The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced many aspects of our lives, and, as most of us know, home building and remodeling have been no exception.
Two of the biggest trends—in which some homeowners have turned to home-improvement projects to whittle down long-neglected to-do lists and others have opted to relocate in search of more space or outdoor-friendly properties—will likely continue to influence home design decisions in the months to come.
Here’s a look at how these shifts are impacting the home exterior—and some best practices to keep in mind.
- Easy upgrades: Staying at home has meant more time staring at facades in need of a facelift. Simple updates to the exterior, such as replacing aging siding, adding gable vents or decorative mounting blocks, or installing decorative trim, can go a long way to improving curb appeal while still remaining affordable and in reach.
- Outdoor living, elevated: Outdoor living has been trending for years, but the need for great exterior space is stronger than ever as homeowners have found themselves stuck in the house and in search of a much-needed place of respite. Making outdoor living areas more inviting—with everything from integrated seating to warm lighting to a flashier grill—has become even more desirable. Awnings and overhead coverings, as well as fire pits and outdoor heaters, can help extend the useability of those outdoor spaces during colder temperatures.
Along with the deck and patio surfaces, consider how the surrounding façade looks, adding trim and other accents to make the space feel more refined and complete.
- Multi-textured facades: Multi-textured facades continue as a leading exterior trend. Blending multiple cladding types, such as a Versetta Stone panelized stone siding half wall with vinyl or poly-ash siding above, and incorporating shingles or vertical accents on gables and bump-outs helps distinguish homes along the streetscape and adds warmth and curb appeal.
- Vertical and board-and-batten siding: Vertical and board-and-batten siding can add dimension and visual interest to the home exterior, particularly to meet demand for multi-textured façades and Modern Farmhouse looks. Vertical applications also can help spice up accent areas, such as gables. For best practices on integrating vertical siding, check out our tip sheet here.
- Authenticity: Authentic siding and trim profiles, such TruExterior’s Craftsman Collection, offer the nostalgia of tradition and the comfort of the tried-and-true, fueling a greater sense of normalcy in a world that is anything but.
Leveraging the Colors of the Year
The events of 2020 also influenced the annual Color of the Year announcements from manufacturers and color experts, as at least three delivered on a similar theme of calm, hope, and grounding.
Pantone selected two Colors of the Year—Ultimate Gray (17-5104) and Illuminating (13-0647)—a combination the company says represents our current dual needs of something practical and solid as well as something warming and optimistic.
Sherwin-Williams named Urbane Bronze (SW 7047 (245-C7)), a rich, enveloping gray-brown, its Color of the Year. “Nature at its simplest and most elemental—embodying the richness of the Earth’s stone, metal, and wood—forges a feeling that’s grounded, meditative, and serene,” the company describes.
Benjamin Moore went for a richer neutral as well with its selection of Aegean Teal 2136-40, “a blend of blue-green and gray … an intriguing midtone that creates natural harmony,” as its Color of the Year. The company says the hue celebrates the simple pleasures of home, eliciting a feeling of calming positivity that embraces the viewer in its warmth.
“People have changed a lot in how they view their surroundings; it’s taken a turn from looking at home from outside in. And these colorscapes demonstrate that,” says Trisha Wagner, National Accounts Manager for Boral Building Products.
Wagner points out that home aesthetics are no longer just about curb appeal. With the pandemic, home is also a workspace, vacation space, and much more—so how colors live is important. They need to be much more fluid, with a flow from inside to out, rather than a bold exterior color with a more neutral interior or vice versa.
Trending colors have a feel of the “new neutral,” with a natural tone but with a richness that keeps them feeling modern. In siding, Foundry’s Deep Granite color is one example.
“When I look at new construction projects, it’s not just siding and stone; it’s shake in the gable, multiple textures, but they’re all tonal. Texture and color fold and weave into this calm, serene space,” says Wagner. “It’s the same on the interior. We’re seeing less of the stark contrast, such as a single accent wall in a bold red. It’s more of a blend. It’s not just about one room, it’s about the palette throughout the home.”
There’s still a place for bold, but there’s an elegance to it. The bright red is still around, but in a deeper, earthier version that feels calm instead of overpowering. On the exterior, a neutral palette may pair with black-framed windows or a half wall of Versetta Stone’s Northern Ash hue. “That’s the foundation for some of these modern neutrals. We’re not going back to the boring hues. These are elevated, richer, calmer,” Wagner explains.
Even after the restrictions of COVID-19 fade into memory, the idea of the home as a place of escape and sanctuary is likely to remain for some time. Simple touches can add physical and aesthetic comfort to secure the feeling of home.