Smart Business during Fragile Times

KBIS Featured Speaker David Bromstad Discussed Economical Consumer Trends with Attendees
By Erinn Waldo
May 06, 2013

David Bromstad, HGTV personality and winner of HGTV Design Star, delivered an entertaining and enlightening speech covering trends, budgets and the consumer. With the struggling economy, Bromstad described economical consumer trends that designers now can use to their advantage.

“During a financial decline, people are focused on buying smart for longevity,” said Bromstad. The key is incorporating high-end design with quality, budget-conscious materials. While the most money should be spent on more important items, a design can still be trendy without the high cost. 

Most importantly, a designer should educate the client on making the right decisions when choosing materials and appliances. Keeping the client informed regarding materials and cost throughout the process is essential. In dealing with “clients with beer pockets and champagne wishes,” Bromstad recommends showing materials that are similar but more cost effective. Many mid-tier appliances have commercial-grade lines, and the difference between custom and stock items also makes a major difference in price. He also suggests having a backup plan for each item chosen. 

As for the design business, Bromstad gave a few pointers on keeping business operating costs under control. Sacrificing a portion of profit to maintain a client base is smart business, since everyone loves a sale. For loyal business, demand lower costs from suppliers and reach out and invest in local artisans. He also suggested not to over hire staff. 

With the business in order, Bromstad went into today’s trends. 

“Kitchen and baths continue to become sanctuaries,” he said. There is more time spent in the kitchen than in any other room in the home, aside from the bedrooms. With kitchens becoming more timeless in style, oversized islands have become the new dining room and hoods now pieces of art and function. 

“Dramatic and energy-efficient lighting is huge,” added Bromstad. 

Green-friendly materials and an Asian influence in design will continue as trends. Toilets often have two flush settings for water conservation. Even with an increase in conservative choices, spa-inspired bathrooms continue to be a trend and are becoming more like living quarters. Adding a cozy atmosphere, furniture-like pieces have integrated into today’s bathroom. Chandeliers and elaborate lighting fixtures are also becoming the norm. 

The coziness of today’s bathroom often results from color choices, Bromstad explained. Blue often swathes bathrooms and bedrooms with anti-stress connotations. Green also has a soothing influence on the mind and body. According to Bromstad’s color theory, red brings energy, warmth and sexiness to a room, while yellow is an excellent color for nerve-related conditions or ailments. 

“It’s a happy color,” he commented. Still, he suggested only using pops of yellow or pink to avoid overdoing the colors’ effects.
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