Portland Styles Guide: Current Interior Design Trends
With home prices on the rise, many homeowners are choosing to remodel their current homes rather than buy a new one. Here in the Portland Metro Area, where rich history meets all things innovative and trendy, we’ve noticed a distinctly diverse interior remodel style emerge over the last few years.
At Lamont Bros., our design team works alongside homeowners to plan home remodels that are both stylistically current and customized to the client’s needs. Throughout this process, people often ask us, “What remodel design features are currently in style?”
The purpose of this guide is to provide you with a general overview of current interior design trends in Portland. It will also explain why many of these features have captured the interest of local homeowners.
As you read through this page, some of these ideas may interest you more than others. Consider how these design trends might apply to your Portland home’s interior, and what benefits they might bring to your lifestyle.
Why are so many people remodeling their homes in Portland?
Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed a renewed interest in customized living spaces. When people found themselves spending more time at home than ever before, the state of their living space suddenly became a much higher priority.
Parents now find themselves working from home, while remote learning has also become more widespread. Simply put, many homes have needed a remodel in order to adapt to the post-pandemic family lifestyle.
At the same time, home value in the Portland Metro Area has increased a whopping 20% in the last year. The increase in home value has made buying a home more difficult, but it also gives current homeowners access to more home equity.
Remodeling can immediately add up to 80% of the project’s total cost back into the home’s value. As a result, many homeowners have chosen to leverage their home’s equity in order to remodel rather than move.
What affects the style of Portland homes?
When assessing what makes current interior design trends in Portland unique from the rest of the world, consider three factors.
The Portland Metro Area is arguably the heart of the Pacific Northwest. Known for its mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers, locals constantly walk the fine line between enjoying the great outdoors and sheltering themselves from it.
As one of the world’s top producers of lumber, the region also uses a significant amount of wood-based materials in construction and decor.
Unlike many areas on the U.S. East Coast and Europe, the Pacific Northwest wasn’t widely settled by western civilization until the last 100 years. As one of the youngest cities in the US, Portland most prominently reflects the building styles and technologies of the 20th century.
Portland housing boomed in the early 1910s and again in the late 1980s. As a result, we see a lot of 100-year-old homes getting remodeled for safety and structural reasons, and a lot of 40-year-old homes getting remodeled because they simply look outdated.
Lastly, it is important to consider Portland culture as a factor that affects remodel styles. Widely considered to be a cultural trendsetter, the Portland area isn’t known for its adherence to traditions.
The classic “Keep Portland Weird” slogan rings true even in design practices, and local homeowners are not afraid to experiment with new, trendy design ideas that push the boundaries of current home styles.
General design principles
Every remodel we do is uniquely designed to fit a specific set of needs for each homeowner. However, there are some general design trends that have clearly become prolific definitives of current Portland homes’ interior designs.
Multi-functional open floor plans
Open floor plans, characterized by large shared living spaces with minimal interior walls, were on the rise for decades since the 1970s. Then COVID-19 hit.
As people spent more and more time at home through 2020 and into 2021, living rooms became classrooms and master suites became home offices. Now, an open home design that worked for a family of four just two years ago might not be what they need today.
Privacy and adaptability play a major role in the trends we see today in the Portland home interior design. As shared spaces must switch between several different roles, homeowners are searching for ways to convert a single space from one use to another.
Flexible shared living spaces are becoming increasingly popular as families seek ways to maintain their privacy without sacrificing togetherness. Movable partitions and large barn-style doors can play a key role in achieving this goal.
The death of the American dining room
It’s official: the dining room is dead. It’s been dead for a while. Today, families are eating dinner together 33% less frequently than they did 20 years ago.
As the average American family continues to seek multi-functional living space, a room that’s lucky to get used for 45 minutes once a week simply has no place in the floor plan. Instead, casual eat-in dining spaces such as dinettes and breakfast nooks are quickly replacing the outdated “formal dining room.”
Meanwhile, dining room spaces are finding renewed purpose as home offices, nurseries, playrooms, or guest suites.
The word “vintage” is most commonly used to describe anything between 50 and 100 years old. Now that we’re into the 2020s, that means 70s design styles are now classified as “vintage,” and are allowed to make a comeback.
Homes built in the 1970s are also getting along in years, which means many are in desperate need of a remodel. Instead of completely doing away with the style of the era, however, most remodels of 70s homes are reinvigorating many of the trends that were popular 50 years ago.
As a result, homeowners seeking to update these types of homes have helped to bring touches of 70s style into the mainstream of the 21st century. 70s furniture, wood paneling and accents, indoor plants, and vibrant colors are only a handful of the interior design trends from the 70s that are returning to popularity here in Portland.
Shared Living Areas
Whether you call it a living room, family room, or great room, the style of shared living spaces in your home should be a reflection of who you are. As families continue to adapt their homes to serve more and more purposes, here are a few of the trends we’ve noticed:
During the cold, wet season, it’s nice to have a fireplace that gives off some heat and is a centerpiece of the room
Many families are choosing to update their fireplaces, ditching old brick mantels in favor of stone or even tile.
