What’s New in Multifamily Interior Design
When it comes to multifamily interior design, industry leaders say it requires the ability to perform delicate balancing acts. Developers playing it “safe” often risk not making the splash needed to set their project apart from others in a packed field of multifamily developments. If they go to extremes in the other direction, they can risk turning off potential residents.
This article will discuss current multifamily interior design trends attracting residents and will likely continue to draw them in through the rest of this year and into 2024.
Multifamily Interior Design: It’s All in The Finishes
When it comes to multifamily residences, stainless steel appliances remain the top choice for residents. However, glass mosaic backsplashes and espresso wood cabinetry, once a favorite among potential residents, have fallen out of favor, along with the carpeting.
Regarding multifamily finishes, industry experts say that a lot has changed in the last decade, with developers giving units more of a “custom” feel which, in turn, has been quite well received by homebuyers and tenants. Many interior designers are mixing metal finishes like satin brass and matte black. They have also been designing bathrooms and kitchens with colored cabinets, two-tone cabinets, and a range of fun and exciting storage spaces that residents seem to appreciate.
As printing technology has continued to progress, multifamily interior planning design options also have advanced. For example, printed wood has become a common design choice, favored for its consistent grain, color, and quality finish. Many industry experts say it is often more aesthetically pleasing than inexpensive wood veneers. Interestingly, printed wood is used less in unit cabinetry and more in flooring and the development of common spaces.
Taking Time to Get it Right
The average lag time between an initial multifamily interior design plan and installation is usually 18 to 30 months. As a result, many developers will stagger finish selection and furnishings, choosing to wait as long as is practical. Most developers choose architectural finishes first and then follow with the furniture. They will save choosing fabrics and art for a much later date. This process allows developers and designers to adjust looks in later stages of the process.
Experts say it is wise to take your time and understand trends and directions as the project progresses, thus enabling you to make timeless selections ahead of current trends. Durability and beauty should be top of mind, so many developers turn to tile and quartz slabs in amenity spaces.
Consider incorporating custom furnishings and artwork into the project. Today’s residents are looking for dramatic spaces that boast rich furnishings and finishes scaled to the area. A bespoke look offers a hierarchy of elements used. Typically, a central element will first catch the eye, but there’s more to see upon a second look. By incorporating accessories, textures, and fine details, you’ll be able to engage viewers, always giving them something new that they can experience.
If you’re looking to tighten your budget, don’t think that you need to skimp when it comes to style. Using affordable finishes, fewer finishes, or reusing the same finishes in multiple areas is a good way to create an aesthetically pleasing interior design without breaking the bank. Also, prefabricated interior design pieces can work just as well as custom pieces. Remember that today’s residents don’t want to see the “same old, same old” in this type of interior design. They are looking for the unexpected and spaces that will look great across social media.
Multifamily Interior Design: Antimicrobial Surfaces are the Newest Trend
Perhaps the single biggest multifamily interior design trend post-COVID-19 is an increased emphasis on the use of antimicrobial surfaces, particularly in common areas where residents gather. The tipping point will be antimicrobial when it comes to new finishes moving forward. Say goodbye to stainless steel and hello to brass, copper, and bronze, which have more antimicrobial properties. Industry analysts say they have seen warmer tones being brought to the market more and more as they become part of the ongoing antimicrobial conversation in a post-pandemic world.
Multifamily interior experts for design also note that granite is falling out of favor because it’s so porous. Instead, designers opt for quartz, the planet’s hardest non-precious stone, because it is an incredibly sanitary countertop surface. It is also the most stain-resistant and scratch-resistant. A quartz countertop is manufactured from quartz chips or dust bound by resin.
Keeping it Healthy and Luxurious
These days, residents are looking for luxurious finishes. Manufacturers and suppliers to the multifamily interior design market are responding with many options within various price points.
Industry leaders say the marble look is still a player in the multifamily inside design space. That large veined look continues to simulate that luxurious feel that residents want. As a result, interior design professionals are seeing an increase in the selection of large-veined stones being brought to market. Various quartz products can stand in for marble because they evoke the same sense of luxury that residents are currently searching for.
Porcelain is also a top choice in this type of interior design. Porcelain has also come a long way because of technological advances that enable manufacturers to use porcelain to mimic a wide array of organic materials like wood and natural stones with large vein appearances. Quartzite is a natural stone that may not necessarily be inexpensive, but it is cheaper than marble and creates a large vein appearance. Industry experts also predict a return to laminate as people turn away from porous surfaces.
Flat-panel cabinets and black/white mixed cabinetry colors are also growing in popularity, along with warmer/lighter wood tones, as opposed to the cool gray hues that previously dominated interior design. Interior designers say that warmer tones bring feelings of comfort and compassion, two elements that many residents are looking for in a confused, nervous, and insecure world.
