When it comes to making considerable home improvements or choosing to build your own home from scratch, the first port of call for most is to look for some great home design ideas.

We have rounded up the hottest design features that you can easily  introduce in your own home. They could not only improve the way you live, but also add a real sense of wow-factor.

1. Courtyard Arrangements

Courtyard home design trends allows for a wrap around outdoor area which the internal spaces can look out onto

In this project by Border Oak, positioning the main living spaces around a courtyard creates a sense of privacy on this open plot

A courtyard arrangement can provide ample scope to connect multiple rooms to the garden, and with single-storey homes in particular, avoids the need for deep floorplans, which can often suffer from a lack of natural light.

2. Expose Materials to Add Texture

The use of exposed materials has become one of the popular home design trends for both contemporary and traditional properties

In this project designed by Field Studio Architects, interior-grade cross-laminated timber (CLT) has been left exposed internally

Exposing building materials is no longer about being ‘minimalist’ but about adding warmth and texture.

3. Create a Large Practical Pantry

A large pantry has become a popular and practical home design trend

Good lighting in the pantry is a must to show off your wonderful array of wine and food in all its glory

A growing home design idea, the pantry has also grown in terms of room size too, with larger utility-sized spaces as opposed to a cupboard, ideally where one can store food supplies, freeing up your kitchen for living and entertaining.

4. Focus on Wellness in Your Home Design

Having an outdoor pool is becoming an in-demand home design trend, particularly for those summer months

This pool (from the winner of the Best Green Home in the 2018 Homebuilding & Renovating Awards) is situated in a small rear courtyard; the cover doubles as decking when the pool is not in use

An outdoor swimming pool is part of a wider home design idea to make the house a space where we keep healthy and well, as well as a place to relax and entertain: the popularity of home gyms is another case in point.

5. Blend Interior and Exterior Living

One of the biggest home design trends is the blurring between indoor and outdoor living

In this extension, designed by Scott Donald Architecture, the 3.2m glass doors to each end of the new kitchen slide away into pockets for a real inside-out experience

While ‘opening the house to the garden’ is not a new design idea for your home, there is now an increased focus on a considered use of materials in both the interior and adjacent outdoor environment.

There is now a push to create a ‘room outdoors’ and reduce perceptible boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces.

6. Conceal Door Frames for a Seamless Finish

Concealing door frames is one of the clever home design trends for creating a seamless finish

If you’re looking for sleek, minimalist design ideas for your interior, then concealed door frames could be a 2019 trend worth tapping into. Self-builders are installing frameless doors to create a seamless finish that complements a modern interior.

7. Consider a Broken Plan Design Idea

A broken plan arrangement could be a more practical solution than a fully open plan space

Broken plan is all about moving away from cavernous open plan living spaces and opting for semi-open plan spaces, or well-planned zoning to bring definition to different areas.

Design features of broken plan spaces include:

  • partial walls
  • open doorways
  • internal windows
  • pocket doors
  • open bookcases
  • varying ceiling and floor heights

8. Be Creative with Concrete


Concrete was used sparingly throughout Jake Edgley’s award-winning project, which features polished concrete floors and shuttered concrete walls 

Whether it’s shuttered, polished or even replica, concrete has become the favourite raw material of choice for homeowners looking to introduce industrial style to their homes.

9. Specify Pivoting Patio Doors

pivoting patio doors IQ Glass

The Vitra Pivot door from IQ Glass can be specified in widths of up to 2.4m and heights of 3.7m

Move aside bifold and sliding doors, the latest glazed patio doors do not fold or slide back, but delicately pivot — providing a large expanse of glass coupled with minimal frames as a further benefit.

10. Add ‘Slate’ Cladding to Your Home Design

Slate fibre cement tiles cladding

This outbuilding, designed by Moon Design+Build, is clad in Marley Eternit’s low-maintenance fibre cement slates, which provide a contemporary take on vertical slate cladding

Drawing inspiration from the local area and reinterpreting traditional materials and details in interesting ways is one means of grounding modern new builds and extensions within the vernacular.

11. Make a Feature of Rainwater Goods

Feature rainwater goods are a good home deign trend

Highlighting your rainwater goods is a good idea on less prominent elevations which need a healthy dose of architectural interest (as on this project designed by Francesco Pierazzi Architects)

Hidden rainwater goods have become a popular design idea in recent years. However, making a feature of this element of the building, with chunky, aesthetically-pleasing gutters, hoppers and downpipes, is another (cheaper and perhaps less complex to achieve) solution.

Material choice is important — forget PVCu, opt for streamline steel from the likes of Lindab and Alumasc.

12. ‘Frame’ Your Windows

framed window white

The architect behind this extension project, Francesco Pierazzi, chose to create framed windows that stand out against the smooth render

But in addition to adding architectural interest, projecting boxes or ‘frames’ serve a practical function — they protect the timber windows from the elements, ensuring longevity.

