What’s the Hottest New Remodeling Trend?

By: Dona DeZube

A kitchen open to the family room

More home owners want their kitchens integrated  with their living spaces. Image: Work in Progress blog

In the wake of the housing market crisis, we started remodeling with less  pretention and more functionality, says Kermit Baker, the chief economist for  the American Institute of Architects.

Based on what he’s seeing in the  AIA’s quarterly Home Design Trends Survey, home owners and  home builders are putting their money into open designs, multi-functional rooms,  and homes that age with us. At the same time, we’re moving away from luxury  bathrooms and kitchens.

“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.”

The other trends Baker sees in  the remodeling data:

Special purpose rooms

If  you’re telecommuting, you need a home  office. Even if you’re not officially working from home, you’re probably  setting up a side business, or consulting out of your home while the economy is  weak.

When the job market improves, you can turn that home office into  something else that works for you, such as a craft room or a guest bedroom.

Smaller homes

When the economy downsized, so did  home buyers, and builders responded by constructing smaller  homes. That flies in the face of the past four decades’ history of Americans  building bigger homes yet having smaller families.

We’ll just have to  wait and see if rising incomes lead to rising home sizes, or whether the tiny  house trend sticks around, Baker says.

I suspect that once the  economy picks up, so will home sizes. It’s only when you see your neighbors lose  their jobs that flashing your over-the-top lifestyle by building a ginormous  house loses its luster.


In the  past, we’ve not altered our homes to accommodate the challenges of aging until  we really had no other choice. Lately, though, home owners are taking accessibility  and aging in place into consideration when they’re doing remodels.

I  suspect this is because we Baby Boomers have witnessed our parents making  updates so they could stay in their own homes as they aged. After you see what  it cost Mom to widen the doorways so her wheelchair would fit through them,  you’re a lot more likely to put wider doors in when you remodel your  home.

Green and sustainable projects

Green  materials and sustainability have finally gone mainstream. And by green, Baker  means insulation in the  attic, an HVAC  upgrade, and sealing air  leaks, more so than niche market alternative energy sources, such as geothermal  heating systems. Going green always looks good when it saves you  green.

Polishing our tiny yards

All those smaller  houses are being built on smaller  lots. “We’re seeing people spending more money on the yard, but it’s not  vast open space,” Baker says.

Low-maintenance  exteriors and lawn  alternatives are growing in popularity. (Personally, I’m working such  ridiculous hours that it’s not like I have the time or the energy to do any  yardwork in my spare time anyway.)

Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

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I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity.

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