Exterior Design Trends on the Rise

Jules Escalona of Straight Designs discusses key color palettes for multifamily, how to design by location and the impact of outdoor living.

By Jules Escalona

With the spring and summer months right around the corner, exterior design is on the rise, especially in Southern California and other neutral-climate regions where the weather allows for outdoor living and entertainment almost all year around. 

Designing for multifamily adds a whole new element to the process of considering current trends, lifestyles, entertainment elements, culture and much more. It is crucial to consider today’s trends in terms of style, color, texture, pattern, etc., and understand how they are ever-changing, in order to design and create a living environment that fits each and every unique community. 

Location Inspiration

Jules Escalona, Straight Designs

Jules Escalona, Straight Designs

Additionally, it is important to complete each project with equal care and consideration in regard to the client’s needs, the target demographic, the overall vision and design direction of the brand as a whole, and the community that the project is in. With this being said, in today’s diverse markets, there hasn’t been a consistent color scheme that speaks only to a certain region. It’s when you drill down to the specific neighborhoods that you begin to see patterns or colorways that embody the culture of that area—this is important to keep in mind rather than focusing on one specific trend for all design projects and communities. For instance, bolder colors with imaginative pops of art, pattern and/or murals have been a staple of the outlying Downtown Los Angeles neighborhoods such as Little Tokyo and The Arts District. Within a few blocks, you will find more relaxed and calming neutrals enveloping newly constructed high rises.

Providing a range of options for your clients that fall within the general demographic that they are aiming to attract, is very important. It is crucial to always take the local community and its underlying color story and personality into consideration while providing a unique twist to set the project apart from others. Ultimately, this is an important aspect of designing for multifamily spaces in general, especially exteriors, as a fitting color scheme, the right furnishings and details, and the appropriate space planning and layout, are all elements of crafting a successful community that stands out against the others in the surrounding areas.  

Color is Key

Adding color or changing the color palette of a property adds infinite value by signifying a commitment to changing and upgrading the spaces, which always adds a positive element to a community. Residents have an initial response that can trigger positive conversations towards a refresh of their community and it is always beneficial to have those conversations and understand where a community’s residents are coming from, what they appreciate based on their lifestyle, and how the design and details of a space can accomplish those things. Ultimately, it is the residents that are living in and taking advantage of these spaces, so making sure that the color scheme, exterior details, community amenities, etc. fit their lifestyles, is just as important as aiming to stay within today’s current trends. 

When considering trends, however, throughout the different cities and regions, a common theme in most multifamily projects is the draw towards a grey palette. This is a modern neutral that can be paired with any accent color that is part of a current marketing or branding campaign, which tends to make this trend popular. However, since many projects are now going in that very same color direction, this may soon be on the decline. 

While dynamic, fresh and colorful design remains popular, there have been instances where a neutral exterior base is insisted upon due to community regulations and laws. In cases such as these, look to implementing dynamic combinations of variations of the neutral color. A neutral base and color scheme can also provide that perfect relaxed and serene oasis as well. 

Outdoor Living on the Rise

In addition, there has been a rise in fabric and frames that have a very delicate and precious look that would likely have a tough time withstanding intense outdoor elements. These materials tend to be found specifically in unique accent chairs and furnishings and will most likely be utilized in more temperate weather areas. This trend will most likely become more popular in exterior design this year, however, as this more intricate detailing in outdoor chairs and furnishings adds a more luxe and interior feel, all while being in an exterior living space. Trends come and go, but ultimately, you have to keep in mind the environment’s current community, culture, and its lifestyle in order to determine which colors and details will be the best fit.

Furthermore, in warm climates, outdoor amenities can span across all four seasons, not just the spring or summer. Across all coasts, however, great must-have details for the Spring and Summer months, ultimately benefiting a multifamily community, include outdoor games that encourage a social atmosphere. For instance, billiards, football, shuffleboard, and giant Connect Four and Jenga games, are great staples to any project. Not only do these details add an element of community and entertainment, they are also a great way to make an exterior space and its design feel functional and lived-in (or out), in this case. 

Ultimately, exterior design, especially during the spring and summer months, is a fun and exciting aspect of design in general. Color and texture, along with bold accents, can be a wonderful way to celebrate the change of seasons and give your projects and the residents benefiting from them, a great refresh. Finally, it’s important to always remember to incorporate unique details, made of high-quality materials, that will wow your clients. 

As a design consultant for Straight Designs, Jules Escalona provides a practical and modern approach with touches of vintage and whimsy. For model apartments and homes, he can creatively showcase the many advantages of a space in a style that speaks to the target market. Straight Designs’ mission is to implement and deliver a unique vision for each and every project, while promoting dynamic, fresh and colorful design.

Images courtesy of Straight Designs

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