1. During a panel at the 2010 International Builders Show, Eliot Nusbaum, executive editor for home design for Better Homes and Gardens, explained that practicality and price are fueling decisions on how homes are designed and built. Eliot says the homeowner of today is “looking for a home that fits the entire family — from a multitasking home office, to expanding storage space needs, to a living room that can adapt to advancements in home entertainment and technology.”
2. A Smaller Home. Today’s consumers are buying homes with less square footage. Purchases of smaller homes are up 36 percent from last year. But just because a home is small doesn’t mean homeowners are sacrificing precious living space. Open concept floor plans are the resounding trend in smaller homes, where higher ceilings and an easy flow maximize perceived living space and allow rooms to serve multiple purposes.
3. Energy Efficient Appliances. Saving energy and money go hand-in-hand when using Energy Star appliances in the home. These eco-friendly products use less electricity, thus helping to lower your utility bill.
4. Efficient HVAC Systems. Today’s HVAC systems are far more efficient than those of a few years ago. Not only do they bring increased comfort and improved air quality to the home, but they also use less energy and help to lower utility costs.
5. An Efficient Design With Lots of Storage. Homebuyers are looking for ways to maximize space and make better use of a home’s square footage. An efficient design, with an open floor plan and multifunctional rooms, is complemented by a lot of storage. With more people buying small homes, unique and practical storage solutions allow homeowners to have enough space to stay organized.
6. More Natural Light. Going with the theme of eco-friendly living, homes that maximize natural lighting don’t require as much energy to stay well-lit inside. Plus, by adding more windows (or just larger ones) to bring more natural light into your home, you’ll make your living space feel larger and get better outdoor views.
7. A Separate Laundry. Being able to keep the family’s personal items out of sight is a luxury many homeowners want in their home. No one wants to feel like the washer and dryer are in the middle of the cooking or entertaining area. A home with a separate area for laundry, whether it’s a designated room or just a space away from the higher traffic hot spots, offers a world of convenience.
8. An Outdoor Living Area With Private Backyard. A well-constructed porch, deck or patio can do wonders for a home’s perceived square footage. Plus, with proper landscaping, the backyard can allow for outdoor fun and relaxation without feeling like the whole neighborhood is watching.
9. Eat-In, Partially Separated Kitchen. A designated spot for dining in close proximity to the kitchen is important to homeowners, as is a partially separated kitchen. Being able to maintain an easy flow of space while keeping the kitchen from overflowing into other parts of the home allows families to dine together with ease, but it keeps the hustle and bustle of a kitchen from taking over the rest of the house.
10. Guest Bedroom and Bath. You want your overnight guests to enjoy their visit. You don’t want them feeling like they’re taking over an office or living room by sleeping on a foldaway couch. A guest bedroom with additional bath may seem like an extravagance, but the extra living space adds value while also offering guests a private area where they can feel more at home.
11. A Comfortable Family Gathering Space. Think of a family room as a combination of a formal living room and a den — a place where the family can gather together for fun and relaxation. With family time a priority, many homeowners are coming up with new and inventive ways to customize a designated space to share with their loved ones.
12. A Home Office That Multitasks. Today’s home office is more than just a desk and some shelves. Homeowners want a designated, functional space that allows them to work away from the rest of the family and not have to run back and forth throughout the home to get things they need. They are integrating features for productivity and convenience, such as a media system with TV, Internet and phone service, and refrigerator and freezer drawers for enjoying drinks and snacks without leaving the room.
13. Improved Home Electronics. Today, technology can integrate all sorts of home systems, allowing devices to “talk” to each other and share information. Home entertainment systems can be designed to stream content from your TV, Internet or DVDs. Smart phones can be connected to your alarm system, security cameras and lights so you can access and activate them when you’re not at home. Plus, energy dashboards let you monitor the energy you use and how much it costs. Image courtesy of Crestron.com
14. Large Three-Car Garage. The garage has come a long way from being the place where you park your car. A large garage is a necessity for homeowners with multiple recreational vehicles, like motorcycles or boats. Other people will section off part of the garage and use it for storage, as a workout/gym area or as a specialized workspace, like an artist studio or workshop.