Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe that a year ago I wrote an article “What’s Hot And What’s Not For 2010”. I had such a huge response to this piece that I thought it was only fitting to share a similar version of the home building, renovation and design trends that are topping the charts for this year.
Whether you’re customizing a recently purchased home, making the changes needed to update your existing space or are simply interested in increasing the overall value of your home, keep these ideas in mind when tackling your 2011 home improvement projects.
For those families purchasing new homes, many are looking for more modestly sized properties than the McMansions of the past. Being more attracted to the space they need rather than the space their ego wants – is on today’s agenda. It’s all about being more value conscious and living authentically. Although some newly built homes may be shrinking in size – by only about 10-15% (reducing overall room sizes), the high-end materials and finishes are in no way compromised.
Rooms are becoming more multi-functional than in years past and therefore it’s more important than ever to maximize every inch of space – within the existing footprint – and provide creative and integrated storage throughout your entire home. Less clutter and greater organization will contain your “stuff” and still allow your home to feel more spacious and uncluttered.
There is a return to a more simple, warm, natural and clean-lined design reminiscent of mid-century modern architecture. A blending contemporary and traditional styles – resulting in a chic transitional design style.
Greener, Healthier and Smarter Homes
The current scene is definitely green. Energy efficiency is fast becoming the hottest and most desirable trend or “shift” in the home design and building industry.
You can go all the way and completely reduce your carbon footprint or simply begin by introducing energy-efficient windows, lighting, appliances, tank-less water heaters, low-VOC paints, stains and sealants into your next home renovation or building projects.
With a one-year extension of energy efficiency tax credits, it only makes sense to take advantage of this offer and incorporate these products along with more durable and sustainable materials when you’re updating your home.
Easy maintenance, high quality materials and integral smart systems make for an easy transition for the changing family. Integrating state of the art or “Smart” technology into our homes is a very hot trend that continues to blaze. It’s about making our lives easier. Controlling kitchen appliances, lighting and your entertainment systems from a centralized panel will soon be foreshadowed by the apps from our smart phones where we’ll be able turn on our lights, have our fireplace crackling and our dinner cooked to perfection the moment we walk through the door. Sign me up!
Renovating your existing home and removing interior walls creates an open, spacious and more flexible floor plan. This immediately improves the layout and flow of the home and makes it more comfortable and versatile for families who love to entertain – particularly when today’s kitchens serve as multi-functional spaces incorporating cooking, dining, gathering and entertaining just to name a few.
Re-designing your home’s overall layout and introducing some Universal Design principles into your renovation could include wider doorways, main floor master suites, and user-friendly kitchens and baths. These subtle tweaks make even the smallest homes feel more spacious and appeals to an enormous segment of the population -Baby Boomers and Gen Xers alike.
The homeprenuer trend is not just growing – it’s intensifying. With an unstable economy comes the opportunity for more people to work from home either part time or launch home-based businesses. Today’s technology makes it easy to be as productive at home as in an office-based location.
Since most home-based businesses must co-exist with the family, separating your living and working environments can be a challenge. If you’re lucky enough to have a separate guesthouse, a detached carriage house, or space above your garage then designate that space for your home office Otherwise, like the vast majority of home-based businesses you’ll need to allocate an area within the home itself – either an unused bedroom, space beneath the stairs, or a corner of the kitchen or family room. Either way – find a spot where noise and traffic are at a minimum and privacy is optimum!
Porches and Decks
With the trend of downsizing our homes comes the idea of expanding our interior living spaces to the outdoors. Homes with charming porches and decks naturally transition the interior to the exterior instantly expanding your living space. It extends the summer season almost forcing us to live outdoors before the really cold weather sets in. Porches can define a neighborhood, and recapture a sense of community
Decks can be as simple or elaborate as the home they’re attached to. Multi-leveled or single, built in seating or casual seating areas, hot tubs, outdoor kitchens, and fire pits – all of which create added living space and provide a vacation-like atmosphere.
Design your porch or deck to compliment the character of your home’s exterior architecture. Give it some thought in planning. It should be proportionate to the size of your home and property and make sure to include energy efficient solar or LED lighting.
Keeping abreast of these home design trends will help guide you when it comes time for you complete your “to do” list. Families grow, people mature and our needs change. It’s all about re-inventing your home making it feel as though it was built just for you.