Vanessa Walker talks about cultural influences in design trends


The Houzz image library contains images from all around the world. Deborah comments that she often sees cultural differences in the way Australians inhabit their homes, compared to other countries. Not just different interior styles but the way different cultures ‘live’ in their space.

Vanessa describes what she thinks defines Australian home design, our way of living.

It’s about climate

In many parts of Australia, the temperate climate means we can open our homes up to the outdoors.

Vanessa finds that often owners of traditional period houses, which are typically an inward-focussed design, now want to ‘open up’ their living space. That means being able to see the garden from the kitchen, more open-plan living spaces, changing what were traditionally separate, singular rooms into multi-function rooms.

It’s about lifestyle

Creating indoor-outdoor flow is a continuing trend in Australian home design.

Are there are styles or trends from other countries that we are adopting into our designs?

  • The Hamptons look (originating from North America) is still very popular for coastal properties
  • The very popular Scandi-style interior design (pared back style, whitened timber etc.) seems to be transforming, to subtly incorporate more Australian colours and themes

Overall, Australians are still embracing these popular styles but starting to make them their own.

What are the current trends?

Current trends popular within the Houzz community:

  • There is a strong trend to maximise existing space without changing the footprint. Renovating to create more useable space, e.g. adding a mezzanine level, adding a cellar, transforming a garage into a teenager’s retreat. Factors like housing affordability, expanding or extended families can influence this type of structural trend.
  • Sustainability is a huge consideration in Australian design trends – solar power, thermal mass, utilising cross-breezes.
  • Interior trends are currently white spaces accented by a bit of colour.

Vanessa considers Australians to be very design-literate – very aware of overseas trends that we can incorporate into Australian design.


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