If you’re looking for a modern home today, you’ll be able to see that they look a bit different than modern homes from the 1930s. Quintessential “modern” design, featuring large glass windows, harsh angles, and few ornamentations, have been revamped for the 21st century. But that isn’t a bad thing! Modern home design of today and the future is continuing the mindset of “form follows function,” emphasizing design that is built with the residents in mind.

Modern home design of the 1920s-1950s is unfortunately just not possible anymore, both due to rising costs and home buyers’ preferences. Building styles of that time, including large plate-glass windows and steel-frame construction, are too expensive or just out-of-date by today’s building standards. The home building technology available to us today is beyond any modernist architect’s dreams, and they would likely be envious of what we can achieve.

Popular modern architecture will always be changing as new technologies emerge and people’s tastes and living styles transform. In terms of the near future, there are a few design elements that aren’t going anywhere. Expect to see some of these trends in new homes in your neighborhood.

Open or Flexible Floor Plans

The days of McMansions are coming to a close, as homeowners look to bring families closer together with open floor plans and smaller footprints. An open-plan space has no or few dividing walls between areas, such as a large living room/dining room/kitchen that flows from one to the other. Open plans allow for more natural light and are easier to move around. These open plans, combined with sliding doors and other movable partitions to allow for flexibility, make homes completely customizable. This caters to the prevalence of people working from home, entertaining more frequently, and integrating a growing family into their lives. Cookie-cutter homes just don’t cut it anymore, and people want a home they can fit to their needs, even as they change from day to day. 

Open floor plan

Open floor plans became popular with the original modernist trend, and have continued in a range of designs, from ranch houses to urban lofts. It isn’t going anywhere, and seems to be revitalized by new modern homes, who crave the light and flexibility that comes with open floor plans.

Smart Homes

Homes filled with electronics that respond to our every need are no longer the future- they’re here to stay. Everything from thermostats to refrigerators to speaker systems and more can be controlled by voice or remotely or even just by learning your preferences. The ability to turn the heat on in your home during your commute, see inside your fridge via a camera while you’re at the store, and play with your pet virtually are all a reality.

And this is only the first step. The modern house will not just be a home of gadgets, but rather a home that’s connected to the broader smart community. Modern homes are being built with this smart infrastructure right into the walls. At the end of 2017, it’s estimated that only 16.3% of Americans lived in a smart home, but this percentage will increase to 35.6% by 2021.

Some smart innovations to look forward to could be charging technology that allows a device to be charged just by being in the right room. Or, a home that detects heartbeats or fingerprints of residents and guests to protect against intruders. It truly seems like the sky’s the limit with smart homes.

Updated Solar Panels

Elon Musk took the bulky, unsightly solar panel, and made it better (much like every other project he’s tackled). The panels are now solar tiles, which come in four different color and style options to match your existing roof. Tesla predicts homeowners will be able to get one-third of their power from their roof alone. They also estimate that their Solar Roof system will actually cost less than building a new traditional roof when you factor in your utility savings. Current costs are looking at around $51,200 for a 70% solar roof. From the street, you can hardly see a difference - if at all- between the Solar Roof tiles and the rest of the roof.

As concern over climate change grows and homeowners look for more ways to be eco-friendly, a more efficient and attractive solar panel roof is a futuristic option that’s sure to catch on.

Indoor/Outdoor Living

It’s been popular since Neutra and Wright, but indoor/outdoor living continues to gain popularity, especially in regions with temperate climates like Southern California. This modern architecture look includes living rooms that extend into terraces, open-air dining rooms, and lots of sliding glass doors that allow you to see or experience the outdoors at any time.

indoor outdoor living

Allowing the outdoors to infiltrate the home provides more natural light, more access to viewing nature, and helps the owner feel more connected to the earth. More and more new homes will feature these options flow seamlessly between the indoors and out.

Pre-Fabricated Homes 

Pop-up houses, prefab houses, and 3-D printed houses are soon becoming a viable option for even the most design-focused home owners. The industry is getting flooded with innovative designs that are stylish, durable, and portable. New technology allows architects and engineers to create bold designs using glass, steel, and real wood, that are easily mass-produced and can even be transported as the family moves. They can be customized with a variety of floorplans and materials options, so it doesn’t feel like a factory-made house.

prefabricated homes

One company has even created a pop-up house that deploys by itself in under 10 minutes. Hook it up to a trailer, take it wherever you like, and watch it expand to 689 square feet. You’ll have to watch the video to believe it.

The modern house will continue to evolve as our tastes and technology does. Soon, you’ll be able to hook up your smart-home and move it to the beach, and use your outdoor dining room for a beach-side dinner. Powered by solar panels, you can live off the grid forever. This might not be everyone’s dream, but it is certainly exciting to think about the future of modern home design.