
If we want to fully harness the power of AI in the construction industry, it’s imperative to continue collaboration between technology providers and construction professionals.
The potential benefits are emerging: streamlined processes, lower costs, improved accuracy, enhanced safety, and optimized project management, just to name a few. But the journey doesn’t stop here — continued research, development, and adoption of AI technology may be crucial to move the industry forward.
One way Westlake Royal Build Products is embracing technology is through our available Home Design Tools. Create your own home masterpiece by interacting with our design tools.Accommodating Expansion and Contraction in Vinyl Siding Installation
Vinyl siding is a fairly straightforward cladding to install, but, like any building material, it’s critical to follow proper vinyl siding installation procedures outlined by your manufacturer. And the No. 1 consideration to keep in mind? Managing expansion and contraction.
Nearly every material expands and contracts. And this phenomenon is one that’s easy to accommodate by following proper vinyl siding installation instructions. Vinyl siding manufacturers have designed their systems holistically to work well together, with a pocketed system design to hide any potential expansion and contraction of the materials.
Like many PVC-based materials, vinyl siding will grow when it gets warm and shrink when it gets cold. A 12-foot vinyl siding panel could see a ½- to 5/8-inch difference in length between winter and summer. This basic principle drives nearly all installation guidelines for vinyl siding, and understanding the principle is important to ensure your exterior project looks as good as it should for years to come.
When you don’t accommodate for a siding panel’s potential movement, a number of things can happen. Nail the panel too tightly and it has no room to expand; this can result in rippling (also called oil canning) as the panel forces itself outward. A similar issue can occur if panels are too long on the ends. And if you don’t trim the siding properly, visual gaps can appear as the panels contract.
Avoiding these issues is fairly straightforward. Here are best practices to keep in mind:
• Nail vinyl siding panels properly: Most vinyl siding panels come with elongated nail slots. Drive the nail in the middle of the slot. Nail it loosely—leaving about a dime’s width between the fastener and the vinyl. Both of these practices will provide room for movement as the panel expands and contracts. Standard nail spacing is 16 inches on center, or 8 or 10 inches for high-wind areas; follow manufacturer instructions for nail type and spacing.
• Maintain a gap at ends: Vinyl siding should be installed with a gap at the end of the wall to accommodate expansion and contraction; make sure there is sufficient room to grow—a ¼-inch gap when installing in temperatures above 40 degrees F, and a 3/8-inch gap when installing in temperatures below 40 degrees F. Because of this, install J-channel trim to hide the gap as the panels contract.
• Use care with top panels: It’s tempting to cut top panels to fit and then fasten them directly to the wall without the nailing hem. But this technique won’t leave room for expansion and contraction, and it also can trap water and block air movement that’s essential for keeping the wall cavity dry. Best practice is to install finish trim (also called sill trim or utility trim) at the top, cut the vinyl siding panel to height, and use a snap-lock tool to cut lugs to snap the panel into the trim. This holds the panel in place while still allowing for movement.
• Don’t ignore vertical installations: The use of vertically installed vinyl siding across the entire wall continues to grow. The same principles apply—nail loosely and leave proper gaps at top and bottom. Hang the siding from top to bottom, with the top nail in the top of the slot and the rest in the middle.
Following these simple steps, along with the other requirements in your vinyl siding installation instructions, can provide freedom of movement for the cladding, helping to ensure aesthetics and performance that last.
For more details, download the installation instructions for each of Westlake Royal Building Products’ siding brands, starting here. Also, check out the Vinyl Siding Institute’s Certified Installer program.