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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Moran

Custom Home Design Trends

We all have our own style when it comes to our homes, our own sense of design that makes us feel comfortable while showcasing who we are. And the process of crafting that personal style in your new custom home is one of the most enjoyable stages in the building process.

As a leader in luxury home design, J&K Custom Homes works with some of the top designers in the Cincinnati region to ensure that each home fits the style of the individual homeowner.

Design trends are always evolving, which is part of what makes the design process so much fun. We’re excited to share some new insights from our designers: three experts in the art of interior and exterior design trends.

Shifting Trends

Trends in design are always evolving, and the pandemic has caused design trends to change at a rapid pace. Generally, here’s what designers are seeing.

The farmhouse look remains popular, but it is beginning to fade in some ways, and remaining timeless in others. Meanwhile, designers are seeing a rise in contemporary style. But designers caution homeowners against keeping up with every new trend because they change so frequently. “Stay neutral, and then accessorize with patterns and bright colors,” says Kim Fox, owner of Kimberly Fox Designs. “If it’s something that’s going to be there longer than a year or two, then choose wisely.”

Homeowners will find it easier to stay neutral when it comes to overall spaces, and then accessorize with accented throw pillows or area rugs to keep rooms on-trend. This eliminates more expensive, time-consuming remodels down the road (like replacing tile or carpet), while allowing homeowners to adjust their home’s style in simpler ways on a regular basis.


A home’s color palette can dictate the mood of a space. Cold grays are popular right now, but designers are encouraging their homeowners to move toward warmer, natural tones that will remain timeless. Beiges and tans are back, providing homeowners with a color palette that feels more inviting “The gray looks better when it’s paired with something that has some warmth to it,” says Erin Tuemler of Interior Design Consulting. “The positive about gray is that it’s relatively neutral, so you can pair it with other colors.”

Many designers are using lots of white, which allows for color pops through accessories and accent walls that are easier to change as design trends shift. Conversely, black cabinetry is back in style, which can look stunning when used correctly.


The kitchen has seen a dramatic transformation in the last few years, especially in the custom home market. As people build their forever home, they plan their kitchen designs for long-term use. “Designers are starting to include elegant walk-up bars that double as serving stations, allowing homeowners to keep entertainment on one level”, says Erin Tuemler. As more homeowners are entertaining from their own kitchens, high-end commercial features have grown in popularity, which often include bold oven hoods, increased pantry space, and separate freezers.

According to David Mulcahey of untitled designs, styles are trending toward white cabinets with subtle extras, like mixed metal finishes and textured molding, adding some creativity and excitement to the kitchen.

Homeowners who want a more contemporary look are gravitating toward classic black or white cabinets with neutral countertops, which provides opportunities to add splashes of color with accessories.

Home Office

During the early stages of the pandemic, the need for a distinct home office became apparent, which transformed the concept of home office design.

Glass doors on home offices have grown in popularity. This allows more light into a room and provides an easy line of sight for family members to signal while on video calls.

According to Fox, homeowners have expressed the need for more lighting options as a result of more frequent video calls. And, the need to work in a quiet space has also shifted design toward soundproofing. Lower level offices are growing in popularity for this reason, offering better soundproofing, along with isolation from main living areas.

But the design doesn’t stop there. Many homeowners who want to design their own office are incorporating career-specific backgrounds that support their brand or personality, says Mulcahey. And, for those who thrive on a quick coffee break, designers are even creating home office coffee stations.


Bathroom design trends have shifted toward making the bathroom a sanctuary space, a place of relaxation. Designers are crafting spa-inspired bathrooms that incorporate high-performance, walk-in showers and luxurious bathtubs.

Following this concept, homeowners are bringing nature inside, resulting in potted plants and the use of wood. More contemporary designs have trended toward minimalism and clean lines as well.However, designers caution against following trends too closely.

“It’s really hard to take a tile out that has an outdated pattern in it,” says Fox. “If you stay with just a classic backsplash pattern without a bunch of design in it, it won’t go out of style as quickly.” Mixed metals in bathroom fixtures are on-trend as well. According to Tuemler, mixing metal fixtures within and between bathrooms makes for a more interesting and inviting home.


A well-executed lighting setup can shift the entire mood of a home, a concept that many designers focus on intently.

“A lot of people want dimmable lighting,” says Mulcahey. “People are realizing that their houses are retreats and the soft lighting is a nice way to relax.” LED mood lighting and highlights are becoming popular, while advances in phone-controlled LED strip lighting have opened up new possibilities. Lighting setups are becoming more integral to home offices, while dimmable lights can make a home theater more functional. During the design process of a custom home, owners can plan their lighting placement and strategy to maximize the effect the lighting has on a home’s mood and style.

Rooms with Defined Purpose

Custom home builders aren’t just focusing on the defined home office space. Many designers have planned out non-traditional rooms with specific functions.

“People are spending so much more time in their homes,” says Tuemler, “so when they’re building a new home, people are being so intentional based on how their family functions.”

The home gym has become a popular lifestyle addition. Designers include gym-style flooring, mirror walls, and open space for exercise equipment. The study and bourbon room have grown in popularity as well, providing homeowners with a quiet space for relaxation. When it comes to entertainment, homeowners have asked designers to craft home theaters, using movie theater styles to produce a cinematic environment. Even a billiards room off the main entertainment area can add a classic touch to a modern home.

Entertainment Areas

Designing spaces with entertainment in mind has amplified in the past few years. With people using their houses for more aspects of their lives, homeowners want to create spaces to live better and entertain well. Many homeowners want kitchens designed specifically for entertainment, so it’s no surprise that butler pantries and hidden kitchens have resurfaced. This allows the mess of food preparation to occur behind the scenes, while the open kitchen space is used for socializing.

Indoor entertainment can be tough on flooring, which has shifted the trend toward more durable floor material, like tile and low-profile carpet. According to Mulcahey, luxury vinyl has gained a lot of popularity because of its sophisticated design and durability.

When the weather is nice, homeowners want to be outside, and this has prompted designers to craft elaborate outdoor entertainment areas in luxury homes. Outdoor living rooms with fireplaces have grown in popularity, along with outdoor kitchens and pool layouts, which can open up entertainment space even more. Designers are also seeing a rise in the popularity of the metal roof, which allows exterior designers to bring in warmer or cooler tones to accent the exterior’s color, along with the functionality of enhanced longevity.

Arches have seen a resurgence as well, providing a home’s exterior with an added element of elegance and loft. Additionally, we found the comprehensive guide on house styles at Happy DIY Home to be a terrific place for homeowners to learn more about trends in the exterior styling of homes.

Involve a Designer

When building a custom home, it’s important to involve a designer as soon as possible in the building process. A designer can create your dream style that fits with the home’s blueprint creation, seamlessly weaving your style throughout the entire custom building project.

Designing a custom home that aligns with your style and dream is an enjoyable process. Connect with our experts at J&K Custom Homes to discuss how to turn your dream into a reality.

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