The advent of lighter, flatter TVs has also made it more feasible to mount them over the fireplace instead of on a stand. This saves space while also centralizing the focal point of the room.
Hardwood flooring and its likes are becoming much more sought-after than carpet. This is especially true in the Pacific Northwest, where mud seems to always find its way indoors.
Carpet is difficult to clean and wears out way faster than hard-surface floors, which is why people are turning in droves from their carpeted ways. Real hardwood remains a timeless classic flooring for those who can afford it. Laminate and LVP also feature excellent durability and waterproofing.
In the Portland area, a water-resistant laminate tends to outperform LVP because it can handle our seasonal temperature differences. Even if installed correctly, some LVP floors can buckle because of temperature-related expansion and contraction.
In an area that is already starved for sunlight throughout much of the year, homeowners in Portland are desperate to introduce more natural light into their homes.
Many homeowners are choosing to add more windows and even increase the size of the ones they already have. This is especially common on the south side of a home, which receives the most sunlight throughout the day.
If you don’t have the wall space for bigger windows, sometimes you can get the daylight you want into your home with clerestory windows. Offering additional light without sacrificing privacy, these windows sit high on a wall to allow sunlight in throughout the day.
Unfortunately, those months when we so desperately need more natural light are also the same months we turn up the heat. Since windows reduce the energy efficiency of a home by lack of insulation, we’ve seen an uptick in people willing to pay for double or even triple-pane windows.
Yet another effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has been more home cooking. Now that people are spending more time in their kitchens, they have more reason to upgrade their setup. As a result, 2021 has been somewhat of a kitchen design renaissance.
Kitchen color schemes have long been rooted in the color white. In fact, white shaker cabinets remain some of the most popular options to date.
However, an influx of cool accent colors including navy blue, teal, and seafoam green seems to have taken over the mainstream.
One of the most popular interior design trends we see taking place in Portland is the two-tone cabinet approach. With this approach, the wall cabinets may be a different color than the base cabinets, or the island is a different color to help it stand out.
Another advantage of the two-tone cabinet design is that it allows room for wood cabinet accents, as well. Stained wood cabinets are still widely popular, and Scandinavian design influence has expanded the availability of wood accent features.
With the use of home kitchen once again on the rise, it would stand to reason that homeowners would want a space to gather and converse while preparing food. On top of that, demands for kitchen storage is also steadily increasing.
A kitchen island is an excellent design feature for homeowners who enjoy entertaining guests or who simply want more work and storage space. It’s a defining feature of the American kitchen. Not only that, but kitchen islands are steadily becoming larger in size.
They can be used as a food prep surface, buffet-style serving bar, and especially as a gathering place. Many kitchen islands now also feature sinks, bar stool seating, or additional cooking appliances, too.
One design feature that is rapidly gaining traction among remodeling homeowners is the workstation sink. Designed to be a catch-all food prep and serving area, a workstation sink is much more than just a washbasin for your dishes.
These innovative appliances feature overhanging edges that can be used to support cutting boards, mixing bowls, and serving dishes. They’re also considerably larger than your standard kitchen sink, meaning more flexibility for the cook’s needs.
Because there are so many surfaces and overhangs in a kitchen, lighting can be a challenge. Wall cabinets especially cast shadows onto the counter below, creating a lot of dark space.
One of the main reasons layered lighting is important is due to the various ways a kitchen is used. If you’re hanging out in your kitchen late into the evening drinking a glass of wine, you’ll want significantly different lighting than if you’re preparing a meal.
Varying the light sources can also be a great way to ensure every area of your kitchen is visible when you need it to be. Overhead lighting is a good place to start, while under-cabinet lighting is great for illuminating dark areas on the countertop.
Inner-cabinet lighting is also becoming increasingly popular. Having a light that illuminates the inside of your cabinet every time you open it can make finding your dishes a more convenient experience.
Several current design trends are ushering out outdated interior features from the not-so-distant past, while also bringing back a few familiar interior concepts in bathrooms all across Portland.
1990 called. It wants its jet tubs back. Whether it’s because the pumps have stopped working or the plumbing is too expensive to maintain, the jet tub is dead. Long live the freestanding tub.
Homeowners are opting to abandon their old jetted tubs for both traditional and more modern bath options. We’ve even seen a few footed tubs work into bathroom remodel designs.
Even shower-tub combo inserts are becoming less popular. In fact, there seems to be a general push to separate tubs from showers, with walk-in tile showers also becoming more mainstream.
Though it has long been the norm in Europe, bidets have only recently caught on in the American mainstream. Now, it would seem we just can’t get enough of them.
Considered a more sanitary and environmentally-conscious alternative to toilet paper, bidets generated interest in North America following the toilet paper shortages of 2020.
The bidet appears most commonly in one of two forms. Traditional bidet bowls, separate from the toilet, have historically dominated the bidet market. However, combination bidet-toilets and even bidet seat attachments for traditional porcelain toilets are making their way into the mainstream.
Convenient and sanitary, they are also an especially effective method of cleansing for the elderly and physically disabled.
