It looks like the 2009 IRC will be requiring residential fire sprinkler systems but the requirement won’t likely go into effect until 2011. This is one of the largest changes in the code for a long time that will dramatically affect life safety of homes. Jurisdictions such as Phoenix AZ have required residential sprinkler systems for a few years now. Since then there has not been a single death by fire in a sprinkler equipped home.
The typical sprinkler system will run as low as 80 cents per square foot to as much as $4 per square foot, depending on where you are located and access to water. A house using well water will likely need large reserve tanks to supply the necessary water flow. A house connected to City water may face higher fees to connect to the water system. So it will definitely cost more to have a safer home, but what is the price you can put on a life saved?
When choosing tile for the bathroom I find that many people are so afraid to make a mistake they end up settling on basic white. While a basic white tile has its place, it’s best installed on the walls, not on the floor where it will show every bit of dirt. But if you must have a white tile floor, consider adding a pattern that incorporates white and one or two other colors. For older homes, a hex tile is a great solution. You can order a custom pattern like this (or create your own) from Dal-Tile, which is available nationwide. One thing to watch out for: the tile patterns are assembled by hand, and there are sometimes mistakes (like a white tile where there is supposed to be gray). You can fix this in the field, or leave it and accept it as part of the hand created look of the tile.
The hot color for 2010 is supposed to turquoise, according to Pantone http://www.pantone.com/pages/pantone/index.aspx .
But I would say the colors I’m seeing that you might actually want to use in your home are natural colors especially colors similar to those from natural materials and raw fabrics. I’m also seeing light purples and grays coming in (here is a good example page on West Elm, which tends to track color trends well): http://www.westelm.com/shop/rugs-windows/rugs-windows-new/?page=2 . For prints, I’m again seeing nature based prints like this http://www.westelm.com/products/r779/?pkey=crugs-windows-new . You could do something like this in a wallpaper for an accent wall. If you want to mix styles with some funky vintage furniture, then you might consider a funky vintage print wallpaper too.
Gray’s tend to be popular during recessionary times, and I’m definitely seeing them make a strong comeback. And back to the turquoise . . . okay, a turquoise accent might be fun – but an entire room, probably not.