Top 9 Design Trends for 2021
Judie Docs, Executive Officer, North Coast Building Industry Association (NCBIA), CSP, MCSP, CGP, CMP, MIRM
More than 160 single-family, multifamily, interior design, remodeling and community projects were honored at last week’s 2020 National Association of Home Builders Best in American Living™ Awards (BALA) virtual ceremony. BALA winners showcase top design trends that home buyers can expect to see in homes and communities over the next several years, among them:
Updates to overall styles. Modern is dominating and now often paired with traditional elements to add authenticity to design. Contemporary and transitional designs still “wow” buyers; both styles are more refined than in years past. Traditional design becomes less fussy and rigid.
Mindfulness in architecture and design. Homes and communities are showcasing new layers and depth to design. Design is purposeful and carefully curated. Authenticity is a primary goal in all aspects of design and achieved through embracing existing landscapes, editing carefully, and paying attention to materiality, proportions, and details.
Emphasis on streetscapes. Planners, architects, and designers showcase a strong understanding on how to design public spaces. Homes feature front-yard gathering spaces to welcome neighbors safely; urban streetscapes prioritize the pedestrian experience over cars.
More sophisticated indoor/outdoor connections. Architects and designers are looking for every opportunity to add visual and physical connections to nature. Windows continue to be bigger and more in number; when total windows are limited due to budget, windows are thoughtfully placed to ensure each captures a view, adds natural light, and improves the space.
Programmed and multifunctional outdoor living. Homes feature multiple outdoor spaces, often creatively layered to respond to changes in weather, gathering size and activity. Multifamily projects are right-sizing balconies for residents to offer personal paradises that are livable and furnishable.
Sanctuary spaces. Indoors, buyers crave spaces to decompress and build human connections. “Unplug zones” (no or hidden screens) are becoming popular after much time at home. Owner suites feature spa-like details and finishes. Outdoor living offers cozy and oasis-like spaces, such as sunken fire pits, old-growth trees, and warm materiality.
Home offices and flex spaces. New and remodeled homes offer at least one home office, often with an option or flex space for two. With more kids doing online schooling, separate workspaces are added adjacent to the kitchen that can be used for virtual school, homework, crafting, home command centers, etc. Architects take advantage of forgotten corners and circulation spaces by creating tucked-away flex areas, such as small desk nooks off a hallway.
Second (messy) pantries and kitchens. If square footage allows, homes include two kitchens: the primary kitchen for entertaining, and a second separate but adjacent kitchen for prep. Back alcoves or spacious pantries offer more workspace while solving the problem and mess of fully open kitchens in open plans.
Updates to materiality. Varied colors, materials and textures don today’s façades and interiors. Playful materiality and maximalism in multifamily spaces, especially shared spaces, is on the rise. Neutrals, primarily white and gray, are paired with pops of color. The character of natural wood and pairing of contrasting woods side-by-side, is emphasized; warm and natural tones are embraced.
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