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  • Brandon Alfriend

At home in Ohio – today’s design trends are tomorrow’s standards

The future of home design can almost be summed up in one word. Sustainability.

Sustainability is a timely and important topic - not just in home design and construction but in commercial and civil construction as well. Everything from park benches to paved highways are being designed from a sustainability perspective as we look to the future of our society and our planet.

Some of Ohio’s sustainability agenda focus areas include clean air, clean energy and green buildings. Local interior designers are noticing a number of related trends that homeowners and home builders alike are gravitating toward in 2021.

Unique and Hand-Crafted

The rise of direct-to-customer online marketplaces like Etsy has given artisans a place to promote their work as well as consumers a place to buy one-of-a-kind pieces. Handmade items have found favor again, adding that bit of originality and personality to their environments that homeowners are craving. A beautifully hand-crafted art or furniture piece brings back an awareness and appreciation of the human spirit and a connection to the natural and organic.

Eco-Conscious Choices

Today it may be called a trend, but tomorrow it may be an expectation, according to local home builders. Clients building new homes or doing major renovations are increasingly concerned about using materials and supplies that are eco-friendly. Cabinets made from responsibly harvested wood and plant-based or low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints are commonly requested options during the building process, and will likely be the standard for home building in the near future.

Healthy Homes

With health and wellness taking on new importance, chemical-free construction materials are making an appearance on the building scene, replacing many of their old counterparts. Sheathing panels for exteriors and subfloors are being made from magnesium oxide, providing an alternative to standard OSB board, and new magnesium oxide interior panels are replacing conventional drywall. Magnesium oxide products do not contain toxic chemicals, are non-flammable, and will not grow mold or be eaten by pests.

For insulation, natural sheep’s wool and mineral fiber “wool” made from recycled materials are being substituted for traditional foam and fiberglass insulation, offering superior thermal, fire and pest-resistant qualities with the added benefit of being non-toxic and biodegradable.

Smart Home Systems

The increasing number of devices and appliances that connect to smart home controls is impressive. From coffee makers to dishwashers to mechanical systems and media, almost everything can be operated via a smart home system. More and more homes are embracing this kind of technology, and will also likely be standard configurations in homes of the future.

Systems such as Alexa and Google Hub allow you to adjust lights, room temperature, start a vehicle, lock doors, run an appliance and more, all from one place. Smart home hubs allow you to view security system cameras in and around your home and display them on any screen. Imagine monitoring your garage, seeing who’s ringing your doorbell or keeping an eye on the kids in another room while at the same time watching a movie on your TV or Projector system screen.

Zero Waste

Another topic on Ohio’s sustainability agenda is zero-waste, a status achieved when at least 90% of waste is diverted from landfills. Ohio State University has adopted a three-pillar “compost, trash, recycle” theme to meet their sustainability goals, and most communities are keen to do the same.

Getting into the habit of reduce-reuse-recycle is evident almost everywhere. Recycling centers and curbside pickup programs will be the rule rather than the exception going forward, and you can expect to see more waste sorters, carbonated water-making machines and compost boxes become part of the everyday home environment of the future.

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