A new AIA Home Design Trends survey says showy and large upgrades are out and functionality is in with today’s remodeling home owners. Reflecting the desire to keep homes affordable in the current weak housing market, home layouts have generally been simpler and floor plans more flexible.
“There have been some pretty significant changes over the past six years and housing preferences may have changed permanently,” says Baker. “The day of the grandiose master bath may have passed us by, and the trend of integrating the kitchen into the family space accelerated during the downturn, along with multi-use spaces and informality.” says Kermit Baker, the chief economist for the American Institute of Architects. Here are some highlights of what the survey shows with trends in remodeling homes.
Special purpose rooms
Today's trends in special function rooms are toward simplicity. Optional special function rooms are limited to just a few key uses. One third of homeowners surveyed noted that the home office is the most popular special function room. Two other special function rooms that are popular are mud rooms, and outdoor living areas.
Green and sustainable projects
The survey showed homeowner remodeling has two key pragmatic objectives: energy efficiency, and making homes more accessible for an aging population. More homeowners are upgrading their homes towards becoming greener. Insulation in the attic, HVAC upgrades and sealing air leaks are items that appear to be on the rise when people make home improvements. With home offices on the rise wireless telecommunications and data systems are growing in popularity as energy management systems. Other energy upgrades also include solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling systems, and water reclamation systems however they are not mainstream in most markets.
As homeowners prefer to age in their current home, accessibility has become a growing concern. As a result, in-home accessibility was observed to be increasing in popularity by 58 percent of residential architect respondents. As we plan to stay in our homes longer, remodeling updates include changes like first-floor master bedrooms, ramps/elevators (including adding a shaft for a future elevator), easy-to-use features for handles and faucets, and non-slip floor surfaces. Increasing in popularity are open space layouts in the home with flexible floor plans. Informal space is another lifestyle preference that remains popular.
More Outdoor Lesuiure Time
A 2012 survey showed interest in outdoor living space increasing. People may be spending more time outside, but in a leisurely fashion as there has been an increase in low-maintenance, low-irrigation landscaping. More people are going for lawn alternatives that promotes sustainability and a savings on the water bill. Rainwater catchment systems and gray water reuse are other popular outdoor features.