Top home design trends, layouts and features in 2023

What are the Top Home Design Trends and Must-Have Features in 2023?

Welcome to the world of home design in 2023, where innovation and style come together to create spaces that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Whether you’re building a new custom home, or looking for inspiration for your remodelling project, this comprehensive guide will introduce you to the most sought-after features that define the homes of today and tomorrow.

After prolonged periods of staying at home over the past two years, families have had to adapt to new routines and find ways to balance work, school, and leisure activities, within the confines of their living spaces. From sustainable materials to smart home technologies, and versatile multipurpose spaces to biophilic design elements, this article explores the top home design trends that are shaping the way we inhabit and interact with our living spaces.

Kitchen islands and great rooms

As families were locked down together, kitchens became the focal point in many homes, with a preference for large islands that serve as gathering spaces and provide additional storage and countertop area. Families began to cook together again, as students worked on homework and parents brought their work to the table or island.

Great rooms, which combine the kitchen, dining, and living areas into one open space, facilitate social interaction and make entertaining easier. They have become a hub for entertaining guests, hosting parties, establishing temporary office space, completing homework, watching movies together as a family and creating lasting memories.

Open-concept floor plans

In the mid-1940s innovators like Frank Lloyd Wright and other architects began to design homes with large open living spaces. Open-concept floor plans commonly offered expansive living areas that combined the kitchen, dining room, and living room into one large space.

Over the decades that followed, designers and homeowners began shifting away from open floor plans; some to create more efficient heating and cooling solutions, others in support of the increased desire for privacy triggered by the advent of the internet. Some families still prefer spending their time in closed-off rooms, to cut down on much of the visual and audible noise.

However, with families spending a lot more time together, it sparked a renewed interest in open-plan living. For the majority of homeowners, an open floor plan has become highly prized, both for family life and entertaining. Whether they’re shopping for a new home, having a custom house built, or undertaking a major remodel, a great room is a must-have on the shopping lists of many homeowners.

Main floor master suites

With more homeowners working from home, in the wake of the pandemic, main floor master suites have gained popularity, particularly among homeowners who want convenience and accessibility. Having the master bedroom on the main level eliminates the need to climb stairs frequently each day and offers more privacy from other bedrooms located on the upper floors.

Main floor master suites also offer flexibility, a space that can be easily converted into a guest suite or an in-law suite, accommodating the needs of extended family members or visitors. With their practicality, comfort, and versatility, main floor master suites have emerged as a desirable feature in modern home design.

Flex spaces

The lockdowns caused families to remain at home and discover new ways to live together under the same roof. Homes were suddenly required to function in new ways, as they became makeshift offices for remote workers and replaced gyms, theatres and dine-in restaurants. Consequently, homes with flexible spaces that can serve multiple purposes have become a staple in modern home design.

Flex spaces can be used as home offices, guest bedrooms, playrooms, yoga studios and exercise rooms, providing versatility to adapt to changing needs. They provide a blank canvas for homeowners to design and utilize the space in a way that enhances their daily lives, able to evolve as needs change.

Multi-generational suites

As multi-generational living becomes more common, home layouts with separate living spaces or suites for extended family members are on the increase. Lockdowns and pandemic restrictions were a wake-up call for many separated families, and these spaces reflect the changing dynamics of families and the desire for closer connections across generations.

It’s not just for aging parents and college students living at home. A notable trend in recent years is the increasing number of adult children choosing to live with their parents. This shift in living arrangements has been driven by various factors, including rising housing costs, changing cultural norms, and a desire for closer family ties.

Shared multi-generational living spaces offer the opportunity for enhanced family bonding. These spaces provide a common area where family members of different age groups can gather, interact, and build cherished memories. Whether it’s a spacious living room, a communal kitchen, or a cozy family room, these shared spaces encourage regular socialization and foster a stronger sense of family unity and togetherness.

Multi-generational living spaces also recognize the need for privacy and autonomy. Modern homes often incorporate separate suites or self-contained living quarters specifically designed for older adults, in-laws, or adult children. These private spaces will include a bedroom, bathroom, and sometimes even a small kitchenette, ensuring that each generation has its sanctuary within the larger household.

Clean lines and simple shapes

The shift to minimalism in North America has increased the awareness and desire for crisp, clean lines and simple designs, embracing the concept of “less is more”. By stripping away excess ornamentation, minimalist design allows the inherent beauty of the materials and forms to take centre stage. This style emphasizes functionality and purpose, with every element serving a specific role.

