The homes we have today have helped us solve all sorts of problems as a species, like keeping clean and staying safe. But no matter how good homes might be, we’re always looking for ways to improve on them. Thanks to new materials and new technologies, home design continues to evolve, offering better accommodation and new concepts.
Here, we’ve put together some of the biggest home design trends we’re likely to see this year.
Back in Victorian times, people didn’t have a lot of stuff. They might have had a couple of pairs of shoes and perhaps two jackets, and that was about it. As a result, Victorian houses rarely came with closets. Closets were the preserve of the wealthy who actually had a use for them. Now, though, people are more affluent and are able to afford many pairs of shoes, bags, coats – you name it. And so there’s a massive demand for storage in recent builds.
People aren’t just looking for extra cupboard space, either. They want walk-in wardrobes, complete with mirrors that allow them to get dressed in style. And they want bigger garages that can hold an SUV, a second car and a bunch of tools. Triple, rather than double, garages are fast becoming the norm.
The Yard Is Becoming A Part Of The Floor Plan
The idea that outside areas of the house could comprise part of the floor plan seemed fanciful just a decade ago. But now it’s one of the most popular property trends, and certainly, something to look out for if you’re an investor looking for a tax-deferred exchange property. Floor plans for both living spaces and kitchens now regularly extend into the garden, and dozens of companies have sprung up to make it possible.
It’s worth pointing out that living outdoors isn’t a new idea. People have been cooking outside for millennia. It’s just that now it is being rediscovered and people are realizing that it’s a lot more enjoyable to cook and read outside, especially when the weather is nice.
More Accessible Homes
Architects are also having to change the way that homes are designed to cater for the fact that people are getting older. No longer are they installing difficult spiral staircases and high cabinets. Instead, they’re looking at ways to make moving around the home easier for people with physical limitations.
The new movement is being dubbed “universal design, ” and it’s meant to provide features for people with limited capacity while blending seamlessly into the rest of the home. People don’t want to live in a home that has the appearance of a nursing home or a hospital. But neither do they want a home where they find it difficult to move around. Universal design is a philosophy that seeks to combine utility with aesthetics in a very subtle way, making both possible.
Flexible Floor Plans
With the cost of housing rising so quickly, many families are looking for their “forever home” – a home which they hope will last them for decades to come. Unfortunately, with traditional home design, this is rarely possible. The problem is that home floor plans can’t be shifted around very easily to accommodate evolving needs. A home that was appropriate for a young couple with a baby is rarely appropriate for an older couple with three teenage children.
As a result, architects and designers are investigating ways of building homes with flexible wall plans. Pritzker Laureate Shigeru Ban has run with the concept and developed “wall-less” housing concepts which allow families to split up their rooms how they want. Dedicated dining rooms and kitchens are slowly being replaced with open plan living areas. In fact, open plan design is one of the main things that people now ask for when buying new properties.
There’s also increasing demand for “bonus rooms.” These are rooms that can be used for whatever people want, including reading rooms or gaming rooms. Again, the idea here is to provide people with living spaces that complement their lifestyles and will adapt as their situation changes.
Buildings That Can Withstand Extreme Weather
Many climate scientists are predicting that, in the 21st century, there will be more extreme weather events. As a result, many are investigating ways to make buildings stronger and resistant to the elements. One of the ways that they are doing this is to rely on insulated panel walls, constructed using concrete. These panels are meant to replace older, wooden designs in hurricane-prone regions.
Buildings That Are Good For Your Health
It’s long been known that some buildings can make you sick. For decades, home designers have been aware of the damaging effect of asbestos, but only recently has science uncovered the possible health problems caused by other synthetic materials and chemical additives used in paint.
Renzo Piano, the man who designed the Shard in London, has come up with a novel solution to the problem. Instead of using synthetic insulation, he’s designed to use old jeans instead and stuff them into walls. It’s non-toxic and means that when the house is eventually taken down in the future, synthetic fibers aren’t at risk of polluting the environment.
Reinventing Old Buildings
Some architects don’t want to build new buildings, they want to preserve the old. As such, they’re looking for old industrial buildings and giving them a new lease of life with a modern finish. In many ways, historical architecture serves as its own inspiration thanks to the unique styles of times gone by. Anything can be updated to become a new home, including warehouses, factories, and even churches. What architects are looking for are buildings which have character and that provide the perfect backdrop to their designs.
With the increasing focus on the environment, many architects are looking for ways to build their buildings using natural, organic materials. In other words, the home of the future could be biodegradable. These aren’t mud huts, mind you. They’re just as comfortable as regular modern houses.