March 23, 2021


Metro Mojo: Urban Aesthetics for the Sophisticated Suburbs

Moving to a new home, whether it’s a few miles or an entire time zone away, is an emotional experience that usually involves a combination of promises and potholes, igniting both hopes and fears. A shift in scenery can be even more pronounced when you’re transitioning from one environment to another, such as moving from the city to the suburbs. If you’ve acclimated to the verve and vibe of the metropolis, with its fast-paced rhythm and eclectic culture, it’s reasonable to expect a bit of culture shock when you set new roots in a quieter community that embraces its role as a refuge from the hustle and bustle.

If your next step involves an urban-to-suburban relocation, you’re not alone. Since early 2020, numerous surveys have shown a significant bump in the number of people who are moving from the cities to the suburbs. As a significant portion of the population shifts from one setting to another, it’s likely that some of the most prominent design trends and other aspects of city life will soon take root in suburban areas as well.

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To the 'Burbs

According to a recent Forbes article, “The relatively small percentage of people leaving major metros won’t materially affect those cities in the long-run, but the SMCs and suburbs they move to will benefit immensely from their arrival.” This is wonderful news for anyone who wants to preserve some of the look, feel and flavor they were used to in the city.

You may not be in a position to relocate a philharmonic orchestra, but there are a number of stylistic details you can incorporate to embody a touch of metro mojo in your new spaces. Here are a few tips for bringing urban flair to the ‘burbs as you also learn to embrace the suburban sophistication of your new stomping grounds:

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Trendy Together Spaces

Say what you will, there’s something magical about the communal component of urban living. From the broad and ever-changing landscape of a city’s varied enclaves to the quiet satisfaction you get after you’ve explored some of its hidden gems, there’s simply nothing like the shared experience of cosmopolitan culture. Even when you’re flying solo, there’s a distinctive feeling of togetherness that pervades the atmosphere, and it’s unique in every city on Earth.

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Photo Credit: MurrayFranklyn.com

To evoke this sense of shared, common experiences in a suburban setting, look no further than your favorite “together spaces.” Perhaps it’s time for your fireplace surround to soar like a skyscraper in a two-story, lofted living room. Or, maybe, the wall between the den and the kitchen needs to be reimagined as an indoor window.

For the indoor/outdoor transitional space between the kitchen and the patio, consider a pass-thru feature with a half-height opening glass wall. Truly, there are a number of trendy touches that can bring your multifaceted spaces together in a way that mirrors the flow of your favorite city spots.

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Cosmopolitan Customization

Cities are organisms unto themselves, in many ways, which means they’re constantly evolving and blending new features with established attributes. There’s a “never stagnant” energy that infuses every side street, arts district and high-rise neighborhood. It’s an environment of continual progression, from one block to the next, and each area has its own unique identity.

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There are a number of ways to imbue your suburban home with personality. From contemporary color palettes with striking color contrasts and sleek architectural details, to high-end fixtures and finishes, personalizing each space will help you make a statement for years to come. Along the perimeter walls, for example, enlarge the size of your windows to let more light in and incorporate a bright, linear stone profile to enhance the presence of that light within a space. In this way, you can take full advantage of the expansive sight lines that were in short supply while you lived in the city.

Whether it’s brass-colored hardware to enhance your kitchen cabinets or a statement lamp in the entryway, just a few thoughtful design enhancements can bring a chic, cosmopolitan vibe to your new abode.

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Embrace Your Outdoor Space

Minus a rooftop escape, you probably didn’t have as much landscape at your fingertips in the city, so this may be your real opportunity to shine. Whether your property has a dedicated yard of its own or shares common amenities with neighbors, the suburban locale provides an enticing array of options that might have been out of reach in the city.

Spruce up a shared courtyard with unique florals (in pots, if necessary) and a mural or other artistic embellishment that reminds you of a city park. If you’re fortunate enough to have some acreage of your own, perhaps a “secret garden” will give you that stumbled-upon feeling that reminds you of your first time in a rooftop garden.

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Finally, it’s important to equip your space for outdoor entertaining. As in the city, an evening under the stars has the same allure in the suburbs. Create a conversation space with elegant seating options around a fire bowl or outdoor fireplace, and you’ve set the stage for years of meaningful moments.

Whether your environment is urban, suburban, or something more rustic, the space you call home deserves to be personalized to your lifestyle and the needs of your family. Once this customization process comes to an end and the experience of moving from the city to the suburbs is a distant memory, hopefully you’ll be able to say you’ve enjoyed the best of both worlds.

At the end of the day, home is always what you make it. 

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