2020 Vision: Going back to the future for home design trends

  • 20 March 2020

Imagine if a few of the ideas in the Back to the Future movies came to life, but in a useable, more stylish, and most importantly, sustainable way.

Home design trends in 2020 will likely see the re-emergence of a few ideas from the ’80s, such as natural colours and softer shapes, maybe even the odd hallway arch or two, mixed with automated and connected home systems.

The integration of indoors/outdoors will be as popular as ever, but the sustainability element in homes will drive decisions throughout the design and construction process. Sorry, still no hoverboards, but leg warmers optional.

The beauty of a custom-designed and built home is that the only trend you actually need to worry about is… well, there isn’t one. It only comes down to what you and your family love.

Sometimes people come to us with fully formed ideas of what every room in their new home will look like, but for most people, a little extra inspiration here and there is appreciated.

To help kick-start your creative process, we’ve put together a few ideas for what’s exciting in home design in 2020.


Home design interior kitchen

Layout and flow


The big move for home layout is being pushed not by our home life but our working life, and the need for spaces that are more multi-purpose in nature.

As more and more employers integrate flexible working arrangements (and technology comes to the party, sometimes), people are increasingly adding spaces to their homes that can be work, but not only.


Wollongong home designer study nook


Generous office spaces, as well as study nooks and utility areas adjoining the kitchen (our Bulli client calls this her Command Centre), are being included in home designs with the idea that you can skip the commute, and instead swan around in your home in your PJs, and still be productive with your work.

From a GN Williams perspective, hybrid spaces are about putting things in the right spot for your location and lifestyle. We take into consideration the constraints of the block, access, and natural lighting so that you have the best of form and function.

For example, having the kitchen-dining-living areas in the right part of the house to catch the sunlight or ocean breeze is what you have to gain from a custom home that’s designed for your exact block.

Ultimately, we can consider anything you would like. We’ll provide our insights, but it’s sitting down with you and working together as a team (designer, builder and client) that delivers the best outcome for you.

Home automation


“Hey Alexa, what are the home automation trends for 2020?”

Yep, voice control is here and growing in use (and usefulness). The buzzword is no longer smart home, but rather – connected home. From your phone, you can control, monitor and program your lighting, heating, cooling, and security.

One development we’re really excited about is homeowners taking control of their energy consumption. Solar panels, or at least, a provision to easily add solar panels, are now in almost every house we design and build.

Now we’re seeing homeowners taking the next step by adding battery storage (price is the sticking point here). With many systems comes the ability to see just how much power your home is harvesting, storing, and using at any time of the day.

Having remote access along with data on your energy consumption, opens up a world of possibilities for a more considered approach to how and when electrical appliances are used.

So-called smart lighting has been around for a few years and it’s allowed people to control lighting via a phone. Now, tuneable lighting is doing the thinking for you.


Home design interior photo looking out over ocean


One example is lighting that adjusts brightness and hue throughout the day, maintaining a more natural ambience in the room.

You can also have some fun – dial up the warmth of the room when you have people over, and then have the bulbs slowly transition to a colder hue when it’s time to drop subtle hints that it’s time for them to hit the road.

The key consideration at GN Williams for any type of automation is provisioning.

We’ve worked with many clients who aren’t ready to add solar panels at the time of construction, but know they will at some time down the track.

We often draw up the electrical plans and run cables in the walls so solar panels can be accommodated at a later date without altering the exterior of the house.

When you work with our design team, we’ll help you decide on the automations and special features you really want and that work within your budget.

Whether you want something now or in the future, if it’s discussed during the design process that can potentially save you money and major headaches if you do decide to go ahead with the actual installation at a later date.

External shapes and finishes


If you’ve watched Grand Designs lately, you’ll know that modular-style and scandi-inspired homes with box-like shapes, clean lines, flat roofs and in some cases, no eaves, are all the rage.

Add in some vertical cladding, maybe in blackbutt timber or a matt-black finish for a clean, uninterrupted look, and your house will be the hottest on the street (for now, anyway!).

At GN Williams, we’ve worked with our clients to come up with all manner of shapes and finishes, from a house that would not look out of place on a grand South American hacienda, to the ultra-minimalist and even industrial – our designs are really based on your desires. So talk to us when you’re doing your daydreaming.


Home design internal photo

Making it work


Ok here’s the kicker. There’s no point in designing something that blows the budget.

The key is to work with a designer WITH the builder at the same time, and to take elements of everything you like and make them practical and feasible.

Your inspiration meets our know-how, to build great homes for great people.

Whatever your ideas and inspiration, our virtual reality suite will bring it all together and show you in a life-like way how it looks and feels.

You’ll be able to take a virtual walk around your home to see if reality matches your dreams before the plans are finalised and we start work.

Ready to get started?