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A look back: Architectural trends from 2016



Terracotta tiles spanning a wide, open-plan kitchen: in the mid-1990s, this was undoubtedly one of the most definitive style statements of the time. Industrial-style, grey flooring under a minimalist white kitchen design: this is the type of kitchen that 2016 will be remembered for. When our future selves look back at the year 2016, which other definitive architectural choices will be remembered as the key trends of this time?

Clean, simple, uncomplicated designs

It seems that in our increasingly busy, integrated and digitised world, we crave simplicity when we’re creating our home sanctuary. As such, fussy, cluttered and over-complicated designs were out of style in 2016, with clean, modern, open spaces the dominating architectural trend. Think over-sized folding glass walls that open onto spacious decks with minimalist furniture, and you start to get the picture.

Technology-driven homes

Remember when the home office was the only space in the house where you’d find a computer? Not any longer, as the Internet of Things is transforming the way we live. From keyless entry (replaced with a pinpad), to automated lights that can be activated on your iPhone, to smart glass that darkens or lightens your window for better temperature control, technology is a driving force in architecture right now.

Focus on sustainability

The profit margins to be made in property developing can be high – but only if you deliver what the people want. And in 2016, the people were demanding highly sustainable homes in every sense of the world. Solar powered panels to allow for more efficient energy usage is only the beginning; technology-driven opportunities to create and automate ‘smart’ lighting, sound and other household applications is driving powerful changes in the way we design, build and live in modern homes.

5 game-changing technologies in housing sustainability >>

White interiors

Carrara marble is a stunning, high quality style of white or blue-grey marble and it has been popping up (alongside more affordable imitations) more frequently in Australian homes. It’s all part of the Great White Trend: white benchtops, white splashbacks, white tiles and white flooring are all currently on trend. Even white appliances are making a comeback – perhaps because we’ve all finally cottoned on to how difficult stainless steel is to keep clean!    

Soft colour palettes

While 2016 may have been the year of pale interiors, there is always a splash of colour that typifies the times and last year, it was blush tones that reigned supreme. When Pantone announced the 2016 Colour of the Year, it was actually (for the first time) a pairing of two colours: Serenity and Rose Quartz, which are fancier versions of baby blue and baby pink. These tones combine well with the gold and copper design accents that have crept into modern kitchen and bathroom designs, too.

Which architectural trends will be most prominent as the market moves forward in 2017? Only time will tell… Let’s just hope that terracotta tiles aren’t set to make a comeback any time soon.

A year that was: 2016 wasn’t just notable for its architectural trends! In a nod to the more obscure events of this past year, we’ve rounded up some (not so) common enquiries that agents received from house hunters in 2016 >>