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Top Trends in House Plan Design for 2019

New Year Brings Bold, New Ideas in Home Plan Design

As we look forward, 2019 is shaping up to be a year of stylish, new and bold house design trends that resonate with consumers who are looking for something fresh rather than a rehash or dust-off of older trends and styles. Perhaps it’s the political and social turbulence of 2018, but some of that passion has rubbed off as homeowners' desires in home design include an element of surprise – whether big or small!

With that in mind, The Plan Collection approached architects, contractors, builders, realtors, interior designers, and other experts in the housing industry to weigh in with their predictions and expectations, here are a few of the exciting trends and innovations to look for in 2019.


What’s “Hot” in 2019?

1. Enough about the “Man Cave” – Say Hello to the “She Shed!”

We all know how architects and builders have boasted about the “man caves” in their house designs for years. Maybe it’s a garage with a workshop bigger than your master bedroom. A bonus room or basement complete with billiards table, large-screen TV, mini- bar and entertainment center for a weekend full of watching football with the guys.

And for the ladies? Designers have tried to lure women with a big kitchen, a huge laundry or mud room  – and maybe a small nook or desk for "her stuff" – a design element that hasn’t changed much since the early 1980s and “ALF” was the reigning TV sitcom. Well, with so many women working a full- or part-time job, preparing meals for the family, and getting all the kids to school and their activities, it is time for something that reflects her true super powers. Say hello to my little shed, the "she shed!"

Wooden shed with metal roof in garden

Be creative and transform a drab and ordinary shed into an eye-catching outdoor retreat – like this “she” shed in a beautiful garden (Photo by Annie Shelmerdine on Unsplash).


Take that shabby tool shed and start re-imagining it as an attractive multi-purpose “she” space – an outdoor home-office, studio, or reading room. Many of these have started as fun, do-it-yourself remodeling projects. Feeling more adventurous? Design your own. Add to it flexibility to be even a guest cottage when the in-laws come to visit.

She-shed with studio/home office, wet bar, half-bath and plenty of storage

This she-shed has it all: a studio/home office, wet bar, half-bath and plenty of storage (Plan #167-1087).


Who would have guessed that an insurance company would spot this trend in house design before most – and turn it into a hilarious commercial?


2. Turn to the “Dark Side” – of Home Exteriors

Ok, guys, in 2019 we aren’t throwing you under the bus entirely. Our “Star Wars” reference actually refers to a very edgy trend – and somewhat controversial at least as the design world goes – we’ve started seeing in home painting exteriors.

As millenials move out to the suburbs or even the country, they’ve also decided it is time to “mix it up” a bit. Saying enough with all the white houses dotting the landscape, some new homeowners are bringing with them dark bold shades – particularly charcoal and black – combined with white, beige, and other primary and accent colors for dramatic effect. For some, painting it black is the new white.

House with black siding and white trim

Splashes of white on the door and window trims add to the striking effect of the charcoal exteriors of this country Cottage style home.


Where we’ve personally seen this done, it looks pretty amazing. However, before you go this route, a couple words of caution.

  • First, make sure you and your spouse are on the same page as to painting the house black. Both partners need to be “all in.” We’ve seen one case where one partner was on the fence but acquiesced to it – only to have the home re-painted six months later. An expensive lesson in love, marriage, and home ownership. But cheaper than divorce!
  • Second, consider the surrounding area you live in. If it’s a neighborhood with plenty of creative folks, they will probably like it too. If you find yourself in a very traditional homeowners’ association (HOA), then you may not get invited to the next barbecue. If you live deep in the woods, let your creative imagination flow!


3. Defined Open Space Designs

We're not calling the end to the open floor plan – it’s here to stay. That said, in surveying a number of architects and designers, we’ve found that there is “open floor plan pushback.” Homeowners are tired of hearing the TV blaring across the entire house and kitchen blenders transforming the entire home into the sounds of a construction site.

The result? Smart modifications to the floor plan that define the great room (family), kitchen, and dining areas to keep a sense of openness but while not keeping the sense of living in an airplane hangar.

The best design elements to accomplish this make the whole space more interesting and eye-catching. Some of the innovations that designate different working or living zones are changes in floor levels, area rugs, low level walls, changes in the ceiling heights, furniture groupings, and islands to separate the kitchen from the dining and family spaces.

Beautifully designed Great Room of a 4-bedroom, 4.-5-bath Ranch style home

The configuration in this beautifully designed Great Room of a 4-bedroom, 4.-5-bath Ranch style home shows defined spaces. As you open the front door, you’ll see a partial wall “hiding” the dining area from the entrance, an island separates the kitchen from the living space…

Living room with staircase to the basement, built-in fireplace, and a huge glass door

… A staircase to the basement, built-in fireplace, and a huge glass door serve as boundaries for the living room (Plan #161-1088).


4. Tiny House? RIP

Almost ten years ago now, we heard about how the “tiny house” was going to revolutionize the way Gen X and millennials live. The traditional, single family, 2,400 square foot home was an economic and environmental waste. Living in 500 or 600 square feet was a simple, better way of life.

Well, what has happened? Yes, tiny houses meet an underserved niche. No, they have not and will not replace the “traditional” home. Anyone over the age of 50 with children probably already knew this. Now, you can go tell your kids, “I told you so.

Tiny houses never really took hold with Generation X beyond the concept of a second home. And millennials are looking at moving to the suburbs or apartments in the city. Why? Just think about having two children and living in 500 square feet – especially when you have the option to live in a larger apartment or a starter house in the suburbs.

We love them – they are often adorable – but if we’re talking about more than a weekend stay, my family and I are going to have to say goodbye, tiny house.


