The Benefits of Adding a Catio to Your Home

Cat owners are often faced with many considerations as they fill their homes with toys and cat trees to appease the kings and queens of the household. One such consideration is how to best use the space. Adding a catio to your home will help keep your cat entertained and safe and can be easily customized to fit the needs of any living space.

The Benefits of Adding a Catio to Your Home

A catio can offer a wide range of benefits for you and your cat, including daily enrichment opportunities. Catios provide easy access to the outdoors where they can stimulate their senses. By providing this connection to the outside world, cats can independently spend their days as they please with a wide variety of options to choose from.

Catios also keep your feline friends safe from the dangers that lurk outside. While they’re able to enjoy the outdoors, the enclosed space keeps them nearby while keeping predators out. This prevents accidents with cars on a busy street and run-ins with potentially harmful animals found in residential areas such as raccoons, and in certain areas, coyotes. It also keeps out other cats, preventing exposure to diseases and accidental pregnancies.


Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: ahloch


In addition to the benefits catios provide for your furry friend, you will also improve the livability of your home by reducing the damage to your furniture and rugs or carpet. When your cats can enjoy that space, they are less likely to exert their pent-up energy on your carpeted and upholstered pieces.

For those cats who act on their hunting instincts, a catio is also a great way to keep local wildlife out of your home. From their perch in their enclosure, they will get to smell and watch birds, mice, and rabbits, but they won’t have the opportunity to hunt them. Saving these lives helps your neighborhood’s ecosystem and saves you from having to clean up the mess afterwards.

Providing a litter box outside can also improve your indoor air quality by reducing smells, chemicals, and bacteria associated with cat litter. Of course, it’s not wise to replace an indoor litter box with an outdoor one, but by adding another one that’s nearby, your cat will use the indoor box less.

What Can You Do with a Catio?

The simple answer: anything you want. Catios are customizable for your space and your cat’s interests. Answering these two questions will help you start the process of designing or choosing a design to build.

  1. How much space can you offer to the enclosure?
  2. How will the cat(s) enter the enclosure from the house?

You may also want to consider what kind of exposure to the elements you’re comfortable with, whether it’s open air or if you need a little more protection from the elements with a solid exterior. While in some areas wire fencing might be all that’s needed, regions with harsher climates may require a more robust setup, such as insulated windows.

Catio Options

If you have a smaller space, you may consider a catio attached to a window, which won’t take up any additional square footage. Much like a garden box, you can attach a small shelf-like enclosure just outside your window and stretch it as far out as desired. The entry point can be the window, making it easy to open and close.


A shot from indoors looking outdoors of a gray cat sitting in a catio lined with wire on a window ledge.

Image Source: Shutterstock – Image Credit: SvetMedvedeva


A brown mink cat lounging in their catio enclosure enjoying the sun from a perch above.

Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: ahloch


If you have a yard, you can give your cat a tunnel. A simple addition to the home, attach an elongated box that juts out into the yard for your cat to explore and get a 360-degree view of the elements. You can attach this to an existing cat door or add a cat door on an exterior wall.

For those with a larger space, or if you already have a patio set up, you can build out a catio like an extension on your home. Attach the large enclosure to the exterior and use either a window or cat door for entry. Use the structure to offer a multitude of options on the outermost walls, like shelves, ramps, and hammocks. Customize it with your cat’s favorite things, like scratching posts and pet-safe plants. You can even add a chair for yourself in there if you want!

For more ideas on caring for your pets, home maintenance, and more, visit the Living category of our blog: 

Windermere Blog – Living 


Featured Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: Moyo Studio

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Art Deco Interior Design

There are countless interior design styles to inspire your home décor efforts, but some stand out above the rest. Art Deco is one such style. Though its roots trace back to a specific period, its long-lasting relevance has given it the unique ability to feel vintage, modern, and timeless all at once. Whatever home décor goals you have in mind, going behind the curtain on the history and concepts of Art Deco will help inspire your efforts.

