Award-Winning Design Trends for 2022

More than 140 single-family, multifamily, interior design, remodeling and community projects were honored at the 2021 Best in American Living™ Awards (BALA) ceremony at the 2022 International Builders’ Show, hosted by NAHB in Orlando. The awards are sponsored by Monogram, and the media partner is Professional Builder.

Judges awarded eight Best in Region and seven Of the Year homes and projects. These front-runners represent the nation’s best in home and community design, interior design and remodeling.

BALA winners showcase top design trends that home buyers can expect to see in homes and communities over the next several years.

“We’re seeing a continuation of recent trends, especially as they relate to outdoor spaces,” noted Allison Paul, chair of the 2021 judging panel and principal at Lessard Design. “The pandemic has definitely made people rethink how they live in their homes, and that’s reflected in the creative niches, attention to detail and quality, and general warmth present in this year’s BALA-winning designs.”

Trends include:

Beamed and/or stained ceilings. Different detailing overhead creates a wow factor for both low and high ceilings alike, while stains and tonal materials provide a more cohesive room palette. This trend is especially popular in kitchens.

Creative outdoor spaces. Post-pandemic design continues to utilize the outdoors to develop spaces for relaxing, entertaining, home office or just taking in the views. Multilevel terraces, sunken living rooms with firepits and indoor courtyards are just a few examples of these designs. Rooftop spaces in particular are on the rise, providing multifamily projects and townhomes alike with a “yard in the sky.”

Improved indoor/outdoor connections. Emphasis on health and wellness has led to an increased focus on creating intentional, seamless transitions from indoors to outdoors. Material choices can play a large role by visually connecting adjoining spaces, but even details as subtle as skylights in the kitchen or glass walls to take advantage of the surrounding views can usher in these natural connections. Landscape designs are also improving to seamlessly blend the home with the surrounding area.

Better designs for affordable housing. Affordable developments are losing the utilitarian designs often associated with them in favor of better detailing to help create rich, story-driven designs that complement the existing landscape and community.

More durable materials. As indoor and outdoor spaces continue to blend, materials that operate equally in both conditions are key to creating a smooth transition. This includes not only the doors or track systems that bridge the gap, but also selections such as ceiling treatments or flooring, where materials such as stone can provide a wow factor both inside and out.

Resort-like amenities. More time spent at home means greater attention paid to features that can enhance it, whether it’s an outdoor lounge or a game room. Pets are very important, with designs increasingly incorporating areas such as dog spas, pet pads or dog runs.

Enhanced focus on function. Homes have had to work harder for their residents in recent years, and designs are adapting to incorporate more functional and multifunctional spaces to use. Examples include wine storage, prep kitchens, mudrooms and dedicated gym or workout areas.

Size doesn’t matter. Spaces should get as much mileage out of their designs as possible, whether it’s a remodeled great room/dining room/kitchen that improves functionality or a glass-encased room with doors that can provide privacy when needed while remaining connected to the rest of the home.

More information about this year’s winners and trends can be found at

Smart Home Tech Helps Aging Home Owners 

The idea of retirement conjures up images of spending time with grandkids, travel or dedicating time to your favorite hobbies. One important part of enjoying your golden years is living comfortably in your own home. If you or your loved one plans to live in their current home, aging-in-place modifications and smart home technology can increase comfort and safety.

Aging in place is more than living in your home, it is about enjoying your space safely, independently and comfortably regardless of your age or ability level. Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) professionals help people throughout the greater Knoxville area find solutions to address the unique needs of aging adults, such as widening doorways or installing grab bars in showers, without sacrificing the aesthetic value of the home.

Installing smart home technology also offers a level of support for aging home owners. The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University (JCHS), defines smart home technology as a product connected wirelessly or through the internet that can be remotely accessible with a mobile device. Smart home products such as thermostats, lighting and electronic locks are options for persons with mobility challenges and can complement other aging-in-place modifications.

A recent JCHS study asked remodelers about the home automation products or systems installed with aging-in-place renovations. The top home automated systems installed as part of an aging-in-place strategy included items related to safety and security (94 percent), climate control (83 percent) and lighting, electric and/or shade controls (67 percent). Remodelers reported that they most commonly received request for smart technology for the living room (94 percent), kitchen (93 percent) and home office (90 percent).

Aging home owners interested in renovations need to be able to find a remodeler who is knowledgeable about smart home technology and home modification. The CAPS designation helps homeowners have confidence that they’re working with an expert in aging-in-place renovation.

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