time to redecorate
Golf simulators and rooftop lounges among Houzz's top home design trends for 2023
Design enthusiasts, homeowners, and renters alike are all looking for the next big thing when it comes to home design. And today's hottest trends are all centered around improving a home for the current and future lifestyle of its inhabitants.
A 2023 report by Houzz identified the top home design trends that have emerged throughout the year, from indoor style revivals to rooftop living spaces. Data was aggregated using the top search results from Houzz's website and comparing it to the previous year's results.
We also chatted with a few Austin-area design experts to see how the trends tracked locally. These are the big trends that have been emerging in homes, near and far, this year.
Basement golf simulators
Houzz's data said searches for "basement golf simulators" spiked a whopping 1,905 percent this year from 2022. Homeowners, in general, are looking for ways to finish basements, the report said. Texans would be hard-pressed to find a home with a basement, but golf simulators are certainly taking up space in other areas of the house. Even a regal estate in Houston went on the market boasting a private man cave big enough to host the popular sport simulator.
Rooftop living spaces
Homes with outdoor rooftop terraces are also top-of-mind for many people, with searches spiking 1,555 percent year-over-year. Relaxing outdoors seems like a nice idea when it's not brutally hot in the summer.
"People are increasingly utilizing their rooftops to expand livable space as well, particularly in metropolitan areas where outdoor space is a hot commodity," the Houzz report said.
Relaxing outdoors seems like a nice idea when it's not brutally hot in the summer. Photo by MVCC Inc. and Jacob Lilley Architects / Greg Premru
In a similar study surveying owners about home renovations, Houzz experts learned that more people are choosing to renovate their spaces in preparation for their retirement years. One of the most important factors in achieving a retirement-ready home is improving the functionality of bathrooms.
Curbless showers are often the first request when it comes to "aging in place," confirms Austin-based Moontower Design and Build design director and architect Amber Leigh Dudley.
"However, we also try to consider circulation paths/turning radiuses, and incorporate wider doors, lever door handles, floating vanities, and additional blocking behind walls so that you can later add grab bars," Dudley says.
Austin is well known for having one of the most attractive housing markets in the nation, so it's no wonder local homeowners want to hang on to their houses for as long as possible.
'Industrial-style' and entertainment-centered kitchens
With new construction homes focusing more on open-concept living spaces, kitchens are also getting chic facelifts to avoid looking like forgotten areas. Two important styles and characteristics have emerged from these improvements: an "industrial-style" kitchen that doubles as the perfect entertaining area.
"Industrial-style kitchens appeal to many cooks, with their commercial vibe, easy-to-clean surfaces and high-traffic durability," the report said.
Features that make these commercial kitchens stand out include pull-down kitchen faucets, stainless steel or concrete countertops, and brick walls. On the entertainment side, large islands and island ranges are the centerpieces for any social gathering by allowing hosts to face their guests while they cook.
Even with the popularity of open-concept living spaces and kitchens, the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted some household needs to include temporary separation for remote work. Searches for living room dividers, shoji screens, and partition walls have all grown in 2023 while workers are prioritizing flexible working environments.
Dudley says "pocket offices" are also common requests in Austin now more than ever, and partitions are not the only design strategy they have employed to fulfill these requests.
"Other options often involve custom millwork built-ins for a hidden Murphy bed or desk space," Dudley shares. "We've also worked with custom floor to ceiling pivot doors to create rooms that can open up to adjacent spaces or close down depending on the need."
Ceiling design elements
Houzz says a room's ceiling has "historically been an overlooked surface," but perhaps not for much longer. People are searching frequently for overhead design elements like "high-gloss" or "painted ceilings." Another rising popular search is for "tongue-and-groove" ceilings, which are made up of long wood planks installed side-to-side across the ceiling.
Laura Williams, the lead designer and owner of ATX Interior Design, says that in one house she renovated, she made a "bonus" room look more cohesive with tongue and groove paneling not only on the ceilings, but throughout the entire space.
The tongue and groove paneling expands from the walls up into the ceilings.Photo courtesy of ATX Interior Design
"It cozied up the space and gave it personality all in one swoop," Williams says. "This is the upstairs 'bonus' space for the children to play and do art projects. They love having their own area have its own special wall treatment different from anywhere else in the house."
Spanish Colonial style revival
Decorating a house can be daunting if you're unsure of what style to choose, but you can never go wrong with a classic revival of the Colonial style. Specifically, Colonial and Spanish Colonial style revivals are the most popular interior design themes in 2023, says Houzz.
While there is some interest in Spanish Colonial styles in Austin, Dudley says her firm is often receiving more requests for natural-looking materials, such as wood, plaster, and handmade tiles. She adds that there are also more requests for less angular design elements, like arches and curves.
But it's not all about traditional styles, either. Dudley adds that clients frequently want to mix both older and modern styles.
"We are seeing some interest in Spanish Colonial/Mediterranean, but also a lot of reverence for midcentury modern, craftsman, and ranch," she says. "We have a lot of clients who are sensitive to the local vernacular. It's really important that their home feels like a part of the neighborhood and doesn't stick out like a sore thumb."
Adaptable amenities for the weather
Austin has the second-best "curb appeal" in the country according to one home services site, with homeowners willing to spend thousands to improve their backyards. The most popular outdoor improvements being searched so far this year are all "small" summertime-focused features like plunge pools, pool houses, and outdoor kitchens, according to Houzz.
Owners in Austin might also be more interested in screened porches, seeing as the city has been named the third buggiest city in the country. Searches for "small screened-in porch ideas" grew 522 percent this year in comparison to last year.
Clients are also requesting more natural light in their homes, according to Dudley. Skylights are a popular feature in Austin, as well as larger windows and multi-panel operable doors.
"We are also getting a lot of requests for fireplaces and screen porches with a connection to a backyard pool," Dudley says. "People want to be able to adapt to the changing weather extremes – pools to cool down in the hot summer and fireplaces to warm up with these winter storms."
The full report can be found on houzz.com.