The Ultimate Guide To Some Of The Hottest Home Design Trends Of 2016

May 2016 In Interior Design

If you’re looking to build a new home, chances are you’re scouring the internet looking for inspiration, finding up to date trends, exploring new tech, and admiring your dream furniture. Designing your new living room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom can be an exciting time, but it can also be a daunting endeavour. So in order to save you from those classic IKEA confrontations, hours of going through fabric & colour swatches, and weekends spent sitting on every couch in existence, we at Dennis Family Homes have put together an extensive list of current trends, timeless designs, and some helpful advice to when designing the interior of the primary rooms in your home.

Living room

Let’s kick off with the living room. Given that this will be one of the most used rooms in your home, it’s important that it ticks a few key boxes. A great living room should be practical, comfortable, and functional to meet your individual needs. Apart from these attributes, it of course must look great, not just for your sake, but for the delicious adulation that it would invite from your guests.


The walls enclosing your living room can play two significant but opposing roles in your design. The first is to blend away, pulling focus away from them and drawing you to the furniture and other items inside the room. Secondly, you make it a focus; creating a feature wall or walls by offering a unique texture or vibrant colour.

While artwork could also play a part in creating a feature wall, we’ll revisit artwork later.

Feature Walls; Which wall?

A good place to start is deciding which wall you’re going to turn into a feature. Generally speaking, you want to choose a wall that:

  • Is clearly visible in the room
    • A more central wall is ideal as it can be viewed from multiple angles and the various entrances to the room.
  • Is not obstructed
    • Placing large furniture items in front of the wall essentially defeats the purpose of having a feature wall. If you’re lucky enough to have very high ceilings then a couch or low sitting furniture may work fine, but generally speaking, leave the wall as bare as possible.
  • Doesn’t detract focus from other salient features of that wall.
      • For example; if you have an artwork that you want to display prominently, it may not be beneficial to place it on the feature wall, as the viewers focus is distracted between two focal points. Conversely, if you’re designing the feature wall to compliment an artwork, then your feature will act to accentuate the artwork, not work against it.


    Arguably the first idea that comes to mind when discussing feature walls is colouring. Vibrant colours are an easy feature wall idea, as they provide a bold yet simple statement to your room. When determining which colour to choose, you should factor in the following:

        • Furniture colour (or potential furniture colour)
          • A feature wall is supposed to stand out for the right reasons, not because it’s in direct conflict with other items in your room. When using natural wood furniture, your colour options are almost limitless. If you have bright pink leather couches, then perhaps an orange wall is not the best course of action.
        • Overall style of the home/living room.
          • If you’re going for a danish styled modern aesthetic, that often features dark and warm tones, then stick with your style by choosing a colour that’s vibrant in comparison to your furniture. For example, look at dark reds, deep purples, or navy blues.
          • If you’re going for a beach house style, with light wood textures & whites, then consider lighter blues, yellows, and botanic greens.


    Wallpapers are another option to decorate your feature wall. Traditionally patterned graphics, wallpapers are now offered in a range of captivating designs including;

        • Photos
          • Giant, often black & white, photos can be used to bring a favourite skyline, or famous moment to your living room.
        • Masonry, Woods & Brickwork
          • Many companies offer wallpapers that resemble brick, wood, and stone walls. These could be a great inclusion if you’re looking at an industrial style. A word of warning though; these aren’t the classiest of options.


    Furniture is of course a primary concern when designing your living room. The first steps are to draw up a list of  the necessities of the room. Let’s look through some of the common ones:


        • Start with how many people are in your home to determine the minimum amount of seating you’ll need.
        • Consider how you use the space
          • If it’s your primary television watching area, then you’ll need to place the sofas in a fashion that allows equal viewing. Depending on the shape of your living room, this could mean more than one sofa.
          • If it’s an entertaining area, then you’ll want to look at curved sofas or two or more facing a central point.

