What will the modern home of 2026 look like? What gee-whiz features of today will be standard 10 years from now? Having a better understand of emerging design trends could be useful for today’s house hunters hoping to buy ahead of the curve — and for sellers hoping to entice buyers with home features that are out of the ordinary.
Some clues about tomorrow’s homes are revealed in the latest Home Design Trends Survey from the American Institute of Architects. More than 500 residential architects offered insights into what they think will be the most significant home design elements over the next 10 years.
The 10-year forecast for home design can be summarized in three words: functionality, accessibility, and sustainability — everything from healthier building materials and furnishings to homes that will be more resilient to bad weather. Here are some home design trends to watch for over the next decade:
HOMES THAT ARE SMARTER: Smart-home technology — automated controls and remote access via the Internet — will play a bigger role in managing home systems such as heating, cooling, security, and lighting.
HOMES THAT ARE HEALTHIER: Environmental health issues will grow in importance. Homeowners will steer away from volatile organic compounds in paint and composite wood, opting instead for natural-fiber upholstery, carpets without polyvinyl chloride backing, and air-purification systems.
STORMPROOF HOMES: Demand will grow for homes that can hold up better against natural disasters. That may mean elevating residences, windows with impact glazing, dedicated safe rooms, and backup power generation.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Solar panels, water-reclamation systems, and tankless water heaters will become more popular.
AGING IN PLACE: Universal design elements will help an aging population stay in their homes longer — think wider hallways, added handrails, and one-level living spaces.
KITCHENS, KITCHENS, KITCHENS: Kitchens will increasingly be the focal point of the home, encouraged by open-design concepts and extra kitchen space.
OUTDOOR LIVING: Outdoor grills, patios, and decks are just the beginning. Outdoor kitchens and fully furnished outdoor rooms will increase in popularity.
WORKING FROM HOME: Telecommuting will continue to expand, and so too will the need for home-office space.
SMALLER, BETTER-DESIGNED HOMES: Access to public transportation and to commercial and entertainment districts will lure homebuyers to crowded urban areas. To compensate for smaller homes and lots, buyers will seek more innovative designs and personalized design features.
(Image: Flickr.com/Steve Larkin)