: Live COVID-19 updates. Find out more

7 secrets of modern townhouse design


June 29, 2020 6min read

When you think of a townhouse you may be drawn to conclusions such as too small, too narrow, too cramped… the list goes on. While that may have been the case with outdated inner-city terrace housing, these days townhouse design is all about versatility, open-plan spaciousness and prioritising functionality, while still offering homeowners all the perks of a low maintenance lifestyle.

Generally the perfect fit for blocks under 300 squares, there’s a few tips and tricks specific to townhouse interior styling that will ensure you get optimal use out of space in your new home.

1. Zone your open plan layout effectively

When we talk about ‘zoning’ an open plan space, we’re referring to the use of different furnishing elements to create and separate distinct zones with different purposes, such as the kitchen and lounge areas.

So, what’s the best way to achieve this? Porter Davis Lead Interior Designer, Patrizia Romeo, recommends starting by defining the dining area and family room and then furnishing accordingly.

“It’s generally most convenient to place your dining table and chairs adjacent to your kitchen and island bench area, then let that flow into the lounge area,” she says.

“Ground your family zone with a large rug and consider your sofa placement carefully. If you want to open up the space, place it against a wall and use your coffee table to distinguish the zone from a walkway. You can also direct traffic flow by placing your furniture as borders, so that the living space faces away from the kitchen and dining.”

2. Make your statement with large artwork pieces

Patrizia says she is a big fan of feature artwork pieces when styling a townhouse interior, in order to create interest and maximise free space.

“Artwork is such a fantastic and simple way to add colour and character to a room, and to help define key areas of the home.”

When curating the perfect pieces for your space, Patrizia encourages making selections that resonate with your personal style.

“Artwork is a personal preference, so it’s important to select pieces that you can really relate to and that you enjoy admiring.”

“I would also recommend selecting these after you have furnished your home, to ensure continuity between rooms and consistency with your colour scheme.”

3. Incorporate stylish decor

Existing surfaces that may be under utilised form the perfect base for a centrepiece or interesting decor displays.

“Use surfaces such as the TV unit, coffee table and dining table to create a unique and interesting decor setting,” says Patrizia.

“You can use coffee table books, vases with greenery, candles, picture frames and so on! The options are endless.”

Patrizia also uses soft furnishings as a simple and effective way to tie everything together.

“Decorative items such as accent cushions, throws and rugs add a sense of warmth, while allowing you to convey your interior style beyond big furniture pieces.”

4. Create a study nook

There has never been a more crucial time to consider the functionality of your working from home space. As flexible working options increasingly become part of the new norm, it’s important to have a dedicated study that you enjoy spending time in and that is going to assist you in minimising distractions.

Patrizia offers a few tips in optimising this zone for comfortability and general wellbeing.

“Make sure you add a dedicated study desk solely for work, as well as a comfortable desk chair in your own secluded study nook, “ she says.

“Ensure your lighting is sufficient. You could add a table lamp or floor lamp to the space to help with this, or add decor such as greenery to lift the space. Plants have been proven to enhance overall wellbeing, so it’s important to incorporate them wherever you can.”

5. Incorporate symmetry

There’s nothing as satisfying to the human eye as some cleverly executed symmetry, and for those wanting to recreate this look at home, it’s as easy as carefully considered furnishings. 

“It’s human nature to be drawn to ‘order’, and symmetry helps achieve that sense of balance while giving the impression that every detail has been carefully considered,” Patrizia says.

“The easiest way to do this in the bedroom is by using bedside tables and lamps to frame a centrally-placed bed. For a bit of extra glam as well as somewhere to sit, place an ottoman at the end of the bed or an armchair to the corner of the room.”

6. Double your island bench as a breakfast bar

“When it comes to modern townhouse design, an island bench is a multi-purpose addition to your kitchen,” says Patrizia.

“Perfect for ‘zoning’ the kitchen, you can create your own breakfast bar by adding stools underneath so the family can sit and dine, or the kids can do their homework while you cook dinner. You can even use this bench space as a preparation zone or ‘nibbly table’ when entertaining family and friends.”

7. Personalise your space with accent colours

Last but not least, accent colours are the perfect way to add a personal touch to the interior of your new townhouse home. These are most effectively added through decor and furniture pieces, and it’s important to use just two or three to avoid overdoing it.

“When looking at accent colours, choose ones that compliment the white and neutral base colour palette such as blues, greens and lemon yellow,” says Patrizia.

“Beautiful and versatile colours like these give a resort-style Hamptons feel to the home, and are perfect for that little injection of bold colour.”

Want to see how one of our customers has styled their very own Hamptons townhome? Watch the video below!

Meet Lisa, a happy townhouse customer