James Hardie, the leading cladding brand in Australia, announces the release of its first annual research initiative, the Modern Homes Forecast 2024. This forecast represents a significant milestone in the company's ongoing commitment to understanding the lifestyles of Australians and how their products can revolutionise the design and construction of modern homes that cater to their evolving needs.

Combining desktop research, cutting-edge AI technology, and expert interviews with architects, designers, and key industry journalists, James Hardie undertook a significant study of the trajectory of modern home design in Australia, conducted by research experts Fiftyfive5. This analysis led to the identification of seven distinct Modern Home styles that are shaping the contemporary housing landscape now and into the future.

Research on architectural features and exterior and interior design trends was gathered from thousands of individual sources, including more than 28,340 posts from over 200 of the world’s most renowned designers and influencers. This was analysed alongside more than three million search terms.

What they found

In examining the housing design landscape, it was necessary to first understand the external drivers of change — the global and local forces that influence the way we want to live, and therefore, the direction of residential design.

On a local scale, Australia experienced a profound shift in family dynamics and living arrangements. Couples without children are projected to become the most common family type over the next five years. Moreover, the cost of living and differing cultural influences have prompted people to embrace multigenerational living, with 20 per cent of Australians now residing in multigenerational households.

Regional migration in Australia has increased by 16 per cent from pre-COVID levels, accompanied by a growing dissatisfaction with city living, which rose from 10 per cent in 2020 to 14 per cent in 2023. This migration trend suggests a re-evaluation of lifestyle preferences and a potential resurgence in regional housing demand.

Despite a push back to the office, over 53 per cent of Australians are currently working from home, prioritising and upgrading home offices to meet evolving work-from-home needs. This trend reflects the changing dynamics of work and lifestyle choices in response to economic and cultural shifts.

The advent of the digitally native consumer has fostered an explosion of design trends and technology that help create their dream home. This technological landscape will see users demanding higher quality products and more choice and flexibility, driving innovation and customisation in housing design.

Climate change concerns see us reconnecting with nature while also needing more resilient buildings. The 2022 National Construction Code (NCC) requires all new Australian houses and apartments to meet an increased minimum energy efficiency rating of 7 stars under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) or BASIX in New South Wales.

There has been a notable shift towards an experience-driven economy, with many financially prioritising travel and hobbies. This thirst for new experiences, contrasted by economic pressures forcing individuals to spend more time at home, is shaping how homes are designed and utilised.

Amidst these shifts, there's renewed support for local manufacturing, driven by tightening regulations on construction standards. This resurgence emphasises sustainability, quality, and the importance of local economies in shaping housing design practices.

Adapting to these influences will be crucial for architects, designers, and homeowners alike as they navigate the evolving landscape of contemporary living.

The Modern Homes Forecast 2024 reveals seven enduring, popular and emerging Modern Home styles tailored to the unique geographic and cultural contexts of Australia:

Modern Farmhouse

Modern Farmhouse

This style is a contemporary expression of classical farmhouse architecture, combining multiple, interconnecting pavilions in Axon™ Cladding and Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding

Seamlessly blending traditional and contemporary elements, the Modern Farmhouse satisfies the desire for modern functionality while embracing the comfort of traditional design and craftsmanship. Neutral colour palettes, open-plan living, and the distinctive touch of black windows define this style, adding a striking contrast and a modern architectural flair to the timeless charm of the farmhouse aesthetic.

Box Modern

Box Modern

Clean horizontal lines from Hardie™ Stria™ Cladding contrast the panel layouts from Matrix™ Cladding and Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding to distinguish each box shape

The Box Modern style is characterised by large blocks or cube-shaped volumes that are stacked, intersecting, or arranged to form compelling, contemporary residences. It features large blocks or cube-shaped volumes that are stacked, intersecting or arranged to form residences.

Modern Heritage

Modern Heritage

Clean lines of vertical Hardie™ Oblique Cladding and the horizontal Linea™ Weatherboard help to distinguish each part of the home

Elevating traditional homes through sensitive restoration, bold renovation, and modern extensions, Modern Heritage balances old and new with streamlined, minimalist contrasts. This style embraces the junction of heritage and contemporary features, creating homes of timeless elegance while seamlessly integrating modern extensions to enhance functionality and style.

Mid-Century Modern

Mid-Century Modern

The Hardie™ Brushed Concrete Cladding embedded swept texture reminiscent of softly brushed concrete puts the focus on the building’s form and distinguishes the box shapes

Juxtaposing clean, geometric lines with organic shapes and bright accent colours, Mid-Century Modern homes evoke light-heartedness and optimism. Practicality and purpose define this style, which updates nostalgic elements with modernist sensibilities.



Traditional finishes such as Axon™ Cladding mixed with natural timber decking bring a sense of calm to walls of this courtyard

Combining Scandinavian functionality with Japanese minimalism, Japandi creates spaces that are minimal yet warm. Natural materials, neutral colours, and indoor/outdoor living characterise this style, promoting a deep connection to nature.



Large windows accentuate the length of the house. Combine with Hardie™ deck and large sliding doors to connect with nature

Inspired by Nordic minimalism and a connection with nature, the Barn style emphasises clean lines and craftsmanship. Pitched roof, open-plan living, and a dedication to natural materials define this style, creating homes of serenity and beauty.

Modern Coastal

Modern Coastal

The façade typically features crisp white cladding, such as Linea™ weatherboard or Axon™ Cladding, adding coastal charm without the maintenance of traditional timber

A contemporary take on traditional coastal design, Modern Coastal homes blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living. Crisp white weatherboards, wide stacking doors, and clerestory windows define this style, offering laidback luxury inspired by Australia's beach shack history.

Design Handbooks

To help homeowners articulate exactly what they want and support trade professionals to deliver their clients’ dream modern homes, James Hardie has produced Design Handbooks, offering comprehensive insights into each of the seven design concepts. These Handbooks showcase design features, material textures, colour palettes, and Hardie™ exterior cladding solutions, empowering homeowners and trade professionals to bring their vision to life.

James Hardie has curated a lineup of leading design professionals, matched perfectly to each home style, to offer their expertise and insights. These collaborations ensure that homeowners and trade professionals can seamlessly navigate the process of designing and building their dream modern homes.

Research findings will be presented at an event hosted by Interior Design expert, Neale Whitaker, and will feature a panel discussion of residential design experts who will share insights on social, economic and environmental influences that are transforming the way Australia builds.

Neale Whitaker explains, "I am thrilled to be part of the Modern Homes Forecast 2024 as it represents a forward-thinking exploration of contemporary living. James Hardie's dedication to understanding and shaping the future of how Australia builds, aligns perfectly with my passion for innovative design. Together, we are poised to inspire homeowners and industry professionals alike, fostering a new era of creative possibilities in modern living."

Image: Mid-Century Modern | Axon™ Cladding is ideal in either 133mm or 400mm groove spacing options; these vertical groove panels pay tribute to the wood panelling trend of the 1970s