Mixing materials: Use contrasting textures to create a modern look


A home shouldn’t be static. As seasons change and years go by, design trends evolve. The best part about owning a property is that you can make any changes you desire, with millions of Australians renovating their homes and spending almost $10 billion a year in the process.

So if you’re ready for a change but aren’t sure where to begin, you might want to start with a simple yet popular theme and use mixed materials to define your own style. Here’s how.


Far from the traditional brick-veneer homes of yesteryear, there’s something about the modern look that screams contemporary, authentic and on-trend. We’re seeing many homeowners turn away from old-school design trends and instead trust their own instincts to create a stylish modern property that focuses on clean lines and open-plan living.

Using mixed materials is the building block of getting a true modern look. Not only does it create a visually striking scene from the street, but it allows you to harness a variety of materials to build a truly unique home unlike anything else.

What’s more, home owners who already have a modern-style home can take things to the next level by renovating – experimenting with textures to create an edgier, eye-catching look.



Testing new – and sometimes seemingly random – combinations of materials can be a great way to kick-start your modern-look renovation. Think outside the box and don’t be afraid to try something you’ve never seen before.

The Box Modern Look, for example, is defined by simple shapes stacked on top of each other (or side by side) and uses a smart combination of mixed materials and colours to set off the home’s façade. Yes, there are plenty of hallmarks inside and out according to the particular modern style you’re going for, but don’t get bogged down in the details – instead, use them as a jumping-off point to develop your own unique design.

Then it’s time to play with the actual textures. Think about all the different materials that can be used on your home’s exterior and even interior. Iron, steel, timber, brick – there’s no right or wrong choice, depending on your style. Then use those materials to create striking contrasts with geometric shapes, for example, and a colour palette that matches your lifestyle and surrounding environment.



James Hardie is the master of the modern look, and a variety of visually stunning – and hardwearing – materials can be employed in your next renovation or build.

Linea™ weatherboard is just as at home on a Hamptons-style property as it is on a minimalist design nestled in the heart of a bustling city. Paint it in dark colours for an intense contrast to neighbouring whites and creams. Best of all you get the brilliant weatherboard look without the time-consuming maintenance of timber.

Cladding is also key in a mixed-materials modern look. Axon™ cladding creates dramatic façades with clean, vertical lines, whereas Matrix™ cladding adds a bold, industrial aesthetic with geometric panels that offer something truly different.



Aside from the Designer Mixed Materials look where pure variety is the spice of life, there are several other design types that are taking the Australian property market by storm:

  • Mid-century Modern: This style focuses on glass, nature and simple silhouettes to achieve a look that is fully aware of its surroundings. Unobstructed elements showing how the property was built, such as exposed steel beams and cladding, are key to this design type.
  • Minimalism: Pared-back exterior, minimal joints and lines, large expanses of glass for natural lighting – it’s all about being simple yet striking with a minimalist home design.
  • Modern Coastal: Whether you’re on the coast or in the heart of the CBD, this look uses soft curved shapes, eaves returns and balustrades to bring the heart of the beach into your home.
  • Scandi Barn: Combining traditional with modern, this design is typified by steep-pitched rooves, minimal window use and a strong diagrammatic house shape.

The best part about the modern look is you aren’t boxed into any one particular style. Like the feel of Scandi Barn and Mid-century Modern? You can play around with both and take it to another level with mixed materials.

Want to learn more about the modern look and which products can elevate your next build or renovation? Contact James Hardie on 13 11 03 or find a stockist near you.

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