    Dining & Coffee Tables

        • Like sofas, start with how many people will regularly use the table, then think about how many use it on a semi-regular basis. For example, if you have 2 people living in the home but somewhat regularly entertain the same 4 friends, then it may be wise to invest in a dining table that at the very least seats 6. Having occasional chairs, or extra dining chairs stores elsewhere is also a great idea, just in case.
        • For coffee tables, it’s best to consider what surrounds it and whether or not you’ll find it to be easily movable or not. If you need to move it, then something with wheels, or a light material is a must. If it’s staying put, heavier more ornate materials may be preferable.
        • Consider who is in the space regularly, glass coffee tables with sharp edges can be hazardous for young children for example.


    • Floor & table lamps can really bring your living room to life. Depending on your preference, they can either cast diffuse light to fill a greater area with a warm glow, or highlight a particular object in the room, be that the coffee table, sofa, artwork or family photos.
    • When choosing floor lamps, consider the above point and decide what kind of light you wish for it to emanate. Large diffuse floor lamps are a spectacular alternative to ceiling lighting and will cast a warm glow throughout large spaces. Carefully placed, a series of floor lamps can fill an entire room, perfect for relaxing or romantic ambience.
    • Table lamps, while more commonly found in bedrooms, can offer similar aesthetics to floor lamps when placed strategically in places that floor lamps can’t easily reach, like small or shallow spaces, or on top of furniture. However, our preference is to use table lamps for accenting special places in the room, as mentioned above.


      Art can be a tricky thing to navigate. Speaking holistically, great art should provoke a response, whether that be positive or negative is essentially irrelevant. Picking art for your home is a little different however.

          • Consider the style you’ve chosen for the space and choose art genres that fit within it. For example, a scandinavian minimalist living room with many dark shades and concrete floors may benefit from a brightly coloured cubist or surrealist artwork that complements the room, but also stands out on its own.
          • Make a statement – if you believe in the art or the artist, then stand by it regardless of what people think.
          • Enlist a specialist – if you’re not an art connoisseur but wish to add a splendid dose of culture to the room, then there are plenty of art consultants that will look at the space and go art shopping with you. They are generally very knowledgeable and will not only find great artwork, but provide the stories and meanings behind the pieces which you can re-hash to your guests!


      A popular topic for many, and as tech rapidly takes over more and more daily tasks, creating a space that makes tech work for you is getting easier.

          • Connections – if you’re designing your living room from scratch, have plenty of accessible power points and CAT ports for networking devices. While wireless is convenient, if you have the opportunity to hardwire devices in your media unit, do it; it’s a stronger and more secure connection.
          • Television – When looking at what devices to connect to your screen, consider what your wants and needs are, then use that list to find the most appropriate devices. Apple TV is popular for apps like Netflix, and its integration with iOS devices. Gaming consoles often have multiple uses, like Xbox One that operates as a blu-ray player, gaming console, and app hub (including Netflix & Stan). Whatever the number of devices, allow extra cabling for future devices. Keep this within reason, but there’s nothing worse than having to re-cable a media unit so if you can keep tasks bay for a while, why not do exactly that.
          • Cabling – Speaking of cabling, there are many media units and DIY cable tidying tricks out there. Our best recommendation is to set everything in place first, lay-out the cabling required for each device, label it (just with electrical tape), then plug everything in, cable tying behind every device, leaving adequate slack (so the connections won’t fall out easily), then draw them all to a central concealed location and cable tie all cables into one giant snake of cable. Once you have a makeshift loom, you should be able to maneuver it enough to conceal it behind the media unit, leaving a tidy aesthetic.
          • Speakers – The vast majority of televisions don’t have great speakers, and seeing as many of the devices you’re likely to plug into your television allow you to stream music to them, as well as watching television and movies on, having a decent set of speakers will allow you to not only enjoy your tv and movies more, but will also allow you to fill the room with good quality music while entertaining or just relaxing.

