The summer season is officially in swing, and with it comes a slew of new homebuyers taking the housing market by storm. According to the National Association of Realtors, the busiest home selling months are May, June, July, and August, with summer transactions accounting for 40 percent of the nation’s annual sales volume.
That means that now more than ever, it’s important to stay up to speed on must-have home design trends for today’s consumers. We spoke with a few designers to see what parts of the home are getting the biggest makeovers this summer.
Work From Home Gives Rise to Privacy
The total share of remote workers in the U.S. has inched down slightly from the early days of the pandemic, according to Pew Research, but the majority of those still working from home are doing so permanently. According to Deryl Patterson, president of Housing Design Matters, that means it’s time to create home offices that are made to stand the test of time.
“Work-from-home spaces don’t necessarily have to be big,” says Patterson. “A pocket office with doors provides a productive space without cutting into other livable square footage. What matters most to today’s homeowners is acoustical privacy.”
Pocket offices provide the same functionality of traditional home offices, but their smaller size also offers convenience and privacy for homeowners who don’t want to sacrifice livable space for a work-from-home area.
Not only can creating separate, designated areas for remote work reduce distractions and unwanted noise from other parts of the home, but it also creates a work/life balance that can be difficult for today’s at-home professionals to achieve. Ebony Stephenson, president of Designs by Ebony, LLC, says that privacy is essential for all aspects of homeowner wellness.
“Today’s homeowners still like the open concept, but they also want rooms that can be closed off,” explains Stephenson. “It’s important to have spaces in the home where you can sit in solitude, whether you’re getting work done or doing yoga. Homeowners want at least one space in the house that can be shut off from everything else.”
This office in Housing Design Matters' 'The Enthusiast' home is a private space perfect for remote workers.
Photo: Johnson Pictures, Inc.
READ MORE: Design
Homeowners may still be prioritizing their work spaces, but that doesn’t mean they’re overlooking relaxation. The summer season is best spent outdoors, which is why it’s considered to be the best time of year to renovate outdoor living spaces.
“I love the idea of being able to open up to the outside,” Patterson says, “whether that's through sliding glass doors or an indoor/outdoor patio. Outdoor living trends are all about turning the backyard into a staycation-worthy spot. Some really simple ways to achieve that are through really inexpensive string lights or by adding some kind of water feature. It doesn’t have to be a pool. Even a fountain can be really soothing and can also drown out unwanted noise from the street.”
Pair rising demand for outdoor living spaces with a boom in home cooking since the start of the pandemic, and you get one of the biggest up-and-coming trends of the summer: farm-to-table dining. According to Ebony Stephenson, homeowners are showing a rising interest in producing their own food, starting in the garden and ending in the kitchen.
“Clients are really getting on the trend of farm-to-table,” she says. “Even without doing a big remodel, a lot of homeowners are adding raised garden beds or areas where they can produce their own fruits, vegetables, and herbs. We’ve also incorporated that trend into our interior design in some projects by making the windowsills in the kitchen a little bit deeper or putting open shelves on each side of a window so that clients can grow herbs inside of their homes, pick them when they need them, and toss them right into their food.”
Bringing the outside in is an important part of biophilia, which is by no means a new trend in the world of interior design. Opening up the home to outdoor spaces doesn’t necessarily require major patio additions or expansive backyards. Instead, it can be as simple as bringing in natural light.
“Another popular addition is the skylight, Stephenson adds. A lot of people are doing renovations to bring that natural light into the home.”
This Jacksonville, FL home by Housing Design Matters includes a screened lanai and an in-ground pool.
Photo: Housing Design Matters
Getting Comfortable with Color
The days of all-white interiors are slowly coming to an end, at least among new homebuyers. More time in the home throughout the COVID-19 pandemic led to a greater desire among homeowners to personalize their interior spaces, and for many, that meant adding a pop of color.
“I'm still doing a lot of white kitchens, but we're adding a splash of color with a fun backsplash or a deep rich paint color on the wall to make everything pop and show contrast,” Stephenson says. “Clients want the look of art, and that can be achieved with paint or tile. Homeowners are beginning to realize the power of paint.”
Patterson agrees: “Adding a tile backsplash, particularly one that's got a fun pattern or color can give a fun new vibe to a kitchen space.”
Bathroom furniture manufacturer Maison Valentina also sees color making its way onto bathroom surfaces. “Summer is a time for strong and vibrant colors, and this is no different in interior design,” said the company in a recent press release revealing their top trends of the summer. “Gold is one of the hues that are on trend for the hottest season of the year, and shades of blue bring freshness and tranquility to any environment.”
According to Stephenson, even small changes like switching up cabinet hardware can brighten up interiors and make a world of a difference, and best of all, those renovations are inexpensive and take very little time to complete.
Blue and gold are two of the most popular colors to incorporate in your bathroom this summer, says Maison Valentina.
Photo: Maison Valentina
Balling on a Budget
Household consumer prices continued to rise in May after months of consecutive increases in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index. For buyers and homeowners strapped for cash, that means that the most important summer trends are ones that won’t break the bank.
Luckily, a number of simple DIY additions depend on low-cost materials but can deliver what Patterson calls, “champagne taste on a beer budget.”
“Being cost effective never goes out of style,” she says. “Luxury plank vinyl is a great option for a low-cost interior upgrade. Lighting can also make a big difference without requiring a lot of money.”
Affordability is one of the biggest market drivers influencing home design in today’s housing market, and that may be the case for some time. That’s why Patterson says it’s important to find and execute cost-effective design trends that will have staying power well beyond just this year.
“People are always going to be looking for ways to enter into homeownership that is cost-effective,” she explains. “One solution we’re experimenting with is designing houses where the garage can be added later. That concept requires a building pad that will ultimately have a house along with extra space for a garage that will initially be just a parking pad. It’s a way to get people into houses more affordably.”