The roaring ’20s are here once again.
From the 1920s to the 2020s a lot has changed in the Australian home. Trends suggest that while style and design is as important as ever, Australians are also designing homes that respond to their needs. Many of these trends were related to technology and practicality (although not all — some would argue that having a large front lawn is an unnecessary invention). Here, we’ve bought together five of what we believe will be the biggest drivers in the home design and construction throughout the next decade.
Building with free earth materials is already becoming popular, but it is likely that it will only get more common as the decade rolls on. Complementing the natural look will be the ever-popular indoor and outdoor greenery.
For the uninitiated, ‘free earth materials’ refer to those materials which come from the nature around us, as the name suggests. It can involve people making houses out of mud bricks or rammed earth, or using recycled glass in windows. Some people are even using updated versions of old-school methods like straw roofs and dirt floors to really keep the costs of building down. Recent innovations in the use of these materials mean that homes made of them can be some of the most attractive.
The benefits of free earth materials are many. The main reason for their rise in popularity is the increasing push for environmentally-aware buildings. Free earth materials also have the benefit of generally being lower-cost, and requiring far less upkeep in the long-term than some newer housing trends. As an added bonus, these homes tend to withstand the elements a little better, particularly in Australia: many people who had their home destroyed by the recent bushfires are now looking at free earth materials when rebuilding due to the fact that they are much more likely to withstand future bushfires.
You might have noticed the tiny house movement, despite its calling card of being, well, tiny. For many reasons including financial restriction, the need for a flexible lifestyle or due to a focus on sustainability, tiny houses are becoming a more and more common option — particularly for first home buyers and retirees. Hundreds of YouTube channels and blogs discuss the ins-and-outs of
Container houses and movable houses (the type that you can legally take on the road, for example) are some of the most popular types of tiny homes in Australia. Many are used in ‘stand-alone’ locations, although it is increasingly common to see a group of tiny houses in small communities. In these spaces, residents might share communal gardens, a larger bathroom (although most have a bathroom in their house) and other facilities with a co-op structure. You can see why a tiny house might appeal to retirees, in particular: it gives them the freedom to move where they would like, lets them keep costs down so they can travel as much as they’d like, and allows them to create communities with like-minded individuals.
More and more Australians are choosing to live in apartments, and the ’20s won’t change this trend. Although the recent COVID-19 crisis may make some hesitant to live in apartments due to the close proximity to others, we believe that by the end of the decade there will be more people in apartments than ever before. The big change will come in terms of what the apartments offer their residents.
The ‘apartment luxe’ trend will become more prevalent throughout the decade because people will want more from their homes. We’re already seeing apartment complexes offer high-end communal facilities like spas, reflexology pools or integrations with local businesses to offer opportunities like yoga classes. We’s expect to see more of these ‘pluses’ offered throughout the ’20s as the apartment market becomes increasingly busy and developments try to lure in buyers through the lifestyles they offer.
We’ve already seen sustainability several times throughout this list, but its importance in the property industry throughout the next decade cannot be understated. As more people become aware of how important it is to reduce our individual carbon footprints, there is a push for greener housing options. We’re likely to see more and more homes and new developments try to adapt to this. New industry innovations like special home loans for ‘green’ properties are likely to further incentivise developers to build green so buyers can buy green.
Reducing the carbon footprint (and long-term cost) of your home will come in many formats. For some, this will mean swapping to solar power, which has the added benefit of helping to keep the electricity costs down. Many interior designers are mentioning the push for re-purposed or second-hand pieces that they’re seeing. Director and principal stylist at Vault Interiors, Justine Wilson, says that “…most interior items will be re-purposed or reused – calling all vintage pieces. Green homes are the happiest homes.”
A trend we’re seen gaining traction over the last few years is the idea of ‘hygge’, and most sources are saying that this will become even more important throughout the ’20s. ‘Hygge’ (pronounced ‘hue-guh’) is the Danish and Norwegian word for a mood of coziness and contentment, and while not everyone refers to this trend by it’s correct name (many will simply refer to it as cozy, comfortable or soft home interior designs), hygge will continue to remain important. Many people will find that the way they interact with their homes will change post-COVID-19: it is likely that a greater proportion of the population will work from home, while many others will have a renewed interest in creating a space that they enjoy and love spending time in.
This is where hygge comes in: creating a comfortable, cozy, happy space is one of the key tenements of the movement. Everything from fluffy blankets to fireplaces is embraced, with the goal of making each space in your home one where you might feel like acknowledging how happy and safe you feel. It’s not a movement that is particularly involved, either, unlike the recent minimalism craze that asked you to get rid of 70% of your home contents if they didn’t ‘spark joy’. Cultivating hygge can be as simple as swapping out a harsh white light bulb for one that creates a softer mood in the room. There are a ton of fantastic books, blogs and videos that you can watch to learn how to integrate hygge into your lifestyle.