Consumer and Home Design Trends

Fall 2019 DesignLens Trends Update

Jenni Nichols photo

Jenni Nichols

October 24, 2019

Each year, our team visits thousands of new home communities and masterplans and selects 84 innovative and inspirational developments to photograph and analyze. We also invite the most innovative people we know to our collaborative Housing Design Summit each February, and we monitor all sorts of consumer trend publications to help determine what trends will emerge next.

We feature notable developments on DesignLens™, where great design, research, and profitability converge. Here are nine community and home design trends from our recent DesignLens member-exclusive webinar with photographs and analysis.

  • Still trending strong: Indoor/outdoor connections, multigenerational living, and modern styles

  • Waning trends: Farmhouse designs, great rooms, and large showers

  • The next great trends: Attached homes, indoor escapes, and reasonable individuality

Trends That Are Still Going Strong

These three trends will continue to result in strong sales: connection to the outdoors, multigenerational living, and modern styles.

Connection to the Outdoors

As more time is spent indoors and communities get denser, consumers continue to look for ways to bring the outside in. Here are a few great examples of ways to integrate this trend into your homes.

Source: DesignLens

The Fusion Collection at Brambleton by Van Metre Homes provides a seamless connection to the outdoors. Runs of sliding/stacking/bi-fold doors allow whole walls of rooms to disappear, removing any separation between inside and out.

Source: DesignLens

Lots of glass and windows provide light and views of nature. Plentiful windows at the Easton Park Quads by Pacesetter Homes run along two walls of the great room, filling the space with light. As density makes privacy a growing concern, thoughtful window placement becomes even more crucial.

Source: DesignLens

Today’s consumers want their outdoor spaces to have all the comforts of the indoors, including shielding from the elements. Even in the rainy Seattle market, Toll Brothers created a great rear deck with both covered and uncovered portions at Pipers Glen. A fireplace and skylights enhance the function of the space and bring in more light.

Multigenerational Living

Households are changing. Parents live with their kids and grandkids, adult children live with their parents, friends share homes, and an increasing number of homeowners choose to rent out space. Multigenerational suites provide opportunities for all.

Living spaces come in a variety of layouts: a suite within the home that can only be accessed from the main home, suites with private entrances, and flats over the garage. Whatever the layout, the key to a great multigen space is privacy, where connection is on the resident’s terms and not forced by shared spaces. Multiple builders have even created special branding for their multigenerational offerings like Lennar’s NextGen line of homes or Pardee’s GenSmart suites.

Source: DesignLens

Suites can even be found in attached offerings. Amethyst at Parasol Park by The New Home Company includes a multigen suite with its own private entrance via a beautiful exterior spiral staircase. Suites can even be found in attached offerings.

Modern Styles

Modern styles continue to grow in popularity inside and outside the house. According to our Consumer & Product Insights research, 30% of new home shoppers want the outside of their home to be modern, while 36% want a modern interior.

Source: DesignLens

Infinity Home Collection includes a modern take on the farmhouse elevation style at Luxe at Stapleton. As noted below, the farmhouse style is waning, but not in Denver.

Source: DesignLens

Meridian Communities created a colorful modern offering at Metro at Millenia with vibrant colors and geometric shapes.

What Trends Are Waning?

As we tour the country, we see waning trends show up in slowing sales. Often these also show ways to cut costs. We see less success in farmhouse elements (in non-farm areas), massive great rooms (which Taylor Morrison Chairman and CEO Sheryl Palmer addresses in our next podcast episode), and oversized showers.

Farmhouse Style

Like the Tuscan style during its heyday, the consumer has grown tired of the farmhouse style. Farmhouse will stay popular regionally in areas where it feels authentic, but it is waning on a national level.

Massive Great Rooms

Massive great rooms are dramatic and beautiful, but how do you live in them with no place to hide your stuff? Great rooms are starting to shift shape, and homes are incorporating more alternative gathering spaces, bringing back the good old formal dining room or den. We aren’t necessarily going back to the full formal layout, but survey your local customer and you will likely learn that they need more space for their stuff and are looking for more intimate places to gather.

Oversized Showers

We as an industry started to get rid of the tub in favor of larger showers in many homes until they got so big you can practically fit your whole family inside. Big showers aren’t going away for all homes, but they are being replaced by bathrooms with better function. Giant empty spaces between shower heads is not as popular as it used to be.

What's Next?

Three emerging trends that we see becoming more successful include numerous creative attached solutions, indoor escapes, and reasonable individuality.

Creative Attached Solutions

Earlier this year, we did a podcast with Dan Parolek of Opticos Design who spoke on the range of housing types between or in the middle of detached single-family homes and mid-rise buildings, a concept he coined as “missing middle housing.” To capture the “missing middle,” builders are producing a lot of creative high-density, well-located attached projects around the country.

Source: DesignLens

Miller & Smith created Birchwood Courtyard Homes at Brambleton, a 55+ fourplex cluster collection that provides buyers with a low-maintenance lifestyle solution. The homes have fresh elevations and open great rooms.

Source: DesignLens

Shea Homes’ Modern Collection offers stacked duplexes with elevators, a multigenerational suite in some plans, and a beautiful connection to the outdoors.

Indoor Escapes

The world is getting busier and busier to the point where burnout is now recognized as a health concern by the World Health Organization. More consumers are looking for escapes inside their homes, including a more elaborate master retreat, oversized master bedrooms, or spa baths.

Source: DesignLens

Sometimes this escape comes in the form of a separate master retreat like this one by Pulte Homes at Collection 3 at Blackrock. Note the wet bar, which allows residents to enjoy their morning coffee or an evening glass of wine without leaving the master suite.

Source: DesignLens

Trumark Homes’ Centerhouse embraces this trend in a cost-efficient way with an oversized master bedroom instead of a separate master suite so the space can include a small seating area.

Source: DesignLens

Spa baths are increasingly popular, with calming palettes and luxurious tubs and showers. Some even provide a connection to the outdoors like this master bath at Pardee Homes’ Elan at Altis. This bathroom provides a connection to the outdoors as well as a reasonably large shower and drying area.

Reasonable Individuality

The industry continues to debate the right amount of choice to offer consumers. We believe the majority of consumers want to feel like they selected something unique but don’t want to comb through dozens of choices to make those selections. They want their homes to reflect this individuality.

Source: DesignLens

Varied elevation styles help define each unit in an attached collection, providing diverse street scenes and helping residents feel like their homes reflect their style. Dan Ryan Homes used color to define the units in their townhomes at Wendell Falls.

Source: DesignLens

Carefully curated options, supported by extensive market research, allow buyers to pay only for the things that are important to them and quickly customize their home for their needs. Brookfield Residential hit a home run with this pet shower at Kissing Tree.

Colorful and customizable appliances like GE’s Café Series, Dacormatch, and KitchenAid’s classic mixer allow consumers to add pops of color and their own touch to their kitchens.

In our upcoming New Home Insights Podcast, Sheryl Palmer, Chairman and CEO at Taylor Morrison, says getting the customer right can easily add 3%–4% to a project’s profit margin. In a fast-moving world, consumers adopt trends more quickly than ever. Don’t get left behind. Subscribe to our podcast email list to get notified when Sheryl’s podcast episode is released in early November.

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About The Author

Jenni Nichols photo
Jenni Nichols
Vice President of Design
Jenni scouts and analyzes the best housing projects from across the country to feature in the DesignLens database. Along with supporting clients with their design and trend inquiries, she also consults with developers and builders planning their communities and fine tuning their home designs.

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