If there’s anything true about architecture and design, it’s that the game is always changing. In most cases, it’s for the better. Homes are, indeed, changing along with the people who live in them. With modern living comes modern expectations, and it’s the architects who will make all of these ideas and more a reality for the coming generations.
Here are just a few of the many influences that are trending up:
Kitchens Become the Real Heart of the Home
It’s often been said that the kitchen is the heart of every home. But in the coming years, that idea is projected to really take hold. In Colonial times, the keeping room was part of nearly every home. The kitchen’s warmth, both literal and figurative, attracted the family. That’s why these spaces were add-ons to the kitchen, as a sort of secondary living room.
In the coming years, the kitchens importance is expected to rise once again. No longer a room that’s tucked away someplace out of sight, Architect Magazine says the home of the future will emphasize the importance of the kitchen in a meaningful way, placing it as a central fixture.
Universal Design: Making it a Livable Reality
Welcome to the age of Universal Design. People are living longer, healthier lives, and more people want to age in place. And people with disabilities much prefer a wider range of homes from which to choose, rather than undertaking a massive renovation or selecting from a handful of homes where accessibility is more utility than beauty.
Universal design’s concept is that all homes should be comfortable and accessible for everyone. No more weird, awkward ramps, and no sketchy grab bars in the shower. Accessibility can be beautiful, and homes of the future will have more of it. Perhaps this means wider doorways and more ground-floor master suites, and maybe it means more bathrooms where anyone can use the facilities without assistance. Universal design strives to make all homes friendly for as many people as possible.
More Home-Centered Work Spaces
Time was, the telecommuter was more of a novelty. Some people were lucky enough to work from home wearing pajamas, but that was definitely not the norm. Today, a growing number of people work from home, and that trend is not expected to slow down anytime soon. Architect magazine says the recession is partly responsible for this trend, as many people worked from home out of necessity. Thing is, a lot of people like it.
Homes in the future will have a bigger focus on functional work spaces. The idea isn’t a miniature desk wedged into a closet or a fold-down table in a kitchen corner. Although home offices are still ranked relatively low on remodeling return on investment, that’s likely to change along with the changing work trends of American workers.
The IOT in Residential Design
The Internet of Things just keeps getting smarter and incorporating more of what you use every day. As it applies to residential construction, technology is just beginning to take off. Design will focus on an infrastructure to support everything from the technology that’s already used every day, and the near landslide of technology that’s on its way.
Homes now have smart thermostats, automatic lighting that turns itself on when you’re around and off when you’re not. Household appliances can be controlled from next door or across town, and nearly everything is manageable from a mobile device. This isn’t quirky technology for the sake of something progressive. This is real, easy-to-use tech that makes the lives of homeowners easier and better, and it’s changing the way homes will be designed and built.
Outdoor Living as More Than a Deck
Who doesn’t want room to stretch out, even with the growing trend toward smaller and more efficient homes? The Great Outdoors has always been important, but a new patio or deck is really just the tip of the iceberg.
Architect magazine says outdoor living will influence home design in the coming years, and the outdoor kitchen could be a big part of it. More than just a grill and a dinette set, full kitchens expand living space greatly. Combined with movable walls or beautiful folding doors, the living area indoors and the outdoor living space blend together seamlessly.
Home is more than just 4 walls and a roof. It’s about meeting the needs of the people who live there, plus the generations that come after. The architectural style is secondary to its performance.
An advanced home could be an Adobe or a Colonial, a ranch or an ultra-modern design that hasn’t even been imagined yet. What’s important isn’t the looks, it’s what the home has to offer. That’s the new face of residential design, and the future really is looking up. If you’re an AIA member, check out the new Home Design Trends Survey here to learn more about what’s on the horizon.
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