What’s Trending (and what’s on it’s way out) In Model Home Design

In Design Planning, Interior Design, Kitchen and Bath Design, Model Home Design, Residential Design, Wall Finishes by Christina Toole

Christina Toole Sr Interior Designer

By Christina Toole,
Sr. Interior Designer
Work with Christina>

As a model home designer (as well as  a designer for "resimercial" workspaces, residences, Airbnbs, and investment properties) I invest a lot of time touring model homes. It's a great way to keep an eye on the pulse of residential home design trends.

While I don't encourage all of my residential clients to adhere strictly to design trends (what matters is that they love it), for those planning to flip their homes or sell within a few years - it can be wise keep resale value in mind. In these instances, having an idea of what is desirable to today's homebuyers can help guide a potential remodel.

'While I don't encourage all of my residential clients to adhere strictly to design trends, for those planning to flip their homes or sell within a few years - it can be wise keep resale value in mind and to have some idea of what is desirable to today's homebuyers."Christina Toole

Kitchen Range Hoods


These days sensibility is in, and kitchen range hoods are becoming sleeker and less obtrusive. Large, ornate hoods and walls of upper cabinetry are less common as today's kitchen seeks to seamlessly blend itself into the  living area. The end result is a lighter, more open space.

When a massive range hood isn't stealing the show, other design elements have the chance to shine. Homeowners can now showcase dishware and other collections. Finishes, hardware, and lighting can be fully appreciated without fighting for attention which helps create a sense of flow and cohesion.

Things we are seeing less of in today's kitchens: subway tile, industrial shelving, and those pricey waterfall edge countertops.

super-sized lighting fixtures


Pendant Lighting on the other hand, has gone in the opposite direction. The fixtures have grown massively and often break rules of scale (with intention) for the purpose of creating drama. The overall look is kept lightweight and cost-effective with open, clean, slender lines.

Today there are more artisanal, conversation-starter light fixtures on the market as homeowners are paying more attention to this valuable element of design and creating a demand for such pieces.

We are seeing less fabric and drum shades as homeowners are weary of the struggle to keep them dust-free.

high-contrast tile


The good news is, we are still having fun with tile. The high-contrast, geometric patterns that burst on to the scene a few years ago are still holding strong. Thanks to limitless options that continue to expand, this trend has staying power.

This style is most often found in smaller bathrooms, laundry rooms, or backsplashes where they can make the biggest splash for the smallest investment. Homebuilders will likely be leveraging this trend to create interest and add whimsy to model homes for years to come, however expect them to become more colorful in the coming years.

black window Frames and Mullions


The sleek, classic black window frame is most often found in custom homes, however many value window manufacturers are now  offering them. These windows frame a view with drama and contrast unmatched by white window frames.

Not only are exterior windows are getting the treatment, operable room dividers that were once only found in commercial offices are now finding their way into residences. These dividers offer privacy and flexibility to home offices and other spaces. Barn doors are now used much less often for this application as they don't offer complete sound privacy.

Wrought Iron Stair Railings


Open and light wrought iron stair railings in grid pattern or horizontal or vertical rod balusters contribute to the open and airy layouts in today's model homes. In this era of sensibility, iron is a durable, long-lasting, and low maintenance choice.

When used, wood is often an accent or handrail that adds warmth and comfort to the parts of the stair railing that are touched.

In today's model homes, we are seeing fewer steel cable railings, and heavily ornate iron and wood stairs rails have been declining in popularity for some time now.

islands and kitchenettes


Many of today's larger homes come equipped with not only one massive kitchen island, but two. The extra worktop and seating space comes in handy for larger families and those who like to entertain.

Likewise, in smaller homes the built-in kitchen island is being replaced entirely with movable islands and tables that allow for greater flexibility.

We are also seeing more kitchenettes cleverly tucked into corners of  larger bedrooms, instantly transforming the rooms into spaces that can be rented out, or just simply as an added convenience for guests or family.

unique fireplace surrounds


Fireplaces are traditionally designed to be the focal point of the room, however today's fireplace surrounds, while still given given unique and special treatments, are designed to blend seamlessly into the rest of the living space.

Today's homebuilders are vying for the eye of a fickle consumer and therefore have to stay ahead of changing trends. Look for them to continue to create imaginative spaces and to remain on the cutting edge of design trends.

Subscribe to our blog below for design tips and tricks. If you’d like to learn more about designing a model home (or designing your home to look like one), please feel free to reach out.


Design Tribe Sr. Interior Designer, Christina Toole, is a LEED™ Green Associate, NCIDQ Certificate holder, and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design in 2004. Since then she has served on global hospitality project teams for Wynn Resorts, MGM/City Center, and Mandarin Oriental, and designed mid to high-end residential remodels, vacation and model homes, as well as award-winning branded workspaces.

Areas of Specialty:
Workspace Design
Residential Design
Airbnb Vacation Design

Work with Christina >

Subscribe to our blog

  • Should be Empty: