BALA Top Design Trends for 2023

More than 135 single-family, multifamily, interior design, remodeling and community projects were honored last week at the 2023 Best in American Living™ Awards (BALA) ceremony during the 2024 International Builders’ Show, hosted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in Las Vegas. The awards are sponsored by Smeg, and the media partner is Professional Builder.

Judges awarded seven Best in Region, five Of the Year homes and projects, and a Wow! Award. These front-runners represent the nation’s best in home and community design, interior design and remodeling, and showcase top design trends that home buyers can expect to see in homes and communities over the next several years.

“Black and white is everywhere—kitchens, living rooms, you name it,” said Seth Hart, chair of the 2023 judging panel and partner at DTJ Design. “Homes are utilizing that high contrast, and using soft accents to make it feel more welcoming.”

Additional trends include:

Warm Wood Accents. The warmth of wood is everywhere as well, especially in cabinetry. Wood beams can be incorporated into ceilings to refine the home, and even exteriors are incorporating wood or low-maintenance wood-mimicking materials to create a welcoming façade.

Green is the New Blue. Whether it’s incorporating plants for a sense of wellness or dramatic biophilic effect, or accenting spaces with green hues through walls, homes are “leaning into soft greens that feel warm, inviting, tranquil,” Hart noted.

Back in Brass. Although not a brand-new trend, brass is being featured more heavily, from light fixtures to other standout items around the home.

Bold Features. From patterns and textures to compelling stairwells to elegant entries, homes across the country are making design statements. “Even in simple designs, such as townhomes, if you put a really compelling stairway in, it adds a pop to it,” Hart observed.

Specialty Rooms and Spaces. Winning home designs for the 2023 BALA Awards incorporated a number of creative ideas, such as a juice bar, a sauna in the shower or even a strategically placed media wall to help break up space and create a cozy niche.

Bourbon is the New Wine. Homes have expanded beyond the traditional wine storage spaces to include a home bar experience that encapsulates a wider range of interests.

Celebrating the Garage Door. The “unapologetic garage door,” as Hart called it, is making a statement on many front-facing facades to establish a focal point and elevate the look of the home.

Outdoor Living. A long-standing trend, blurred lines between indoors and outdoors continue to create inviting spaces for home owners, with added elements such as fire pits and water features. Production housing is leaning into this trend as well with fencing or other barrier features to help create more private spaces.

Vacation at Home. Multifamily housing is increasingly featuring amenities to create a resort-like experience, from pool features to putting greens.

Although not necessarily a trend, the 2023 BALA winners also featured stellar examples of adaptive reuse projects. “How they transformed the spaces, activated the streetscapes and utilized standout features is really impressive,” Hart added.

You can access 2023 Winners portfolio at Winners Archive – Best In American Living

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