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Top designers surveyed for Elle Décor's Luxury Report

Posted on Wednesday, October 24, 2012.

Elle Décor conducted a survey of over 400 members of the magazine’s Designer Registry in an effort to uncover what luxury means to designers today. The survey asked what are the luxury trends, what's luxury now, what's out, and what counts now? It explores how the economy is affecting luxury to quality vs. quantity, big vs. small and what the most important staple item in a luxury home is.

Here are some highlights from the survey:

• More than 76% of designers feel 2013 will be a better year for their business. Only 3% think it will be worse.

• The most frequent purchases that designers will make include fabrics and wall coverings at 64%; followed by carpeting and rugs at 50%. Paint will be the most frequently purchased with 69% of designers buying it seven times or more.

• More than half the designers surveyed believe they will commission custom pieces for clients just as frequently—75% say they are creating custom work for clients as often or more than before the recession.

• Quality beats everything else in determining what constitutes true luxury, with 68% of designers citing it as the single most important factor. No other aspect reached even double digits in the survey.

• What’s the most crucial amenity for a luxury home? A whopping 74% of designers listed a spa bath. Outdoor kitchens, home gyms, and pools were cited by more than 60%.

• 72% of designers say they will make at least seven art/antiques purchases within the next 12 months. 

• The other big purchase? Appliances. 58% plan to spec major appliances for clients at least three times within the year.

• 34% of designers agree that of primary importance in propelling a home into the luxury category is location. Architectural elements are second, with nearly 27% selecting that factor. Only 1% mentioned square footage.



Elle Décor's Editor in Chief Michael Boodro presented the survey results at the D&D Building's Fall Market earlier this month

The survey went beyond statistics and asked top designers to weigh in with their thoughts about luxury:

“Luxury is more a state of mind than a state of pocketbook,” said Ann McDonald of Couture Chateau. “It’s the confidence you have in being happy and content and without worries.”

"Luxury is defining your life so it fits your needs," said Richard Mishaan of Richard Mishaan Design.

"Luxury is when you get the fundamentals right. To me, luxury is an amazing grilled hot dog with delicious flavor. What’s overrated is foie gras cooked in a hotel in the Carribbean," said Michael S. Smith of Michael Smith Inc.

"Flexibility is the big trend I’m seeing," said Rayman Boozer. "Now it’s okay to mix high and low and still create a luxurious room. Pedigree is not as important as personal preference."

"Clients are building smaller, more detailed homes with fewer rooms and better utilization of space," said Andrew Jones of Keeping up with the Joneses. "Your housekeeper shouldn’t be the sole occupant of most of the rooms in your house."

“Price is still an important consideration with even my wealthiest clients,” said Susan Anthony of Anthony-Wright Interiors. “As one client put it, ‘Even if I can afford it, I do not want to spend frivolously while there are still so many American workers unemployed.’”

To read the full survey results, click here.


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