Livingetc's 10 best houses of the year

These are the houses that we think define the trends for how people decorate, and set the tone for how we want to live

marble kitchen with red surfaces and big island
(Image credit: Ruth Maria Murphy /Living inside)

Design seems to have reached unparalleled levels of creativity this year. I've seen creative studios transform minimalism, reinvent color rules and fill spaces with  details that create a sense of wonder and joy.

So these are the Livingetc's best houses of the year, based on which ones changed how I thought about design, which ones inspired me the most, and which ones had the most views on this site. 

It seems you all love minimalism, transitional style and architects - which works well, as I do, too! 

1. This townhouse in NYC

New York apartment designed by Noa Santos

(Image credit: NAINOA)

One of my very favorite designers, Noa Santos of NAINOA, took two years to transform this trad townhouse into a rather radical, sculptural space. Vastly tall ceilings, a staircase that has to be seen to be believed and all filled with furniture chosen by his incredible eye. Perfection.

See all this reimagined townhouse here.

2. This layered family home in LA

living room with green curved sofa pink walls and stripy coffee table

Design by LALA Reimagined

(Image credit: Roberto Garcia)

Superbly reimagining Hollywood Regency style for the 2020s, LA-based studio LALA Reimagined made me think newly about color this year. They took the grandeur and ageless sophistication the are is known for, and updated it to be softer, more welcoming, more fun. 

And this coffee table! So difficult to include a room as it's so dominating, but they incorporated it masterfully, making sure each color in each stripe appears elsewhere in the scheme. Clever.

See all of this elegant Hollywood home here.

3. This warmly minimalist house in London

minimalist kitchen with modern white cabinets and pine beams

(Image credit: Nick Dearden)

Minimalism is not about getting rid of everything. It's really a celebration of great things and great design. It's about choosing pieces and finishes and textures carefully because they're the best or the ones you love most, and not surrounding them with other things that detract from their beauty. 

That was the approach taken by the architect Grant Straghan of DEDRAFT for his own home, referred to as CG Residence, and now a masterclass in a decorative minimalism.

See all of this calming architect's house here.

4. This polished and luxe house in Ireland

marble kitchen with red surfaces and big island

(Image credit: Ruth Maria Murphy /Living inside)

Every surface gleams in this house created by Kingston Lafferty Design. And I loved its rich opulence and marbled walls so much it made the cover of our November issue (one of my favorite covers of the year). 

It's not understated, but its richness is tempered by the smart ways designer Roisin Lafferty has paired other textures with the shining stone.

See all of this spa-like space here.

5. This colorful apartment in Madrid

a hallway with timber paneling and tiled floors

(Image credit: German Sáiz. Design: Sierra + de la Higuera)

Primary shades of red, yellow, green and blue might sound like a challenging palette when it comes to decorating an apartment. But interior designer Inés Sierra knew how to do this in a way that just flowed for the owners of this Madrid apartment. 

But it was the floor tiles that got me. Having recently just sanded the original beams of my entryway it almost gave me decorator's regret, wanting to rip them out and cover with yellow zellige instead. Perhaps next time.

See all of this small apartment here.

6. This architect's apartment in Washington, D.C.

marble bathroom with deep veined brown walls

(Image credit: Jennifer Hughes)

More proof, if it were needed, that small spaces can feel luxe comes from this two bed apartment owned by architect Nicholas Potts. He used lavish color and murals and stones in such a way that it never feels anything other than cavernous. I particularly liked his approach for the mural outside of the modern bathroom, contrasting with the marble within.

True, 950 square feet isn't the tiniest of homes to begin with, but what he got into it is far greater than the sum of its floor plan.

See all of this luxe home here.

7. This incredibly calming house in Copenhagen

minimalist living room with grey concrete floor and mid century furniture

(Image credit: Christoffer Regild/Living Inside)

There is a  soothing neutral palette throughout Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen's house, as seen here in this minimalist living room. But there certainly isn't a lack of stuff. Well curated and even better decorated, this home take a monochrome apporach and stretches it as far as it'll go.

See all of this architect's home in Copenhagen.

8. This contemporary renovation in London

Modern London house in East London with colorful interiors

(Image credit: Anna Stathaki)

An early example of the curved island kitchen trend that has come to dominate this year, Kate Clare of Loud Archictects knows how to create a home in which to have fun.

A wet bar, a patterned powder room and an entryway floor to die for all set the scene where for a place where a party could always be moments away.

See all of this vibrant home here. 

9. This transitional-style home in Utah

grey living room with arched recesses and a large cream sofa

(Image credit: Amy Bartlam)

While warm minimalism has been one of the dominating interior design trends of the year, transitional style is emerging for 2023. It's a look that is less, well, minimal than minimalism, but no less curated, no less personal, and just as warm and wonderful.

It's about blending eras, taking the best of times gone by and mixing it artfully with the best of now. And Oregon-based interior design firm Light and Dwell did this to perfection here.

See all of this transitional-style home here.

10. This small apartment in Mexico City

a concrete staircase

(Image credit: Fabian Martinez (@fabianmml). Design: Chloé Mason Gray)

When faced with compact rooms with low natural light levels, it can be tempting to paint everything white and hope for the best. Yet, in this home in Mexico City, interior designer Chloé Mason Gray embraced the property's natural qualities with a dark, moody color scheme. 

She cleverly subverted everything we think we know about design and still managed to stop the lack of light being an issue. And of course, that staircase is stellar.

See all of this tiny apartment in Mexico City here.

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Pip Rich

The editor of Livingetc, Pip Rich (formerly Pip McCormac) is a lifestyle journalist of almost 20 years experience working for some of the UK's biggest titles. As well as holding staff positions at Sunday Times Style, Red and Grazia he has written for the Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times and ES Magazine. The host of Livingetc's podcast Home Truths, Pip has also published three books - his most recent, A New Leaf, was released in December 2021 and is about the homes of architects who have filled their spaces with houseplants.  He has recently moved out of London - and a home that ELLE Decoration called one of the ten best small spaces in the world - to start a new renovation project in Somerset.