10 Multi-Family Design Trends to Watch in 2022
When selecting flooring options for multi-family spaces, creating an atmosphere that evokes the comfort of home while also understanding that it’s a commercial space is key. These spaces – usually apartment complexes or multi-family settings with lobbies, common areas, outdoor amenities and even work spaces — will be utilized by a large number of people, which requires durable, sanitary, functional and beautiful flooring.
These lived-in spaces need to keep up with the pace of everyday life in 2022. Functional flooring options that look good, hold up to wear and tear and are easy to clean are what renters and landlords alike expect. Thankfully, flooring solutions that check all those boxes already exist in engineered hardwood and LVT.
To help you meet all of these expectations, consider incorporating some of these top 10 multi-family design trends into your next project.
1. Mixed Use Buildings
One of the latest multi-family design trends is mixed-use buildings, which is “a type of commercial property that includes both commercial and residential space,” according to Brownstoner. One of the most common mixed use designs is a vertical, multi-story building, which features a retail store or office on the street level and apartments above, according to Urban Hub.
Mixed-use buildings were initially popular in cities and major commercial areas, but they have spread out to suburban areas as people have moved away from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan areas. It’s not uncommon to see coffee shops and law offices topped with apartments along the streets. Or, since remote work is so prevalent now, many of these buildings feature shared coworking spaces mixed in amongst the retail and living areas.
2. High-End Classic
High-end design elements, from flooring and lighting to furnishings and décor, have grown increasingly popular, especially among millennials, the largest demographic of renters. But there is a new, secondary focus for this multi-family design trend – high-end classic.
The high-end classic trend addresses both aesthetic and financial concerns for owners and designers of multi-family settings. High-end furnishings are beautiful, but they can also be costly. If their popularity has a short expiration date, that is not a viable solution for a renovation that is intended to last for years to come. With high-end finishes, like engineered hardwood flooring, the palette will be a timeless staple that can be updated with simple accessories and touch-ups.
“99% of projects are a fine balance of budget while creating a high-end aesthetic,” said Paige Byrd, Partner and ID Director at Thiel and Thiel. “As we study plans, we identify key elevations and areas with the highest impact. Not every wall can receive a custom millwork feature, custom artwork installation or oversized lighting feature. Identifying high-impact areas and allocating custom details to key areas is a budget-friendly strategy to create the best experience for the end user while designing responsibly.”
By incorporating high-end classic elements – designs that are both luxurious and timeless – multi-family settings can still appear modern and trendy, no matter when they were actually updated.
Co-living spaces are another multi-family design trend that’s on the rise. CoWorking Resources defines co-living as “the trend of living with many other people in one space that encourages its residents to interact and work together.” This has especially become a popular option in expensive urban areas.
In many cases, co-living means a private bedroom with a shared living room and kitchen. Bathrooms can be included in the bedrooms or also shared depending on the space’s layout.
“In the next few years the number of units offered by major co-living companies in the U.S. is going to triple to about 10,000,” according to a Vox article that references a recent report from real estate company Cushman & Wakefield.
The primary concern with a shared space, regardless of intended use, is its cleanliness. As we continue to fight COVID-19, nonporous surfaces that are easy to clean and maintain are critical for both health and durability. When it comes to flooring or wall coverings, LVT is a highly durable and solid surface that can be quickly sanitized and hold up under lots of repeated use. For strictly floor applications, hardwood is also very easy to clean, highly durable and is a natural, timeless option.
4. Functional Flooring
Traditional flooring options like carpet or ceramic tile are sometimes visually appealing, but not necessarily practical in terms of functionality in a multi-family setting. Flooring in residential areas should be easy to clean, durable and aesthetically pleasing.
Jen Chinburg of Chinburg Properties, a fully integrated development and construction firm that develops and manages multiple multi-family properties in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts, says that when scoping out new properties, flooring is one of the first places they start. “Flooring products are always evolving and improving, and they are a critical component of the successful integration of a space.”
“Designers have to consider such things as rolling carts, children running around and accidents when choosing the correct flooring in a multi-residential building,” said Clodagh, CEO of Clodagh Design. “Easy cleanup is important, but a warm welcome and the feeling you’re walking into your own front yard (in the lobby) is even more important.”
Engineered hardwood and LVT have unmatched versatility in that they have diverse design options, but are more durable, easier to clean and more cost-efficient. LVT and hardwood flooring can be used virtually anywhere within a multi-family space, such as the living room, hallways or bedrooms. In areas like the kitchen or bathroom where moisture or spills can occur, LVT is the optimal choice.
5. Visual Finishes
European options such as light color tones and neutral finishes have also become a popular multi-family design trend. These include lighter yellow or gray tones that accompany the idea of “stress-free living.”
According to Real Simple, pairing white walls with beige accents can create a relaxing environment. “Or fill a space with different shades of white, using variations on the color to create a monochromatic color scheme. If you want to shake things up with a different neutral, try gray.”
“Neutral color psychology suggests that colors that appear in nature have a natural, calming effect,” according to Mellowed. These include tan and soft gray. Pale yellow that is similar to custards or lemonade are also calming choices for rooms.
To add a pop of color to these neutral tones, many designers are incorporating metallic elements into their finishes. Whether it’s fixtures in the kitchen or bathroom or eye-catching lights, many people are using the mixture of light and reflective materials to liven up multi-family living spaces.