Art Deco Interior Design

Art Deco is a decorative take on modernist style from the early twentieth century. One look at interiors designed in typical Art Deco style immediately brings the elegance of the 1920s and 1930s to mind. Art Deco, like the Mid-Century Modern movement that followed it, went beyond just interior design; it encompassed fashion, architecture, the auto industry, and more. Driven by an appreciation for the modern machines of the time, Art Deco emphasized sophistication in a nontraditional sense.


Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: Nikada


Art Deco in Your Home

Art Deco can help to transform your home’s interior, but you don’t have to aim for a level of opulence Jay Gatsby would approve of to reap its rewards. The concepts found in modern adaptations of Art Deco can fit any budget, and the materials used to execute it are widely available.

Art Deco Concepts

Geometry is a cornerstone of Art Deco décor. You’ll often see spaces decorated in this style using geometric shapes like chevrons and sunbursts in parquet wood flooring and tilework. Rounded corners and smooth walls are principal architectural features. Mirrors are also central to an Art Deco aesthetic, helping to create symmetry without taking away from the rest of the room. Framed mirrors and mirror walls alike are popular features.

In the style of modern and minimalist decoration, Art Deco showcases a preference for uncluttered spaces with minimal furniture, letting the decorative elements shine. Optimal furniture pieces often come with mirrored and/or veneer façades, heavy lacquer, rounded edges, and circular designs. Go for bold colors when decorating, working from a neutral base. Silver and gold feel right at home in an Art Deco environment, as do alternative neutrals such as cream and beige.


Lilac color dining room in trendy art deco style with modern furniture, served table and chairs.

Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: Peter_visual


Art Deco Materials

Common materials include veneer, stainless steel, and chrome. Frames for a gallery wall and tableside lamps are great uses for gold and steel, which are two signature Art Deco materials. Making smaller ornate décor choices such as intricately framed mirrors and accent lighting fixtures will help to create a regal atmosphere while staying within your budget. 

Visit our Design Styles page to learn more about common interior design styles and how you can incorporate them into your home:

Windermere – Interior Design Styles


­­­­­­Featured Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: imaginima

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Simple Garage Makeover Ideas

For some homeowners, the garage is the focal point of their home. For others, it is simply a storage space or a place to park their vehicle. Regardless of how you use your garage, these simple garage makeover ideas can help keep you organized, boost your curb appeal, and increase your home’s value.

Simple Garage Makeover Ideas

Garage Exterior

The garage door is a natural starting point for your garage makeover. A garage door replacement is a surefire way to increase the value of your home and is a common tactic for drumming up buyer interest when preparing to hit the market. But even if you don’t have the budget for a full-scale replacement, a DIY garage door makeover can still make a big difference.

Repaint Garage Exterior

Begin by prepping your garage door for a fresh coat of paint. Clean and scrub the surface with warm soapy water. Scrape off any loose paint with a putty knife or wire brush. If scraping manually is too taxing for you, use a wire wheel brush tool. Rinse and clean the door, letting it dry completely before you begin painting.

Once you’ve covered your driveway with a tarp or plastic sheeting to protect it from paint spills, you’re ready to begin painting. Choose a complimentary color for your trim to tie together your home’s exterior color scheme. Check out different styles of garage door hardware options that match the style of your home, choose your layout, and install the pieces.


Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: hikesterson


Garage Interior

As you turn your attention to your garage’s interior, consider refinishing the floor first. By starting with the floor, you won’t have to continually shuffle your garage items around as you continue your makeover. If you’re considering converting your garage into a home gym, factor that in as you work on the flooring.

Start by fixing any cracks or holes with a basic patch kit. Once the surface is flat, sweep and mop from end to end. If you are removing a previous layer of paint, use a buffer to jar the old paint loose before repainting. Finishing your garage floor off with epoxy will help protect it from stains and damage. Apply two coats of epoxy twenty-four hours apart, followed by a sealing topcoat.

Organize Your Garage

In just a few steps, you can turn your garage from a cluttered oversized closet into an organized storage space. Start by taking inventory of the items in your garage. Do you have lots of tools? Is the space filled with sports equipment? Grouping like items together will keep your storage orderly. Next, decide where you would like to store your items. Overhead storage racks, rollers, and ceiling storage can significantly cut down on clutter, but these storage options are best reserved for infrequently accessed or seasonal items like holiday decorations and camping gear.

