Stop, Hammer Time! Embrace The Multi-Family Reno Wave

by Beth Arokoyo | IIDA, NCIDQ | Project Manager, Senior Designer

As the momentum in new construction slows down, it’s time to take a breather and redirect our focus toward something equally thrilling – renovations! In this blog, we’ll delve into why renovations are the next big trend in the housing industry and explore ways to stay ahead of the curve in 2024.

The Current Landscape:

The new multifamily construction boom slows down, and renovations rise as interest rates and lack of single-family home inventory drive the continued need for rental options in many communities across the country.

Outlook for 2024 – “Freddie Mac multifamily 2024 outlook projects an expected gross income growth of 2.1% for the year” (1)  

Now is the time to move forward with renovations to stay competitive with the onslaught of new multi-family housing that occurred post-pandemic, with many projects slated to complete in 2024.

Designing For Tomorrow:

  • Think lobby designed like a business travel focused hotel.
  • Think model apartment set up for work from home
         – 79% of remote capable workers are remote or hybrid while only 21% work on-site full time (2)
  • Think Gen Z (3)

To stand out in a sea of apartments, thinking creatively is essential. Imagine a lobby like a business- hotel, model apartments tailored for remote work, and spaces designed with Gen Z in mind. The key is to offer multi-functional amenities, maximizing every square foot and appealing to the diverse needs of tenants. Finding a design partner that can get creative with existing conditions and maximize impact with lighting, FF&E, and artwork is key to upgrading without major disruptive renovation.

Thought starters in 4 key areas for creating purposeful design in multi-family housing:


  • Heads down space
  • Plenty of plug-ins for charging
  • Flexibility from day to night use
  • Consider glare/lighting details
  • Acoustics – layering soft elements (area rugs, upholstered furniture, window treatments, ceiling acoustical elements)
  • Availability of snacks & drinks (coffee bar)
  • Consider backgrounds for Zoom calls
  • Amazon delivery accommodations in the mailroom
  • Apartment size to include space for traditional desk
  • Use of casegoods, like Kimball Alterna, in apartments for unit turns
    – faster, easy installation, tax depreciation benefits



  • Memorable common spaces with bold design choices
  • Access to concierge team
  • Great Wi-Fi
  • Automated services & access to various amenities through technology
    – Key alternative – mobile access to rooms, fitness room, mobile pay for snacks, coffee, and optional upgraded services like onsite drop-in childcare, dog walkers, cleaning services
  • Universal design considerations
    – Main audience is Gen Z, but consider all potential ages
    – Older adults
    – People with young children
    – People with different abilities 


  • Water bottle filling stations
  • No throw-away plastics in café spaces
  • Use of recycled materials
  • Electric vehicle charging stations
  • Car sharing availability
  • Community garden
    – Sharing veggies & herbs with neighbors 


  • Outdoor spaces
    – If in more urban area utilize rooftop space
    – Consider weather
    – Offer shade
    – Outdoor power
    – Year-round use with heaters
    – Multiple seating options for various needs
  • Bike rentals in spaces with safe access to trails or bike lanes
  • Consider on-site massage partnering with a local massage school for discounted rates
  • Peleton subscription included in rent
         – Bikes in fitness room with views no views are available, use murals of nature scenes as the second best option and simulate natural lighting when windows aren’t optional
  • Community building event planning
         – Weekend meal-prep or cooking class event in open kitchen space
         – Volunteer opportunities
    • Collect donated items and deliver to local food pantries or clothing
    • Tutoring
    • Knowledge sharing
      – Language
      – Knitting/sewing
      – Cooking

 By focusing on purposeful design in multi-family housing, you’ll attract new tenants and create a community that stands the test of time.

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