      Living Room Trends – Quick Guide

      Trend Why it’s great Where it’s great
      • Rugged
      • Pieces have character
      • Generally unique
      • Fits a variety of aesthetics
      • Makes use of natural materials
      • Modern homes with a minimalist or industrial style
      • Areas with concrete floors, timber floors
      • Areas with an abundance of natural materials
      • Minimalist aesthetic
      • Effotlessly cool
      • Modern
      • Retro
      • Cleverly uses colour
      • Modern or retro themes.
      • Open plan spaces
      • Mixed with industrial styles
      • Natural materials like woods, metals, and concrete
      • Unpredictable
      • Provokes a reaction
      • Memorable
      • Playful
      • Colourful
      • Throughout a whole room – having just one piece or section of a room in this style isn’t really eclectic, it’s more a feature piece, or just plan out of place.
      • Living rooms and dining areas, where you can mismatching chairs, odd artworks and vibrant contrasting colours.
      • Made from recycled or repurposed materials.
      • Made in an environmentally friendly way.
      • Beautifully natural aesthetic.
      • Uniqueness
      • Minimalist and industrial areas that contain natural materials like concrete, woods and metals.
      • Wooden based furniture.
      • Brings the outdoors indoors.
      • Looks beautifully vibrant and alive
      • On dining tables
      • On furniture, with vines draped down high furniture.
      • Grouped together for feature sections.
      • Lattice feature wall with vines.

      Live edge

      (put this in coffee tables)

      • Uniqueness
      • Naturally beautiful.
      • Large feature pieces like a dining room table or coffee table in an entertainment area.


      Long passed are the days of a bathroom being necessity. Bathroom style is easily one of the most prominent features of new home builds and renovation plans. Privacy and relaxation are of course the common themes, but these styles are designed around spending as much time in there as possible, or if you have to be in there (big night out perhaps?) then you may as well enjoy it!


      While a pristine white bathroom is still a classic and elegant option for many, the trend is moving towards contrasting colours, including plant life, and feature walls with raw materials like brick or stone.

      Dark Shades

      Using darker tones in the bathroom brings a modern approach to bathroom design. Dark greys, black marble, and darker blues have become very popular and look to continue that way, with the Scandinavian minimalist style being featured heavily in new hotel renovations and new home designs. While we appreciate the aesthetic is brilliant, we’re also big fans of contrasting your darker walls or floors with brighter sections. This adds dimension and more reflective surfaces for natural light.

      If you choose to darken everything though, be aware of your lighting. A beautiful bathroom doesn’t mean much if it’s not practical, so ensure that you invest the time in researching light placement and type to ensure you get the best of both worlds; lighting that doesn’t detract from your design, but that also doesn’t hinder the ambience or aesthetic you’ve created. A great idea is to have 2 lighting designs, one for bright and practical light, the other for  warm glow that accents your favourite areas.

      Feature Walls

      Feature walls are a definite favourite and fast growing trend in bathroom designs. To achieve these designs, you can use patterned tiles, natural facades like brick or stone, wood (that’s been treated to be waterproof). The key is the make the wall design coherent, for example multi-colour tiles with limestone, wood and plants may not look as great as the individual parts of this combo would on their own. The second piece of advice is to make sure it’s the only feature. This of course makes it stand out more, but it also allows you to complement it with supporting accessories, like small plants if your feature wall features a lot of greenery.


      There’s nothing quite like a nice warm relaxing bath to indulge in after a long day, or to escape the cold and rain. If you’re a bath person, then take advantage of the amazing trends and designs of modern baths and make it a stand out feature in your bathroom. Free standing is definitely the trend for 2016, with a huge range of suppliers, builders and architects wanting to truly make the tub the salient object of the bathroom. If you’re looking at installing a freestanding bath tub, some great, and trendy, accessories are open shelving for easy storage (or for sitting your wine glass on), and a small moveable table for books, candles, or anything else you need to complete your bath ritual.