Keep frequently used items within reach. Magnetic wall panels are a great resource for your everyday tools and gardening equipment. Install shelving and drawers near your workbench to keep smaller hand tools, screws, and nails tidy and organized and add labels so you can keep track of them. If space is limited, consider a wall-mounted foldable workbench.


A hardboard hanging panel in a garage full of common hand tools like screwdrivers, measuring tape, scissors, duct tape, vice grips, etc.

Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: Bluberries


Add Finishing Touches

Now it’s time to put the final touches on your garage makeover. Though installation may require the help of a professional, adding electrical outlets will pay dividends for the functionality of your garage. Installing bike hooks on the ceiling will help to save floor space and may provide just the clearance you need to park a vehicle inside. Lastly, consider upgrading your lighting. Newly installed lights will add value to your garage and make it safer.

For more simple design projects that can give your home a makeover, read the following:

5 Design Projects to Improve Your Backyard


­­­­­­Featured Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: JodiJacobson

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The Footing Needs of Different Equestrian Disciplines

Horses are athletes, and athletes need proper support when they train. Owning an equestrian property comes with a long list of responsibilities and maintenance tasks, but at the end of the day, the property exists to serve its horses. The following information is a short guide to understanding which materials are typically used in different equestrian disciplines so you can ensure your horses have the support they need to train their best.

The Footing Needs of Different Equestrian Disciplines


To maximize your horses’ training, it’s pivotal that they feel traction when taking off, landing, accelerating, and making turns. Jumping footing needs to be soft enough to cushion landings but solid enough to support horses during takeoff. Materials commonly found in jumping footing include rubber, fibers, and sand. These durable materials fit the mold for what is a physically intense equestrian discipline.


Having the proper dressage footing will help to prevent injury amongst your horses and improve their performance. If your surface is too hard, it can create instability when your horses land, which will increase strain on their ligaments and joints over time. If it’s too soft, your horses will have to work too hard to spring up from the ground, overexerting their muscles. Aim for footing that’s the right combination of soft-but-not-too-soft and durable. Sand and felt or sand and silica are typically used for dressage arenas.

Barrel Racing

Like other disciplines, the perfect footing for barrel racing is a combination of traction and cushion. With fast acceleration and explosiveness at every turn, horses competing in barrel racing need proper support for optimum performance. Many equestrian property owners will use mixtures of sand, clay, wax coating, and synthetic fibers to coat their barrel racing arenas, often two to four inches deep. Compacted stone dust is also a common choice for a base, which allows for proper water drainage.


If your facility is a boarding facility, you may have several different disciplines being practiced in the same arena. If this is the case, you’ll want to go with a footing that can handle the variability while limiting dust and providing ample support. Footing blends comprised of angular sand plus short and long fibers will typically do the trick. As always, check that your footing is compatible with your local climate.

For more information on preparing your equestrian property and for answers to all your questions, connect with an Equestrian Advisor:

Windermere Equestrian Advisors


­­­­­­Featured Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: YinYang

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What is Gothic Revival Architecture?

If you’ve ever seen a home like the one in the photo above, certain words like “romantic” or “medieval” may have come to mind. The architectural style shown here is Gothic Revival, a unique branch of design that grew popular in the mid-19th century. Though it fell out of fashion shortly thereafter, this signature architectural style has left a lasting impression on home design.

What is Gothic Revival Architecture?

The most defining characteristics of Gothic Revival architecture are its pointed arches, steeply pitched roofs, intricate wooden trim, and its preference for vertical elements. As opposed to the horizontal nature of the rambler home style, Gothic Revival architecture reaches skyward. Gothic Revival also borrows elements of castles, such as towers with parapets and/or spires.

The architectural style eventually took on other variants. Victorian Gothic borrowed from elements of the Victorian era, and the North American adaptation Carpenter Gothic used a Gothic influence as the basis for a new style of home design popularized in the late 19th century.


Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: glasslanguage


A low angle shot of a three-story brick Gothic Revival home on a corner lot with a colorful garden. The corner of the house has a round tower with a pointed roof, calling back to rounded tower castles, with a rounded wrap-around porch underneath.

Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: fotoVoyager


Although Gothic Revival most naturally translated to larger buildings such as churches, mansions, prisons, and schools, the Gothic Carpenter style maintained many of the key characteristics that define the unique style with slight twists to accommodate for residential home life.

Beyond the vertical visuals, steep roofs, and arched doorways, residential gothic architecture also incorporated elements like board and batten wood siding, roof gables, ornate crown molding, and slim porch columns. Gothic-style homes are easily identifiable and much rarer than ubiquitous home styles such as craftsman, cottage, and mid-century modern.

To learn more about the different architectural styles, visit our Architectural Styles page.


­­­­­­Featured Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: akaplummer

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What is Row House Architecture?

Of all the alternatives to single-family detached homes that remain popular today, row houses may have the longest history. Some of the oldest and largest cities on the East Coast such as New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia still have row houses in great numbers. These iconic structures have served as the backdrop for some of America’s most beloved TV shows, including Full House and Cheers. Given their storied history and prime location, row houses represent the best of the past and the present in home design.

History of Row Houses

Since their beginning in the early 1600s, row houses have presented an economical solution to housing for home builders. They allowed builders to divide a plot of land into different living units that increased the number of tenants on the property. In the 19th and 20th century, the easy-to-build and inexpensive nature of the housing style fit the building demands of the era, and they proliferated throughout what are now some of the country’s most popular metropolitan areas.

Difference Between Townhouses and Row Houses

There are slight differences between townhouses and row houses. Row houses share a common façade along a street, whereas townhouses may be grouped throughout a development. Row houses have a consistent roofline and share a common wall, whereas townhouses may not adhere to the same uniformity of height and width.

Both types of housing may be governed by a Homeowners Association (HOA), which lays out guidelines for property upkeep and maintenance, enforces restrictions on making addition/remodels, and charges monthly fees that go toward the community’s shared spaces, property maintenance, and amenities.

One well known variety of row houses is the “brownstone.” As the name suggests, brownstones’ signature exterior is a mixture of sandstone that produces a dark brown color. Brownstones are commonly found in historic districts throughout New York City, such as Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Harlem.


Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: Terraxplorer


Row Houses and the “Missing Middle”

Row houses, along with duplexes, courtyard apartments, and other similar housing types, were constructed in great numbers prior to World War II but are now far less commonly built. The term “Missing Middle” was first coined by Opticos, a team of urban designers and strategists who realized that this type of housing was largely missing in today’s market. In an episode of Monday with Matthew, Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner explained how these “missing middle” housing types can improve housing affordability:

“And the key function of this type of housing is to meet the rising demand for walkable neighborhoods, respond to changing demographics, and provide housing at different price points. You see, rather than focusing on the number of units in a structure—think high rise apartments or condominiums—this type of housing emphasizes scale and heights that are appropriate for and sympathetic to single-family or transitional neighborhoods.”

For more information on the various architectural housing styles, visit our Architectural Styles page.


­­­­­­Featured Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: benedek

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Contemporary Interior Design

Although there are certain fundamental principles to contemporary design, it is constantly evolving. While other interior design styles are often rooted in a specific period, contemporary design is set in the present. What’s popular now is what’s popular in contemporary design. Its ability to remain timeless is what gives contemporary design its greatest quality—it never goes out of style. Learn a bit more about contemporary design to find ways to incorporate it into your home.

What is contemporary interior design?

Contemporary style is characterized by clean lines, state-of-the-art materials, and a preference for openness over ornamentation. These tenets go hand in hand with the philosophies of modernism and minimalism, but contemporary design simply dips its toes in these other design styles without relying on them too heavily.

The aesthetic of modern construction lends itself well to contemporary design. Industrial spaces and open rooms with high ceilings and large windows help to deliver a magazine-quality contemporary look. But even if your home isn’t tailor-made for contemporary design, you can still curate it.


Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: vicnt


Contemporary Design in Your Home

The simplest way to incorporate contemporary design philosophy into your home is to let the natural architectural elements show. Let your exposed wooden beams and brick walls shine, decluttering the spaces around them to make them the focal point. This can make your spaces feel empty at first but remember; contemporary design is all about opening things up to effectively apply decorative details.

