When you start looking into building your home or extensively renovating your home, you’ll hear a lot about modern home design. A modern home seems like such an ambiguous term. How does it differ from a home with a traditional design? And, why are most families and individuals drawn to modern home design over traditional design? Modern design can encompass a huge range of attributes, but essentially a modern home is simple, clean, and without extra flourishes. A traditional home is highly structured, has extra flourishes for design, and usually isn’t well-suited to the kinds of lifestyle modern people want to live, although there can be exceptions.
But this barebone definition and distinction doesn’t help you envision a modern space. So, we want to give you specifics about the materials, layout, and interior design of a modern home. We’ll give you tips on the design, and even explain how to include smart home elements in your design. In the end, you’ll be able to identify what makes the modern spaces you love so modern, and how to bring those elements into your own design, whether you’re building, renovating or buying.
Common Building Materials for Modern Homes
Starting with the right materials is always important when it comes to home design. While traditional designs rely on older, more natural materials, modern homes are more experimental with their materials. Both high performance and environmentally friendly materials are used to make the best contemporary homes, and, thankfully, manufacturers and suppliers have risen to the task.
Your modern home might use fiberglass, concrete, steel frames, or wooden frames. Though it may sound processed, fiber cement can be a very useful material that helps make homes more stable even in very cold climates. Modern fiber cement siding and fiber cement panels can look very attractive while providing great performance.
Fiber cement isn’t for everyone. You may want to use stone, bricks, metal panels, glass walls, or modern wood siding to construct your modern home. If using a certain material on the exterior of your home is too impractical or expensive, you can always consider incorporating those materials into the interior design instead.
Of course, many homeowners also want to focus on sustainable materials and ecologically friendly designs. One of the most popular recycled materials is the use of shipping containers as the structure for the whole home, but that is far from your only option. Local builders can tell you what eco-friendly materials are best to use for your home.
Excellent home design can, in most climates, eliminate the need for heating and cooling, which are huge energy wasters. Passive houses are designed to cool themselves in the summer and heat themselves in the winter, without using energy. These homes use airtight construction, high-performance windows, continuous insulation, solar heat, and solar shading to harness the sun (or shade, in summer) to adjust the home’s temperature.
The Structure of a Modern Home
The layout of a modern home is one of the key things that sets it apart from more traditional designs. In the past, homes were very segmented. There were many rooms, many hallways, and parts of the home felt cut-off from other parts. You may enjoy that design, but most people prefer the open concept feeling of a modern home. Essentially, the modern home is supposed to feel almost seamless. Often there is very little distinction between certain spaces, especially the living room, dining room, kitchen, and other entertainment spaces. Rooms like the bathroom and bedroom are strongly defined, but even these may be a more open concept than in some traditional homes.
This open concept layout has naturally given rise to multi-purpose spaces. What serves as a home office during the day may become a media room at night. The dining room may also be the kid’s play space, or it may expand to connect to the outdoor kitchen. This suits modern life, where more people are working from home and using their homes for a variety of different activities.
Two other key elements of a home’s layout help define it as a modern home. Modern homes need a lot of storage. As they are open concept, clutter is quickly an issue. And modern design calls for a less busy and cluttered space. The second concept is natural light. Modern homes don’t have as many walls to block light and this helps create a more welcoming and open environment. Modern homes may make great use of glass walls, skylights, and windows to bring in even more natural light.
What is the Purpose of a Smart Home?
Most modern homes have smart home features. These technological advances are useful and can dramatically increase the comfort and function of your home. However, it is important not to lose sight of what a smart home is supposed to do for you. Gadgets are fun, but when you’re incorporating something into your home you want it to provide real value and function. Choose the elements that truly matter to you.
Smart home elements that may be useful for you include:
- Smart locks
- Voice tools such as Alexa or Google Assistants
- Smart light bulbs
- Smart thermostats
- Automatic doors
- Motorized blinds
- Smart irrigation systems
These tools are designed to help automate and maximize the efficiency of the home. Smart irrigation systems automatically turn off when there’s rain. Smart locks should alert you when someone is trying to access your home. When you keep the purpose in mind, it’s easier to see which parts of a smart home will most benefit you and your specific home design.
Minimalist Interior Design Tips
Once you have the structure and function of your home decided, it’s time to get to what many people consider to be the most exciting part of renovations or custom builds: the interior design. Modern interior design is uncluttered and clean, but with plenty of character that lets you express your personal style. In general, modern design focuses on straight lines, a natural color palette, natural materials, and some reflective surfaces. Here are some more specific tips you can incorporate:
Colour: Modern design relies on mainly neutral colours with accent colours that are bold. In contrast, traditional looks may rely on a bevy of dramatic colours, especially on the walls. That’s not to say you have to give up the colour to create a modern interior design. Instead, incorporate bold colour more sparingly, you’ll find that it makes a bigger impact in rooms.
Furniture: Many different styles of furniture work well with modern design, although the pieces that you choose shouldn’t crowd the space. This is where looking at examples of modern design can really help. You get a feel for how “full” the space should be and what kind of furniture is right for modern design. Many of the objects included in traditional design aren’t in modern homes because they’re just too much and take up too much space.
Clutter: If you like modern design you likely enjoy spaces that are free of clutter. In order to achieve this look for yourself then you should try to limit the embellishments you add to the space. Don’t place art on every wall or, don’t use dramatic window coverings. Try to keep all but a few personal objects out of sight.
Indoor and Outdoor Connection
Modern spaces that do away with the distinction between rooms to create multi-purpose spaces also tend to blur the distinction between indoor and outdoor spaces. Most people want to entertain outside, but outdoor spaces are cut off from the kitchen. By blurring the line between inside and outside you can have more room to entertain and add more function to your space. Here are a few ways that modern design can accommodate outdoor entertaining or blend the two spaces:
- Outdoor kitchens
- Green roofs
- Indoor trees
- Glass back doors
Building a House vs. Buying
If you’re interested in living in a modern home, are you better off buying or building a house? That depends on whether you can find a modern home you’re happy within your area. Although, there is a certain joy in having a home that is perfectly designed for your needs that can’t be replicated with buying a home, no matter how great that prebuilt home may be. If you can find something that is close to your needs, you may be able to make it perfect with select renovations or home additions.
However, we think that building a home from scratch offers a value that you can’t get elsewhere. After all, modern design is about enabling the specific lifestyle of the family who will live in it. What could be more personalized than a home designed by you, and talented designers, for your specific needs?
A home with a modern interior and exterior is achievable when you trust the experts at GBC Design + Build. Contact us today!