The New Year is officially in full swing, and with the start of the year comes homeowners anxious to revamp their homes in line with the biggest design trends. The start of the year is a great time to freshen the appearance of a home, and as most of anxiously await the arrival of spring, it’s a great time to start planning those projects. For homeowners contemplating freshening up their home in 2014, here are a few of the top home design trends: Dramatically Dark Changing out kitchen countertops remains the premier way to not only breathe new life into the kitchen itself, but also to add value to the entire home. A few countertop trends to keep in mind include the use of extremely dark, namely black, granite. Solid black granite and natural stone is at the forefront of the world’s top designers’ must-have lists. Stark black countertops give a kitchen an extremely modern, dramatic feeling. For homeowners who are unsure about black counters, try combining them with more traditional elements. Another way to balance the dramatic look of black countertops is by pairing them with simple, white cabinets. It’s not just kitchens where black works well. Bathroom designers are also including black in this unlikely space. Popular for 2014 is anything from black bathtubs to black vanity tops. It balances out the typically sterile white that’s so prevalent in bathrooms, and modernizes the space. Extended Countertops For anyone who’s been paying attention to home design TV shows or magazines, it’s likely they’ve caught a glimpse of a “waterfall” countertop. This means extending the countertop material over the side of a kitchen island. This is a contemporary addition to a kitchen that tends to appeal to high-end and luxury-seeking buyers. New Materials Take Over According to Jonathan Scott, HGTV design star and host, quartz and soapstone are quickly rising to popularity as a premier countertop surface. Quartz is a homeowner and designer favorite because of its durability and versatility. Because of the range of color options available for quartz, homeowners find the use of this material is great for putting their own signature stamp on their home. Similarly, soapstone is extremely durable and can even resist acidic spills. Dimensional Pattern and Texture Gone are the days of solid colors and an avoidance of patterns. One of the key design trends in 2014 is the use of rich, dimensional and attention-grabbing patterns and textures, particularly when they’re set against a fresh, clean, neutral background. For example, consider the use of a patterned stone feature wall. It adds not only dimensionality, but also the visual interest. Creating a Relationship Between the Outdoors and the Indoors As more homeowners are opting for eco-friendly additions to their home, they’re also showing an increasing interest in tying together indoor and outdoor spaces. Expansive windows and accordion doors are at the forefront of home design in 2014, which means homeowners are paying more attention to outdoor spaces. Consider tying in the two areas by using the same stone flooring throughout a home as is used outdoors, or incorporating the use of the same stone on both an indoor and outdoor kitchen countertop. Seamless Showers For homeowners planning a bathroom revamp in 2014, one of the hottest trends is the continuation of the bathroom flooring straight into the shower. Continue the stone surface through to the shower flooring, and even onto the shower walls for a look that is clean and fresh, and also opens up a small space, making it appear larger.