10 Residential Design Trends We’re Likely to See in 2016

white roomDuring one presentation at the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas, Joe Digrado, a senior associate with the Danielian Associates architecture firm, and Richard Smith, of design-build firm RJ Associates, presented what they consider the most prominent trends that residential designers should keep an eye on this year.

According to Digrado and Smith, these are 10 trends we can expect from residential builders during 2016.

copper tub1. Freestanding Copper Bathtubs

Called “the ultimate in fine bathroom couture” by HGTV, freestanding bathtubs are finished on all sides and can stand alone. They come in many shapes and finishes, but copper bathtubs, especially freestanding tubs, were featured in several award-winning BALA designs this year. They can “add a twist to a myriad of decors, from rustic to traditional designs,” according to the presenters. “These freestanding bathtubs seem to be all the rage now. We’re seeing them everywhere,” Smith told Construction Dive.

Expect to see more freestanding copper tubs in mid- to high-end homes under construction or renovation this year, starting at about $2,000.

2. Outdoor Tables With Water Features

The sound of running water can be soothing, and a table with a trough for running water provides a focal point to any outdoor space. Smith and Digrado say outdoor tables are seeing a “revamp this year” to include “open, trough-like water paths that often lead to a waterfall off the edge of the table.”

In this project in Dallas shared on Houzz.com, a concrete picnic table doubles as a water feature with small pond outlets on both ends. “Falling water can be heard from every communal space in the house, as well as from the master bedroom,” says Houzz.com.

Says Digrado, “Water features are great. I don’t care where you are in the country. Just a little splash really helps out.”

waterfall island3. Waterfall Kitchen Islands

The waterfall kitchen island, with the benchtop surface cascading down one or both sides of the benchtop to the floor, is a relatively affordable and practical design, which allows the island to be used as a breakfast bar or for extra storage. “(Waterfall islands) seem to be coming back,” Smith says.

“Homebuyers continue to show demand for these kitchen additions, which can be made of granite, marble, or wood.”

4. Indoor-Outdoor Convergence

According to the presenters, new homes will feature a more fluid and undefined separation between indoor and outdoor spaces so families can both visually and physically move between these areas.

These new designs often include “floor-to-ceiling retractable glass walls and screens, stackable doors and new floor materials that contribute to a sense of converging the outdoors with the indoors,” the presenters noted.

5. Intricate Stairways

Though often taken for granted as a link between two floors, staircases are major architectural features that have the power to make an ordinary home something spectacular, notes Houzz.com.

Indeed, staircases with iron posts and other new design elements were prominent design features in BALA winners this year, according to Digrado and Smith.

“Overall, designers are starting to move staircases closer to the front of a home to offer more of a unique design feature that can be the focal point of an entrance,” Digrado told Construction Dive.

patio6. Intimate Outdoor Spaces

According to Construction Dive, outdoor space was “one of the most-buzzed-about areas” at the conference.

The article notes that outdoor spaces “have become almost as important as the interior of the home, as owners look for a relaxing area where they can socialize and de-stress. This emerging trend often includes outdoor fireplaces or pits and a small seating area.”

“Outdoor space is really becoming an important part of the design of a home,” Smith says. “It’s as much living space as the indoor space, even in colder climates. People value being outside, and in a number of places, they were making slightly smaller homes because the outdoor space is much more prominent.”

7. Modern Industrial Accents, Especially for Multi-Family Residential

The presenters told Construction Dive that multifamily designs now often include modern industrial accents, which feature “sleek furniture and lighting, as well as bright colors amid the metals in the design.”

“If done right, [modern industrial accents] are very effective,” Smith says. “It’s been around for a while, but it’s pushing more into the residential now.

8. Low-Impact Design

This year’s award-winning designs often featured “green and sustainable elements that were conscious of their surrounding environments,” notes the article.

“Homebuyers will continue to request designs that incorporate native species in landscaping, permeable pavement, and other green features,” say the presenters.

lighting9. Mid-century Modern Detailing

Mid-century modern is “now 21st century chic in furniture, elevation design, and detailing,” says NAHB.

Homes, especially in Nevada and California, are starting to incorporate mid-century modern details again, say the presenters. “It’s a trend in production housing that is more contemporary. It hasn’t worked its way into production homes until now. Mid-century detailing is very unusual. It needs to be done right,” says Digrado.

“What we’re seeing is maybe a contemporary version of a traditional style,” adds Smith.

10. White Rooms Incorporating Repurposed Wood

Stark white interiors with “accents of exotic or repurposed wood in ceilings, flooring and cabinetry” were noted by the judges as an important trend to bring warmth to a modern setting. “Everyone thinks of contemporary as very cold and hard, but just the introduction of wood to the white really warms it up a lot. It gives a nice contrast and warms the room up,” Digrado says.