Trends in home design and renovations
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Trends in home design and renovations

The family home, as time wears on, needs a facelift – and renovations arguably have become the new Australian dream!

Renovation trends typically stick around for much longer than looks in fashion. Although homeowners are always striving to improve style, today they’re spending their money on smarter, more practical elements to enhance and more effectively utilise existing space.

As reflected in reality programs such as House Rules and The Block, the overall trend in renovations today is toward simpler living and low maintenance design, but with accents of colour and features that don’t overpower. This aesthetic extends from clean and simple kitchen cabinetry to ‘bulletproof’ countertops, pre-finished wood flooring and solid ‘pops’ of glass, colour and sparkling textures.

And the trend towards simplicity is also manifested in a growing demand for safer, healthier and more sustainable homes.

So what’s hot right now in home renovations and décor? Here are some of today’s tricky trends:

1.   Multi-purpose rooms

The varying needs of family members means that homeowners are wary of giving spare rooms a ‘fixed’ purpose. Homeowners increasingly want flexible designs which are adaptable for their changing needs. It may suit to use a space as a home office now, but down the track you may want to turn the room into a craft space or guest bedroom.

2.   Home office spaces

Whether it’s to meet with clients or simply to find a quiet space in which to work from home a few days per week, the move towards more flexible work arrangements and the increasing number of home-operated businesses mean a well thought out home office is an essential feature.

3.   Gardens with low maintenance living

People aren’t landscaping vast open spaces, but rather smaller courtyards that go hand-in-hand with urban dwelling. Homeowners are opting for cheap, low-maintenance exteriors and lawn alternatives such as pavers and concrete to keep yard work to a minimum.

Gardens and courtyards around the home bring in light and views to bedrooms and living areas. An extra door opening to access garden areas can make a huge difference and enhances the flow of living spaces.

4.   Alfresco living and outdoor kitchens

Creating alfresco living areas make it comfortable for families to do more of their living and entertaining outside the house, particularly in the summer time. With the line between interiors and exteriors blurring, alfresco living is more than having an outdoor table and chairs, it’s a trend which creates an integrated space. It’s where the comforts of interiors are enhancing outdoor spaces.

Interest continues in outdoor food preparation of all kinds, as simple as a grill and as elaborate as a built-in cook’s station with sink, storage, beer tap, pizza oven, refrigerator and benchtops. Newer amenities include a hybrid grill which enables cooking with both gas and wood or charcoal and prefabricated kitchens that save funds.


Trends in home design and renovations


5.   Modernising kitchens

This trend has been around for a few years now, and it’s not going anywhere soon. It’s no secret that kitchen remodels have one of the highest returns on investment. Small enhancements can make a big difference to the look and value of your kitchen. New cupboard handles, light fittings and a lick of paint can do wonders for updating a tried cooking space. A clean, simple, contemporary look eliminates unnecessary clutter and fussy details that equate to high maintenance and complicated living.

Granite has been dethroned. The new king of benchtops is quartz composite – the closest thing to no maintenance, bullet-proof benchtop materials available today.

6.   Bi-fold doors and bigger views

It used to be that anything other than a sliding door leading to the patio or pool was unheard of. However, homeowners are looking for a more seamless experience between their home and the outdoors. Bi-fold doors offer bigger openings that blur the lines between the outside and in, giving a new meaning to the term ‘room with a view’. Homeowners who invest in framing their home’s vista with a set of aluminum bi-fold doors can expect a nice return on investment in the future.

7.   Smarter and safer automated controls

With lives continuing to be busy and automation costs coming down, it’s become more affordable to control a home’s systems, temperature, security, electronics, lighting and more through a single device – even from an iPhone or iPad. Doing so can eliminate multiple controls and make it easy for home owners to manage things around their home, even when you’re not there.

