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Seven styles for a modern home

Seven styles for a modern home

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After extensive research, industry innovator James Hardie has uncovered what Australians really want when it comes to producing a modern home. So, what has its forecast revealed?

Anne-Maree Brown

General Manager of Content

What are the most popular home styles in Australia nowadays? Are homeowners attracted to the modern farmhouse or contemporary coastal look? Do they desire the ‘Japandi’ style, merging Japanese and Scandi elements? Perhaps a mid-century dwelling or a barn style house appeals to homeowners keen to build or renovate.

After releasing its Modern Homes Forecast 2024, Australian building industry innovator James Hardie now reveals all.

Here are the popular looks that Australians desire when building or renovating homes. Based on the company’s extensive research, it pinpoints these seven home styles:

  • Modern Coastal 
  • Barn 
  • Box Modern 
  • Mid-century Modern 
  • Modern Farmhouse 
  • Japandi
  • Modern Heritage.
One of the seven home trends detailed by James Hardies in its Modern Homes Forecast: Modern Coastal.
Box Modern
Mid-Century Modern
Modern Farmhouse
Modern Heritage

Finding facts

With the aim of understanding how Australians love to live, James Hardie took on this significant study of the trajectory of modern home design. The company drew information from in-house research and AI technology, as well as interviewing industry experts. The study focuses on how its products can revolutionise the design and construction of modern homes.

Overall, this analysis led to the identification of these seven distinct modern styles that shape the contemporary landscape now and into the future.

According to Adele Gordon, James Hardie’s Head of Marketing ANZ, ‘In examining the housing design landscape, we had to understand the external drivers of change. This included global and local forces that influence the way we want to live, and therefore the direction of residential design.’

Modern living insights

When recently launching this forecast, James Hardie invited industry professionals to an intimate event, hosted by design expert and media personality Neale Whitaker. Neale observes that: ‘Beyond James Hardie’s exterior cladding, its commitment to great design goes way further. Each home perfectly articulates the way we want to live, so the Modern Homes Forecast is an invaluable tool.’

He continues: ‘The Modern Homes Forecast 2024 is interesting on many levels. It reveals an architectural response to macro changes – long-term shifts in family dynamics and societal behaviours in the post-COVID world.

‘Quite apart from the aesthetic findings (Australia's seven most popular architectural styles), the revelations about the way in which Australian and New Zealanders are prioritising family, work and social lives is fascinating. The Modern Homes Forecast indicates that in future, residential builds will reflect both multicultural and multi-generational family living; long-term work-from-home requirements and a new emphasis on leisure to reflect a new stay-at-home culture.

‘Media rooms, for example, are likely to be joined or even replaced by home spas, gyms and spaces for yoga and other wellness pursuits. The research also indicates an ongoing commitment to multi-purpose spaces, sustainable building practices, integrated technology and connection to nature wherever possible,’ says Neale.

During the launch, Neale mediated a discussion panel featuring architect Joe Snell, Rebeka Morgan of BuildHer Collective, and HIA member and award-winning builder Neil Hipwell of FutureFlip, along with HIA’s senior economist Tom Devitt.

According to the study, Adele Gordon comments: ‘We’ve experienced a profound shift in family dynamics and living arrangements. Couples without children are projected to become the most common family type over the next five years. Moreover, the cost of living and differing cultural influences have prompted people to embrace multigenerational living, with 20 per cent of Australians now residing in multigenerational households.’

One of the factors that’s contributing to this shift is regional migration. According to HIA’s Tom Devitt, ‘The pandemic produced a broad desire among Australians for greater space and amenity in our living environments, given all the extra time we were spending at home. People moved out of the city into larger homes in the suburbs and sometimes all the way into the regions. This trend suggests a re-evaluation of lifestyle preferences and a potential resurgence in regional housing demand.’

Likewise, fellow panel member, architect and renovation specialist Joe Snell has always worked by the principle of encouraging people to demand more from the design of their home. ‘Too often, the average Aussie is railroaded into accepting what they are given from the industry. This forecast with the resulting seven looks is a great step in the right direction to help articulate what homeowners want.

Neale Whitaker hosts an expert panel on home design trends at the launch of James Hardie's Modern Homes Forecast 2024. Photographer Anna Kucera.
According to HIA’s Tom Devitt (centre), ‘The pandemic produced a broad desire among Australians for greater space and amenity in our living environments.' Photographer Anna Kucera.

‘Everyone on the panel agreed that giving people the language of design in a simple approachable way means they are better able to ask for, to demand, what they want. If we can help Australians to demand more in their home, our built environment will improve.’

Despite the current return to the office during the week, more than 53 per cent of Australians are currently working from home, according to James Hardie’s research. This prioritises and upgrades home offices to meet evolving work-from-home needs.

The advent of the digitally native consumer has fostered an explosion of design trends and technology that helps create their dream home. This technological landscape sees users demand high-quality products, plus more choice and flexibility, which drives innovation and customisation in housing design.

Climate change concerns see us reconnecting with nature while also needing more resilient buildings, overseen by NCC 2022. There has also been a notable shift towards an experience-driven economy, with Australians prioritising travel and hobbies. This thirst for new experiences, contrasted by economic pressures forcing individuals to spend more time at home, is shaping how homes are designed and utilised.

When it comes to the evergreen question, ‘What do clients want?’, Joe responds: ‘When clients have a decent idea of what they want, it’s easy to deliver a high-quality product. However, there are people who need to be educated from scratch. The Modern Homes Forecast, with its seven modern looks, helps clients define and articulate what they want. So in turn, this makes the job of architecture and building much easier.

‘If you don't know what you want, you end up getting what you’re given, which is usually in everyone else's favour except the homeowner. Education is key to a better society, and it’s the same for the home building industry. A better educated clientele will demand a better result and then we will all benefit, says Joe.

You can access the James Hardie Modern Homes Forecast 2024. If you would like to access technical documents to help you build the look, visit the new MyHardies.

First published on 26 March 2024

  • This article was compiled with contributions from James Hardie. For more information, please refer to the links above.

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