Design Trends For The Residential Market


Sandy Gordon, FASID, LEED AP
 Past Chair National Board of Directors 2017
National Association of Interior Designers


“There is nothing more important than a good, safe, secure home” according to Rosalynn Carter (former first lady). Home is both where and how we live. It is place for learning, healing and playing. It is key to our life story.

Overall, the residential design market is rebounding in 2017. What design trends should be considered? Generational differences and lifestyles focusing on health, wellbeing and community are desired for the residential market. Generational impacts refer to the sandwich family in which one household may have Baby Boomers caring for both their children (GenXers or Millennials) and their parents. This can impact the design of the floor plan to include in-law suites on first floor or one-story homes for medical reasons, and home location to community services such as medical, education, parks and recreation. The number of requests for homes that can accommodate multiple generations rose from 2015 by 11 percent of all home purchases.

Designing for livability tracks more Americans requesting to remain in their homes for the duration of their lives (89 percent according to AARP). The adaptation of the design and construction industry to provide a stock of homes that can accommodate people of all ages and abilities is important for the viability of communities. This means re-imagining the community and what it means for humans to be successful without moving multiple times within a lifetime. Given
the current changing landscape of the retail, medical and transportation fields it is an appropriate time to collaborate for an improved lifestyle, which ultimately will lead to profits for all the fields. For example inclusive communities have shopping, food, medical facilities and recreational amenities within walking distance of the residential units thereby encouraging engagement and active lifestyles. Both promote personal health and community health.

Health and wellbeing are gaining traction in the residential market as well with outdoor living spaces and concern for materials that sustain humans and the earth. The news of water challenges in Flint, Michigan for example raised awareness of healthy water, air and energy systems in consumers’ homes. This technology includes water and air purifiers, HVAC systems that filter and use less and renewable energy and interior finishes that contain nontoxic materials. Interior furniture and fixtures are also being scrutinized for their materials, finishes and cleaning methods to ensure they do no harm to humans. Connecting the interior space to the exterior has become an important component with regard to health given the benefits of natural daylight and the ability to grow one’s own food. This has paved the way for outdoor kitchens and small gardens incorporated into the landscape. Given the many people who have food allergies this is an ideal way to help alleviate the stress of finding appropriate food sources.

In terms of interior design, white remains the top color choice due to flexibility and staying power. Taupe and warm grays are popular as neutrals in the appropriate setting. They will remain and be joined by darker colors such as black, greens and charcoal. The darker hues are due in large part to the reaction that the world seems dark right now. PPG paints say that these colors are meant to signify a “rebirth” and regeneration. Flooring is characterized by maintenance, neutrality and warmth. Top choices are tile, wood and sustainable materials such as cork. These are seen to be a contrast from the world of high technology and a yearning for more tactile surfaces and materials that convey warmth. Quartz countertops will take over for granite as the next generation of upscale look. Green countertops are taking hold such as recycled glass, granite, seashells and paper as they become more readily available and easier to install.

There continue to be many opportunities for the residential market to provide adaptable and meaningful homes regardless of the geographical location for the
remainder of 2017 and beyond.


Sandy Gordon, FASID, LEED AP – is an award winning Residential and Commercial Interior Designer based out of Madison, WI and specializing in residential design for new homes and remodel of kitchen and bathrooms and commercial spaces for retail companies. Gordon currently is the Past Chair of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) National Board for 2017.