In the previous blog, we looked at a number of home design trends that are expected to grow over the next few years, but it left out a big category of trends that all relate to the theme of environmentalism and sustainability. Not only are people more interested than ever in living in a way that’s sustainable and reduces environmental impact, but advancements in technology and increased competition means there’s more choice than ever before. Homeowners don’t have to choose between being environmentally friendly and living in a beautiful, comfortable home – now they can have it all.
Here are some new and growing trends that prioritize living a green and sustainable lifestyle.
Natural and Alternative Materials
Materials like quartz, terrazzo, and wood have been popular for a while now, but we can expect to see even more natural materials in our homes in the coming years. Think: rattan, wicker, seagrass, cork, bamboo, and hemp. Even wood paneling is coming back in style, albeit in a very different way from the 60s and 70s.
Alternative materials will become more common, too. Advancements in technology and a drive to develop sustainable and eco-friendly materials has produced some amazingly innovative products such as carpeting made out of corn, vegan leather out of fruit and vegetable waste, and everything from furniture to ceiling panels out of mycelium, which is composed of the vegetative part of fungi. In the coming years, these kinds of materials will become more commonplace in our homes.
Sustainable Sourcing and Fair Wage Sourcing
Builders and homeowners are increasingly seeking out materials that are sustainable and environmentally friendly while still being durable and attractive. Sustainable sourcing is sourcing that is environmentally responsible, socially responsible, and economically sound; lowest price is not the biggest driver here, as it is for many materials. Many people are willing to pay more for materials they know are sourced in a way that limits damage to the environment and saves resources.
Similarly, more than ever, people are willing to pay a premium for materials and products that have been made by people paid a fair wage. Ethical sourcing considers the impact on the workers, ensuring they’re paid fairly and work in a safe environment and aren’t being exploited.
The growing appeal and use of natural materials is one aspect of this next trend, biophilic design. Even if you’ve never heard the term, you’ve likely seen it before. Biophilic design is about helping people connect with nature in the spaces where they live and work every day by bringing the outside in and the inside out.
Green roofs, living walls (aka green walls or vertical gardens), glass-walled conservatories and sunrooms, outdoor showers, and outdoor “living rooms” on covered patios and porches are some examples. An abundance of greenery and natural light inside are two other, low-effort elements of biophilic design.
This design trend has a number of benefits. Not only is it beautiful to look at, but it’s good for the environment and good for people, too. Being closer to nature, even if that means having a few more plants or a looking out the window at greenery, has been shown to be beneficial for mental well-being and physical health.
Bonus: We’re witnessing a trend of moving away from color palettes of white and neutrals like champagne and greige and towards palettes filled with colors inspired by the earth. Think muted shades of earth tones and grass-like greens, such as the Benjamin Moore 2022 color of the year, October Mist 1495. While this isn’t exactly an example of sustainability, it is another reflection of the general move towards celebrating nature in our spaces.
Smart homes once seemed like the thing of the future, but the future is here! Now you can use your smartphone to monitor what’s happening outside your front door and arm your home’s security system when you leave for work, then ask Alexa to turn your lights on, crank the AC, and put on your favorite tunes when you get home.
Smart TVs, security systems, thermostats, lighting systems, sound systems, water meters, fridges, washing machines – and the list goes on – these systems can be controlled remotely, work autonomously, or even learn your habits and preferences over time to make your life easier.
While some of these are simply cool or convenient, some are extremely environmentally friendly. Smart thermostats reduce energy usage, smart faucets and smart showerheads reduce water usage, and smart glass windows increase energy efficiency, to give just a few examples. As a bonus, they can also save money on your utility bills.
Moving to the Charleston, SC Area? I Can Help
If you’re looking for your dream home in the Charleston area, I’d love to help. My name is Kenton Selvey and I’m a Realtor® with William Means here in Charleston. I help people find their dream home in Charleston and the surrounding areas including Daniel Island, Mount Pleasant, James Island, and beyond. Give me a call at 843-806-7222 or email me here. I look forward to hearing from you.