Stand in any Beijing residential development that began life before 1997 and you cannot possibly fail to notice the difference between the phases of construction. On one side might stand garish villas with whitewashed walls and blue-tiled roofs, while on the other will likely be a sleek, modern design taken right out of a Manhattan lifestyle magazine. This is largely due to the rapid expansion of the materials market, which in the past few years has seen everything that can be bought overseas now available throughout China, so architects and interior designers have more to work with. But it is also undoubtedly the influence of maturing tastes among more discerning buyers. The style of developments in the capital can still run a wide range, from gaudy to minimalist, with a number of strange combinations of European and American thrown in, but generally they are becoming more aesthetically pleasing. Those who look around enough are sure to find their fit. Purple Jade Villas combines both townhouses (above) and single family homes with vast open spaces at their development in the north of Beijing. The interiors of the newest phase of townhouses are tastefully designed in a range of styles. The dining room and living room in this model home at the Park Avenue development make good use of floor space. Yuppie heaven: a model apartment in Soho, which combines residential with office and retail space in one downtown complex. An open kitchen design in a model home at the City Golf Greenery Villas. Looking down from the second floor of a Maple Place villa into the lounge area provides a glimpse of the standards of new developments. Sometimes, space has its own aesthetics: a large home in the Villa Yosemite development in Shunyi. The bedroom in this Richmond Park home uses only top-quality materials.