Housing trends are like a time capsule. Each decade has its own hallmarks that serve as signs of the times. Remember the gold shag carpet and avocado-colored appliances of the ’70s? The teal and salmon Southwest color palette of the ’80s? How about the minimalist décor of the ’90s?
According to experts, American housing trends are as much about culture as they are about carpet color. They can reflect consumers’ attitudes on everything from the economy to the environment. Take the ’90s, for example. The housing design pendulum swung from the excesses of the ’80s to a less-is-more mindset influenced by the previous decade’s recession, among other factors.
If you’re wondering what we’ll look back on and remember about this decade, here are a few trends uncovered by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB):
• Energy efficiency: The NAHB recently polled homebuilders about the features they plan to incorporate into their new homes this year. At the same time, they asked millennials to identify which design elements they would include on their must-have lists. Eco-friendly, energy-efficient designs, building materials and appliances topped both lists. In fact, millennials who responded to the survey said they’d be willing to pay 2-3 percent more for energy efficiency, as long as they could see a return on their power bills.
• Relaxation: If the design features included in the winning homes from NAHB’s 2014 Best in American Living Awards competition are any indication, homebuyers are all about de-stressing this year. Game rooms, hobby rooms and wine rooms encourage homeowners to retreat from the pressures of the outside world and enjoy time at home, either alone or with others. Additionally, bathroom designs continue to center on providing a spa-like experience. Bathtubs, in particular, are making a comeback, with sculpted, stand-alone models serving as a focal point of the room.
• Indoor-outdoor living: Removeable walls, foldable walls and moving glass wall systems are making it easier for homeowners to stretch their lounging environments beyond the traditional confines. Look for more of these transitional spaces to show up in housing designs this year, according to the NAHB.
(Editor’s Note: Andy Warren is president of Arizona homebuilder Maracay Homes, a member of the TRI Pointe Group (NYSE:TPH). He serves on the Board of Directors and as an Executive Committee member with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and is a past board member of the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona. Warren is also a member of Greater Phoenix Leadership and an active member of the Urban Land Institute. For more information about Maracay Homes, please visit www.maracayhomes.com.)