Home Style Evolution: Closed to Open, Large to Small

Homes, much like all things, evolve over time. We remodel them, we change things we liked years before, and we sell them to new owners with new tastes that start the cycle all over again. Home styles also evolve. In recent years we’ve seen home size contract while floorplans themselves have opened up.

So why have homes evolved this way? What other home style changes can we expect in the future?

photo credit: obscure allusion via photopin cc

photo credit: obscure allusion via photopin cc

Large to Small

In the last 5 to 6 years home size has decreased, with new homes being, on average, 200 square feet smaller than their pre-2008 averages. The financial crisis, and the resulting bursting of the housing bubble, played a large part in this, but even as we see new home sales increasing, home sizes are not. The death knell of the “McMansion” has been rung, and new home buyers are focusing more on purchasing homes that they can afford and that suit their needs.

New homeowners are also assessing what parts of their homes they use and investing in those, while minimizing or even eliminating those spaces that are rarely or never used. Formal dining rooms, formal living rooms, and home offices are all seeing themselves replaced with space that is actually used. Living and dining rooms are rarely used in modern homes, with larger, more modern kitchens having places to eat, and media rooms causing traditional living rooms to see their usage drop off. Laptops, tablets, and smartphones, as well as the growth of wireless high speed internet, have made the home office superfluous in many homes as home computing can now be done from anywhere in the home.

These eliminations have resulted in the more efficient use of home space, and the general downsizing of homes as compared to where they were earlier in the last 10 years. It’s also resulted in a change to how floorplans are being laid out.

Closed to Open

Think back to the house you grew up in. It probably had a lot of sectioned off rooms. I know that in mine you couldn’t see the kitchen from the dining room or the living room. While it certainly made for better games of Hide & Seek, it also made the home feel very segmented. That trend, however, has changed in recent years.

While home sizes have declined, floorplans have opened up. The more efficient use of space has played a large part in this, as has the elimination or downgrading in importance of rooms that aren’t used as much. While your old home had separate living and dining rooms, most new homes see them blended together, with no separation between the two. Newer homes feature floorplans that allow you to view more than one room at a time and, in some cases, even an entire level of the home at once.

Home Predictions

So what does the future hold for homes? While many believe that more individuals and families will leave the suburbs and return to the city, the IFDA (International Furnishings & Design Association) recently released their predictions for how we’ll live in the year 2020.

The predictions follow the trends we’re already seeing – a decrease in overall home size, the combining of some rooms so that others, the dining room in particular, disappear, and an increased presence for technology in the home. They did, however, predict that more homes will have a home office by 2020, more than one in fact. This may be a result of more individuals working from their homes all or part of the time as technology and the internet make being on-site for your job increasingly unnecessary.

What do you think home designs will be like by 2020? Do you see homes reverting to their pre-housing bubble size, or will the current trend of downsizing continue?

About the Author

George R Perry works for Madison Homebuilders, a custom home builder in South Carolina that specializes in built on your lot homes. To learn more about Madison Homebuilders, or to view their home floorplans, visit them online at MadisonHomebuilders.net .

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