Despite the negative economic impact of the pandemic on the design & construction sector, custom residential architects have fared surprisingly well according to new data from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey, focusing on kitchens and bathrooms.

Results showed continued demand during 2020 for kitchen and bathroom design features that are accessible to all people regardless of age or ability—known as universal design. Outdoor cooking spaces continued to be the leading kitchen trend—for the fourth year in a row—while larger walk-in showers topped the list of popular features for bathrooms. The report also found increasing popularity for hands-free/sensor faucets in kitchens and bathrooms; pantry space; and outdoor showers.

“Features like larger pantry space to accommodate more food storage and hands-free faucets are likely part of the long-term impact of the pandemic on home design,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “While the pandemic has created sluggish conditions in the nonresidential sector, residential architects are optimistic as project backlogs remain healthy.”

Findings of the report also revealed residential architecture firm business conditions for the fourth quarter of 2020, which included:

  • All custom residential sectors reported growth with home improvement continuing to report the strongest gains.
  • On average firms estimate a four percent increase in revenue for the first quarter of 2021 compared to the fourth quarter of 2020.
  • Project billings were 65.2.

The AIA Home Design Trends Survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of more than 500 architecture firms that concentrate their practice in the residential sector. More information on the latest survey results can be reviewed on AIA’s website.