13. Expose Ceiling Joists

exposed beams dining room

In this project by Emmett Russell Architects, the exposed joists make a particular design statement; the lines are continued outside, creating a brise soleil for this south-facing elevation

Exposed ceiling joists are more often than not associated with period homes, however they can make a characterful addition to a modern self build, too.

Do bear in mind though that exposed timber joists will typically require a fire-retardant coating for Building Regulations purposes.

14. Install Hidden Lighting


In order to create the illusion of the glazed bridge (which connects the two halves of Jake Edgley‘s London self build) floating when lit at night, he attached strips of LEDs to aluminium foils fitted to the ceiling edge

While bringing natural light into the home is a recurring theme, it can be easy to forget how important achieving a well-balanced artificial lighting design scheme can be — many treating this element of the design as an after-thought, placing a few pendants and downlights wherever there’s space.

Consideration of your home’s lighting should be planned out well in advance.

15. Design a Throughview

Transparent room architecture

Designed by Kate Stoddart Architect

Placing patio doors or glazing in adjacent or opposing walls has obvious benefits when it comes to introducing light to the interiors and creating a greater sense of connection with the garden.

However, this design motif can also help reduce massing, making a building appear transparent and less ‘bulky’.

16. Consider Modern Bargeboards

Modern bargeboard New Forest

The bargeboard is now seeing a renaissance if this new build in the New Forest, designed by PAD Studio, is anything to go by — and not simply because of the strong aesthetic it lends to the gable end

The bargeboard has fulfilled both a functional role, protecting gable ends, and a decorative one (a trend revived by the Victorians) on the British home.

“Here, the deep bargeboard protects the structure to avoid unwanted heat loss whilst preventing thermal bridging (cold being transferred into the home and damaging the substructure),” says architect Wendy Perring, Design Director of PAD Studio.

17. Return of the Loggia

Modern loggia PAD studio

Project by PAD Studio

Covered outdoor spaces allow the British summer to be enjoyed whatever the weather, plus provide opportunity to make a design statement.

However, we’re no longer simply looking to create such spaces on the ground floor, but on the first floor too, where covered balconies or loggias, leading off the master bedroom for instance, are a happy indulgence.

18. Finish Walls in Clay Plaster

Clay plaster interior pitched

Gypsum plaster and plasterboard are not the only choices when it comes to finishing walls and ceilings. Natural finishes are big news; they lend texture and interest to surfaces, plus materials such as clay plaster are non-toxic, offer a breathable surface, and act as an acoustic absorber.

The juxtaposition of exposed steel framework and clay plaster (Claywork’s Non-Mica Smooth top coat in ‘white’, shown) means this sizable living space feels homely rather than industrial. Plus, there’s no need to paint the surface once applied.

19. Design in Dynamic Ceilings

Dynamic ceiling kitchen diner beams

If you’re designing from scratch, your new ceilings need not be boring. On this project, designed by Hudson Architects, the dramatic sloping roof cuts a dynamic shape against the sky. Inside this makes for a ceiling which packs an architectural punch, with the mix of ceiling heights adding further interest.

20. Introduce Louvred Openings


In this project, architect/owner Sean Peel, turned redundant doors into glazed openings to satisfy the requests of local conversation officers, with internal timber louvres providing privacy from the road

Fixed timber slats are an excellent means of providing privacy to openings, while still allowing light to flow into the interiors.

21. Apply Timber Cladding


Versatile, rustic and lending warmth, timber has become the go-to material for those seeking to bring texture to their projects — both inside and out.

Whether it’s dark-stained pine to add contrast and help the home to blend in with its surroundings, rough sawn oak left to weather to a silver grey (above), birch, western red cedar, larch or plywood lining the walls, ceilings and floors to provide a warm and cosy space, timber cladding is a popular home design idea.

22. Install Internal Glazing

Feature glazing interior

This self build, designed by Mailen Design, features a glazed partition between living area and office

Interior glazing is by no means an architectural innovation — this device has been used for years in commercial spaces and offices. However, self builders are now beginning to see the benefit of interior glazing in new homes: it can allow natural light and views to be ‘shared’ by adjacent rooms, while still offering a degree of soundproofing.

Allowing light to reach into even the most central sections of the floorplan, incorporating internal glazing can offer glimpses of adjacent rooms and create the illusion of space and volume.

23. Install Built-In Joinery


Built-in units behind doors (such as in this project from Phillips Tracey Architects) allows the homeowners to close off unsightly dirty dishes while entertaining friends and family

Wishing to shut clutter off from the rest of the house, it seems homeowners and architects are coming up with new solutions for introducing clever storage into their homes.

One of the most chaotic rooms in the house is often the kitchen, which sees all manner of activities taking place — from cooking to cleaning, eating and socialising. Given today’s trend for open plan kitchen diners however, it can be difficult to hide cooking mess when guests come round for dinner.

24. Add a Veranda


A key staple of traditional architecture, the veranda appears to be making a comeback. From New England-style wrap-arounds to sheltered timber frame additions – allowing homeowners to enjoy the outdoors even on wintery days – the veranda has proved the perfect accessory to homes both contemporary and classic.

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