BUILDING PLAN NEW TENDENCIES
Updated: Nov 18
Home design trends are following suit with emerging trends that revolve around our need to be connected to technology, live sustainably and enjoy quality time with family friends in casual, open spaces.
The Modern Farmhouse
The modern farmhouse trend is here to stay. With classic charm and cool features, this popular design style is going nowhere soon. I do believe “farmhouse” will still trend in 2020 but with some twists that are more industrial and that bring a bit more warmth and texture to what has been a rather sterile palate.
The defining characteristics of this exterior style include lap siding, large windows, and simple rooflines (typically with one or more gables). Bright white siding usually is paired with dark windows.
In an effort to have their farmhouse plans stand out in a market flooded with them, some designers are adding color. Not classic, expected hues like red or brown, but rather soft pastels that feel fresh and new.
Open floor plans
Open floor plans have for years been the standard among layouts, but now they’re being taken one step further by combining the formal dining room with the breakfast nook. While a luxury plan may still include a set-apart dining room (perhaps with a decorative ceiling treatment), mid-size plans increasingly include only one dedicated eating space: an enlarged breakfast nook adjacent to the kitchen.
Homes will continue on a trend of open floor plans and reduction of redundant spaces – like dual dining areas. We love to show off our kitchens these days. Whether you’re building a small house plan or a larger family-friendly design, an open layout will maximize space and provide excellent flow from room to room.
However, there could be some small changes to open floor plans in the future. People are beginning to understand noise, both literal and visual noise, are an issue. So, accommodations will be made. We'll see fewer floor plans where the kitchen, dining and living space are all in a straight line; the dining room will be off to the side so that the kitchen island can relate directly to the seating area.
This change reflects not only Americans’ growing informality at mealtime, but also the continued prominence of the kitchen as the center of the home. Even when square footage is tight, the social kitchen concept has taken hold so thoroughly that even modest apartments typically feature a large island with seating.
The most creative layouts go beyond the now-standard island configuration of three or four stools in a row. Some islands feature a squared-off shape, which facilitates conversation in a more natural way. A few innovative plans even incorporate tables into islands for a café-like vibe.
A good host makes his or her guests feel relaxed, and a well-thought-out kitchen can help create that easygoing vibe. It’s refreshing to see prep sinks and ranges on some kitchen islands as these features let whomever is cooking rinse, chop, and saute without constantly turning away from visitors.
Even with inevitable pushback against ultra-open layouts (some dissenters complain about food odors and no room to hide a mess), it seems unlikely that the trend will reverse anytime soon. Cooking now serves as an aspirational leisure activity with the rise of meal prep (often documented on social media) and a focus on wellness.
Smart, connected homes
Younger generations, in particular, are demanding that smart technology be incorporated into their home for both the convenience and energy-saving benefits. Being able to control all of the electronics, temperature, lights and security from one swipe on a mobile phone will eventually become the norm. Growing concerns about the environment will help drive more innovation in energy and water conservation designs throughout the home.
“New technology will have an impact on how we interact with our homes as well as improve energy efficiency and live more sustainably,” said Rick McAlexander, CEO of The House Plan Company, a house plan marketing company based in Eugene, Oregon.
Finally, another emerging trend is how the concept of flex space is being reimagined. In particular, designers are finding new, innovative ways to create space for a specific purpose in an area of the floor plan where you might traditionally find the mudroom. They’re breathing new life into this sometimes-overlooked space to the backyard or garage.
“It seems that everyone is wanting a flexible space that they can tailor to their own purpose, whether it be a pocket office, wine room, pet spa, specialized storage or even craft areas,” said Foresman.
While these emerging trends provide new opportunities for designers, they all agree that several current trends will continue to increase in popularity into 2020, including dual owner suites, indoor-outdoor living and ever-growing kitchen islands.
A move toward practicality—not necessarily frugality, but making the most of what you do have—is evident when looking at the amenities in today’s newest home plans. Storage has become more than just a walk-in closet (though you’ll find plenty of them, increasingly in secondary bedrooms as well as in master suites). Greater emphasis is placed on the thoughtful placement of such features.
Mudrooms and laundry areas—often showing up in plans as separate spaces rather than combined—provide Pinterest-worthy spots to keep the clutter of everyday living organized. This is especially important in a home with an open layout, where there’s little room to hide footwear, backpacks, and coats. Mudrooms with hooks, lockers, and benches greet homeowners with a place to sit down, take off shoes, and store gym bags and schoolbooks. Meanwhile, smarter storage for laundry necessities—such as detergents and drying racks—is also sometimes accompanied by smarter placement in the home: many layouts by Jonesboro, Ark.–based Nelson Design Group feature master closets that open directly into the laundry room. This simple change makes it easy to throw in a load of laundry without lugging a basket throughout the house.
For furry members of the family, pet amenities have become more common in new plan designs. There are some creative solutions for the discreet placement of a pet’s food and water dishes or a cat’s litter box. Design Basics incorporates “pet centers” in its layouts, which include dog-washing stations and other storage.
A home office, too, can be viewed as a storage solution if it’s able to also serve as a guest suite, as that’s space well-spent.