Today’s most popular house plans feature straight archways, linear moulding, and rectangular patterns. The past few years have left many homeowners feeling overburdened or overwhelmed, anxious, nervous or even afraid. Clean lines and simple shapes create a sense of order and harmony within a space, creating a feeling of calm and tranquillity. The result is an uncluttered and visually pleasing environment that promotes clarity and simplicity.

Biophilic design

Biophilic design is an innovative approach to architecture and interior design to reconnect people with nature by incorporating natural elements, materials, and patterns into the built environment. The term “biophilia” was coined by biologist E.O. Wilson, who proposed that humans have an innate connection and affinity for nature.

A key aspect of biophilic design is the incorporation of natural materials such as wood, stone, and plants. These materials not only provide aesthetic appeal but also have a calming effect, promoting a sense of tranquillity and connection to the environment. Using these natural materials in architectural elements, furniture, and finishes helps create a harmonious and organic atmosphere within the space.

Mudrooms and drop zones

With families spending more time together, the importance of organization has become paramount. Increased occupancy often leads to more belongings, schedules, and activities that need to coexist harmoniously. Organization fosters a positive and peaceful environment by reducing the likelihood of conflicts or misunderstandings.

So, with an emphasis on organization and functionality, home layouts featuring mudrooms or drop zones near entryways have become very popular. These areas provide designated spaces for storing shoes and boots, coats, school packs, dog leashes and other items, keeping the rest of the house clutter-free.

Natural light

Spending a lot of time in the house can lead to feelings of cabin fever, and homeowners and designers were quick to recognize the numerous benefits of natural light, both in terms of aesthetics and well-being. The trend towards letting more natural light into our homes has gained significant momentum, with large windows, skylights, and light tubes becoming important features in modern home design.

Large windows allow ample sunlight to flood rooms and open spaces, creating a bright and airy atmosphere that uplifts the mood and enhances the overall ambiance of the space. Skylights offer a unique opportunity to bring in natural light from above, brightening even the most interior areas of the home. Light tubes, also known as sun tunnels or solar tubes, channel natural light through reflective tubes, effectively illuminating windowless or darker spaces while conserving energy.

Outdoor living areas

Over the past two years, the demand for outdoor living areas has increased significantly. Home layouts that incorporate expansive decks, patios, or screened-in porches provide additional spaces for relaxation, entertainment, and connecting with nature.

These outdoor living spaces often feature comfortable seating arrangements, dining areas, fire pits, outdoor kitchens, and even outdoor theatres, blurring the boundaries between the interior and exterior of the home. Whether it’s a spacious patio, a cozy deck, or a lush garden, the focus on outdoor living areas underscores the desire to create versatile and welcoming spaces that embrace the natural environment.

Home theatres and media rooms

With families spending far more time at home, and theatres closing under lockdown, the demand for in-home streaming entertainment has risen, with dedicated home theatres or media rooms becoming popular additions to home layouts.

Home theatre spaces are designed with soundproofing, comfortable seating and high-quality audiovisual systems, for an immersive viewing experience.

Smart home technology

Smart home technology has rapidly emerged as a prominent design trend, transforming the way we interact with our living spaces this year. With the integration of a wide range of devices and systems, homeowners now can control and automate various functions in their homes, from lighting and temperature to security and entertainment.

Smart thermostats can adjust the temperature based on occupancy patterns, saving energy and reducing utility costs. Lighting systems can be programmed to create different moods and ambiance, while motorized shades and blinds can be controlled remotely for privacy and energy efficiency. Home security systems offer enhanced protection with features such as remote monitoring and video doorbells.

The takeaway

Lockdowns and Covid restrictions have profoundly impacted the way families interact and have necessitated significant changes in the design of our living spaces. Trends have shifted to accommodate the increased time spent at home, focusing on functionality, versatility, and creating spaces that promote both productivity and well-being. This shift has led to a reevaluation of the way we interact and has resulted in more intentional and adaptable living space designs that meet the evolving needs of our modern households.

Reid Madiuk

Reid Madiuk's been putting on a toolbelt since he was twelve years old, alongside his father, one of Whistler's first residential builders. As a third-generation Squamish and Whistler builder, Reid brings over 20 years of carpentry expertise to designing and constructing exceptional homes.

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