8.   Outdoor living rooms

A trend that began a few years ago continues to inspire home owners to think beyond terraces and decks. These spaces have more of the feeling and function of an indoor room, better furnishings, fire pits, curtains, and even televisions and audio systems. Some spaces are designed as courtyards for greater privacy, yet with high-efficiency glass windows and doors to make them energy-smart and seamless with indoor rooms.

9.   Media frenzy

With more families remaining home for ‘staycations’ rather than travelling, rooms are being devoted to TV and other multimedia entertainment with comfortable seating, tables and good lighting. They’re designed to have a more ‘home-y’ feel.

10. More double-duty furnishings

More and more furniture and furnishings are doing double duty in smaller spaces. Trends are seeing ottomans being used for seating and storage, couches that convert to beds and coffee tables that can rise for dining. This trend means that the one ‘room’ in a house that’s not shrinking is the garage, which is often still big enough for two cars and storage.

11. Going green

Eco-friendly products and building materials are another trend on the home improvement market. Whether you are thinking of installing energy efficient windows and doors or a tank-less water heater, there is no denying that homeowners have caught the bug to go green. The beauty, value and potential money saved on green improvements outlasts most other home improvements in the long run. Additionally, many green products have improved in both quality and price over the past few years, proving to consumers that green doesn’t have to be dull or expensive.

12. Energy and water efficiency

Efforts to conserve energy and water throughout the home continue to be popular, including low-water toilets and sinks and improved insulation. Solar panels are more integrated into roofs so they’re less of an eyesore. Grey recycled water can be used in toilets and to water gardens, while more drought-tolerant plants and replacements for impermeable hardscape allow greater water retention.

13. Stylish bathrooms

These remain at the top of many homeowners’ wish lists, as they reflect the trend of remodeling rather than adding on. The transitional look, a middle ground between traditional and contemporary, has become more popular. This is evidenced by choices such as dark-stained or painted finishes rather than natural maple or cherry, and larger format tiles rather than smaller ones.

14. Non-traditional windows

Windows and doors are among the top home improvements this year with homeowners thinking outside the box. They don’t just want bigger views; they want more efficiency and functionality too.
That means non-traditional window types such as louvres and awnings and materials such as aluminium instead of wood or vinyl are making an appearance in a big way.

15. Touch of paint

Repainting is still one of the top home renovations as it’s inexpensive and can be done in a weekend or less. And it can easily enhance the value of your home!


Trends in home design and renovations

African inspired prints, tonnes of texture for floors and walls and an emphasis on art are just a few of the interior design and colour trends of savvy homeowners. Here are some top home colour trends that will really make your home stand out:

Colour blocking

Although a neutral colour palette is a safer bet when considering a home’s resale value, beige walls are out and colour blocking is in! This doesn’t mean feature walls are on trend again, but you can experiment with ‘pops’ of colour – whether that’s a bright splash-back in the kitchen or nostalgic wallpaper in the bedroom. Gingham patterns, cottage florals and polka dots are all popular patterns that can drastically improve the look of a space.

Super natural

Super natural is all about taking cues from nature to add depth and dimension to an interior. Decorative surfaces are textured, pared back and raw to mimic the natural look and feel of woodgrains and stone.
Super natural authentically imitates nature and blurs the boundaries of real and unreal surfaces.

Warming grey

Long-lasting and sophisticated grey is seeing something of a resurgence for modern interiors. Grey can be combined with natural woods or organic based colours like yellow-greens, oranges and reds for more vibrant effect. When used as a woodgrain colour, grey invokes a sense of the graceful aging of a material with exposure to the elements and the passage of time.

But grey can also be warming. The potential coldness of purely neutral grey takes second place to warm, brown-based greys. This is a strong environmental reference that to us marks a natural evolution of brown in the palette which is something of a global phenomenon.

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Lisa Llewellyn

Lisa started her working life as a property and financial journalist, working for media outlets including BRW, Radio 3AW and Australian Investment magazine. She turned her hand to PR and opened a boutique PR consultancy in 2001.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.