Choose modern furniture with clean lines and solid-colored fabrics. In the kitchen and bathroom, chrome and metallic surfaces will reinforce a contemporary aesthetic. When decorating, start with a neutral foundation (white, grey, and black) and add bold accent colors on top. The timeless appeal of a hardwood floor makes it a fitting choice for achieving contemporary style, while textured textiles in natural fabrics will help to liven up your spaces.

Stone, metal, and glass mix well in contemporary design, often combined in the selection of living room sets, decorative centerpieces, and kitchen/bathroom design. Large pieces of art, accent walls, and bold decorations help to broaden the color palette of contemporary spaces. You are free to choose bold, impactful hues from across the color spectrum in your decoration.


A living room area characterized by a neutral-colored contemporary interior design style. White walls host large neutral art in black frames. An off-white sectional couch with pewter heathered pillows and a grey blanket sit in the corner, with 2 wood and white marble round coffee tables. On the left is an angular seat with matching wood frame and cream-colored cushions. Above is a metal and dark glass light fixture. Open concept is implied with a black metal table in the back on the left against the wall, with metal lamps, glass reed infuser, and metal candle holders.

Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: AleksandraZlatkovic


The Differences Between Contemporary and Modern Design

Whereas contemporary design is centered on what is popular during the present, modern design is rooted in a specific time period. Modern design dates back to at least the early twentieth century, which evolved into mid-century modern during the 1950s.

Modern design typically has earthier colors and a general preference for wood, whereas saturated colors and metals/glass are more at home in contemporary design. Choosing modern design means you’re choosing to make decorative variations on a theme, whereas the theme of contemporary design is always changing, so you never know where it might lead.

Visit our Design Styles page to learn more about common interior design styles and how you can incorporate them into your home:

Windermere – Interior Design Styles

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Windermere Living: Closet Curation

This article originally appeared in the Summer/Fall 2022 issue of Windermere Living

By Amanda Zurita | Photography by Victoria Kovios

Closet Curation

Turn your wardrobe into your personal boutique with these professional “editing” tips.

Iris Miyasaki was born an organizer. Growing up in Hawaii in a Japanese American family, minimalism was part of her life. “In school, my binders were always very organized and color coded,” she says. “People found it amusing, but it was just how I functioned.” Today, she puts that passion for order and organization to use as a professional wardrobe curator and stylist under her Seattle-based brand Wardrobe by Saki ( Here are her tips for curating a captivating closet and finding ease through editing.

How does editing your closet differ from other decluttering trends?

Decluttering is the first step of purging, more of a first run-through to get rid of things you truly don’t need. Editing and curating, however, is where I bring in a styling aspect to organization and understand how my clients are using the pieces in their closets.

For example, perhaps a client has a sweatsuit that they wear all the time. In the decluttering phase, they’re not going to get rid of it. But, when it comes to editing, I ask questions like, “Does this outfit make you happy? Do you want to put this on every day?” If no, then we’ll work to find something better. Oftentimes, once you’ve relived the story of a piece, you’ll realize that the memory is in your heart and not solely attached to an item—so it’s easier to let go of.

What goes into making an “Instagram worthy” closet?

When you can see all your clothes, shoes, and accessories, you’ll want to use them more. I focus on creating a visual palette for my clients, whether that means organizing by color, silhouette, or types of items. The idea is to create a closet they’ll want to “shop” in.

Your closet is your personal store. If you don’t love it, if you wouldn’t shop in that store, you aren’t going to pull things from it. From a technical standpoint, it’s important to be consistent with your storage colors and textures. And you don’t have to fill every single space. In fact, negative space opens up breathing room for your things.

Aside from the visual aspect, what kind of emotional impact can editing a wardrobe have?

You interact with your closet every day, so when you’re able to utilize that space in the most efficient way, it just takes a weight off your shoulders. Rather than combing through clutter, you can have peace of mind knowing, “OK, all my things are right here and I love each one of them.” That kind of foundation helps you to feel at ease going through the rest of the world. A curated closet offers a sense of calm and contentment.

What’s your advice for parting with meaningful items that you may not be using frequently?

