A home renovation offers a great opportunity to introduce new design trends in both aesthetics and functionality.

At our recent Gold Coast renovation, we grabbed this chance with both hands, updating our clients’ home with a selection of design elements that we’d seen – and built – in a number of homes over the last 18 months.

Here are just five of our favourites.

1. Feature lighting

Lighting has moved beyond the functional into aesthetics, with many opting to use their lighting as a feature point. This is especially true of open-plan spaces, where you may have lots of empty ceiling and are looking for a way to visually establish living zones.

In this renovation, we opted for a rattan hanging pendant, which casts an intriguing shadow effect when on. The natural texture also contributed to the overall theme of relaxed coastal living. Wicker-style pendants are also a popular option for this effect, as the variety in designs and styles means each one will cast a unique shadow when turned on.

2. Stone splashback

Image from Pinterest

Once only seen on benchtops, stone is now creeping up into splashbacks, favoured for its durability, ease to clean and tendency to add a bright and airy feeling to the room. It also adds an element of unique luxury to the space, as each slab of stone has a completely different design of intricate veins.

As it’s a porous material, stone does need to be sealed after installation. This process will make wiping away food splatter incredibly easy, making it a low-maintenance option for everyday use. It’s also easy to polish, so can be easily shined to look good as new.

3. Hidden home office

Working from home was one of 2020’s lasting lifestyle legacies, so having a separate space to work has become more important than ever. However, this doesn’t need to mean a completely new room. In this renovation, we hid an office behind bi-folding doors, offering a versatile space that could be opened up during the working week and hidden away over the weekend.

This solution meant there was no need to introduce a completely new room that would have no use for two days of the week, while also reducing clutter. It also created a physical barrier between the working day and leisure time, making it easier to separate work and home life.

4. Wall niches

Storage is always going to be an important part of any home, so it’s essential to include from the get-go. In this Gold Coast renovation, we added a number of wall niches around the home, creating an in-built storage space that was also visually interesting. Instead of opting for shelves that would jut out, potentially causing clutter and impeding on the space, a recessed wall niche makes use of otherwise unused wall space, maintaining a clean look.

These spaces are ideal for spotlighting art, or decorative items like flowers and candles, but can also serve a functional purpose, acting as storage solution for items like keys or chargers. In this renovation, we added a downlight to further illuminate the feature and offer a secondary lighting option.

5. VJ panelling

Image from Pinterest

Timber panelling continues to be a popular design trend for coastal-inspired homes, adding visual interest while contributing to the overall aesthetic. VJ stands for vertical join and is also known as tongue and groove panelling. It’s an affordable option for new builds and renovations, introducing texture, warmth and character, while also adding height, as the vertical lines help to elongate walls.

The simple design can also be used to visually link spaces, appearing in niches and on doors, cabinets or walls across different areas of the home.


While some trends come and go, we expect these design features to become even more popular over the next 12 months. If you’re looking to renovate your home, get in touch with the team at McGowan Homes to find out how we can help.

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