      Trends show that luxury showers are steaming ahead (pun definitely intended), with a push towards control-flow shower heads that include multiple types of water dispersement, including firmer massage settings.

      Multiple shower heads are also popular and will often include a rain style shower head in a fixed position on the ceiling, and then another shower head positioned on the wall that’s both easily adjustable and has various pressure settings. Other popular trends include built-in seating.

      This is for a couple of reasons, firstly, luxury showers are replacing baths, so the idea of sitting for a while and relaxing in the water or steam is becoming an ever-increasing necessity. Secondly is longevity. Seating in the shower is a must for many of the older generation, so installing one during your renovation or build is a forward thinking approach, performed in a modern, design-savvy way.


      There are some clear trends when it comes to materials used in bathroom fixtures for 2016. Metals, or “metallics” are bold, classic, and modern with bronze and darkened metals, and aluminium being prime examples. These metallics are popular for numerous reasons, and much of it comes down to their timeless appearance and ability to both blend with natural materials (also a trend), or to stand out as features in a bathroom that contains greys, dark shades.

      As natural materials like woods and stone, and grey shaded bathrooms are also trending presently, metallics seem to be in the glue that binds these trends together. More square shapes are also favourable with your metallic accessories, with the trend moving away from conventional rounded fixtures to more angular, polygonal shapes.

      These are bolder, more practical and fit with other square designs commonly found in bathrooms, like tiles. We’ve mentioned natural materials above when discussing feature walls, but this trend also applies to tables, shelving, and flooring, as well as small accessories like soap dispensers that adorn your benchtop.


      Tech in the bathroom is a tricky matter given the abundance of water, yet there are a few great pieces of gear to enhance your bathroom experience. Firstly and arguably the most simple is a water resistant wireless speaker. Simply connect your phone through bluetooth or wifi and play your music or the radio through the speaker.

      Choose one with controls on the speaker itself so you can skip tracks and change volume without having to bring your device into the bathroom with you. Should you have great ventilation in your bathroom (which we definitely recommend) and want to bring your tablet or laptop with you to catch up on some Netflix in the bath, then you can also connect your sound to the wireless speaker allowing an enhanced aural experience, particularly for action movies.

      While placing a TV in the bathroom is certainly possible, it can be a laborious and costly endeavour that includes waterproofing or recessing walls and custom ventilation.

      Bathroom Trends – Quick Guide

      Trend Why it’s great Where it’s great
      Dark & Grey Shades
      • Modern
      • Clean aesthetic
      • Requires less upkeep than bright shades
      • Allows for more clever lighting
      • Looks brilliant with natural materials like woods, stone and metals which are all on-trend.
      • Whole bathroom; either with natural material fixtures/features, or with varying shades to create depth and texture.
      • Feature wall in brighter bathrooms.
      • Allows for tropical themes.
      • Woods are calming and warm.
      • Easy to maintain.
      • Timeless aesthetic.
      • Feature walls
      • Shelving
      • Flooring
      • Small accessories like bath tables
      Stone (including exposed brick)
      • Timeless aesthetic.
      • Rustic
      • Introduces textures that are particularly effective in contrast with smooth tiles that are commonly expected in bathrooms.
      • Feels “crafted”
      • Easy to maintain.
      • Feature walls
      • Small accessories
      • Sinks
      • Sculptures/artworks/pots
      • Timeless
      • Match perfectly with the other trends like natural materials and dark shades.
      • Easy to maintain
      • Baths
      • Sinks
      • Accessories
      Shower Seats
      • Comfort
      • Longevity
      • Storage
      • Positioned just slightly away from direct water flow if shower head is fixed.
      Square Fixtures
      • Practicality and ease of use.
      • Coordinates with the bathroom aesthetic which commonly uses square or rectangular shapes.
      • Taps/Faucets
      • Shower heads (particularly rain shower heads).


