From the Floor Up

What You Can Learn from BMW Designers about Home Design

Posted by Daltile Team on Aug 21, 2015 8:30:00 PM

"BMW 328i F30 2012 vl 2" by HLW - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Maybe you’re not a car person, but don’t give up when you read things like “BMW 3 Series” in this post because you can learn a thing or two from the expert designers at BMW. When you take a look at BMW’s designs over the years, you’ll observe several key concepts about design that easily translate to your home’s design. And it wouldn’t hurt your home’s design to show the finesse of a popular European car maker.

Do Something Trend-Setting

The first BMW 3 Series rolled out on German roads in 1975. It had dual headlights and a “shark nose”. These two elements alone made this car an immediate hit and recognizable around the world.

What You Should Do

Don’t be afraid to embrace some trends or unique elements in your home design and décor. Some trends are so classy that they never look out of place, yet always look fresh and stylish. For instance, subway tile has been a staple since the 1950s. Today it’s the hottest thing in tile and you’ll find it in bathroom and kitchen designs everywhere.

Remember the famous kitchen  from Something’s Gotta Give? That dark tile floor, white cabinets, and black solid stone countertops? It was the single-most searched for kitchen on the internet for many years. What may have seemed like a craze, turned into classic kitchen design.

What’s the next big trend that will become an enduring design? A designer can help you determine trends that will make your design unique but have staying power over the years.

Make it Functional

In 1983, the next version of the 3 Series came out—the E30. The nose flattened out but it was still sporty. In a few years, BMW introduced it with front-wheel drive. It was the perfect blend of function and style. It became one of the most collected versions of the 3 Series. In fact, collectors of this model have seen a rise in value recently.

What You Should Do

Today’s designers love to blend the beauty alongside the functional. Multi-generational  and accessible design are coming to the forefront. You’ll find that how you use your kitchen is just as important as what you want your kitchen to look like.

Include different height countertops in the kitchen for the comfort of everyone who uses it. Put the oven up at waist-height so you don’t have to bend over to put your casserole in. Plan for towel racks where you’ll most need them—right outside the shower. Install a sliding glass door so your shower is accessible to the backyard and you can easily shower after your morning swim.

Elevare in Sand 4 x 16

Go Big and Streamline It

In 1991, the 3 Series got bigger. It was still sporty, but more like a body builder than a lithe marathon runner. In 1998, designers toned down the brawny look by streamlining it—the pro soccer player of the bunch.

What You Should Do

Roomy open-plan kitchens have been around for a while, and now large spa-like bathrooms and oversized closets are becoming standard.

Opt for big spaces and open floor plans in your designs. Open up your ceilings and let the kitchen, dining room, and living room blend into one. Not only is it on the grand-scale, it is also streamlines the flow of traffic through the house.

Let bathrooms and closets do double duty and have multiple purposes so you can make good use of the large space.

Indulge in Luxury

In 2005, the name of the game for BMW was luxury. The styling embraced more extravagance and redefined BMW forever, especially in the American markets. The muscle car was limited to under the hood and the exterior of the car became more elegant.

What You Should Do

First, look at luxury materials. They may be more affordable than you think and they are usually long-lasting. A great way to include luxury in your designs is to cover your countertops with solid slab granite, quartzite, or another natural stone. These give instant elegance to any space.

Consider the finishes on your surfaces. Polished, leathered, or antiqued finishes set your space apart and add that touch of luxury you’re looking for.

Natural stone mosaics also bring your design to the next level. Their warmth and texture are unmatched by look-alikes. They often have a luster and color that only comes of nature’s genius.

Granite in Tropical Brown

Think Sustainability

Since 2012, BMW has put an emphasis on their new hybrid model. In an era of environmental responsibility and minimizing of carbon footprints, the attention to sustainability comes at a perfect time.

What You Should Do

Your home can be the equivalent of a hybrid car with a little attention to the details. Use materials that are produced as close to home as possible to decrease emissions due to shipping. You can also dedicate yourself to materials that are produced responsibly—energy saving, water conserving, recycling companies are like the hybrid car of the building industry.

Consider tile for your floor and wall surfaces. It is VOC-free and encourages the use of very mild cleaners, which is healthy for you and for the environment.


It’s been a long, ever-evolving journey for BMW. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about BMW over the years, it’s that we can count on them to come up with cutting-edge designs. And we will always draw inspiration from their innovation.

Topics: Trends, Design

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