The heightened social, political, economic and environmental uncertainty of the current period has spawned leaps in innovation, heightened social and environmental consciousness and an enhanced focus on wellness and non-denominational spirituality. Home building and design trends have followed suit, resulting in the development of healthy, flexible and technologically connected living environments that have a calming influence on their inhabitants.
The following predictions are based on data and consumer research and unlike short-lived fads, they are expected to grow and evolve in the coming years.
Smart home technology is the number one trend that influencers say home buyers will be looking for in the years ahead. The infrastructure of the connected home is seamlessly integrated and controlled via Wi-Fi-enabled apps, thus going unseen. Day-to-day tasks such as the operation of blinds, locks, air conditions, sound systems, home security, sprinkler systems, camera, and sensors are all increasingly controlled via mobile apps. Artificial intelligence (AI) and voice control systems, enabled by Google, Alexa and Apple Home are also on the rise. Given the heightened technological dependence, homes are more frequently being outfitted with battery backup systems that integrate into a home’s electrical system, automatically taking over during a power outage.
Flexible Living Spaces
With greater mobility and economic uncertainty, living spaces must adapt to rapidly changing needs. Dedicated rooms are beginning to serve as multipurpose spaces. The kitchen is becoming the epicentre of the home where families eat, cook and socialize. There has also been an upsurge in multi-purpose furniture and décor— items are being designed for portability, furnishings are increasingly doubling as storage and decorative objects often serve a purpose. Transitions between rooms and between the indoors and outdoors will be more seamless, with larger windows and glass doors and movable dividers, resulting in more open spaces.
According to research done by the National Association of Realtors in the United States, sustainability is a top concern to homebuyers. Architects and engineers are becoming increasingly aware of the ways our health is affected by synthetic materials and organic architecture and biodegradable materials are being integrated into the home design. Solar panels and energy efficient appliances are more common now than ever before as are technologies that encourage the three R’s (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) and water conservation. Edible and herb gardens and indoor container gardening are also trending as well as kitchens that emphasize healthy and fresh eating. Pantries are expanding to store fresh ingredients, reducing the need for oversized freezers.
Joyful, Nurturing Spaces
According to Allyson Rees, senior retail lifestyle editor at the World’s Global Style Network, “The world is a very scary place right now… I think people want to wrap themselves up in a blanket and feel safe.” As such, the minimalism and sterility of the homes of yesteryear have been replaced with comfort, colour and eclecticism. Accent colours of appliances and fixtures are shifting from muted whites and greys to the more emphatic black. Spa elements such as whirlpools, hot tubs and saunas have become increasingly prevalent. Larger windows and open living spaces are bringing the outside indoors. Feng Shui, Vástu Shástra, and other Eastern philosophies are becoming more influential. These trends are also evident in the outdoors with the growth of therapeutic or reflection gardens and water features. Mental healing should be derived from one’s home and these trends are certainly indicative of that.
Home building and design trends have been evolving for thousands of years and will continue to respond to the needs of our rapidly changing world. One trend that will continue to evolve is the incorporation of a green mindset, which will be facilitated by technological innovation and a celebration of the relaxing and healing aspects of nature; bringing the outside in, incorporating elements of serenity and embracing sustainability. We are moving beyond the commercial gimmicks of yesteryear and into a period of responsible, mindful living.
The article is taken from the March 2018 Issue of Construction Caribbean Magazine.