NAHB Housing: Overall Trends


Each year, the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) trends forecast identifies key design elements that are making waves in homes across the nation. The 2018 NAHB trends forecast is packed with eye-catching details that span interiors and exteriors. From transitional architecture to open floor plans, take a closer look at the NAHB overall trends for home design in 2018.

Open Floor Plans

For years, homeowners have embraced open floor plans that shun multiple small rooms and carefully divided spaces in favor of large, airy layouts. These floor plans are ideal for creating an enhanced sense of space, adding continuity, and encouraging openness.

While open floor plans still hold tremendous appeal and don’t show signs of fading into the past anytime soon, new interpretations of this layout style are likely to take hold in 2018. In recent years, designers have trended toward open floor plans with minimal definition, creating large, relatively indistinct spaces for families to gather.


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In 2018, the NAHB anticipates a move toward open floor plans that embrace subtle forms of definition. Rather than completely undefined spaces, homeowners may opt to delineate the kitchen from the dining room or from the living room with a different type of hardwood flooring. If you have more space to work with or if you’re designing a new home, you could also consider using various ceiling heights to delineate different spaces and functions.

If you’d prefer a subtler form of separating the space in an open floor plan, you can also consider various materials or colors on the walls. Columns can also separate the space in a large, open room without impacting sightlines or closing off spaces.

If space is a concern, you may consider raised, platform-style flooring to delineate a gathering area, such as a family room or a den. This flooring option can be ideal for urban spaces with limited storage, as you can easily hide away items under the elevated portion.

Blurred Lines

In recent years, the industrial chic style has made appearances in a variety of commercial settings, from offices and lobbies to cafes and restaurants. While you may not see full metal coverage on walls in homes anytime soon, you are likely to see increasingly blurred lines between commercial and residential materials and styles.

In 2018, the NAHB anticipates that homeowners will begin to use minimal yet eye-catching strategies to welcome select metal elements into their interior designs. For example, you may spot an exposed steel beam breaking up space in an urban apartment, highlighting the contrast between industrial metal and softer hardwood.

If you’d prefer something a bit more subtle, consider replacing a traditional wooden banister with a metal railing. Not only do metal railings tend to be much more minimal than wooden banisters, but the steel cables that connect each post also tend to take up much less visual space than their wooden counterparts do. Ultimately, opting for metal over wood could open up the space substantially and may complement a streamlined contemporary design perfectly.

This year, you’re also likely to spot blurred lines between single-family and multifamily styles. The two types of residential structures may look increasingly similar, in a type of unified approach to home design.

Clean Details

In both single-family and multifamily homes, the NAHB forecasts that homeowners will continue to embrace clean lines and streamlined details throughout the indoor space. If you’ve been considering a living room renovation, you could phase out any overly ornate decor and update it with minimal design and cleaner lines. For example, you may opt to eliminate outdated ornate crown molding in favor of a cleaner, more angular design.


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To capture clean design, you could also highlight simple fireplaces with minimal mantels. Built-in furniture with ornate, organic designs may not work with these trends, but built-in bookcases and shelving systems with simple, geometric designs are natural fits.

Neutral colors, such as white, gray, and natural wood tones, tend to work best with clean interior design. While these streamlined spaces don’t have to forgo colors or patterns completely, consider keeping bright colors to a minimum, instead giving isolated pops of color more impact. You’ll also want to focus on solid colors and even tones rather than on busy patterns.

With a renewed emphasis on clean, streamlined design, you can open up the space, remove distractions, and eliminate clutter. Simple lines and minimal details can also do away with the added weight that excessive ornamentation can create, ultimately making your home feel lighter and fresher.


Transitional Architecture

trad arch

Outside, you’re also likely to see some changes in residential exteriors. The NAHB anticipates that transitional architecture will gain momentum in 2018 and beyond, taking facades of both single-family and multifamily homes to entirely new levels.

If you’re planning to build a new home, consider incorporating some of the most attractive elements of transitional architecture into your exterior design. After all, the appeal of this style is that it skews toward the modern without appearing too cold or industrial. Instead, it fuses the contemporary with the familiar, creating traditional forms with cleaner lines.

Some of the most popular transitional architecture designs feature roof peaks that draw on traditional shapes and row houses with a variety of traditional scaling techniques to highlight each individual unit. In some cases, you may take a more creative approach to transitional architecture, placing a highly contemporary facade dominated by windows next to a more traditional exterior with a classic roof peak.

Don’t hesitate to incorporate regional forms or repurposed materials into your transitional design either. The NAHB trends forecast also highlights a shift toward regional styles and an embrace of multi-tone facades, which you can create with a mix of complementary materials and restored design elements.

Whether you’re planning a remodeling project or you’re designing a new home, you can easily incorporate the latest trends. Gain inspiration from the NAHB’s 2018 trends forecast and bring an open floor plan, clean details, and more contemporary design elements to life.


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