Home Trends: Americans Want Smaller, Smarter Homes

http://www.motherearthliving.com/The-Good-Life/home-trends-americans-want-smaller-smarter-homes.aspx

Homeowners are switching their focus from frivolous to functional and paying special attention to energy-efficient features, according to a recent American Institute of Architects survey. As home size has decreased in the last year, homeowners have showed less interest in special-function rooms and focused instead on rooms and features that will maximize their home’s small square footage.

SoDo 4 home 
Recent home trend surveys show that Americans favor homes with small square footages, such as this 275-square-foot home in Reno, Nevada. Photo Courtesy HabeRae Properties. 

Special-function rooms such as fitness, media and game rooms have declined in popularity. Meanwhile, architects have seen increased demand for home offices, outdoor living rooms and mudrooms. Outdoor living rooms can extend a small home’s living space, while mudrooms provide storage, a key element in well-designed tiny homes. Home offices are appealing to those who work exclusively from home and can double as a kids’ study room or even an entertainment room.

outdoor living room with fireplace 
Outdoor living rooms expand a home's living space, making small homes feel bigger. Photo By Michael Shopenn. 

A new mood of frugality hasn’t affected demand for energy-efficient home improvements. According to the AIA, insulation, solar panels, double- and triple-glazed windows, tankless water heaters, and geothermal heating and cooling systems have grown in popularity. Homeowners have also taken an interest in reclaimed and salvaged materials, water-conservation products and renewable flooring.

For more information on smart, energy-efficient products for your home, check out Natural Home’s Resource Guide.