1. Open spaces
Today’s homes benefit from increased efficiency and functionality from their living spaces as contemporary designers create much more open floor plans. Fewer walls mean in a more spacious living area and a more minimalist design result in fewer awkward, wasted spaces than found in older homes.
Open concept plans allow the interior of the home to adapt to the residents’ changing needs. Formal dining rooms and living rooms give way to more flexible and interconnected spaces. The kitchen—ever the heart of the home—often takes centre stage in newer designs and gains much more space, better for busy family’s day-to-day lives, and for entertaining with friends and family.
While more traditional rooms are losing ground in modern floor plans, designers are adding in a separate space as a place apart from the hubbub of household activity. Designed to work as a multi-functional space, this room can be a reading area with bookshelves, a play space for children or a home office—whatever the homeowners need it to be at various stages of their lives.
2. Smart storage
The trend towards more minimalist design feeds into an increasing desire for a cleaner, simpler look to our living spaces. It also happens to dovetail nicely with our never-ending quest to clear the clutter in our homes. Just Google KonMari for more than two million hits on the de-cluttering method made famous in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Japanese author Marie Kondo. It would seem we all have far more stuff than we can cope with!
As more and more people opt for smaller, more efficient homes—often as in-fill development in urban centres—the need for clever storage ideas continues to grow. From storing seasonal and athletic gear to imaginative solutions for kitchen clutter, smart storage options are showing up in all our homes (unobtrusively, of course).
Pull-out pantries, sliding cabinets, and innovative uses for vertical spaces are becoming the norm. These storage ideas compromise nothing in terms of aesthetics. In fact, they often enhance the look of a space and maintain the clean design lines (e.g., large kitchen appliances being “hidden” behind faux cupboard panels).
3. Natural materials
Maybe as a reaction to our more technology-driven lives, many people want a more rustic or natural look for their living spaces. Designers are responding. Barn wood, timber beams, and exposed brick have been popping up in home design, lending a more textured and “lived in” feel to our homes and public spaces. In the kitchen and bathroom, marble is making a big comeback as another authentic material. Once reserved for high-end homes, marble’s richly veined, elegant look has become a much sought-after material in everything from counters and vanities to table tops.In flooring, grained and distressed woods are gaining in popularity, as well as wide-planked boards for an older, more rustic look.
4. Outdoor spaces
As part of our desire to make the most of a home’s available space, our notion of living space now goes beyond the square footage of the actual building. From outdoor kitchens that adjoin to the indoor kitchen area and living spaces connecting to a furnished outdoor deck or courtyard area, architects and designers are finding ways to blend and connect our indoor and outdoor spaces. Large windows and sliding door panels add to the blurred sense of where a “room” ends.
5. Universal design
As the Baby Boomer generation moves through the various stages of their lives, trends tend to follow. Now that the older Boomers are moving into their 70s, the concept of universal design and increased accessibility in the home will only continue to grow in the coming years. Universal design not only makes a home more accessible for the disabled and the elderly, it makes a living space more comfortable for all, which is—in the end—the main goal for any home.
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