Scott Strayer
Helen Scott Custom Builders

Trends in new home designs are always changing to meet the needs and lifestyles of homeowners. As people have become more price conscious in the economic downturn, home designs have experienced a shift from the “McMansions,” the large, mass-produced homes of the ‘90s, to smaller floor plans. As this design shift has decreased square footage, it has increased focus on how specific rooms are utilized, energy efficiency and maximizing the home’s accessibility for future owners.

Homes are being designed to be more energy efficient in many different ways. The Ohio Building Code had some significant changes in 2013 that focused mainly on energy efficiency. Homes are being built with less air leakage, increased insulation values and more efficient equipment – leading to lower, yearly operating costs. For example, many homes that were built prior to the 1970s did not have insulated walls. This was because the initial investment was more costly than the potential wasted energy, which is no longer the case. As energy costs continue to rise, the options available to make homes more energy efficient will pay for themselves.

Many homes designed today are also using more of an open concept. A good example of this is a central great room. Based on how people today live and entertain, house designs are shifting from a separate living room and family room to one larger room. We are also seeing the elimination of a formal dining room. Many previous designs included a smaller eat-in kitchen and larger dining room. Today’s designs are getting away from including both spaces. Instead they are combined into one larger eating area where everyone can be together at the table, sometimes even incorporating island seating for larger gatherings such as holidays. The elimination of these separate spaces has contributed to the decrease in overall square footage of new home designs.

Another popular trend is designing the home for long-term accessibility. Many designs are incorporating wider doorways, walk-in showers and even less steps. A huge trend is a first floor master bedroom, which helps to ensure that steps won’t become a nuisance as homeowners age. There are even designs that include a second bedroom on the first floor to accommodate the possibility of taking care of an elderly parent at some point.

These are just a few examples of design trends that are becoming more common. At the end of the day, a home should be designed to meet the specific needs of the homeowner. Even though all of these trends may not fit your particular needs, they are certainly worth consideration.