Although there’s likely multiple reasons why residents choose to live in apartments and condominiums over single-family residences, the design selections, including for the exterior, the interior, the communal amenities, and the units, make a lasting impression from the minute someone steps into a space.
In order to compete with other communities and attract potential residents to live in your specific development, it’s important to stay on top of the features being showcased and offered throughout the industry. To help identify 2024’s top trend predictions for multifamily, Multifamily Executive consulted a few industry design experts to compile the following list of 10 design trends that will be prevalent in 2024 and for the years to come.
Florida-based interior design firm V Starr says it is important to be thinking about making a great first impression in lobbies. “Like grand hotel lobbies, multifamily residences are adopting an artful approach to create awe for guests while welcoming residents home,” says the firm. “Shared spaces are being designed with interaction and community building in mind, taking cues from the hospitality industry.”
David West, founding partner at New York City–based Hill West Architects, and the team at Boston-based RODE Architects both see increased interest in sustainability and passive house standards. “The most sought-after sustainable features in multifamily buildings include electric vehicle chargers in every building,” states West. “Electric induction cooktops are also gaining prominence in preparation for New York City’s 2026 ban on gas-powered systems in tall buildings. Beyond the heightened demand for fresh air due to COVID-related concerns, ducted HEPA-filtered air filtration is poised to address growing air quality issues, such as the unprecedented threat of wildfire smoke.”
Jared Bradley, president and founder of The Bradley Projects, reports the amenity race is not over and developers continue to step up their game when it comes to designing top-tier amenities for their residents. “From state-of-the-art fitness facilities to luxurious pools, multifamily developments can bring a unique experience to day-to-day life,” says Bradley. “In 2024, barbecue areas, dog runs, rooftops, and landscaped courtyards will attract people who want amenities without leaving their own complex.” Some other trending examples from the experts include:
- Cold Plunges: To increase endorphins and deliver a swift shock to the body, people are embracing ice baths, a wellness therapy where people dunk themselves into freezing cold water. Developers and property management companies have been quick to dive into the trend as it gains popularity, including FirstService Residential. “Cold plunges and other elevated amenities are becoming an expected feature, as more communities invest in top-of-the-line spa facilities and wellness amenities for residents,” says FirstService Residential CEO David Diestel. “Spas offer an enticing oasis for residents seeking a quick yet impactful way to recharge and revitalize, all located within the comfort of their complex, creating a convenient and private approach to well-being and relaxation.”
- On-Site Cafes: Clement Pun and Lauren Macaulay, principals at Arcadis, are predicting integrated cafes and coffee bars will become more popular. “It’s widely known that people love caffeine. Numerous apartments are now integrating on-site cafes as an extra amenity for their tenants,” they declare. “This offering not only encourages residents to spend more time on the premises, but also provides them with a convenient way to get their coffee without stepping outside their homes.”
- Social Speakeasies: On the opposite end of the coffee and café spectrum are cocktails and bars. Developers have been incorporating these design-forward speakeasy spaces to encourage social interaction in multifamily buildings after work hours. “We developed a premium amenity collection at our luxury condominium projects to include an exclusive, residents-only speakeasy and private restaurant at each tower, designed to not only serve as an ideal setting to relax and entertain guests, but to also cultivate a sense of community among residents,” says Camilo Miguel Jr., CEO and founder of Mast Capital.
Orlando Rodriguez, design director of Whitehall Interiors, says to expect a resurgence in natural materials, due to their ability to foster a more relaxed and intimate living space. “Though synthetic materials, like porcelain, luxury vinyl tile, and quartz, have been prevalent, natural materials offer a tactile, homely feel that is lacking in human-made alternatives,” he says. “Quartzite countertops exhibit natural vein movement, and wall coverings made of natural paper, grass cloth, sisal, and jute introduce a fresh texture to walls. Real (engineered) wood flooring imparts a warmth that synthetic finishes cannot replicate.”
Allegion’s recent report, “2023 Multifamily Living Trends: A Study on What Multifamily Renters Desire, Expect, and Will Pay More For in Their Residences,” found over 59% of the survey respondents would likely select a future place of residence if it has mobile access control offered as an amenity. “With most of the population having access to smartphones, the rise of mobile access control provides renters with a convenient and secure way to access different parts of their multifamily property,” states the report’s summary.
Darrell Gardner, director of product development at CORT, reports, “2024 interior design will center around maximizing your space to get the most out of it while feeling relaxed in your clutter-free space.” As a result, multipurpose furniture has the potential to become a big trend in apartments. “For example, end tables that can work perfectly next to a couch, but function as a nightstand as well,” says Gardner. “Consumers want to get the most life out of their furniture pieces, so that means having pieces that can transition as their individual needs change.”
Real estate developer Weina Zhang, founder and CEO of Z Life, is forecasting car-sharing to become more prominent in the years to come. “Shared cars represent a promising future for urban mobility,” she says. “In an era where cities are grappling with traffic congestion, limited parking, and environmental concerns, the concept of shared cars is gaining traction as a sustainable solution. By pooling resources and sharing vehicles, residents reduce the overall number of cars on the road, alleviating traffic gridlock and decreasing the demand for parking spaces.”
While some may choose to work from the comfort of their unit, it’s also key to have private spaces within the larger building, says Bradley. “Small pockets of privacy for tenants to complete their work gives residents the feeling of ‘leaving their apartment’ without stepping outside the building,” he states. “The confines of apartments can sometimes feel tight for working from home, and areas designated for remote workers can allow tenants to leave their units and work from other comfortable places in their building.”