Whether you’re building, renovating or just wanting an interior refresh, it can be difficult to find inspiration for your modern home design. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed with options — from room size and functionality, to wall colour, furniture selection and decorative embellishments – and difficult to know where to start.
To narrow down your options, we find a good place to start is to figure out what’s important to you and what atmosphere you want to create in your home. Spending time writing out a design brief can help you prioritise what you actually want and how to express it. See ‘Four Key Considerations When Writing a Design Brief for Your New Home.‘
To help get your creative juices flowing, we’ve shared ten modern home plans and ten design tips for contemporary living:
1. Apply earthy and neutral tones to your colour palette to create a harmonious home environment
From a design perspective, more and more people are choosing to surround themselves with textural finishes and earthy tones. We want our homes to feel honest and true. Signified by a subtle and refined palette of concrete and natural materials such as timber, earthy and neutral tones help to create a look that is balanced, simple and homely.
Crisp whites, pebble greys and cool concrete shades of various textured surfaces that are not only used in exterior facades but carried through inside, add depth, sophistication and cohesiveness across the home.
Timber, used both externally and internally, has great aesthetic appeal. Natural growth rings, gum veins and ambrosia give different types of timber a unique, natural and pleasing look with plenty of character. Some choose to stain the timber to create a deep, rich colour whilst others may prefer a more rustic, bohemian look that shows wear and tear, and the patina of time.
Customise concrete or add some coloured terrazzo to your home to add some depth and texture. Whether it’s a formed concrete benchtop or fireplace plinth or a stunning terrazzo-tiled floor, something different will always impress. Also, try layering different types of natural stone and terrazzo in the same space. Mixing two or more materials help break up the space to strike a happy medium where the luxury finish is maintained without being monotonous.
The appeal of neutral tones is popular because it makes the interior of the home appear bigger. Instead of intricately carved antique-style cornices or pillars, modern homes are also using cleaner lines that make the home look neater and more composed.
2. Look to past architectural styles as a source of design inspiration
In Melbourne modern architecture is an architectural style that is gaining appreciation and popularity. Thanks to Instagram accounts such as @modernister, @moderistaustralia and @moderntimesau mid-century modern design is thrust into the mainstream. Best described as minimalist, these homes are marked by clean lines, flat or gables roofs, dramatic edges often with large eaves and large picture windows.
Take a look at our Brooklyn home. This luxury modular home has a great modern look and feel thanks to the use of timber inside, minimal decoration and an abundance of natural light.
When it comes to space, big floor to ceiling windows or curtains can be enough to make a room look more spacious. High ceilings also make it seem roomier – it’s crazy how a couple hundred millimetres above your head can make a such a difference to the atmosphere of the space.
3. Tear off the labels
Your typical kitchen and study no longer need to be your typical kitchen and study. Your kitchen can include a dining area, and your study can have an entertainment area or be tucked into the living room. In fact, most of the rooms in your house can be fused together, saving space and creating convenience.
Many modern contemporary homes have the kitchen as the social hub of the home. This allows for you to entertain your guests or to gather while the kids are cooking. Beyond providing extra workspace and storage, kitchen islands can serve as an important design feature of your modern home design while also adding a social dimension. Most islands reserve one side for cooking and the other for eating, but you can choose to incorporate seating on a number of sides of your island to create a more social and flexible environment.
4. Include convenient components
There are many clever tools that make every movement and activity more convenient. Modern homes can now have fancy built-in gadgets like wireless chargers on tables or retractable chopping boards built into the counter.
Shelves, closets and appliances built into the walls are also becoming more common in contemporary homes as they provide more space to move around freely. Clutter chaos causes frustration, an organised space keeps you feeling calm. Keep the aesthetic of the space clean and major appliances camouflaged as (much as possible), help to create a refined, polished look.
This is demonstrated in the Albert Park extension. The kitchen is connected but slightly separated from the main living space allowing it to function independently. Custom-made joinery pieces open up to be a fully functioning workspace but can close down when not in use to appear like a piece of furniture. Paired-back with integrated appliances, the kitchen further reinforces the over-arching design idea to create a tranquil space devoid of clutter.
5. Bold and experimental pieces
Though the common trend is to use a neutral palate with sleek designs, certain areas of the home can get away with a tasteful pop of colour or a conversation-worthy piece. For instance, you can go wild with an intricate yet contemporary pendant in the dining room or a boldly patterned tile in the bathroom. These little quirks keep your contemporary house design from looking like a generic model home to an ultra modern house with some of your personality injected into the design.
Bold bathtubs continue to increase in popularity. An inset bath often becomes a stunning feature with additional tiling or even its own alcove, while a freestanding bath’s appeal relates to its ability to become the hero piece.
Read more: ‘Design Series – baths and bathrooms fixtures’.
6. Think long-term
Durability, sustainability and low maintenance will continue to be a big factor and trend in material selection.
If you’ve ever had mould and hard to reach places that gather dust or moisture, you will appreciate how good design and planning can save you endless hours of scrubbing and cleaning (not to mention better for the long-term health of you and your family). And if you’ve ever had to constantly sand/stain/paint/replace elements in your home, you’ll value low maintenance, durable materials and fixtures.
7. Go green
There’s a growing awareness around just how much our surroundings can affect our wellbeing. Today we’re spending more and more time indoors so it’s more important than ever that our interior spaces are designed to make us feel better. Connecting our home environment to nature by bringing elements from the outside in – whether that be through plants, natural materials, light and pattern replicated from nature – can help make you feel calmer and happier.
Materials such as bamboo, rattan and wood appeal because they have a natural tactility to them – you can’t help but run your hands over their surface. They bring a sense of warmth and have variation and nuance in their texture (the grains, knots and organic lines are all part of their seduction).
You can also use soft furnishing and accessories in linen, organic cotton and wool to bring a feeling of cosiness to your new modern house.
8. Light, light and more light
Never underestimate the power of natural light. Bright, airy spaces flooded with natural light can lift our mood. The overall design and orientation of your home is the first thing you should consider when it comes to energy efficiency and all-round comfort. Orientating your house to take best advantage of your climate zone, mapping the course of the sun and wind to plan the position and size of windows, appropriate shading and thermal capture, all contribute to how comfortable you will feel and how much money you could save in heating and cooling bills. See our Sustainability page for further information about Modscape’s Sustainable Design Principles. Also, here’s another tip: think carefully about window treatments so they don’t block out too much light.
Aussies love the outdoors and as a result you may want to make your outdoor living spaces as comfortable as indoor ones. Correct sun-shading (a motorised vergola can be a great option), outdoor kitchens, fireplaces and living-room style furniture can help to make the outdoor space comfortable and inviting all year round.
9. Consider every nook
Consider every nook, cranny, alcove, high shelf and carefully design these spaces (rather than being an afterthought), so every inch of space is utilised and considered. Be it under-the-stairs or at underneath windows, functional joinery built into narrow spaces transform these forgotten areas into practical storage solutions.
Clare Cousins Architects
10. Eco-friendly features
More and more people are switching to environmentally friendly options like recycled materials and solar energy. An eco-friendly home that runs (or at least mostly runs) on clean energy is always a welcome addition to the fight against climate change, and it’s the socially responsible choice. You can also explore options like low-flow toilets, LED lighting, energy efficient appliances and tankless water heaters. See ‘Designing and building an eco-friendly home.’ It may seem a little pricey to begin with, but it’ll save you money in the long run.
To discuss your new modern house design and plans, feel free to contact a member of our team on 03 9316 6000 or firstname.lastname@example.org