I like to ask my clients: Have you used this within the past year or year and a half? Fashion trends change, and what you like changes. Your body changes. So, if you haven’t worn something in the past year, maybe it’s time to part. When it comes to sentimental pieces, I find it helps to talk about the memories associated with them.


Read the full issue here: Windermere Living Summer/Fall 2022

­­­­­Windermere Living is one of the top real estate magazines on the West Coast, offering carefully curated editorial that reflects our passion for community, connection, and inspired living alongside exceptional homes on the market. Windermere Living is the exclusive listings magazine published by Windermere Real Estate in partnership with SagaCity Media.

Featured Image Credit: Victoria Kovios

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What is Colonial Style Architecture?

With its grand stature and signature look, Colonial architecture hearkens back to the nascent days of British settlement on American soil. Since then, the classic home style has seen waves of renewed interest, giving rise to multiple variations on the colonial theme. Today, they remain a popular choice for homeowners throughout the Eastern and Southern United States.

History of Colonial Style Architecture

Like the Cape Cod home style, the roots of Colonial architecture took shape as European settlers made their way to American shores and began to develop their homesteads. A century later amid the country’s centennial celebrations, a new wave of interest in colonial homes took hold. This gave way to the Colonial Revival period, which saw architects and home builders molding the settlers’ early home designs into something more suited for the needs of modern life. Several variations were born during this time, including Georgian, Dutch, French, and others.


Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: korisbo


What is Colonial Style Architecture?

Colonial homes are easily identifiable, with symmetric and traditional exteriors that allow their signature characteristics to stand out. Their spacious interiors prioritize comfort, with common living areas and bedrooms typically located on different stories. Here are some common elements of colonial home design.

  • Symmetrical façades and windows with a central door
  • Shuttered windows for protection against the elements
  • Rectangular shape with either a central or double chimney
  • Built of brick, wood, or stone, depending on the region and era of construction
  • Pitched roofs with side gables
  • Front porch columns, typically framing the door
  • Grand entryways
  • Living spaces on ground floor, bedrooms located throughout second or third stories
  • Hardwood floors
  • Decorative moldings

To learn more about the various home styles from A-Frame to Victorian, head to our Architectural Styles page.


­­­­­­Featured Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: lillisphotography

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What is Mid-Century Modern Architecture?

The mid-century modern movement’s impact on design reaches far and wide. Whether it’s graphic design, architecture, interior design, product development or elsewhere, we see traces of its influence in countless aspects of everyday life today. Mid-century modern homes are known for their signature look and stylistic appeal. Here’s a short guide to understanding the characteristics behind mid-century modern architecture.

Mid-Century Modern Design

Yes, mid-century modern interior design and mid-century modern architecture are two separate things. The interior design style emphasizes clean lines and minimal decoration, the use of natural elements as accents, and a base of neutral colors for decorating. MCM interior design can exist in any type of home regardless of its architectural style, and is often a popular source of inspiration for decorators fond of vintage elements and popular mid-century furniture pieces such as credenzas, teak desks, Eames chairs, etc.

What is Mid-Century Modern Architecture?

Mid-century modern architecture is the exterior counterpart of its interior design branch. Fueled by a massive need for suburban homes throughout the Unites States in the post-World War II era, the stage was set for mid-century modern’s introduction to the masses. Some of the greatest minds in modern architectural history helped develop and proliferate its presence in society, including Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright. Though you’ll find unique variations within mid-century modern, there are certain tenets of the architectural style.

  • Mid-century modern homes have flat roofs with straight lines. This clean geometric approach in roof design is part of a larger philosophical ideal that these homes should blend in with their outdoor environments, thereby working in harmony with nature.
  • Glass is used heavily, and floor-to-ceiling windows are a common feature, especially in the living room.
  • The minimalist approach to exterior design is showcased in the easy access to outdoor spaces and the fact that mid-century modern homes are often one-story buildings.
  • The open spaces created by this architectural style allow for intentional decorating and the use of color splashes to bring energy into them. Mid-century modern interiors often incorporate vibrant, warm colors on top of a calmer, neutral foundation.


For more information on home design, read our guide to industrial design:

What is Industrial Design?

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