Conducted quarterly with a panel of more than 500 residential architecture firms, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2010 and focused on kitchens and bathrooms.
Findings showed that economic pressures and the overall decline in home values resulted in the more modest design of kitchens and bathrooms in recent years. That trend appears to be changing towards homeowner preference for larger and in some cases additional kitchens and bathrooms. Households continue to desire products and features that promote energy efficiency and adaptability in the use of space for seniors and those with accessibility concerns.
“We are not seeing the same level of demand for larger and additional kitchens and bathrooms as we saw during the peak of the housing market, but there has been a shift away from downsizing those rooms that has taken place the over last two years,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Key considerations are the amount of pantry space, dedicated recycling centers and the integration with family space allowing for easier child care and home entertaining.”
Popular kitchen products and features include: larger pantry space, recycling center, integration with family space, renewable flooring materials, computer area / recharging stations, renewable countertop materials, drinking water filtration systems, adaptability / universal design, and double island.
Baker added, “In order to help manage utility costs, homeowners are still opting for items such as water saving toilets and LED lighting. Accessibility within the home and demand for universal design principles continues to be a priority and should remain so for the foreseeable future given the aging U.S. population.”
Popular bathroom products and features include water saving toilets, LED lighting, accessibility / universal design, doorless showers, radiant heated floors, hand showers, and linen closet / storage.
“The encouraging signs for the still struggling residential market are the increase in inquiries for new projects and that project backlogs at firms – the amount of work in-house and under contract – can now support current staff for over three months. Backlogs have been slowly trending up since early 2009.” said Baker.
Specific construction segments (index score computed as % of respondents reporting improving minus those reporting weakening conditions):
• Kitchen and bath remodeling: 45
• Additions / alterations: 39
• First-time buyer / affordable home market: -23
• Custom / luxury home market: -25
• Move-up home market: -27
• Townhouse / condo market: -38
• Second / vacation home market: -56
The AIA Home Design Trend Survey will focus on overall home layout and use in June; specialty rooms and systems in September 2011; and community design trends in December 2011.