Homeowners have a lot of options when it comes to design. From the purely whimsical to the modern and clean, designs can be versatile and provide more choices than one knows what to do with.

However, these trends can make or break a sale. Potential buyers have a more specific set of preferences than current residents, and that quirky wallpaper could send some suitors running in the other direction. In order to sell quickly - and for the most money - homeowners should consult property inspection professionals before listing their houses. These experts can figure out where there are any hidden problems, and if any issues could get in the way of a transaction.

Between this year and 2014's popular design trends, there is plenty of guidance for those looking for a new home improvement project.

The past year in home design

According to Maryalene LaPonsie, a columnist for Improvement Center, homeowners are the ones who define design trends - not experts. And in 2013, this demographic latched on to a few specific elements.

For instance, LaPonsie highlighted homeowner's love for everything gray. This color took the place of classic neutral options like beige, black and white. While gray was popular for most carpets and paints, it also spread to cabinets and hardwood floors. Finishes such as this were common throughout 2013, and that is one trend that is expected to continue into next year.

In addition to color options, homeowners have been leaning toward more high-end flooring choices, LaPonsie explained. While the price tag has been increasing, buyers aren't sacrificing durability. Wool carpeting has experienced a resurgence, and vinyl planks are one option that provides the look of hardwood in spaces where it would have otherwise been unavailable, like a bathroom.

Moreover, outdoor fabrics have moved from the backyard to the living room, according to LaPonsie. The reason why is because these elements are more durable than their indoor counterparts, which means all those spills won't do as much damage. What's more, they stand up to pets and children better.

All of these design trends might be the perfect solutions for homeowners looking to sell. An up-to-date property could attract additional buyer interest in a competitive market.

A look toward the future

While 2013 has had its fair share of design trends, next year is expected to have just as many. A home inspection before selling can be a great way to make sure any improvements were made correctly. 

In order to draw in some more potential buyers, these features could be smart changes for anyone. According to The Baltimore Sun, bold colors could be popular in 2014. Instead of plain neutrals, more people could be interested in bright blues, reds and purples. The goal is to use these splashes of color as accents, like on a piece of furniture. 

Coastal themes aren't just reserved for ocean-front real estate anymore, either. The Baltimore Sun reported that the color blue and coral patterns have made their way into more area rugs, couches and pillows than ever before.

"It used to be that they saved [coastal themes] for the beach," Victoria Jenkins, a Baltimore-area merchandising manager and design consultant, told the news source. "But now it doesn't matter if they have waterfront homes or not. [Coastal themes] definitely helps them feel more calm and serene."

Homeowners may be finding added interest in the more specialized rooms, like the "man cave," the media outlet noted. Homeowner's toys are getting larger, and upscale spaces with televisions, technology and wine rooms are increasing in popularity. 

With all of these options, those interested in a remodel project have a lot of options. Regardless of choice, a home inspection before, during and after any large renovation is a smart idea.