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5 Trends and Innovations in Exterior Design

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5 Trends and Innovations in Exterior Design

In Utopia’s first webinar of 2022, expert home builders shared the latest trends and innovations in exterior design. Here are five key takeaways to help you on your next project.

Quinn Purcell, Managing Editor
September 15, 2022
Modern farmhouse exterior
The traditional facade is getting a facelift. What are the latest trends and innovations in exterior design that can help you with your next project? Photo courtesy BSB Design

The Utopia on-demand webinar for July 2022 featured a panel of experts who discussed the latest trends and innovations in exterior design, outdoor living, and indoor-outdoor connection in single-family residential construction.

The webinar Exterior Design Trends and Innovations featured guest speakers Cassie Cataline, marketing director for land and housing development at Nexton; Jeff Mulcrone, associate director of design at BSB Design; Allie Martin, manager of design trends at the New Home Trends Institute; and Steve Booz, vice president of marketing and product management at Westlake Royal Building Products.

From their insights, here are five key takeaways to consider for exterior home design.


1. Consider influences from unlikely places

Consider influences from commercial development, styles from other regions/countries, or even color trends in fashion. According to Jeff Mulcrone, principal and director of design, BSB Design, fashion influences interior design aesthetics through unique materials, designs, and colors.

As those trends and influences make their way into people’s daily lives (at restaurants, shops), they discover the desire to integrate it into their homes as well. The pipeline, then, brings fashion aesthetics to retail, multifamily design, and finally into residential single-family homes.

Alternatively, you may want to look at commercial buildings to see where the latest trends lie. The multifamily sector is seeing influence from the stylistic urban-modern trends in commercial architecture, and these buildings’ exteriors are diverging in new ways.

Projects are bringing out heavier textures and textiles that were seen from interiors, and deeper color tones are being used to fully emulate the true urban environment (mixed-use retails, streetscapes, nightlife). This is leading the design environment to bring back bolder design, reimagining the traditional facade.

RELATED: From Fashion to Facade: How Homes are Getting Bolder and Edgier

2. Prioritize stone and brick

Research from the New Home Trends Institute (NHTI) finds that stone and brick are the most desired exterior materials for homeowners.

Share of homeowners that think each exterior home material would make a home more desirable graph
Share of homeowners that think each exterior home material would make a home more desirable. Photo courtesy New Home Trends Institute

Homeowners value stone and brick twice as much as siding or stucco, and NHTI recommends spending more on them.

But the real thing can be expensive. Something builders could consider to offset costs? Synthetic materials.

3. Consider synthetic materials

When it comes to material properties, homeowners are primarily concerned with two things: durability and low maintenance. Synthetic materials can elevate the durability of the look while decreasing life-long maintenance—a win-win.

So builders might consider using synthetic materials (composite stone panels, wood-mimicking aluminum siding, etc.) to spend less while maintaining the same look of natural materials.

RELATED: Exterior Materials: 3 Key Findings for the Next 3 Years

4. Make a bold leap with bold colors

While natural-looking exterior materials offer familiarity and biophilic calmness, bold choices make a house pop.

Modern homes are making use of dark, dark sidings of black and blue, with accents of neutral, natural colors. NHTI finds that some homeowners have an appetite for “soft transitional” exteriors—a mix of traditional and modern.

Most markets prefer a neutral color palette, but those same regions that enjoy “soft transitional” mixes—California, Texas, and the Southwest—are more open to a bold option, according to NHTI.

“Color is free,” says Mulcrone. Use it to your advantage to stand out from the rest.

RELATED: Data from NHTI Finds Rise in Outdoor Kitchen Spaces

5. And of course… optimize outdoor spaces

In the past year, homeowners and buyers want to connect with their outdoor spaces. “Bring the indoors out, and outdoors, in” is a common sentiment these days, so make it happen.

Sixty-five percent of young and mature families view outdoor spaces as very important, and homeowners of all demographics use their outdoor spaces often, according to research from NHTI.

As the trend toward outdoor living moves quickly to permanent must-have status, simply adding on a ho-hum deck isn’t going to be enough. Building pros can elevate outdoor spaces in numerous ways, and they don’t have to break the bank.

Amp up your outdoor buildings with real siding and trim, accessories, and landscaping.

This tiny house ADU by Koncept Design/Build, for example, looks just as good as a main house, with beautiful craftsmanship, on-trend black-framed windows and doors, and meticulous trimwork using TruExterior poly-ash trim.

Want to learn more? The webinar is available to watch here on-demand.

Want to read more insights from these guest speakers?

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