• Mon - Sat 8:00 - 6:30, Sunday - CLOSED

Revealed: This is what Ireland's dream homes look like

Revealed: This is what Ireland's dream homes look like

That’s according to the latest Houzz & Home study — and it will come as no surprise to anyone glancing at the winning spaces in the 2022 Irish Best of Houzz unveiled by the online design and renovation platform.

Its annual people’s choice award highlights the home renovation and design professionals with the most popular designs and top ratings and recognises just 3% of the more than 2.7 million active home professionals in the Houzz community.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, it highlights some of the most popular designs in Ireland, including an open-plan living space, a contemporary kitchen, an outdoor kitchen, a bedroom workstation, a modern courtyard with multiple seating areas, and an elegant entryway.

“Within the winning designs this year, we can see a number of our key trend predictions in action, including nature-inspired colour palettes, smart workspaces and garden entertainment areas,” says Victoria Harrison, editor, Houzz UK and Ireland.

Has post-lockdown and the pandemic affected interiors in Irish houses? Spending more time indoors forced us to rethink our homes and, according to the latest Houzz & Home report, renovating due to outdated or undesirable design or style was the top concern for outdoors, kitchens, and bathrooms.

“The pandemic gave many homeowners more time and financial means to move forward with long-awaiting projects, with ‘wanted to do it all along and finally have the time’ the main driver for renovations, jumping 11 percentage points in 2020 versus 2019 (42% versus 31%),” says Victoria.

With the rise of working from home, residences have doubled as living spaces and offices and, according to the Houzz research, a fifth of homeowners claimed to have decorated or furnished their home office in the last year (21%), up by 11% since 2019. Home offices being added or upgraded rose by four percentage points in 2020 from 2018 (12% versus 8%).

The garden is another area where homeowners have seen potential. “Outdoor areas are being used as a relaxing extension of interior living spaces and designed as such, with tables, furniture and rugs that would not be out of place indoors,” says Victoria.

Revealed: This is what Ireland's dream homes look like

“Our gardens have provided sanctuary throughout the pandemic and now that we are able to socialise they are a prime entertaining spot. On Houzz, we’ve seen a rise in outdoor kitchens within the most popular photos on the platform, and professionals on Houzz report more requests for sinks, worktops and even fridges in these cooking areas.”

Any key advice on interiors trends this year? “Smarter use of space is becoming increasingly important, and we expect to see this trend develop further well into 2022,” she says. “As we see a hybrid working model become the norm, professionals on Houzz are being tasked with creating spaces that flex with the needs of the homeowner and all available space is carefully considered.”

The focus on bringing the outdoors in shows no signs of subsiding, with natural materials and nature-inspired tones continuing to be popular: “Biophilia, the innate human instinct to connect with nature, has been a key design principle last year and will continue to be seen in interior choices, such as colour palettes and materials.”

Lastly, bathrooms are less about serving as classic, functional zones, with more homeowners creating spa-like spaces where relaxation is key: “Designers are opting for tactile natural materials, with wood and natural stone more prominent, and we expect to see more walk-in wetroom-style showers and freestanding baths.”

How has the increase in supply costs affected design wish lists?

“The industry has been resilient in overcoming challenges brought on by the pandemic and professionals on Houzz tell us that construction supply chain industries are becoming more resourceful in finding ways to navigate the delays on building materials needed to fulfil the pent-up demand for home renovations,” says Victoria.

“Renovation activity will continue to be busy, with the latest Houzz research finding that 49% of homeowners plan to renovate, up five percentage points since 2019, as people find it valuable to invest in their homes for reasons that prevailed before the pandemic, and will do so going forward.

“Whether it’s boosting a home’s value for sale or accommodating a growing family, we understand it’s important for homeowners to connect with the right pros to help them on this journey.”