The Austin way of life can be found in every corner of the city, including our homes. To tap into the Capital City’s culture by way of our living spaces, we looked to three local experts to find out what’s currently trending. From decor and lifestyle choices to overall design, here’s what they had to say about Austinites and our homes.
The interior designer
Award-winning firm JEI Design weighs in on common style themes emerging in Austin homes:
Hill Country contemporary
JEI Design has found that Southerners, in particular, love to merge rustic features into their high-end homes. One of these features is implementing exposed wood beams, a trend being seen across Austin. The beams add a touch of earthiness while providing clean lines that create balance. The contrast of rich wood with stark white is something many Austinites are leaning towards for a relaxing atmosphere that blends perfectly with a Hill Country setting.
Hide rugs are a hugely popular trend at the moment in Austin and beyond. The options, JEI Design affirms, are endless: Hide rugs can feature neutral or vibrant colors or simple or intricate patterns. They can ground a space without overwhelming it, tying a room together while also highlighting other elements. JEI Design receives a high request from locals for hide rugs due to the fact that they are as durable as they are stunning.
Unique light fixtures
Design oftentimes becomes stagnant, which can lead to the creation of homogenous spaces. Enter: unique light fixtures. Lighting can affect the entire feel of a home, and JEI Design is constantly on the lookout for unique and innovative designs. Some fixtures are so beautiful that one could design an entire room around them.
Arbib Hughey Design, a full-service architecture company, identifies common build trends surfacing a lot these days:
Great day lighting
Large windows and skylights are high on the list for every Austin client Arbib Hughey comes in contact with. These features help to bring in lots of light and take advantage of views unique to the individual’s location. Arbib Hughey says that adding these elements always makes a home feel more special, bright, cheery, and livable.
Direct connection with the exterior
By bringing aspects of the outside world in, homes tend to feel more open and spacious, something most Austinites want. Outdoor entertainment (think patio, kitchen, and living areas) is very important to Austinites, especially with our almost year-round gorgeous weather.
Austin has always made an effort to be on the cutting edge of green design, and Arbib Hughey is seeing a major demand for making homes energy efficient. Utilizing low-cost LED lighting, high R-value insulation, or highly reflective metal roofing can add huge value to any home for its sustainability and having a lower impact on the environment.
Smart storage and custom organization
De-cluttering not only helps to keep you sane, but it also makes a home look a lot cleaner. Arbib Hughey designs a ton of custom cabinetry, shelving, storage rooms, and more to help clients organize smartly and get their home feeling light and airy so it home looks straight out of a glossy magazine.
The real estate agent
Josh Lasserre with Realty Austin shares the current trends he's witnessing for both homebuyers and sellers in Austin:
With so much happening in the center of the city, Austinites are trading space for place — also where that smart storage and custom organization comes in. According to Lasserre, lots of locals are ditching the McMansion fad and moving into town where they can walk to Austin’s many hot spots, bustling nightlife, and other convenient city amenities. Falling in line with the de-cluttering trend, Lasserre is also seeing his clients shed excess stuff for the freedom of having less, focusing on the things that are meaningful and bring joy — in other words, quality over quantity.
Part of that freedom is being able to opt for higher end materials will last longer and look better. For example, people can choose the more expensive tile because they won’t need to install it in an extra large kitchen. Lasserre says that owners of small homes are also reporting that they’re on the go more, spending less time cleaning and maintaining.
Frameless zero-entry (no curb) showers
Frameless zero-entry showers are being incorporated in more and more homes around Austin. This eliminates the often flimsy and cheap-looking framed door and enclosures found in many 1990s and 2000s homes. Bringing the tile all the way to the ceiling rather than leaving 12-24 inches of bare wall gives a stronger, more completed look and is worth the cost of the extra tile.
50 shades of gray
Homeowners and buyers are saying goodbye to beige and hello to gray. Lasserre says gray is showing up as the sophisticated, serene, all-purpose replacement. Especially in warm Austin, having a gray color helps make the home feel calming and cool to balance out the heat.
Other common design trends he sees being incorporated in homes include shiny and dulled brass, art glass, and monochrome patterns.