6 designer-approved features for a low-maintenance home

Embrace these six features for a low-maintenance home that's easy to clean and navigate year-round

low maintenance home
(Image credit: L.Ercolani / Kitchen Architecture / Reform)

When faced with a myriad of design elements and considerations, designing a home can often feel like an overwhelming task. Yet one crucial but often overlooked aspect is selecting features that facilitate a low-maintenance home, whether through their durability, ease of cleaning, or enhancing the ease with which you navigate your space.

By integrating these highly practical elements and features, you can achieve a functional space with minimal maintenance requirements. Not only will this enhance your home's aesthetic appeal but it can also significantly minimize the need for frequent upgrades and cleaning.

With a few purposeful design decisions and home additions, you can create a low-maintenance space that doesn't compromise on style. 

Features to embrace for a low maintenance home

'The first thing to do is to define what low maintenance looks like for you and your lifestyle,' advises Ryan Carrigan, CEO and Founder of MoveBuddha. 'Be realistic about how much time and energy you have to spend on household tasks, and also how much you want to. You need to keep this in mind when making design choices, or buying items for the home.'

1. High quality, low maintenance materials

Kitchen with a grey island unit with hob and extractor fan over, with bar stools with plum upholstery.

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti)

'Sometimes, setting up a low maintenance space requires a bit of effort initially, but it is worth it in the long run. So opting for hardwearing, low maintenance materials is ideal,' says Ryan Carrigan.

Invest in high-quality materials

'One important aspect to consider for a low maintenance home is the use of high-quality materials. This includes everything from flooring and countertops to fixtures and appliances,' says Keith Sant, Founder and CEO of Kind House Buyers. 'By investing in quality materials, you can reduce the need for repairs or replacements in the future.'

  • Durable materials such as quartz countertops, porcelain tiles, and vinyl flooring offer longevity and require minimal upkeep compared to more delicate options like marble, hardwood, or even carpet. 
  • Better designs and finishes for kitchen and bathroom features can prevent leaks, rust, and mineral build-up.
  • 'Choose siding like brick, stone, or fiber cement over wood,' advises Adrian Pedraza, owner of The California Home Buyer. 'Wood siding requires frequent repainting and sealing, whereas inorganic siding materials hold up better to weathering and wear. Cement fiber siding can offer the look of wood with higher durability.'

Additionally, selecting high-quality timeless designs rather than trend-based pieces will mean you are less likely to want to update features regularly, and your home will maintain its value and appeal over time, saving you both time and money in the long run.

Opt for easy-to-clean surfaces

When picking materials, it is important to take into consideration their durability, ease of cleaning, and resistance to wear and strain. In the long run, this initial investment may prove to be profitable in the shape of a home that continues to be both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

  • Opt for low-maintenance kitchen countertops, such as those made from quartz or granite which are non-porous and resistant to stains and bacteria. 
  • Choosing tile or laminate flooring over carpet reduces the need for constant vacuuming and steam cleaning. These are also less delicate than hardwood, making cleaning a simpler task.
  • 'Selecting furniture upholstered in stain-resistant fabrics such as Crypton or Sunbrella, which repel spills and are easy to clean with soap and water, or a sofa with a removable and machine-washable slipcover can save you time and effort in maintaining its appearance,' advises interior designer and the founder of Halo Homebuyers, Jonathan Faccone.
  • Similarly, selecting furniture made of solid wood or metal rather than particleboard will reduce the amount of maintenance required for your items and ensure that they last longer.
  • When it comes to kitchen appliances, stainless steel is a great, low-maintenance option. Not only are these appliances stylish and modern looking, but their smooth, smudge-resistant surfaces make cleaning stainless steel appliances easier and quicker; unlike appliances with plastic or painted finishes, which show every fingerprint and splatter.
  • Additionally, Jonathan Faccone says: 'I recommend installing a kitchen backsplash made of materials like glass or stainless steel, which are easy to wipe clean and require minimal maintenance. These materials also resist stains and withstand heat, making them ideal for use in the kitchen. I would add that it’s important to avoid porous materials like marble or natural stone, as they can be more prone to staining and require regular sealing.'
  • Finally, Keith Sant recommends: 'When choosing finishes like paint and hardware, choose those with satin or semi-gloss finish, as they are easier to clean and more resistant to scuffs and stains. For hardware, choose finishes like brushed nickel or stainless steel, which are not only easy to clean but also timeless in design.'

