WASHINGTON — Outdoor living spaces, mud rooms and home offices top the current list of special-function rooms popular with American homeowners.
That’s the key conclusion of the latest in a quarterly series of “Home Design Trends Surveys” conducted by the American Institute of Architects. Survey results, released in October by the Washington-based AIA, focused on emerging home features, systems and technologies in the second quarter of 2016. Home Design Trends Surveys are conducted among a panel of more than 500 architecture firms that concentrate their practice in the residential sector.
“Heavy investment in outdoor living spaces, mud rooms and home offices indicate that consumers are placing a premium on practicality and functionality,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker.
According to Baker, “things have changed a lot” from a decade ago, when home theaters and exercise rooms were among the most popular special-function rooms in homes.
To underline that observation, the AIA’s latest survey finds, for example, that outdoor living spaces rank highest among the special-function rooms currently being requested by homeowners. Home offices, mud rooms, dedicated guest rooms, home auto management/mechanical rooms and sunrooms/three-season porches follow in popularity (see related graphic).
In terms of accessibility, first-floor master bedrooms rank far ahead of all other features. Easy-to-use features, such as special handles, and multiple laundry rooms are also gaining in popularity among a significant number of homeowners, according to the AIA.
“Although accessibility features remain an important issue to homeowners, demand for some of these features has leveled off in the custom residential arena,” Baker pointed out. “As more homes become equipped to handle an aging population of homeowners, less custom (remodeling) work needs to be done to address specific accessibility issues.”
When it comes to the popularity of utility-efficient features and products, energy management systems followed by smart thermostats, super insulation, solar panels, water-saving fixtures and tankless water heaters rank highest in popularity, according to the AIA.
“As more automation products become available, homeowners continue to explore new ways to maintain their spaces with greater ease,” Baker observed.