Here’s a brilliant idea: instead of shelves that intrude into your shower space, why not build a shelf into the shower wall? Cue the shower niche.
The days of accidentally knocking your shampoo bottle from its already precarious perch and onto your bare toe are long behind you. Because the shower niche is recessed into the wall rather than extruding from it, homeowners are falling in love with this current design trend.
The shower niche can also add dimension and variety to a custom tile shower, so you have a shelf that is both functional and beautiful.
Traditionally, showers have been either fiberglass inserts or tile. Nowadays, we’ve seen a new trend developing: the slab shower.
Defined by a slab wall made of stone or a stone-imitation material, you can think of a slab wall as a kitchen counter turned vertical. This design trend is still in its infancy and has yet to really make the mainstream.
We’ve seen slab shower walls in granite, quartz, and even massive porcelain tile, and can’t wait for them to become more popular in the future.
Additions & accessory structures
Adding square footage to your home is one of the best ways to add property value. With home equity readily available, many homeowners are choosing to leverage their home’s value to increase their home’s value.
2nd story additions
Although more challenging than adding on to an existing level, 2nd story additions are possible and increasingly popular. This is especially true in areas where zoning laws make it so that your home has nowhere to go but up.
To maximize usable space, 2nd story additions often include dormers. These structures protrude out from the plane of the roof to provide more light and indoor overhead space.
One trend we’ve noticed in the Portland area is the addition of 2nd stories to detached garage structures. In the wake of the work-from-home movement, many homeowners have sought workspace options that are separate from their living space. As a result, many of these additions to detached garages have been for home-office use.
Outdoor living space
Here in the Portland area, we have somewhat of a love/hate relationship with the great outdoors. We often see a reflection of this in the design of outdoor living spaces.
During the summer months, people like to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. We’ve done cooking spaces, covered patios, and even a gazebo or two.
The common factor among nearly all of the outdoor spaces we’ve built is that they’ve been either covered or convertible. Homeowners want to be able to use their outdoor space when the weather turns sour.
Covered patios and decks with powerful gas heaters in the ceiling are great options for outdoor entertaining spaces that can be used year-round in the Pacific Northwest.
Accessory Dwelling Units
Whether they’re for your mother-in-law or to make a few extra bucks with AirBnb, ADUs are all the rage right now. Recently enacted zoning laws in many jurisdictions have made it easier to construct ADUs on private property, too.
ADUs can be added to existing homes as basement or attic remodels, or as freestanding accessory structures on the property. As a convenient option for hosting guests and generating passive income, many homeowners have leveraged their home equity to build an ADU.
If there’s one type of remodel we’ve seen surge forward more than any others in the last year, it’s home offices. This makes sense since COVID-19 seems to have permanently changed the average worker’s ability to work from home.
Because the demands of every job are different, so are the demands of a home office remodel. We’ve done office remodels for doctors, small business owners, and retirees who just don’t know how to sit still. Each office was a fully custom remodel that reflected the styles and needs of each client, but we have noticed a few common trends.
Even though we live in a digital age, secure file storage is still a serious need for many homeowners.
Everybody has sensitive files they need to store, whether they’re a dentist, a handyman, or an Etsy shop owner. As the home office becomes increasingly popular among the general populace, files storage is moving from the corporate office to the home, too.
This presents some challenges, as files – especially those with personal information of clients – must be kept secure. We’ve worked with homeowners to design several file storage systems that look great and keep people’s information safe.
One of the design requests we get a lot when working on home office remodels is built-in bookshelves. Not only is it a functional, efficient use of storage space for literature and knick-knacks; bookshelves also add character and sophistication to a home office.
We’ve even installed a hidden door into a bookcase before. And yes, it was pretty cool.
Sit & stand work surface
In case you haven’t heard yet, sitting is the new smoking. As doctors and medical professionals continue to uncover the health risks associated with sitting for extended periods of time, many office workers are opting for standing workstations.
You’ve probably noticed standing desks on the rise in the last few years. Now that many homeowners are remodeling their home offices, they’re taking the opportunity to add a sit/stand desk option to their setup, as well.
We can only guess their doctors are thanking them profusely.
Designing the lighting for a home office is a challenge. Natural light can interfere with monitors and create an annoying glare. This is why it’s important to consider where the windows are in relation to the workspace. Having the sun reflecting off your monitor and into your eyes at 8 am is a terrible way to start your Monday.
As with kitchen designs, many home office remodels incorporate layered lighting. Natural, overhead, and task lighting are used in conjunction with one another to light the important areas of the office. This helps improve the practicality of the workspace, while also adding dimension.
Want to see how these current design trends might look in your house?
If you’re researching design trends to remodel a home interior here in the Portland area, you should now have a general idea of what interior styles are current and popular. Round your knowledge out by reading through our exterior styles guide, too!
As a remodel company that works with Portland homeowners every year to implement these design principles, Lamont Bros. has a collection of portfolio samples you can use to continue gathering inspiration for your remodel.
We use 3D rendering design software to draft and preview every remodel we do. If you’d like to see how your home could look with a fresh remodel, click the button below to schedule a conversation with one of our design consultants.