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3 More Tips for Developing & Designing Multi-Family Housing Projects

Today, we are continuing our series on Tips for Developing and Designing Multi-Family Housing projects. Whether you are a commercial General Contractor, Interior Designer, Architect or Developer, our easy-to-implement tips might help you to brainstorm your approach to your next project.

Missed the first post? No sweat. You can find it here.

Design Idea: Blur the Lines Between the Indoors and Outdoors

Whether it's barbecuing by the pool, or hosting a birthday party on the lawn, tenants utilize outdoor spaces as an extension of their homes. Having artfully designed and highly functional outdoor areas is a major value-add for residents. Plus, let's be real: these spaces are also just downright fun to design and build!

Get creative with the furniture

It doesn't have to be the same old boring old patio sets that you see everywhere- including your Grandma's house. Mix it up with fresh seating and socializing arrangements. For example, outdoor drink rails are a great way to visually divide up the space, while still serving a practical space for tenants to mingle.

Likewise, family style communal tables or modern picnic tables can pack a design punch, while still being entirely functional and practical for the space.

Create a cozy space with a firepit. This feature not only enhances the overall design and atmosphere, but it also creates a focal point for family and friends to gather.

Black Hound Design Company loved creating these modern patio pieces (below) for a well-known Denver establishment.

Don't underestimate the sun

Summertime means beautiful warm days, but it also can be a real scorcher! Think about shade protection- and your residents will thank you! Whether it be giant outdoor umbrellas, colorful shade sails or cabanas, having a place to escape the sun's rays is particularly thoughtful and welcome. Bonus: each of these elements can contribute to the overall design of the space. A shade sail is a great place for a bold color splash. And a cabana can be dressed up with pretty lights.

Using these design trends, developers, designers and architects have transformed outdoor living, and created the central hub of entertaining and socializing for their residents.

Design Idea: Up the Fun Factor

Gone are the days of a tired, drab clubhouse that's filled with worn board games and dated furniture. In today's fresh multi-family developments, the Clubhouse is elevated and takes a center stage in the community. These spaces- created just for relaxing and entertainment- are at the heart of multi-family communities, serving as extension of the tenant's townhome, condo or apartment. ⁣⁣

While resident's expect media and gaming equipment (large flatscreen tvs, etc), they also want active and comfortable spaces to let loose with family and friends. Consider retro games and activities. For example, Black Hound Design Company built a beautiful, huge shuffleboard table for a game room. We also just recently delivered an awesome custom ping pong table to a multifamily housing complex in Denver's Cherry Creek area. These showpieces stand out in the clubhouse and immediately position the space as active, fun and lively.

Oversized furniture works well in a clubhouse, as residents want to be comfortable and relaxed. Think about large pieces with ultimate cushioning and pillows. Make the space welcoming and inviting, so that they can hang out for hours.

A well-designed clubhouse can literally seal the deal for a prospective tenant. They need to be able to imagine themselves hosting parties and events in this important space, and recognize how it will add-on to their apartment space. A major value-add, indeed.

We worked with the talented team at Studio 4 D on this multi-family clubhouse for Incline 45 in Denver. The multiple textures and patterns make the entire space pop, while showcasing its functionality and easy of use.

Design Idea: More than the Average Gym

Fitness Centers at the hottest multi-family developments go way beyond the usual ellipticals, treadmills and stationary bikes. Instead, these areas now have saunas, steam rooms and even spa services. Likewise, separate rooms are common in the best developments, where residents can take a pilates class, crossfit or spinning. What about a beautifully designed space just for yoga classes? Or a juice bar?

Whatever the amenities might be, the space must be thoughtfully and artfully designed. Go beyond the typical wall of mirrors and neutral color pallets seen in gyms everywhere. A Fitness Center is a great place for bold, inspiring colors like blues and yellows. And why not bring in some texture, like decorative metalwork or interesting tiling? Consider some oversized black and white photography on the walls. Create a motivational space that sets the Fitness Center apart from the average gym.


In the competitive landscape of multi-family housing development, user-focused design is crucial to standing out. Consider the design ideas below to attract your ideal tenant, and make them eager and excited to sign a lease.


What design tips do you have for multi-family housing? Share below in the comments!

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