In the world of home design, change is the name of the game. Styles and preferences evolve, technology becomes more embedded in our everyday lives, and our unpredictable world (hello COVID-19!) can even alter how we live. All of these factors influence home construction, remodeling, and design. In this month’s blog post, we’ll delve into a few ways that home design is changing to meet today’s homeowners’ needs now and into the future.

The legacy of the pandemic in home design

COVID-19 has undeniably had an impact on home design, reshaping our living spaces from what once were simply places to eat, sleep, and watch TV. Here are a few ways that the pandemic influenced our lives at home.

Remote work is here to stay

Many homeowners were scrambling when they had to pivot to working from home. When considering a remodel, many turned unused guest rooms, dining rooms, attics, and basements, as well as underutilized nooks or alcoves, into dedicated home offices. Home design has adapted to accommodate these dedicated home offices with ergonomic furniture, standing desks, and even soundproofing for dreaded Zoom meetings.

Basement converted into home office

Entertainment and exercise

When gyms and fitness centers were forced to shut their doors, the stock in workout space skyrocketed. This trend continues today, as it’s now common for homeowners to add home gyms, yoga studios, or meditation rooms. Due to smart technology, it’s easy to include fitness equipment, fitness apps, and virtual trainers so that homeowners can maintain an active lifestyle from the comfort of their homes.

While going to the mall, arcade, or movie theater may have been the norm for shopping and entertainment 20 years ago, the availability of shopping apps, streaming services, smart TVs, and advanced sound systems have turned the average home into an entertainment hub. Theater rooms and gaming centers are becoming more common so that folks can enjoy movies, concerts, and video games right from home.

Basement renovation including game room

Live smarter

During the last decade, smart home technology has been slowly creeping into our homes. With the advent of voice-activated devices (Alexa! Siri!) homeowners can now control lighting, heating and air conditioning, security, and even appliances with the sound of their voice or a swipe of their smartphone. Did you forget to turn off the lights while you’re away for the weekend? Pop into your app to turn them off remotely. And as an added bonus, this technology also increases energy efficiency.

Embrace minimalism

As we demand more roles and functions in our smaller-than-average New England homes, many homeowners are prioritizing simplicity and multipurpose use of space.

Reducing clutter, as well as keeping items efficiently organized and low maintenance is key when keeping your home minimal. This means clean lines, clear surfaces, and typically a more neutral color palette. When picking furniture, make sure it fits appropriately in the space and opt for multi-functional pieces, such as a kitchen island that can double as an eating space.

Natural elements: plants, wood, and stone

As our world becomes faster-paced and more technologically dependent, it’s no surprise that design trends are embracing more natural elements. By integrating indoor plants and natural materials such as wood and stone, homeowners can keep their environments feeling more tranquil and connected to their outdoor surroundings.

Bringing the outdoors in

Indoor plants have always been integral to home design, however, their popularity has skyrocketed in recent years. Consider creating a plant-filled corner with large statement plants, add hanging planters, or dedicate a shelf or windowsill for a collection of small potted plants.

Adding flowers, succulents, or potted plants into the home can also add natural textures or fun, vibrant pops of color. Plants’ versatility means they can be moved around the home depending on the season. They add character and warmth to any room, even kitchens and bathrooms! There are also added health benefits to bringing plants indoors — they can improve air quality and reduce pollutants.

Knock on wood

Wood has been, and likely always will be, one of the most versatile and timeless materials in a home. This is particularly true in an area like New England, with its many older homes. Wood adds warmth and texture and can help convey your home’s style. Prefer a more traditional style? Opt for wide pine flooring in a traditional layout or exposed antique beams. Like things a bit more modern? Use sleek, handle-free cabinets or flooring with a smooth, matte finish.

Here are the primary ways to consider adding wood to any home design:

Wooden floors

Hardwood flooring not only conveys a more expensive look, it can help complement any style, from rustic farmhouse to sleek modern design.

