Thursday, April 23, 2009

Current Home Design Trends

Trends in home design are moving away from specific rooms and space to materials and energy efficiency. This delightful (and beneficial) competition between neighbors, communities, and states to become more energy conscious and less dependent on fossil fuels has resulted in thousands of people reducing their carbon footprint.
Here are some of the current trends in home design:

  • 1. Reduce, reuse, recycle: More and more homeowners are looking to purchase recycled building materials to use in their new home. Timbers, siding, decking, trim, doors, brick, and stone are all great materials to reuse. Simple, bio-degradable materials are replacing resources that harm the environment.

  • 2. Here comes the sun: Solar energy systems, particularly solar hot water heaters and solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to produce electricity are extremely popular. The current tax credit is 30% of the total cost (product + installation), with no upper limit. (see ENERGY STAR for details)

  • 3. Size and flexibility matter: Small home designs are more popular than the rambling, spacious mansions of the past. Homeowners are addressing changes in lifestyle by replacing separate dining and living areas with large, multi-purpose family rooms, and adding sliding or pocket doors which allow flexibility in living space. First-floor bonus rooms which can be used as a home office or additional bedroom address changing needs.

  • 4. Save a buck: Let’s face it: low maintenance is in. Popular low maintenance materials include green flooring, tankless water heaters, ENERGY STAR appliances. Low-maintenance landscaping using native plants has a positive effect on the site by reducing irrigation, pesticides, and fertilizers – which means less time you will spend taking care of it.

  • 5. Accessibility: Universal home design address the comfort of people of all ages and abilities. Features that may be eliminated are spiral staircases, sunken or raised living rooms, and high cabinets or shelves. Wide hallways and low storage areas are incorporated into the home design without sacrificing the home’s beauty and appearance.

Going green makes $ense: with green technology and materials flooding the market, prices continue to come down, saving you money over the life of the material. Green home design is the start of the home’s life cycle – and undoubtedly its most important phase, as the home’s space, features, and systems are designed to work together as a whole for your benefit and comfort – and the environment’s.