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Home Design: What's Hot for 2011

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Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe that a year ago I wrote an article “What’s Hot and What’s Not for 2010.” I had such a huge response to this piece that I thought it was only fitting to share a similar version of the home building, renovation, and design trends that are topping the charts for this year.

Whether you’re customizing a recently purchased home, making the changes needed to update your existing space, or are simply interested in increasing the overall value of your home, keep these ideas in mind when tackling your 2011 home improvement projects.

What’s Hot:

Smaller Homes
For those families purchasing new homes, many are looking for more modestly sized properties than the McMansions of the past. Being more attracted to the space they need, rather than the space their ego wants, is on today’s agenda. It’s all about being more value conscious and living authentically. Although some newly built homes may be shrinking in size—by only about 10 percent to 15 percent (reducing overall room sizes)—the high-end materials and finishes are in no way compromised. 

Rooms are becoming more multi-functional than in years past, therefore it’s more important than ever to maximize every inch of space—within the existing footprint—and provide creative and integrated storage solutions throughout your entire home. Less clutter and greater organization will contain your stuff, and still allow your home to feel more spacious and uncluttered.

There is a return to a more simple, warm, natural, and clean lined design—reminiscent of mid-century modern architecture. A blending of contemporary and traditional styles is resulting in a chic transitional design style.

Greener, Healthier and Smarter Homes
The current scene is definitely green. Energy efficiency is fast becoming the hottest and most desirable trend or shift in the home design and building industry.

You can go all the way and completely reduce your carbon footprint, or simply begin by introducing energy-efficient windows, lighting, appliances, tankless water heaters, low VOC paints, stains, and sealants into your next home renovation or building projects.

With a one year extension of energy efficiency tax credits, it only makes sense to take advantage of this offer and incorporate these products along with more durable and sustainable materials when you’re updating your home.

Easy maintenance, high quality materials, and integral smart systems make for an easy transition for the changing family. Integrating state of the art or “Smart” technology into our homes is a very hot trend that continues to blaze. It’s about making our lives easier. Controlling kitchen appliances, lighting, and your entertainment systems from a centralized panel will soon be foreshadowed by the apps from our smart phones where we’ll be able turn on our lights, have our fireplace crackling, and our dinner cooked to perfection the moment we walk through the door. Sign me up!

Universal Design
Renovating your existing home and removing interior walls creates an open, spacious, and more flexible floor plan. This immediately improves the layout and flow of the home, and makes it more comfortable and versatile for families who love to entertain—particularly when today’s kitchens serve as multi-functional spaces incorporating cooking, dining, gathering, and entertaining.

Redesigning your home’s overall layout and introducing some universal design principles into your renovation could include wider doorways, main floor master suites, and user friendly kitchens and baths. These subtle tweaks make even the smallest homes feel more spacious, and appeals to an enormous segment of the population—baby boomers and Gen Xers alike.

Work Spaces
The home entrepreneur trend is not just growing—it’s intensifying. With an unstable economy comes the opportunity for more people to work from home part time, or launch home based businesses. Today’s technology makes it easy to be as productive at home as in an office based location.

Since most home based businesses must co-exist with the family, separating your living and working environments can be a challenge. If you’re lucky enough to have a separate guesthouse, a detached carriage house, or space above your garage, then designate that space for your home office. Otherwise, like the vast majority of home based businesses, you’ll need to allocate an area within the home itself—either an unused bedroom, space beneath the stairs, or a corner of the kitchen or family room. Either way, find a spot where noise and traffic are at a minimum, and privacy is optimum!

Porches and Decks
With the trend of downsizing our homes comes the idea of expanding our interior living spaces to the outdoors.

Decks can be as simple or elaborate as the home they’re attached to. Multi-leveled or single, built in seating or casual seating areas, hot tubs, outdoor kitchens, and fire pits—all of which create added living space and provide a vacation-like atmosphere.

Design your porch or deck to compliment the character of your home’s exterior architecture. Give it some thought in planning. It should be proportionate to the size of your home and property, and make sure to include energy efficient solar or LED lighting.

Keeping abreast of these home design trends will help guide you when it comes time for you complete your to do list. Families grow, people mature, and our needs change. It’s all about re-inventing your home, and making it feel as though it was built just for you. 


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