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Kitchens Get Bigger, Garages Get Smaller: 10 Most-Wanted Features for New Homes

2/18/2010 12:00:00 AM

Tags: garages, kitchens

Housing trends this year are all about downsizing. Americans want smaller homes, and they’re stripping away some of the last decade’s most popular features, including double-height foyers and entertainment rooms. They’re looking for smaller, more flexible spaces that focus on casual living, entertaining and togetherness. AVID Ratings’ annual survey of home buyers found that the following 10 features are on most American home buyers’ wish lists—and you don’t have to buy new to get them.

1. Large kitchens 

large kitchen
Many new home buyers want large kitchens with an island for entertaining and family get-togethers. Photo By Mark Sokolowski. 

Americans want larger kitchens, preferably with an island, that will accommodate large families and get-togethers.

Want it? Try this: Your kitchen may be bigger than you think—but cluttered with unnecessary tools. Find out how to clear away all that clutter and uncover the kitchen of your dreams.

2. Energy-efficient appliances, windows and insulation 

The rest of the country is finally catching on to what our readers have been after for more than a decade: a low-energy, high-efficiency home.

Want it? Try this: Check out Natural Home’s guides to energy-efficient windows and insulation.

3. Home office 

home office
Use your space wisely. Turn an unused room into a home office. Photo By Mackenzie Kosut/Courtesy Flickr. 

Instead of formal dining rooms, which rarely get used, home buyers want a more useful home office.

Want it? Try this: Turn a rarely used room into a healthy home office.

4. Main floor master bedroom 

Empty nesters have tapped into this trend, which can increase efficiency. By consolidating all your living spaces to one floor, you can more efficiently heat your home.

Want it? Try this: If you can’t move your bedroom but want a change, give your bedroom a redesign.

5. Outdoor living room 

outdoor living room
Create an outdoor living space to enjoy. Photo By Eleanor Johnson/Courtesy Flickr. 

Communing with nature is back on America’s to-do list.

Want it? Try this: If you’re jumping in on this trend, make sure your outdoor room is suitable to your climate. Check out Natural Home’s guide to creating the perfect outdoor space.

6. Ceiling fans 

Ceilings fans help increase your home’s energy efficiency. For maximum effect, simply adjust the fan blades’ depending on the season.

Want it? Try this: In winter, adjust the fan’s blades so that the leading edge is tilted lower; this will pull warm air up and help insulate your home. In summer, adjust the fan’s blades so that the leading edge is tilted up, which will create a breeze.

7. Soaker tubs 

soaker tub
Indulge in a soaker tub for scaled-down luxury. Photo By Sarah Rose/Courtesy Flickr.

While many new home buyers still want water-guzzling Jacuzzi tubs, many are opting for a scaled-down version.

Want it? Try this: You don’t have to buy new to get a great tub. Salvaged bathtubs, especially claw-foot tubs, have a unique look that will give your bathroom a cozy feel.

8. Stone and brick exteriors 

Stucco and vinyl weren’t high on Americans’ list of desirable features for new homes.

Want it? Try this: Give your home a face lift. Check out Natural Home’s guide to siding to find the best sustainable exterior options for your home.

9. Community landscaping and walking paths 

Forget golf courses, swimming pools and clubhouses. Americans want to keep it natural with biking and walking paths that wind through lush greens.

Want it? Try this: Another way to add some green to your neighborhood is by starting a community garden. Turn barren patches in your neighborhood into lush, inviting spaces that produce food.

10. Two-car garages 

This might seem wasteful to some, but it’s a step down from the previously popular three-car garages.

Want it? Try this: Have extra space in your garage? Rid it of toxic materials and turn it into a home storage unit.

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