Bigger Is Not Always Better
One of the most significant changes among the trends in home design and construction is that homes are actually getting smaller, according to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The average size of a new, single-family home is expected to be around 2,152 square feet — that’s 10 percent smaller than it was in 2010.
Part of the reason is the recent downturn in the economy, which made a lot of consumers more conscious of their finances. Another is a renewed focus in lowering heating and cooling costs, diminished expectations for home price appreciation and an aging demographic that doesn’t require huge amounts of space.
Living Room — What Living Room?
Living rooms continue to be replaced by great rooms that combine kitchens and family rooms, with plenty of room to do everything from homework to entertaining. Many of the NAHB survey respondents expect living rooms to vanish altogether, but it’s not the only room fading away. Mudrooms, third bathrooms and formal dining rooms are also expected to slowly disappear from new-home plans.
It’s So Easy Being Green
The trend toward energy-efficient windows and appliances — as well as engineered woods and high energy-efficiency ratings — is expected to reach an all-time high as consumers continue to become aware of the long-term savings and other positive implications associated with energy efficiency.
Also trending are water-efficient features such as dual-flush toilets and low-flow faucets. Features we’re less likely to see in new-home construction include insulation beyond what’s required by code, solar heating and tankless water heaters.
The New Kitchen Basics
Recessed lighting, double sinks and ample room to sit and eat are the top trends in kitchen designs, according to the NAHB survey. Whether it’s actual table space or a simple breakfast bar, families are moving toward enjoying all of their meals — even those enjoyed on special occasions — in the great room.
Massive walk-in pantries, desk and computer areas and large central islands are not as sought-after as they once were, while extras such as wine coolers and hot water dispensers are all but disappearing.
Some Things Change — Others Stay The Same
Trends in colors and materials are perhaps the likeliest to change from year to year, as these decisions are largely a matter of taste and preference. Mixed metals, such as copper and gold, or metals mixed with wood, are expected to become popular in 2015, says Denise Dick, vice president of the National Kitchen and Bath Association.
“Copper in particular is becoming very hot, as are grays and blacks.” The latter colors seem to be the new neutrals, as they work with a variety of additional colors and materials. Expect to see everything from hardware to fixtures, and perhaps even trim, in these new neutral shades. At Maison & Objet, the premier design fair in Paris, metallics were everywhere — even in kitchens where not only copper, but gold and bronze popped up. The result is a luxe look that works with most color combinations.
Warm And Cozy Kitchens
Those sleek, ultra-contemporary kitchens are also no longer as popular as they once were. Many homeowners realize this is not a universally beloved look and the decision to go this route can affect your ability to resell a home.
“Clean and simple is still important, but not necessarily contemporary,” says Dick, who is also the owner of Signature Kitchens by Design in Carrollton, Texas. This means designs that merge both modern and traditional details, such as Shaker-style cabinets, will continue to trend as they tend to have wider appeal. The idea is to exude a warm and welcoming feeling over the colder look of contemporary kitchen cabinets.
Cool To The Touch
Consumers are developing a new-found appreciation for texture, especially when it comes to engineered woods and stones that mimic raw materials. The textured surfaces give these materials a unique feel that seems more organic than the high-gloss, smooth surfaces of years past. Rather than honing everything until it looks shiny and new, homeowners are leaving materials in their natural form, so as to appreciate their true beauty.
Making A Splash In The Bathroom
Both designers and builders report receiving requests for fixtures that control multiple water sources. Additionally, they receive requests for touchscreen displays that give homeowners more control over features such as water flow and temperature.
Freestanding bathtubs are also becoming more affordable. From curved to angular and from vintage to contemporary, today there are myriad of styles in a variety of price points.
On the flip side, homeowners are becoming more realistic about their use of tubs, as well as space. As a result, some are forgoing tubs altogether in favor of more space. For those who much prefer a shower on a regular basis, the space savings can mean the difference between having a linen closet or a two-person shower versus a giant tub that’s barely used.
What trends are you most looking forward to in 2015?