Designers reveal the secrets to a low-maintenance home that practically takes care of itself

As our lives get busier and busier, the need for a stylish, low-maintenance home increases. Fortunately, significant innovations in this area make this easier than ever.

Designers embraced a new appreciation of how a home should be livable and pragmatic, as well as beautiful. The focus is now on spaces that aren’t consumed by daily wear and tear, stains and dust, but still look their best with a little intervention.

So, set aside interior design trends that don’t stand up to functional demands. Essentially, we are now looking for low maintenance decor to give us more time to enjoy it and less time to spruce it up.

Here are four ideas to make maintaining your home easier.

1. Design your home with sustainable materials

The secret to a low-maintenance space is the culmination of features that are not only aesthetically pleasing but highly practical. “A house may be made of shiny, plasticized objects and surfaces, but of sterile, polished materials [that have been in vogue a long time] require constant care and attention to maintain their beauty,” says Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen, founding partner of Norm Architects (opens in a new tab). Or in other words: collectively, we are tired and in need of materials that are inherently durable and low maintenance.

Take kitchen counters for example. Although beautiful, marble countertops have largely been replaced by modern composite alternatives. These styles, largely made from quartz, are stain resistant where marble stains easily and heat resistant where marble tends to crack under thermal shock.

Durability isn’t the only improvement. American brand Cupron (opens in a new tab) has developed a surface embedded with copper ions that claim to inhibit pathogens from spreading, reducing the need for constant cleaning or the use of harsh chemicals. A quartz countertop, like Caesarstone, also remains perfect for generations to come, not requiring the sealing and maintenance of stone or wood.

“Plus, this quartz-surfaced countertop is durable, flexible, scratch-resistant, and beautifully sophisticated,” says Mor Krisher, Caesarstone (opens in a new tab)is the head of design.

A kitchen with a white Caesarstone countertop

(Image credit: Caesarstone)

2. Choose smart, automated home maintenance systems

Advances in smart technology are also keeping our homes clean. Robot vacuums are hugely popular, but what about building one in your home? The emergence of central vacuum systems was a game changer – integrated into the structure of the house and with access through ducts and pipes installed inside the walls.

British brand VacuSystems (opens in a new tab) works by having a centrally located motor, which produces a vacuum capable of removing dust, dirt, metal, food and plastics. The only external element, a discreet hose connected to the inside can be easily hidden – the collected dirt goes into an external unit which is a removable bag.

3. Opt for low-maintenance flooring

You may have noticed a growing trend for cork flooring in homes, newly appreciated for their sustainable credentials. But we think its rise is also partly due to its low maintenance. “Designed to be extremely hard-wearing, its surface finish can protect the floor from the rigors of modern life,” says James Scully, Founder of Recork (opens in a new tab).

“It doesn’t shed any microfibers, which means it’s naturally antimicrobial and hypoallergenic, so it doesn’t harbor dust,” says James Scully, Founder of Recork. If you’re not sure about this flooring material, interior designer Ravi Vazirani (opens in a new tab)suggests avoiding classic wood planks and embracing stone or porcelain instead: “Marble or tile work well,” he says. “They don’t collect dust, ideal in a home that has pets and children.”

Cork floor in an open living room with a view to the outside

(Image credit: Urbane Flooring)

4. Choose textiles that do not accumulate dust and are easy to clean

Beyond the structural ideas, let’s take a moment to focus on interior design for modern living rooms. Linen and velvets are famous for their upkeep, especially if you have to dry clean them often. Fortunately, the world of microfiber – a durable fabric, like leather, ages better and looks stylish – has become as stylish as linen. Natuzzi Softech fabrics (opens in a new tab) are completely stain resistant while Love Your Home’s cream loop can withstand even coffee. Washing it off is as painless as a damp towel and a little soapy water. 10 points for convenience!

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