2. Minimalist design

A cozy neutral-toned living room

(Image credit: STUDIO LIFE/STYLE)

Consider taking a minimalist approach to your home design. This not only creates a modern and peaceful atmosphere, but it also means cleaning and organizing are streamlined.

Being more intentional about which items belong in your space will likely lead to you keeping it this way, reducing the need for regular decluttering. It will also considerably cut down on the quantity of dust and grime that can accumulate.

Pavel Khaykin, Founder and CEO of Pavel Buys Houses adds: 'Decorating with neutrals throughout your home can help create a cohesive and low-maintenance look. A neutral color palette, including white, beige, and gray, not only provides a timeless aesthetic but also hides dirt and wear better than bolder colors. This can save time and effort in constantly repainting or cleaning walls, especially in high-traffic areas.' 

Smart Home Features

A small orange smart thermostat on a beige wall above a brown sood side boared with red and yellow flowers

(Image credit: Nest)

'Smart home technology has revolutionized the way we live, and it can also make a significant difference in creating a low-maintenance home,' says Keith Sant. 'With features like automated thermostats, lighting, and security systems, you can reduce the time and effort needed to maintain your home. Additionally, these features can also help save money on utility bills by optimizing energy usage and detecting potential issues before they become major problems.'

Smart home must-haves can be controlled remotely, reducing the need for manual adjustments and saving time on maintenance tasks. They are also ideal for anyone who needs a more accessible home, for example, for those with mobility issues. However, it is important to choose high-quality and reliable technology to avoid any potential technical issues that may require frequent maintenance.

Google Nest Thermostat | Was $129.99, now $113.99

Google Nest Thermostat | Was $129.99, now $113.99
This programmable thermostat comes in four colors and should be used with an Alexa for voice control.

4. Storage solutions

Closet, ensuite

(Image credit: Kitchen Architecture)

Another key aspect of a low-maintenance home is organization and storage. Without these, clutter can easily accumulate, making a space messy and disorganized, meaning it is harder to find items and use your space. By investing in storage solutions such as built-in cabinets, shelves, and closets, you can easily keep your belongings organized and out of sight.

Davin Eberhardt, Founder of Nature of Home, recommends opting for concealed storage solutions, such as furniture with hidden compartments or under-stair storage. 'These not only declutter spaces but also make cleaning more efficient by eliminating the need to dust or organize numerous items.'

5. Functional design

wood panelled ceiling and walls in japandi sitting room

(Image credit: L.Ercolani)

By designing with functionality in mind, you can create a more efficient and low-maintenance living space. This means choosing practical layouts that allow for easy movement and accessibility. 

  • Open floor plans create a sense of spaciousness, which can feel less cluttered compared to compartmentalized spaces. 
  • Consider how to enhance your home's traffic flow with the strategic placement of furniture. 
  • Streamline your storage solutions to make it easy to manage your belongings and find items when required. 

6. Proper insulation and ventilation

japandi bathroom with marble and wooden vanity and a small stool

(Image credit: Emily Lauren Interiors)

'Proper insulation can help regulate the temperature inside a home and reduce the strain on heating and cooling systems,' says Ana Coddington, lead interior designer for Archival Designs. 'When a home is well-insulated, it can also prevent moisture buildup and potential damage from mold and mildew. This can save homeowners from costly repairs and replacements down the line.'

'Installing exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens, as well as regularly changing air filters, can also greatly improve indoor air quality,' says Pavel Khaykin.

Investing in durable, easy-care materials, smart storage solutions, minimalist decor, and smart home tech will all make a big difference in creating a low-maintenance home. If accessibility is also a priority, consider future-proofing your home to make it a more user-friendly space for every member of the household.  

Lola Houlton
News writer

Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past six years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including practical household advice, recipe articles, and product reviews, working closely with experts in their fields to cover everything from heating to home organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.