Escape Tradition Exteriors: Unveiling the Designer Mixed-Materials Look


Breaking free from the traditional – and often bland – exteriors of long-established homes, the designer mixed materials look is a both an exterior and interior representation of modern, sophisticated functionality.

And it’s no fad. Research from James Hardie suggests only one in three people who’ve built in the past five years (or plan to do so in the near future) want brick cladding or veneer facades. Instead, they’re using cladding and colour to create contrast, layers and focal points for a truly unique, designer home.


One of the biggest trends in the designer mixed materials look is shapes. A far cry from the traditional brick-and-mortar shapes of decades past, this sharp look is all about a striking visual from the outset.

For example, Jordan Walker from Odyssey Studios says, “Designers are trending towards using neutral, linear shapes as a backdrop for irregular geometry or a wild change of material.”

This feeds into the modern design tactic of using new materials, especially premium cement cladding, to create strong and prominent shapes. The best part is that these materials are typically lightweight, so designers can play around with unique rooflines and unusual shapes while still making it suitable for open-plan areas, and even overhangs – which would be impossible with heavier products.

One final hallmark of a designer mixed materials exterior is the facade. Typically, with a traditional Australian home you’ll see brick cladding or veneer facades, but now home owners are embracing articulated and cantilevered facades.

matrix-stria-mixed-cladding-williamstown-james-hardie_6 When it comes to the Designer Mixed-Materials look, it’s all about playing around with shapes and challenging the boundaries!


The best part about the designer mixed materials look is that there’s a wealth of variety at your fingertips – you’re not locked into a single style. The Matrix™ Cladding range, for example, delivers visually resplendent rectangular panel arrays for feature walls or to highlight unique architectural forms.

These come in brick, vertical, horizontal or square panel layouts, each offering an individual exterior that will always achieve the look you want.

If strong vertical lines are essential to your designer home but you want to soften the industrial look that often follows it, the Axon™ Cladding range offers precisely grooved sheets that mimic the detail of vertical joint timber – without the hassle and maintenance.


You needn’t have a large block of land to build your ultimate home with a designer look. Bring the mixed materials aesthetic indoors by using a combination of textures and finishes across all rooms – bathrooms, kitchen, bedrooms, living areas and more.

‘Matchy-matchy’ has gone the way of the dodo and the designer mixed materials appeal is no longer a trend, especially inside the home – it’s a deliberate shift in mainstream design.

There are three ‘rules’ of mixed materials and they go against the traditional norms:

  • Don’t choose one finish and use it on every fitting and every piece of hardware throughout your home. Mix things up.
  • Don’t build all your furnishings around one beautiful piece of furniture. Mix things up.
  • Don’t always stick to the brief. Be free to deviate from the original plan, incorporating a variety of different styles, furnishings and looks to create something uniquely you. Mix things up.

For inner-city homes that may not have an overwhelming freedom of space, Sycon™ fibre-cement cladding can be applied directly onto your frames, opening up your interior living space.


As Jordan Walker says, “Every great home should be a celebration of its owners and occupants, so don’t be afraid to stamp your personality on it!”

So, take into account a few different factors: your lifestyle, the environment around you (is your home surrounded by lush greenery, in a concrete jungle or set in the heart of bushland?), and of course your personality.

Rather than choosing a ‘set’ style, buyers and builders alike want a modern designer look that encapsulates a number of different styles. Lean, angular lines are common throughout, as are typically monochrome palettes and open-plan spaces. On the out are balustrades and eaves, leaving room for statement exterior pieces that truly set your home apart.

It’s all about what you want out of your home. And with designer mixed materials, you can make almost any dream a reality.


  • All about combinations of materials: Cladding, steel, wood and plywood work very well together.
  • Textures: A mix of different textures eliminates any risk of looking traditional or ‘boring’, always providing a sharp architectural design.
  • Practicality is key: Certain cladding materials are compliant with strict bushfire regulations – so they don’t only provide a stunning look, but also act as a safeguard against fires.
  • Authentic: Timbers, metals and stone are gritty, resilient and honest materials that partner well with a variety of exterior products.

Whether you’re looking to build a truly unique home or want to elevate your current property with standout cladding, colour, facades and more – a designer mixed materials look could be the ultimate solution.

Share :