Melbourne Building Design for 2021 and Beyond
When it comes to the design of our homes, our tastes are constantly evolving. Every year, we see trends come and go as certain features and styles come in and out of fashion.
Often these changes are driven by broader social issues or trends. We can definitely see that this year, with several issues in 2020 directly impacting what we expect from our homes. This is particularly true here in Melbourne, where 2020 looked decidedly different for the vast majority of people.
With all of this in mind, here are the building trends we expect to see much more of over this year.
Dynamic layouts that can grow and evolve
Being at home more has highlighted the importance of having a living space that suits how we live. It has also made many people more conscious of designing for the future. This has seen an increased interest in adaptable spaces that can change as the family does.
Multi-use spaces have become particularly popular as homeowners look to maximise the usability of every inch of their property. While these need to be planned carefully, they can allow for luxury features – like a gym or media room – to be included in the design. They also often require specialised furniture that is flexible (like foldaway beds) or can be easily moved.
Non-permanent walls are also becoming increasingly popular. No longer just a fixture in large offices, these can be easily removed and repositioned to adjust the size and shape of a room. As such, they allow a homeowner to reimagine their living areas as their needs change – or even just for a special occasion.
Home automation and Building Design
The trend toward home automation has existed for a while, but COVID has really sped it up. No longer just about convenience, these technologies are now being recognised for their obvious health and hygiene benefits.
For example, automatic taps and touchless toilets bring an extra layer of antibacterial protection to your bathroom. Similarly, voice-activated kitchen appliances can make cooking much easier while helping avoid cross-contamination during meal prep. While it is unlikely these innovations will protect against infectious diseases (like COVID), they can minimise the risk of many other health concerns.
Thanks to ongoing advances in technology, home automation products have become much more affordable and accessible. However, it is always best to plan the installation of these during building or renovation works as retrofitting them can be difficult. This is particularly true for any automation involving plumbing (taps, toilets, etc.) or electrical (lights, appliances, etc.).
Nostalgia… but in a modern way
The uncertainty of the last 12 months has created a yearning for simpler times. This sense of nostalgia has created a few design trends and seen several building materials and styles return to popularity.
For example, brick has made a big return as a popular building material. However, unlike previous brick trends, the current use is much more subdued – think neutral tones and natural textures. Bricks are also being used more as an accent or design feature to help bring character and warmth to a space.
We are even seeing throwbacks in the art and styling choices many people are making. Specifically, natural materials – like wool and jute – have regained popularity, as has the desire for handmade objects and artworks. Many see this as a celebration of imperfection and an embracing of the beauty and uniqueness of handcrafted materials.
Connecting your indoor and outdoor areas
Melbourne’s long lockdown made many people value their connection with nature even more. With access to parkland limited in most areas, the humble backyard became a crucial natural oasis. This has led to many homeowners wanting to make a significant feature of their outdoor space.
For some, this is achieved by minimising barriers between internal and external zones. Large glass doors that provide visibility across the outdoor space are one of the most common ways to achieve this. Many designs also feature fully retractable doors that can be opened up to create a single indoor/outdoor area.
For others, this involves incorporating natural and living elements into internal designs. Indoor gardens are a great way to make a light well (or any particularly sunny spot) look even airier. They also bring some much-needed greenery into the home and can help purify the air.
Natural materials, like timber and stone, which were already extremely popular, have also become absolute must-haves. Using these materials is a great way of creating a natural feeling, even when direct access to the outdoors is not possible. It also helps to ground a design, making it feel both warmer and calmer.
Softer, tonal colour schemes
The modern colour palette has been notably neutral, with a bold statement colour often used to inject energy and contrast. However, in line with many of the other trends we are seeing, colour tastes have also become much more subdued. In particular, we are seeing two distinct schemes become more popular – soft pastels and natural tones.
The first of these is about bringing warmth and a sense of luxuriousness, without being too bold or overpowering. It usually features softer shades, like blush pink and light pistachio. It can also be accentuated with deeper colours, like ochre yellow or naval blue, which create contrast and visual interest.
The second reflects our renewed love of the natural environment and brings a sense of stability and calm into the home. It is dominated by stone greys and more wooden and earthy browns. In many ways, it is an evolution of the perennially popular neutrals palette and embraces the power of these tones.
Increased focus on sustainability
While COVID was the headline in 2020, we also saw a significant increase in the consciousness of our environmental impact. The upshot of this has been many more people trying to minimise their waste and consumption. This has seen an increased interest in everything from responsibly sourced and sustainable materials to passive and energy-efficient houses.
Most notably, we are seeing bioplastics and other naturally sourced materials (e.g. seagrass, corn, and fungi) become much more commonplace. Not only are these significantly more sustainable than many traditional materials, but they also minimise waste in both usage and production.
The movement toward energy efficiency is also continuing, through both technology and long-held design practices. For example, a northerly orientation is central to so many designs as it is critical to maximising natural light, particularly in winter. Complementing this, there is the increasing capacity and efficiency of solar power generation and storage.
The importance of timeless elegance
While trends are great, they usually do not last. As such, designing to a specific trend can make a property age really quickly. That is why it is important to balance what is hot right now with what will look good for years to come.
While getting this right can take a deft touch, it is a thing of beauty when done correctly. Being able to marry the classic and the contemporary shows true taste and is the epitome of style.
Choosing a timeless base and building on it with on-trend accents also allows a design to evolve over the years. And, as timeless choices generally match most styles, they allow a space to be easily refreshed as tastes change. Simply swap out any out-of-style items with something that shows off the new latest trend.
If you are worried about getting this right, or just want to discuss the latest design trends, contact Carmel Homes. As one of Melbourne’s leading premium custom builders, we pride ourselves on our ability to create true contemporary classics. Call us today to arrange your free design consultation.
The Carmel Homes Difference
Carmel Homes is a price-competitive and service-focused family business, operating primarily in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. We pride ourselves on working closely with our clients to achieve a common goal: building beautiful craftsman homes that breathe quality - your dream home. Every project we undertake has a company director present, and we are always contactable.
To discuss your new home, duplex, or townhouse build, we invite you to contact us today.