Aspen has always been a year-round destination for tourists, gastronomes and sports enthusiasts. In this past year, however, the vacation spot has experienced an influx of new homebuyers looking for a healthier, more engaging outdoor lifestyle.

With this new influx of residences — predominately millennials and Gen Xers — it raises the question of what these new luxury homebuyers are looking for in their new Aspen-Snowmass homes? From the use of natural elements like daylight, plants, water and exposed wood to transitional outdoor spaces, here are some design trends we are likely to see more of in the near future.

Sustainability appears to top the list of domestic architecture and interior design trends for 2021. Writing for Bloomberg Businessweek, Jackie Davalos notes that millennials now “represent the largest share of homebuyers in the U.S.”

Because millennials waited longer to purchase property, “It’s not uncommon for the first purchase … to be a million-dollar luxury home.” Given this, Davalos writes that “millennials are quickly becoming a dominant force in high-end real estate.” In addition to luxury amenities and sprawling grounds, millennials are looking for sustainable spaces that work with the natural environment. Recent Pew Research Center polling found that millennials are far more likely to take action against climate change than Gen X and boomer generations.

For years, millennials have demonstrated a willingness to spend more time, money and energy on sustainable goods and services. As such, it makes complete sense that the largest block of homebuyers would push for passive home design. Quoted in an article for ELLE Decor, Tura Cousins Wilson of Soca Studio says homeowners now expect “homes [to] be more eco-friendly.” Luxury buyers — particularly those in stunning natural locations like the Aspen-Snowmass area — want homes that are “net-zero.” They want spaces that “emit lower amounts of carbon” and include “more sustainable” building materials, appliances, lighting and more.

With luxury homebuyers planning to work remotely well into the future, a second design trend is that homes must be more “livable.” Amanda Lauren agrees, writing in an article for Forbes that “we’ll be seeing less minimalism” in coming years. Lauren notes that “less isn’t more when there’s a pandemic.” When most of one’s time is spent at home, less is simply boring. As such, Lauren expects the “minimalist trend… [to] give way to more layered, collected and eclectic spaces” that are far more expressive and engaging.

A third trend is multifunctionality. Homes in America are changing and that’s also true in resort areas like Aspen and Snowmass. There are now more multigenerational households than ever before just as there are more remote workers.

As such, what homeowners need from our homes has evolved. Because of this, multifunctional spaces are now taking the lead in luxury home design, Jennifer Tzeses and Oliver Deadman explain in a recent article for Mansion Global. Following the pandemic, Tzeses writes that “multi-hyphenated spaces are the new norm.” Quoting Oliver Deadman, Tzeses notes that “no longer is the home a sacred space where one simply relaxes and unwinds.” Now, luxury homes “‘must work in a multifunctional way.’”

The fourth trend we’re seeing across the country — but especially in resort towns — indoor-outdoor living has become a “must-have” for homeowners. In the Aspen-Snowmass area, homeowners are lucky enough to enjoy the outdoors all year round, with snow sports in the winter and hiking, biking, golf and tennis in the summer. Homeowners would like to see this lifestyle reflected in their homes. To achieve this, homeowners and buyers are looking to create luxury outdoor spaces from outdoor fireplaces to outdoor dining, living rooms and professional cooking spaces.

Last on our list is biophilic architecture and interior design which is designed with natural elements. After months of mounting anxiety over the coronavirus, many homeowners and buyers have turned toward nature as a means of improving their health and happiness. The idea that nature supports human health is backed by science. In his article “Ecopsychology: How Immersion in Nature Benefits Your Health” for Yale Environment 360, Jim Robbins explains that “a growing body of research points to the beneficial effects exposure to [nature] has on health, reducing stress and promoting healing.”

Architecture and interior design trends are constantly adapting to new environmental influences from technology to life during and after a pandemic. As existing luxury homes are renovated and new ones are built in the Aspen-Snowmass area, expect to see these five design elements appear more often.

Lori and William Small are recognized luxury and commercial real estate experts with Coldwell Banker Mason Morse in Aspen. They can be found through their website or by email at [email protected].