WASHINGTON, DC — Homeowners have displayed a marked preference for functionality, accessibility and sustainability over the past 10 years, and residential architects expect those trends to accelerate, with increasing demand for healthy building materials and furnishings, along with designs that provide measures of resistance to weather-related calamities.
That was the key finding on the recent 10th anniversary of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey, whose results are based on the feedback of a panel of more than 500 residential architects asked to forecast key trends over the next decade with respect to home layout; features, systems and products; neighborhood and community design, and kitchens and baths.
“Historically, the dominant factors in home design have been economic and demographic shifts,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. “Residential architects are seeing these forces at play in their vision for the next decade, as well.”
Baker noted that anticipated home design trends through 2025 include some that are already in place and others currently in the early stages of adoption. Among the key factors in shaping those trends, according to the Washington, DC-based AIA, will be the aging of America’s population – particularly the movement of the baby boom generation into retirement years – the continued upswing from the past decade’s housing collapse and a tepid economic recovery that’s making it difficult for millennials to form independent households, get married and have children.
Other factors – including technological breakthroughs, evolving building code and regulatory issues and changing consumer preferences – will also have a major influence on how homes are designed over the next decade, the AIA said.
According to the AIA, among the leading residential design trends for the next decade will be:
- Kitchens continuing to serve as the focal point of household activities, highlighted by open-design concepts that feature the centrality of the kitchen space to family space.
- Technological integration becoming increasingly prevalent, and including both dedicated support for personal devices along with automated controls for temperature and security. Residential architects also anticipate a significant increase in the importance of automated systems that can help decrease energy usage through products such as motion-sensor-activated lights.
- When it comes to kitchens, many consumers in recent years supplemented their traditional desktop computer with laptops, tablets and smart phones. This trend is expected to continue, the AIA said.
- Aging-in-place and Universal Design elements and features – including wider hallways, lower windows, added handrails and one-level living spaces – to accommodate an aging population.
- Increased consumer awareness about environmental health issues – coupled with a growing mistrust of government and industry – leading to more widespread use of low- or no-volatile organic compounds for paint and composite wood, natural-fiber upholstery, carpets without polyvinyl chloride backing and air purification systems.
- A growing demand for design strategies that strengthen homes against flooding, fires, wind damage and other natural disasters – including elevating residences, windows with impact glazing, dedicated “safe” rooms and backup power generation.
- Increasing use of energy-efficient and other sustainable design elements and products such as solar panels, water reclamation systems and tankless water heaters.
- The need for space devoted to home offices that reflect changing work patterns.
- Heavy emphasis and investment in outdoor living spaces that include kitchens and even fully furnished outdoor rooms.
- Building in established locations that are more accessible to jobs, public transportation and commercial activities. Since building in these more accessible locations is typically more expensive, new homes will frequently be smaller and feature more innovative designs.