eLocal Blog-OffBlog-Off participants came together in full force, providing an overwhelming response on what to expect in 2011!

From eco-conscious decisions and natural materials to color choices and tech-savvy upgrades, we collected the best of the best, the must-know trends for the upcoming year. Which expert answers stood out? We highlight our top five choices here.

Blog-Off #2 Re-Cap

For our second Blog-Off, we asked a panel of expert interior designers, contractors, and manufacturers to weigh in on the following question:

What are the home improvement trends for 2011? Designers: what is hot right now in terms of design, color, styles, and more? Contractors: what new materials, techniques, types of projects, fixtures, layouts, and more will dominate 2011?

We’re proud to say that we received responses from over 50 experts! You can see those answers in their entirety in the comments field of our 2nd Blog-Off. Their answers included predictions in color, design styles and motifs, materials used, and budget.

There was so much information packed into so many responses that we’ve decided to distill the information into a compact and easy-to-understand form. So, in order to do our experts and their answers justice, we’ll be creating a visually-appealing post in the next few days that reveals the top home improvement trends of 2011. Stay tuned for its release at the end of this week!

For now, we want to give credit where credit is most definitely due and highlight some of the best comments we received. While every one of our experts gave invaluable feedback, we’ve chosen five comments that we believe deserve a special shout-out. So, without further ado, eLocal presents the top five comments for our second Blog-Off:

eLocal Blog-Off #2 Comment Awards

Most Insightful Comment

Christine Eisner of Lifestyle Design had the most insightful comment:

“I am a lover of renovation and bringing out the best in what we already have…My focus is on creating experiences, not appearances…Perfect is no longer the goal.”

Christine summed up a lot of the opinions our experts touched on—design isn’t about being perfect, it’s about being a reflection of the homeowner. It’s about embracing the imperfections and making it your own. Christine said it well: “Perfect is no longer the goal.” Homeowners aren’t looking to live in a pristine environment. They are looking to live in a cozy atmosphere that encapsulates their lives and everything they love. The new design trend—which most experts agree is here to stay—is to design from the heart and personalize your home, not to adopt another person’s vision.

See the rest of Christine’s comment here.

Most Unique Comment

Lynn Schrage from KOHLER had a new perspective on the agreed-upon global design trend:

“Global travels create an infusion of new experiences, memories, and nostalgia. Hotel settings provide the perfect venue for ideas and with the hospitality industry placing greater emphasis on the spa bath, customers want to recreate these experiences at home. We continue to see lounging/respite areas, deep soaking baths, and steam and aromatherapy in the showering environment.”

A few of our experts mentioned that design is being influenced by a global motif, including rich earth tones, gold embellishments, and exotic touches. However, Lynn brought a new element to the discussion, talking about the influence the hospitality industry has on this global trend. Similarly, she talked about how it applies to the bathroom experience. A few of our experts mentioned that the master bathroom is an increasingly popular space for a redesign, but few talked about the design elements influencing it.

Also, Lynn not only gave her opinions on trends, but she also gave actionable advice on how to implement them:

“Creating a luxurious and timeless background will allow you to adapt future trends into your space. It’s always refreshing to update a space every few years so it feels new to you. An updated space can be energizing.”

Lynn states it perfectly—design a timeless background and add trends to it to energize the space. This way, the trends are easy to change after a few years and don’t require a considerable amount of time, money, and effort to replace.

See the rest of Lynn’s comment here.

Best Articulated Comment

This award goes to Lori Gilder of Diary of a Renovation:

“There is a genuine respect and desire for materials and products that are re-purposed, re-used, re-claimed, recycled and sustainable—with colors that reflect the natural elements of the sand, sea, forests, trees and sky.”

Lori’s quote embodies the reasoning for the green trend becoming so popular. As homeowners learn more about the impact their decisions have on the environment, they are becoming more conscientious of their choices’ consequences. Homeowners are adopting new ways of implementing environmentally friendly aspects into their designs, such as reusing pieces and giving them a face lift. Lori also touched on the growing trend of representing the green movement through color and material choices.

Overall, Lori’s comment hit most of the anticipated trends of 2011. For a sneak peak, see the rest of Lori’s comment here.

Most Thought-Provoking Comment

This award goes to Emily Wilde from Pegasus Lighting:

“Lighting packaging is also undergoing a transformation to ease the transition to energy efficient bulbs. The Department of Energy has created a new “Lighting Facts” label that will emphasize lumens over watts as a measure of brightness. (Watts are a measure of energy consumption, not light output, and a bulb’s watts are not necessarily indicative of how much light it will give off with the new bulbs). The Lighting Facts label is simple and easy to read, taking all the guesswork out of purchasing energy efficient lights.”

The lighting industry is going through some regulatory changes, and Emily did a great job of highlighting how this affects 2011’s home improvement trends. As a few of our experts noted, LED lighting is becoming a staple in the home. Emily added more to the discussion by showing how lighting packaging is even getting revamped to follow the green trend. This new packaging will give consumers better information on the bulb they are purchasing, and can lead to more eco-conscious choices. We think it’s going to be very interesting to see how these changes affect consumer behavior.

See the rest of Emily’s comment here.

Best Advice

Chris Rodenius from Tool-Rank gave the best advice:

“If you like a trend, fine, but don’t follow a trend just to be trendy. You can’t go wrong with a classic style that is still popular today. Chances are good it will still be popular in the future.”

Chris ends our discussion on 2011 home improvement trends nicely. Yes, our experts highlighted over 75 trends for 2011. However, every trend should be taken with a grain of salt because it really comes down to personal preferences. Trends shouldn’t be followed just to be “trendy.” They should be adopted because they move and inspire you. They should be implemented into your home because they will fit seamlessly into your home’s framework and current design. Trends that reinterpret the classics are often a safe way to implement new styles into your home. As Chris points out, you can’t go wrong with a classic because it transcends time, joining together the past and the future.

See the rest of Chris’ comment here.