Real Estate

New Home Design Trends: Smaller Homes, Large in Detail

Open floor plans, energy efficiency, and lots of closet space are among the features sought by new home buyers.

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Photo from 12 Oaks by Lennar
By Chad D. Collins
New Homes & Ideas, Jodi Sauerbier, Publisher
New Homes & Ideas

Open floor plans, energy-efficient features, and lots of closet space are among the elements that today’s home buyers are seeking in newly-constructed homes, according to industry experts at the 2011 International Builders’ Show.
Home buyers are looking for small details in their new homes, such as a built-in desk under a stairway, or a courtyard tucked between two downstairs bedrooms. Successful home builders “create memory points,” said design trends seminar speaker Kate Brennan of the Chicago design firm Mary Cook and Associates.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average size of a new single family home decreased from 2,438 square feet to 2,377 in 2010. This made designing to maximize space a popular theme at the show. One session focused exclusively on new ideas in home design for floor plans measuring 2,500 square feet or less.

Open floor plans are now in high demand because they are not only more practical for entertaining – the hosts can interact with their dinner guests in a spacious kitchen while they are preparing food – but the lack of walls and closed-off spaces make the home seem much larger.

The kitchen is now the hub of the home more than ever. Even if busy families are bringing home takeout, they want the kitchen island to be large enough to serve a multi-tasking purpose as a place to do homework, crafts, and pay bills – as well as to enjoy coffee on a Sunday morning.

Natural finishes are also more popular. Recycled flooring, using a mix of wood grains on the cabinets and architectural details that reflect the indigenous building of the region – such as using stucco in the Southwest – are more important to buyers.

Read more on this article in Home Design Trends.
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