Following on from last year’s review of emerging design trends, this update details some of the current and projected styles that you can expect to see in new residential projects being designed and built in 2019.


Building Form


Whilst the replica Hampton’s style is still in vogue, for those who would prefer more bespoke architectural design solutions, the revival of mid-century modernist architecture could be the answer. Exemplified by the Palm Springs houses of Hollywood movie stars and entertainers, (Twin Palms – Sinatra House in Palm Springs – 1947) it is typically characterised by large expanses of floor to ceiling glass where the distinction between inside and out is blurred. Multiple large windows and sliding glass doors allow the inside and outside to merge seamlessly, ideally suited to most of Australia’s temperate climate.




As Australians we live in some of the largest houses in the world. Fortunately, oversized houses containing rarely used single purpose rooms are giving way to more rational planning incorporating fewer multipurpose rooms. The home cinema, a classic example of a single function space, is now becoming largely redundant as higher resolution TVs allow this activity to return to the communal living areas within the house.


In Australia our climate allows us to embrace open plan living. This results in the kitchen generally being on display and becoming part of the living area. As a result, the butler’s pantry is gaining in popularity in all residences, whether in standalone homes or multiunit apartment developments, a discreet space adjacent to the display kitchen and large enough that it can be used for food preparation, washing up activities as well as storage.


In keeping with a general trend towards more healthy living, many upmarket homes are now also incorporating spa like facilities within their designs; steam rooms, saunas and large spa baths, either incorporated in bathrooms, or as dedicated “wellness” areas.


Building Materials


As many new buildings are adopting more organic shapes, building materials are following suit. Homogenous mass-produced materials are being replaced by more rustic natural materials including hand-made or recycled bricks, natural blockwork, exposed raw fibre cement sheeting and off form concrete.


Vertical timber batten screens are also commonly being used as feature façade elements.

In another nod to the resurgence of “Mad Men” modernist ideals, breezeblocks are back in vogue, albeit in a higher quality polished finish with a wider range of available colours. 

To view an example refer to 

Narrow steel window frames are another modernist throwback, replacing aluminium and allowing sleeker less obvious frames to maximise views. 

To view an example refer to




Maximalism continues to be in vogue with rooms containing more furniture pieces, more varied materials, and brighter colours.

Where colour isn’t desirable, light neutral tones are being replaced by rich dark finishes. Black is back.


Kitchens are becoming more integrated. Appliances are no longer made of contrasting materials such as stainless steel. They are now concealed within the cabinetry giving the kitchen clean lines and a uniform material palette. Even those appliances that can’t practically be fully concealed like cooktops sit flush with, or are incorporated into, the benchtop. Cabinetry handles are replaced by concealed finger pulls or push catches.

Stone benchtops are becoming thinner.


Benchtop vanities and wall hung circular mirrors are on trend in bathrooms, as are sculptural curved freestanding baths.

Polished stainless steel, brass, and chrome previously the standard finish for all tapware, are now offered as matt black, rose gold or bronze fittings.

Technology and Sustainability


New smart home technologies and the potential lifestyle improvements that they promise are developing rapidly.


As battery storage becomes more efficient and affordable, solar panels are transforming from ugly retrofitted roof panels to fully integrated composite solar tiles that generate electricity, create hot water, and provide thermal insulation.

To view an example refer to


Home automation touch screen systems are well established and are now being integrated with voice activated artificial intelligence (AI) devices such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

Robots are already vacuuming our floors, and we are just at the beginning of an era of AI and personal robots that will take over many of the mundane chores in our homes.

The Jetsons futuristic world is fast becoming a reality.


  1. Elie

    Can you ease put me on you mailing list for the house designs you have..thanks in advance

    • John Lea

      Certainly Elie, I’ve put you on our mailing list to receive our regular newsletter keeping you up to date with all our news and new projects. Stay tuned, some exciting new projects are coming up!


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