      With the huge push towards open plan living, the kitchen has become more than just the cooking epicentre, it’s become the catch up place for after school debriefs and coffee or drinks with friends. This alteration to the use of the kitchen has lead to some more inclusive, group-oriented trends, like islands, bar seating, and some very cool installations like beer and sparkling water taps. It’s also lead to trends revolving around our 4-legged friends, with pet friendly fixtures being installed at an ever-increasing rate.

      Colours & Materials

      Metallics and textures feature greatly in kitchen trends for 2016. Much like we discussed in the bathrooms section above, the metallics and textures are used in the same ways in the kitchen.

      Feature walls or panelling with exposed and textured brick or stone, is popular, and mixed metal faucets and appointments make for a modern yet timeless look that matches the natural materials. A clear presence of pastel coloured accenting is also present amongst new designs and trends, with a pale mint green featuring heavily.

      This colouring also applies to accessories like bar stools, or hanging lights where vibrant oranges and blues, or pastel greens, pinks and blues can be used effectively to accent darker or more plain kitchen designs.

      Thin countertops, and multifunctional furniture have made a strong impact in kitchen design expo’s lately. Thinner counters save space for increased cabinet storage, but offer heat, shock and moisture resistance, making them completely practical and relient as well.

      The multifunctional furniture is primarily applied to smaller kitchen areas or any kitchens where space is a major factor. Some very impressive kitchen islands that transform into bar dining tables were a particular favourite amongst designers, with vertical shelving that allows access from both sides is not a new trend, but a recurring one that is being employed more and more regularly as it allows for maximum cabinetry space, without a demand on width.


      There’s some great additions to the kitchen appliance game in 2016, with a few very cool trends to excite the space. Beer taps are definitely one that piqued our interest, with the prominence and popularity of craft beer both here and in the USA being held responsible for the uptake in home installation of beer taps.

      This trend isn’t too surprising if you consider the popularity of wine cellars, which are quite similar in principle. Transformative water taps are also making a splash, with certain types allowing not just cool or filtered water, but allowing varying levels of carbonation, which introduces the option of freshly prepared sparkling water, on tap.

      Speaking generally, the appliance trend is moving away from a collection of gadgets and appliances, to a few choice multifunctional or very high quality units with space and a modern clean aesthetic the primary catalyst for the change.


      Hidden power is a huge feature of new kitchen installs. While the number of kitchen appliances may have dwindled, the amount of power electronics owned by a single person has greatly increased, as the space surrounding the kitchen as mentioned above, like islands. Having an abundance of hidden power outlets gives you the utmost convenience of where you can prepare food with powered appliances, and where you can set up with your devices.

      Pet Friendly

      A few prominent design trends have been welcomed into the kitchen thanks to mittens & fido. As a multi-billion dollar business, the pet industry is booming and peoples obsession with their (and everyone elses) 4 legged friends has never been higher. Pocket doors, which are waist high doors that recede into cabinetry or partition walls are perfect to barricade off the kitchen should you need to keep the wildlife out of the kitchen, while also great for preventing small children from entering the kitchen and the abundance sharp objects.

      If you’ve ever accidently stepped in the food bowl or kicked over the water bowl, you’ll love this; a pet station. Built into the cabinetry is a retractable shelf that contains a couple of removable bowls that allow you to quickly and easily hide dishes when not in use. Bigger dogs will no doubt figure out how to get it to pop out, but it may be a harder task to get them to pop it back when they’re done!

      Kitchen Trends – Quick Guide

      Trend Why it’s great Where it’s great
      • Timeless
      • Matches natural materials that are also trending
      • Classic look, modern vibrance
      • Faucets
      • Sinks
      • Appointments on appliances, cabinetry, or counters
      • Artisan feel and look
      • Adds life to the area, bring the outside in.
      • Adds character
      • Feature walls and panels
      • In kitchens that use metallics or darker shades
      Pastel Furniture
      • Warm and homely colouring
      • Soft tones can add a retro vibe to the space
      • Classic or retro style kitchens
      • Eclectic styled homes
      Vibrant Colour Accessories
      • Brings life to a darker or monotonal space
      • Has fun & energy
      • In areas where these pieces are the only vibrant colours that exist, to truly accentuate the design.
      • Bar stools, chairs, light shades or covers.


