From spalike master baths to super-large kitchens and beautiful outdoor spaces, a range of consumer preferences is driving home design. My newly compiled list of lifestyle and design trends details what consumers want in a home now and in years to come.
• Smaller homes. According to the results of a recent AIA Design Trends Survey, there is a growing interest in smaller home sizes and volumes due to an effort to contain energy costs. The era of the McMansion could be over, and a significantly higher number of architects have reported demand for smaller homes. The key is to create scale and function over size, while creating more financially attainable homes.
• Private outdoor spaces. Almost all homeowners—whether baby boomers, empty nesters, or Gen Y—want less maintenance and more privatized outdoor space to gather and entertain without the neighbors watching. This design trend can be achieved by positioning architecture around the outdoor space or by allowing the outdoor space to pierce architecture, affording more living spaces in the house to be exposed to the outdoor area.
• Better indoor/outdoor connectivity. The use of large floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors brings the outdoors into the home experience. These thresholds to the outdoors offer more light and access to private outdoor space, resulting in the interior feeling like it extends beyond the walls.
• Covered outdoor rooms. These outdoor rooms expand the utility of adjoining interior spaces. The rooms become outdoor retreats, providing intimate relaxing spaces, still covered and protected, but open to the outdoors. Often these spaces include a stone fireplace to complete the living room feel.
• Personalization. Whether for a resale or a new home, consumers are looking to find and purchase feature elements that reflect their personal tastes and preferences, from kitchen products and bath fixtures to custom flooring and even the overall layout of the home.
• Super-sized kitchens. In addition to food preparation, the kitchen serves as an entertainment area when guests are present, a conversation area among family members, or even a place for homework or a craft project. Islands and their seating capacity must expand in size, and utility spaces and pantries need to be able to store more packaged foods, which are now purchased in larger boxes and in multiple quantities.
• More seating for media areas. The typical home TV is now a large flat-screen TV capable of everything from games to 3D movies to surfing hundreds of cable channels or the Internet. The increasing TV sizes have created a design need for more wall space and larger seating capability.