In a world overstimulated by technology and social media, experts say that hygge interior design may be an antidote. Hygge refers to a minimalistic design style that embodies the Danish concept of “hygge,” which is the feeling of contentment while enjoying life’s simple pleasures. The use of hygge concepts in multifamily design can evoke feelings of contentment and well-being, which many multifamily residents are searching for these days. Modern farmhouse and vintage loft aesthetics are also still popular, as are hallmarks of these designs, like white-painted brick surfaces, and manage to fit well into hygge designs.
Current Design Mixes Materials, Textures & Patterns
Industry leaders say that moving forward, residents are going to have many more choices than ever when it comes to finding a multifamily housing community that truly reflects their personal style. These days, multifamily interior designers are creating bold spaces resonating with residents and developers.
These days, designers are evoking wow moments that start in the lobby, with awesome centerpieces like full-body, floating chandeliers, defining the space in the most stunning manner possible. They also employ floor-to-ceiling mixes of materials using varying finishes, from metallics to mattes. When steel is present, look for some sheen to be incorporated as a way to contact the industrial look, giving a warm, compelling aesthetic.
Today’s interior multifamily designers enjoy working with mixed materials within a single project. Of course, material choices will always depend on the individual project and overall budget. Still, these days you can find both porcelain and vinyl flooring, for example, that can look just like natural wood. Technological advancements have also allowed designers to create smaller footprints without compromising beauty. Cambria quartz offers a natural feel and the look of granite or marble, but with increased durability. It is also a top choice for many designers in the multifamily industry.
Many of today’s designers use various textures and patterns to add visual interest and to help create a more balanced, elevated aesthetic. That is particularly true when it comes to focal walls in lobbies or the lining of corridor walls, where designers use the opportunity to create some truly show-stopping moments in interior multifamily design.
Whether you hang some extraordinary artwork, commission a stunning mural, or use faux grass material, your focal walls will leave lasting impressions on those who engage with the space and will certainly capture their imaginations. Ideally, the multifamily community’s strategic planning and placement of interior finishes will, in the end, contribute to positive leasing outcomes and tenant retention.
Look for multifamily interior designs incorporating neutral, natural colors, like light woods and shades of grays, browns, and toupes, contrasted by metals. According to industry analysts, bronze, in particular, has made a significant comeback.
Multifamily Interior Design in a Post-Pandemic World
Multifamily designers are rethinking kitchens, bedrooms, and common areas now that COVID-19 has changed how we live. From fundamental upheavals to our daily routines and work arrangements to a new emphasis on health, wellness, and interior environments, multifamily architects and designers have been forced to reimagine interior multifamily design. That has resulted in these types of interior designs that are flexible, clean, and responsive to new ways of living. One such reimagination looks to incorporate various spaces, interior, and exterior, allowing residents to engage, both with nature and each other, while remaining at a distance that is comfortable and safe.
Another way architects and designers in the multifamily industry are reimagining the way residents live in a post-pandemic world involves the contemplation of flexible multi-family interiors to make working and learning from home easier. Kitchens are also being revamped to accommodate changes in how residents eat.
Although they were important before the pandemic, balconies, terraces, porches, and yards are more important to residents now than ever before because they allow residents to choose the level of engagement they are most comfortable with.
This type of Interior Design Must Consider the Possibility of Being Housebound
The pandemic prompted a huge experiment in the work-from-home lifestyle. For many Americans, that shift has become permanent. As a result, interior design for multifamily has responded by creatively incorporating work surfaces into residential units, even while footprints continue to remain the same size.
One option for designers and architects has been to create workspaces by downsizing walk-in closets. Units with master suites isolated from other areas make for great workspaces with additional privacy. Some designers have incorporated flip-down desks near windows. In response to work-from-home needs, a key consideration in this interior design is natural light and acoustics.
Residents are “Eating In” More and More
Kitchens in multifamily units are also seeing significant changes, thanks to the popularity of cooking and the need for additional food storage ushered in by the pandemic. A decrease in restaurant spending and an increase in grocery shopping and cooking from home have placed an increased emphasis on food storage and a demand for additional kitchen space. Experts say that it has certainly had an impact on this multifamily design.
For example, units that would have typically allocated an average of 30 to 36 inches for refrigerators are now dedicating more cubic footage to refrigeration, particularly within the luxury sector. Thankfully, refrigerators and freezers are available in various sizes and shapes, lending themselves to more flexible and multifamily interior design solutions, like under-counter beverage centers.
These days, Americans are also cooking more than ever, driving the demand for more sophisticated appliances and smart home technologies in the multifamily sector.
Multifamily Interior Design Takeaways
According to industry leaders, most of the multifamily design trends outlined in this article are expected to stick around for the foreseeable future. They say this is mostly because they are either a direct or indirect response to what many people call a “new normal” as we enter the next chapter of a COVID-19 world.
As mentioned above, following these interior design trends will help multi-family contractors, architects, designers, and project stakeholders find new ways to improve leasing outcomes and maintain strong retention rates.
One key suggestion that most industry leaders agree upon is the need to ensure that every design trend implemented will stand the test of time and is not just a response to fads.