      Last on our list is the bedroom. Over the past few years, the bedroom has turned from just a place to rest at night, to a haven of relaxation, with an ever increasing design aim that seems to want you to live in there as much as possible.


      Textures have been a recurring theme through this guide, and the bedroom is no exception. Generally, warmer tones are reserved for bedroom design, so woods, particularly darker woods are great idea, as are darker stones. Unless that is, you want to create an industrial loft style bedroom, then exposed brick with metal appointments is a brilliant choice.

      Furthermore, fabric textures are very popular, including fur, tassels and plush. While some self-control is definitely required, a patterned plush leather feature wall or some eclectic fur accessories can add a fun and unexpected energy to a room. Textures can also be combined with irregular shapes to add depth and character to a space.


      There’s a lot of freedom with bedroom colour trends in 2016. Blue’s are considered the warmest tone and make a great alternative to the favoured shades of grey used frequently. Accenting blue rooms with light accessories is a classic contrast move. Shades of white are a classic choice, while vibrant orange is an eclectic accessory guaranteed to delight. If you’re a fan of lighter colours, stay with shades of white and, not unlike bathrooms, use the reflective surfaces to carry plenty of natural light from the available windows.


      Continuing with the theme of a relaxation haven, you should look to incorporate a seating area if possible, where you can enjoy your night cap or tea for example, before turning in for the night. Look to warm diffuse lamps that can cover a large area with a soft glow, with bedside lamps offering a more focus spotlight for reading.

      Wooden furniture has always been a popular choice for bedrooms given its warm and comforting tones and feel, but it’s the texture that’s important at the moment, with natural woods with live edges and irregular (natural) patterns playing a bit part in creating unique bedroom furniture.


      Art in the bedroom follows many of the same principles as in the living room; consider the style and make a statement. Art is what speaks to you, and you should consider any artists that convey an ethos that you believe in. If you’re choosing purely for aesthetics, you can choose to go with or against your current style.

      For example, if you’ve got a bedrooms that’s various shades of grey with brighter accessories, then a very colourful artwork that’s bold and truly jumps off the wall is very effective, whereas an artwork that has shades of greys, whites, and darker colouring like navy or crimson would be complementary. In a way, you can’t go wrong with Artwork, but we’d always recommend enlisting an expert to go shopping with you, just in case!

      Bedroom Trends – Quick Guide

      Trend Why it’s great Where it’s great
      • Adds depth, character, and vibrance
      • Creates interest and intrigue by the unique nature of many textured surfaces
      • Feature walls
      • Curtains
      • Rugs
      • Furniture
      Dark Blues
      • Very warm colour
      • Nice change from grey shades
      • Allows for pastel or vibrant colour accents.
      • As wall colour or feature wall colour
      • Cushion or rug colour in a bright room
      White Shades
      • Makes the most of natural light by reflecting it throughout the room.
      • Clean and pure aesthetic
      • Bedrooms that have access to plenty of natural light.
      • Accented with warm or rustic browns and bronzes.

      Great room designs start with a great home

      Dennis Family Homes have the absolute pleasure of building the homes (and dreams) of many Australians all year round by designing and constructing a range of beautiful homes. Our dedicated team of professional consultants, and award winning builders, supervisors and contractors ensure that your new home connects your vision with our expertise.

      We offer display properties at a range of centres throughout Australia, with an extensive range of home designs to choose from, all of which are available with an impressive range of facades and options. Get in touch with Dennis Family Homes today by visiting one of our display centres, or calling us on 1800 336 647, so you can experience the difference of a family of home builders building homes for your family.

      You’re trusted Melbourne Home BuilderDennis Family Homes – A Family Building Homes For Families

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