What Are We Seeing NOW?
Consumers are poised to influence home design more than ever before. In the single family for-sale space, major markets have begun to slowly shift from a sellers’ market to a buyers’ market. Our builder and developer clients are talking about the heightened importance of trending must-have elements in new home design.
In the single family built-to-rent space, production is forecasted to approach 200,000 starts by 2025, so the entire industry continues to seek ways to make new BTR product stand out in the crowd. Some of the same design trends and strategies impacting for-sale product are being scaled and emulated in new BTR communities, which will reset expectations for tomorrow’s single family renters.
With 12 offices nationwide, we enjoy a unique perspective on trends. Here’s what our teams and clients are telling us about single family product design today:
HIGH VALUE SPACES
Bedroom and bathroom count are no longer the key drivers of floor plan design. Instead, homes must provide the necessary room count but then go above and beyond by adding flex space and other high-value rooms in addition to – not instead of – bedrooms. All new homes should feature at least one or more of these trending high value floor plan spaces:
1. Work from home space – Include one or more dedicated home office areas or flex rooms that can be easily converted to highly functional work rooms. In lower square footages, pocket offices, Zoom Rooms and/or tech niches are must-haves, even if it means carving out a portion of the pantry, mud room or loft in order to accommodate them.
2. Flexible space – To provide the most value, flex space must truly function in multiple ways. Get creative with location, closets, built-ins and partitions to find ways to make flex space actually flexible for multiple lifestyles. Include it in the base plan (not as a bedroom option) and show multiple variations so buyers can envision themselves using the space the way they really want to.
3. Indoor/outdoor connection – No surprise here. Buyers want to feel connected to the outdoors, and this means ample windows, bigger sliding glass doors, and covered outdoor spaces they can enjoy year-round. Great room connectivity to the outdoors is a requirement in new home design, but consider connecting other spaces in the plan to the outdoors, too. A home office with a sliding door to a small patio or a flex room with a balcony will turn heads and win buyers.
APPLIANCE & FIXTURE TRENDS
Function, style and color continue to play out in different ways across the appliance and fixture spectrum. At the heart of this surging trend is consumer demand for unique but simple personal touches that make their homes feel individualized.
4. Ultra-efficient laundry – Current washer/dryer technology shows buyers how they can get a fully-functional laundry area without dedicating an entire room in the plan to it. One-piece units have come a long way, so far in fact that today’s stacked washer/dryer units are actually single, integrated, seamless units that can handle full-sized loads – all while being tucked neatly into a laundry nook/niche or even inside a primary suite closet. Two examples from IBS are pictured here – one of LG’s newest combo units on the show floor, and the mud room laundry nook at The New American Home™ 2022. This technology enables more square footage allocation to high-value living areas and flex spaces without sacrificing functionality.
5. Interiors that wow – New bath fixtures with mix-and-match finishes are quickly becoming the next hottest trend, even extending beyond single family homes and into the multifamily residential space. Just like flex space in floor plans, this fixture design trend draws on consumers’ preference for personalization that allows them to make a space their own. This includes bathrooms and kitchens, where some stunning options can really give new buyers and renters the wow factor they seek. Pfister’s “Verve” collection (left) and Kohler’s two-tone kitchen faucet were both drawing plenty of traffic and interest at IBS this year.
What do you think? If you’ve seen these same trends – or maybe something different in your market – I’d love to hear about it.