After years of dramatically increasing home size in North America – from an average of 983 sq. ft. in the 1950s up to 2300 square feet in the 2000s, the trend seems to be going in the opposite direction.
According to a fresh survey done by the National Association of Home Builders, one of the most significant changes in home trends across North America is that homes are in fact getting smaller.
The standard size of a single family home is projected to be approximately 2,152 sq. ft., which is 10% smaller than in 2010. One of the major contributions to this trend is the recent recession in the economy, which has made many consumers more mindful about their finances.
Besides, the new focus on reducing heating & cooling expenses lowered expectations for increased home prices – this coupled by an aging demographic that does not require large spaces.
What about the living room?
Recent developments in home design and construction have led most living rooms to be replaced by large rooms that serve as both family rooms and kitchens, with enough room to do almost anything, from entertainment to homework.
In fact, you can expect living rooms to disappear altogether, but this is not the only space fading away. Third bathrooms, formal dining rooms, and mud rooms are expected to vanish gradually from new house plans.
As consumers continue gaining knowledge on the positive implications of energy efficiency (most notably the long-term savings), the trend towards energy efficient appliances and windows – in addition to high energy efficiency ratings and engineered woods – is expected to hit an all-time high.
Water efficient features are also trending, including low flow faucets & dual flush toilets. Features you are less likely to observe in new home trends include insulation beyond what is needed by code, tank-less water heaters, and solar heating.
The new kitchen essentials
The top trends in kitchen construction include ample space to sit & eat, double sinks, and recessed lighting. Whether it is a modest breakfast bar or concrete table space, homeowners are more inclined towards enjoying their meals in the large room, even during special occasions.
Large central islands, desk & computer areas, and large walk-in pantries are not in demand as they previously were. On the other hand, extras like hot water dispensers & wine coolers are quickly disappearing.
Personalized appliances with systems that allow you to perform tasks the way you want are also a common trend. These customized appliances can be for the kitchen, living room or even bedroom.
Some things never stay the same
Trends in materials & colors are probably the most likely to change every other year, given that personal tastes and preferences usually influence these decisions. Mixed metals on the other hand, for instance, gold and copper, or metals combined with wood, can be expected to grow in demand. Copper, particularly, is becoming increasingly trendy, as are blacks and grays. Blacks and grays seem to be the latest neutrals, for they work with various additional materials and colors. Expect to see everything, including fixtures and hardware in these new shades.
Bathrooms are noticeably getting simpler and smaller in size. They are not vast, unlike in the past, nor gaudy – but they are highly functional. Designers seem to be enjoying working with less to achieve more- removing extra spaces and partitions between fixtures, and taking advantage of transparent glass wall panels and shower doors to visually enlarge the space.
Exterior rooms for entertaining and hosting barbecues have also gained popularity. Other unique rooms such as pet-friendly amenities are also common since pets are a fundamental part of house design. Another important specialty space is a wine or bar room in a home.
Cool to the touch
Homes now also have unique textures that mimic raw materials such as stones and woods. These surfaces give the materials a distinct feel that appears more organic than the previous glossy and smooth surfaces. Most houses are now built with items whose materials are left in their natural form thus appreciating their real beauty.
Multi-generational living is more than a demographic flash in the pan. Homeowners are considering their needs in the long run, even when they are not accommodating an elderly parent. It manifests in multiple master suites, as well as thoughtful design selections, such as lifting the dishwasher to make it more accessible to someone with limited mobility, or lowering the microwave for the same purpose.