5. Nameste, Zen Den

What we did love so much about the tiny house concept, we now find as part of the “zen den” – peace, calm, tranquility.

The ideal zen den  located right off the open floor plan area of the living/dining/kitchen

This Den/Away space makes the ideal “zen den” – located right off the open floor plan area of the living/dining/kitchen, it creates a quiet space for reflection and relaxation (Plan #202-1011).


One challenge in any house – but especially a house with an open floor plan design – is finding a personal space to relax, read, collect one’s thoughts, enjoy a bit of silence. Sure, this might be the bedroom – but who doesn’t lie down in bed to read only to find they are fast asleep in ten minutes? The zen den may be a flex space or home office that is converted to be less TV or work-oriented and more focused on relaxation and coziness. While we’ve called this concept “zen,” the Scandinavians -- and Danes in particular – really know how to separate work from relaxation and often use the term hygge to describe this. It’s our turn.


6. The “Dark Side” Returns – to the Kitchen

Interior design trends come and go – but each year the kitchen remains a big part of the conversation. Designers emphasize its importance when it comes to the usual family gatherings and when entertaining friends and relatives on special occasions.

So perhaps painting your house black is just too bold for you? But maybe you’ve grown tired of the “all-white” kitchen design?

Matte black fixtures and hardware started appearing at the Kitchen & Bath Show only a few years ago. Black tiles as accents for backsplashes also cropped up recently. Experts agree that the dark matte blends well with most kitchen materials – and when done correctly creates a bold yet sophisticated look.


7. His and Her Bathrooms

You’ve heard of his and her vanities and his and her closets. But if budget is not an issue, the must-have trend now is his and her bathrooms as part of the master suite.

And let’s face it, if you’re building your own three-, four-or-more-bedroom home why should the heads of the household share a bathroom when most everyone else in the home does not? And if you’re building what is essentially an “empty-nester” home, the his and her bathrooms makes even more sense. In surveying those who are moving up-market or living in an empty-nester home, we are surprised at the number of situations where one spouse uses another bathroom elsewhere in the home. Enough already – there is a better solution!

If you’re building your dream home, his-and-her bathrooms in the master suite is a “must-have” in 2019.

Truly separate his and her bathrooms in the master suite

Tired of sharing? Truly separate his and her bathrooms as part of the master suite are increasingly in demand by owners building their dream home (Plan #161-1040).


8. Multi-Tasking Smart Mirrors

And while designing those bathrooms, be sure to include “multi-tasking smart mirrors.” Smart technology is rapidly evolving into smart devices that can double as computers, windows, TVs, lighting gadgets, entertainment systems, health trackers, and even ironing boards.

An ordinary mirror can be transformed into an intelligent or “smart” mirror by placing a semi-transparent sheet of glass over a digital screen and connecting it to a computer (smartphone) and camera. The screen can then read real-time information. More sophisticated versions may be able to detect motion and monitor health. As smart home technology moves at a faster pace, experts predict that one day you may just hear your mirror telling you “you’ve lost five pounds, keep it up!” or “don’t forget to floss” after you finished brushing your teeth.

Woman pointing at smart mirror

One of the Smart Mirror models can provide the time and temperature as well as health updates (Source: Two-Way Mirrors).


9. Transitional Farmhouses, Mid-Century Modern Homes – But Classic Fixtures

Last year, we called the “transitional” or “modern” farmhouse as the hottest trend to watch out for – and it was. In fact, a transitional type farmhouse appears in our list of 10 most popular house plans of 2018. Our survey of architects, designers, and builders validates that this will continue to pick up steam in 2019.

Transitional or modern farmhouse draws from elements of classic farmhouse design while being fresh and contemporary

This transitional or “modern” farmhouse draws from elements of classic farmhouse design while being fresh and contemporary (Plan #142-1185) – a trend we expect to continue to gather steam in 2019.


We also see in 2019, homeowners moving from just remodeling Midcentury Modern homes to actually building new homes in the Mid-Century Modern style. Do we dare call them transitional Mid-Century Modern? These homes take the best elements of their design and add a few touches that are more practical for today’s household (particularly more storage).

Transitional Mid-Century home combines the best elements of that classic design with the amenities one would expect to find in todays house

Inspired by Mid-Century Modern architecture, this transitional home combines the best elements of that classic design with the amenities one would expect to find in today’s house (Plan #202-1013).


Our one nod to the past in this year’s trends list is found in these homes. Classic fixtures are a must!

  • This may be as simple as bucket or trough sinks in a transitional farmhouse. These vintage design elements are popping up in kitchens, laundry rooms, and kids’ bathrooms. Inspired by the farmhouse style of years ago, bucket sinks add a bit of rustic ambiance.

Rustic white bowl sink with teal trim

A very quaint bowl sink sits under a gooseneck faucet in this bathroom. A splash of teal trim around the white bowl along with the counter made from an old window shutter add to the room’s rustic vibe (Photo by Di_An_h on Unsplash).


  • Going all-out with Mid-Century style furniture in the “new” Mid-Century Modern home.

Interior Great Room in Mid-Century Modern home

Period and period-style furnishings set the mood in this Mid-Century Modern home (Plan #202-1021).


10. You’ve Made It This Far? Relax in the Outdoor Spa

In 2019, it won’t be just outdoor kitchens and dining areas. With hectic schedules at work and at home, look for more people to include calming elements in their design plans. Think quiet rock/zen gardens, meditation areas, and water features in outdoor spaces.

For those with the budget, the hot tub is back! Grab a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses, then make your way to those bubbles.

Hot tub and dipping pool make the perfect outdoor spa

Modern, relaxing, and loving it. Weeknights or weekends, this home’s hot tub and dipping pool make the perfect outdoor spa (Plan #116-1081).

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