While it’s true that there is no single definition of “modern architecture” that encompasses all of the different structures that fall under the category, modern homes tend to exhibit certain design principles that set them apart from other schools of design.
Whether you are in the process of working with an architect to design a brand new, ground-up home or you are remodeling an existing structure, there are certain steps that you can take to help the home look and feel more modern. Below are five strategies you can use to achieve a modern look in your residential project.
1. Strengthen the connection between the home and the outdoors.
Creating a connection to the outdoors is an important element of modern architecture, and as a result modern homes tend to be light and airy.
In designing or remodeling your home, you can reinforce this connection in a number of ways. One is by creating openings to the outdoors in the form of large glass windows and doors. Another might be to leverage an interior courtyard or a significant patio that can be opened up to create blended space. Similarly, echoing the outdoors inside by bringing in natural materials from the landscape to use as interior accents can be extremely effective.
2. Create an open floor plan.
A simple, open floor plan is another hallmark of modern architecture, which helps to improve the flow of the space and remove the compartmentalized approach that is dominant in more traditional schools of design.
One common tactic for opening up the floor plan while still maintaining privacy is to think of the home’s public spaces as one large room. Removing unnecessary walls and barriers between the home’s entrance, living room, kitchen, pantry, and hallways, for example, can do wonders in creating a modern floor plan. While this might be easiest to achieve in new construction, it may also be possible during a remodel.
3. Simplify the massing of the home.
In architecture, the term massing refers to the general shape of a structure. Modern architecture is known for simple, clean massing that leverages pure shapes. This reduces or eliminates unnecessary bump outs and distracting details, which can make the home look more elegant to the viewer but also streamline the flow within the space for those living inside.
One example of this principle in action would be to replace a pitched roof with a flat roof. On the other hand, if you like the look of a pitched roof you might leverage modern roofing materials like metal and conceal elements like gutters which could otherwise overly-complicate the shape.
4. Leverage simple, natural materials.
As mentioned above, modern architecture is known for its connection with nature. Leveraging a natural, simple material palette that echoes the landscape is one excellent way of strengthening this connection. Natural stones and woods, for example, can be leveraged in the home’s interior as well as its exterior.
Simplifying the material palette also emphasizes the craftsmanship that went into building the home and the purity of the materials—an important element in modernism.
5. Simplify detailing within the home.
Finally, just as it can be beneficial to simplify the massing and layout of your home, simplifying the details within the home can help it feel more modern. Again, this serves to place visual emphasis on the materials used and the craftsmanship featured in the home.
You might choose to have less furniture within the home or certain rooms, feature simple or understated wallpaper and paint, and forego other decorative elements altogether, such as crown molding.
Creating the Modern Home of Your Dreams
If your goal is to create a home that looks and feels modern, there are many different paths you can take to get there. Ultimately, the specific route you take will be dictated by the site itself and your own unique vision and goals. A skilled architect who has experience designing modern homes can help you achieve this vision. The earlier you start working and communicating with an architect, the better equipped they will be to design your home.