Wooden furniture

Wooden furniture is easy to source, is eco-friendly, and adds a touch of nature to your living space. Consider pieces like dining tables, coffee tables, chairs, bedroom furniture, and end tables.

Cabinetry and built-Ins

Add wooden accents through built-ins, cabinetry, or shelving. These elements can even be used in spaces where furniture may be at a minimum, like bathrooms, kitchens, and entryways. Looking for a way to expand a smaller room’s color palette? Painted cabinetry looks amazing in a vast number of color pallets. And don’t forget about exotic wood species or finishes.

Mix of painted and stained wood built-ins

Stone: glamorous and rustic

Another natural element that brings both elegance and earthiness to your home is stone. With countless styles, finishes, and uses, it’s easy to incorporate into any design. Stone is both timeless and durable, making it a great investment. It can be used both outdoors, on walkways or patios, as well as indoors, as countertops, flooring, accent walls, or even as a fireplace surround.

Beautiful stone shower

Natural stones such as marble, granite, quartzite, or soapstone make great kitchen or bathroom countertops and flooring. They offer homeowners many different colors, patterns, and finishes, so that you can put your own style into these more sterile spaces.

Want to convey a more opulent look? Consider match-booked marble. Trying to keep things more cost-conscious and simple? Granite might be the right choice. Just remember to make sure to opt for a stone that is stain and water-resistant, and consider sealing it regularly.

Slab backsplashes are also trending in kitchen design. Instead of installing a tiled backsplash, homeowners are essentially bringing the countertop up along the wall, creating a seamless, continuous surface and creating a striking impact. And if you’re a clean freak, they are a breeze to wipe down.

Don’t forget to use stone as an accent as well. Marble-top coffee or end tables bring a bit of stone into a living room. Decor items such as vases and sculptures offer ways to incorporate stone in small doses as well.

Other trends: colors and finishes

It’s no surprise that more natural colors are also emerging as trends in home design. In recent years, blue and green have become more dominant colors, with black growing as a popular neutral.

With its seemingly endless shades (navy, columbia, baby, sky, etc.), it’s easy to find a spot to incorporate blue in almost any room. Soft, powder blue works well in bathrooms, bedrooms, or any other space you want to open up or keep light and bright. Navy works well to add a bit of drama and depth, such as in more formal spaces like a dining room, and provides a bit of color while simultaneously feeling neutral when used in kitchen cabinetry. Have a beach or lake house? Blue is a great way to incorporate water or a coastal/nautical vibe.

Green provides an even bigger “nature” punch. Like plants, using green gives off a sense of bringing the outdoors in. Soft, sage greens continue to trend in areas like kitchen or mudroom cabinetry. Emerald or Jade tones provide a bit of luxe. Softer greens work great in areas meant for relaxation, such as bedrooms or living rooms.

Sage green kitchen

For many years, gray reigned supreme in home design trends. More recently, black has been creeping into the mix more frequently. Black feels a bit less sterile than its lighter cousin, and can easily add a little bit of drama or sophistication. Really want to turn up the drama? Consider black walls or ceilings if you want to keep things intimate. Black can add contrast and depth, especially when coupled with stark white. Black kitchen cabinets, or only black lower cabinets are trending, particularly in more modern homes.

Not ready for a huge punch of such a dark color? Consider black accent decor or smaller furniture, which gives off a more modern or edgy look. Additionally, black is timeless, so it can be a great choice for more investment pieces.

Bring today’s design trends into your home

Design trends are ever-evolving and often difficult to predict. They are shaped by cultural shifts, technology and innovation, and even once-in-a-century pandemics. And while we don’t see the avocado fridge coming back into style, they are often cyclical (hello, mid-century modern!).

At Godfrey Design-Build, we’re dedicated to assisting you in creating spaces that are not only stunning but also highly practical and tailored to your unique preferences. Interested in learning more? Contact us today.