What’s Hot in Homebuilding?

Updated August 23, 2016
ranch house
Ranch homes, and one-story living in general, continue to grow in popularity. Homeowners want to build on smaller lots, with less yard maintenance. (Photo by Mike Penney)

Homebuilding trends include open floor plans, super showers and small lots.

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While fashion trends seem to change at the drop of a hat, it takes about 20 years on average before builders start to see significant changes in home designs. Nevertheless, some building trends rise to the peak of popularity quicker than others.

Today more than ever, builders are considering the behaviors of their clients and designing new homes to fit their lifestyles. Here are some of the hot homebuilding trends that are in high demand.

Open concept layout reigns supreme

Open floor plans remain a ‘must-have’ for homeowners. Designing a space — especially between the kitchen and living room — without walls or doors that impede the view, is a top request.

“We take the open concept a bit further, says Michael Luedke, divison president for David Weekley Homes in Indianapolis. “Our designs incorporate four key components: sight lines, traffic patterns, room placement, and windows and light, which make our homes live and feel larger. We also include 10-foot ceilings on the first floor.”

This open concept floor plan blends the great room and kitchen to make an ideal space for entertaining. (Photo courtesy of NancyHugo.com)

One-story living gaining popularity

While ranch-style homes are seeing resurgence, two-story homes remain popular due to their ability to stack square footage. In either case, homeowners prefer to keep most of their living quarters at ground level.

“Clients love having the majority of the first floor for living and entertaining, while utilizing the second floor for mostly bedrooms and bathrooms,” says Chris Payson, president of West Chester Design & Build in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “In these designs we do a lot of first-floor master suites for clients in their 50s or older. It allows them the convenience of one-floor living, while also being able to have additional bedroom space upstairs for visiting family, grandchildren, and guests.”   

Gray remains go-to color

From siding to stonework, shades of gray are more prevalent in new home construction.

“A few years ago, gray started growing in popularity, and that has translated today into many folks wanting to do gray cabinets,” Payson says, adding that gray tones used in faux wood ceramic tile are also popular. “They look like real wood, but hold up much better in potentially wet locations.”

Builders are incorporating gray into the overall home design, oftentimes pairing it with a bright-white cabinet or trim work.

“White cabinetry continues to be popular,” Luedke says. “Recent trends, however, also include mixing gray and brown undertones to create an eclectic feel.”

gray tiled shower
Showers tiled from floor to ceiling that incorporate gray tones are trending with today's homeowners. (Photo by Frank Espich)

Tubs give way to super showers

What’s a super shower, you might ask? Imagine an oversized walk-in shower that’s tiled from floor to ceiling on all sides. Some might have multiple showerheads and offer a specialized lighting scheme. They’re pretty super, and they’re becoming more sought-after in master bathrooms.

“We’re definitely seeing more walk-in showers,” says Ralph Rohn, president of Triangle Classic Homes in Raleigh, North Carolina. “Using subway tile, bright finishes and LED lighting.”

However, bathtubs haven’t completely vanished. Instead, they’ve just slimmed down a bit.

“The trend is to remove the oversized tub and replace it with a slimmer freestanding tub,” Payson says. “The newer freestanding tubs are almost pieces of art themselves. Their style is very elegant and romantic, almost like a glass slipper.”

Outdoor living on a smaller lot

Smaller, lower-maintenance home sites are selling like hotcakes as homeowners relinquish large yards in exchange for intimate outdoor living spaces.

“Outdoor living areas become an extension of the home, with everything from a water feature to a fireplace, where the family can gather,” Luedke says. “Many [homeowners] want large, covered porches in the back.”

What building trends have you noticed in residential new construction? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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