6. Common Work Spaces
Multi-family design trends are starting to see the creation of work spaces incorporated into a residential setting, but with an eye toward cleanliness and proper distancing. Since the popularity of work-from-home has grown with COVID-19, having a designated workspace within a residential setting is appealing to renters of all ages.
Many coworking spaces are designed so people can sit in a cubicle-like space and have a place to make calls, charge their phone or use their laptop — and of course, have access to Wi-Fi. This is critical as it cuts back on the number of people in the same space sharing germs. Often there is a larger gathering space, making safe, collaborative work possible in apartment settings that are traditionally lacking in extra space.
“Working spaces come in so many shapes and sizes in our age of nomadic work. We provide desks that you can plug into, comfortable armchairs where you can curl up with your laptop, and rooms where you can actually close the door if you need privacy. These rooms are multi-functional, so they can transition from a conference room to a private dining room used to celebrate a birthday or special occasion,” explained Clodagh, of Clodagh Design.
7. Renovation of Industrial Structures & Spaces
One of the multi-family design trends to watch in 2022 is the renovation and repurposing of older structures and spaces into living environments. Factory and industrial buildings are popular choices.
Architects have repurposed industrial spaces to help alleviate overcrowding problems, according to CNN. But there is also great aesthetic appeal and character with exposed brickwork and high, open ceilings that provide an alternative to other residential living spaces. Residents may also enjoy the fact that certain renovated industrial spaces have a unique history.
For example, Chinburg Properties manages numerous apartment rental locations that were once factories or mill buildings in New England. The Ellis Factory property in Haverhill, Massachusetts was associated with shoe manufacturing. The Perley Canal Mill property in Laconia, New Hampshire is housed on the former site of the Allen-Rogers Mill, which was part in the Laconia Car Company. At the time, the complex included 54 buildings with woodworking shops, foundries, painting shops and warehouses.
8. All About Amenities
Many of the latest apartment and condo complexes have become less about square footage and more about the amenities they offer. Renters are keen on having top-of-the-line amenities in their living space, marrying the hospitality setting with the residential setting.
“Residents are expecting these amenities, and without them it can be hard to compete,” said Corina Folts, Associate/Certified Interior Designer at SWBR. “These spaces not only provide a way to meet with neighbors but allow residents an extension to their home that they can enjoy in a way that suits them.”
Designers have responded by providing many of the elements you would find at a four- or five-star hotel in one’s home. Some of these amenities include:
- Valet parking, concierges
- Fire pit and barbecue areas
- Rooftop lounges
- Swimming pools
- Dog parks
While these services are often reflected in the price tag, many renters are willing to pay the extra money for these features that make their day-to-day lives easier and more convenient.
Another popular design trend for multi-family homes is the option of personalization, reflecting the desire of many younger renters and buyers to put their own spin on their spaces.
In some cases, the first occupants of a new multi-family home or apartment can choose the finishes, flooring or cabinet color.
“Although it may not be on every property manager’s radar, the ability to personalize a space to suit aesthetic preferences is important to renters,” according to Investor Management Services, LLC. “In fact, research indicates that tenants who are allowed to customize their living spaces are more likely to renew their leases, even in the case of a price hike. Millennials in particular – one of the largest cohorts of renters — take into consideration whether or not and the extent to which they can customize a space.”
10. Today’s Technology
Multi-family design trends continue to include technology features, such as on-site Wi-Fi. But today renters are looking for those amenities to go even further, as the development of apps and devices that make life easier has become commonplace in many residences.
“Controllability of space is desired and being able to work from your device at home, in the lobby, lounge, laundry without interruption is essential,” added Folts, Associate/Certified Interior Designer at SWBR. “Giving residents the ability to have the convenience of security, lighting and temperature control, right from their phones, provides a much-needed mental and physical comfort.”
Smart thermostats, like the one from Nest, allow residents to adjust and monitor their home’s temperature from anywhere. This smart thermostat even learns what temperature you like and creates a heating schedule to most efficiently maintain that optimal temperature for the times you are home. This company is also known for their security and doorbell cameras, so homeowners and renters can feel safe and monitor anyone who comes to the door.
Touchless technology is also highly in demand, both because of its advanced features and because it reduces the number of high-touch surfaces. Things like touchless elevator buttons and doors are becoming more commonplace in multi-family buildings.
No matter what your design palette is, multi-family flooring must be long-lasting and durable — two traits that Parterre prides itself on. Our commercial LVT and engineered hardwood flooring products are crafted to last for several residents in a multi-family space to enjoy and use. Parterre’s multi-family flooring not only keeps maintenance and cleaning at a minimum, it builds value in the form of durable and stylish flooring.
With our wide selection of flooring collections, the possibilities are endless. Choose an inviting wood from our 2mm floor and wall collection, Avara, or a modern feel from our contemporary Vertu LVT collection. Design a warm and natural space with our InGrained flooring or take an industrial, modern approach with our Fused collection. If you’re partial to real hardwood flooring our Wooded Habitat collection will illicit the feeling of home in any multifamily space. Incorporating these style choices into your multi-family flooring projects can be another great way to attract tenants and buyers.