Home improvement trends embrace energy efficiency, low maintenance exteriors, and double-duty space.
Trend #1: Maintenance-free siding
continue to choose maintenance-freeÂ sidingÂ that lives as long as we do,
but with a lot less upkeep. But more and more weâ€™re opting for
fiber-cement siding, one of the fastest-growing segments of the siding
market. Itâ€™s a combination of cement, sand, and cellulosic fibers that
looks like wood but wonâ€™t rot, combust, or succumb to termites and other
At $5 to $9 per sq. ft., installed,
fiber-cement siding is more expensive than paint-grade wood, vinyl, and
aluminum siding. It returns 78% of investment, the highest return of any
upscale project on Remodeling magazineâ€™s latestÂ Cost vs. Value Report.
is limited to a cleaning and some caulking each spring. Repaint every 7
to 15 years. Wood requires repainting every 4 to 7 years.
Trend #2: Convertible spaces
â€œmuseum roomsâ€ we use twice a year (dining rooms and living rooms) and
embrace convertible spaces that change with our whims.
walls turn a private study into an easy-flow party space. Walls can
consist offancy, glass panelsÂ ($600 to $1,600 per linear ft., depending
on the system); or they can be simple vinyl-covered accordionsÂ ($1,230
for 7 ft. by 10 ft.).Â PortablePartions.comÂ sells walls on wheels ($775
for approximately 7 ft. by 7 ft.).
A Murphy bed pulls down from an
armoire-looking wall unit and turns any room into a guest room. Prices,
including installation and cabinetry, range from $2,000 (twin with main
cabinet) to more than $5,000 (California king with main and side
units). Just search online for sellers.
And donâ€™t forget area rugs that easily define, and redefine, open spaces.
Trend #3: A laundry room of your own
advanced when the laundry room arose from the basement to a louvered
closet on the second floor where clothes live. Now, weâ€™re taking another
step forward by granting washday a room of its own.
thinking of remodeling, turn a mudroom or extra bedroom into a
dedicatedÂ laundry roomÂ big enough to house the washer and dryer, hang
hand-washables, and store bulk boxes of detergent.
Look for spaces that already have plumbing hookups or are adjacent to rooms with running water to save on plumbing costs.
Trend #4: Souped-up kitchens
houses are trending smaller, kitchens are getting bigger, according to
theAmerican Institute of Architectsâ€™ Home Design Trends Survey.
remodelsÂ open the space, perhaps incorporating lonely dining rooms, and
feature recycling centers, large pantries, and recharging stations.
and high-priced commercial appliancesâ€”did we ever fire up six burners
at once?â€”are yielding to family-sized, mid-range models that recover at
least one cabinet forstorage.
Since the entire family now helps
prepare dinner (in your dreams), double prep sinks have evolved into
dual-prep islands with lots of counter space andÂ pull-out drawers.
Trend #5: Energy diets
wrestling with an energy disorder: Weâ€™re binging on electronicsâ€”cell
phones, iPads, Blackberries, laptops--then crash dieting by installing
LED fixtures and turning the thermostat to 68 degrees.
Are we ahead of the energy game? Only theÂ energy monitorsÂ and meters know for sure.
new tracking devices can gauge electricity usage of individual
electronics ($20 to $30) or monitorÂ whole house energyÂ ($100 to $250).
The TED 5000 Energy Monitor ($240) supplies real-time feedback that you
can view remotely and graph by the second, minute, hour, day, and month.
Trend #6: Love that storage
As we bow to the new god of declutter, storage has become the holy grail.
not talking about more baskets we can trip over in the night; weâ€™re
imagining and discoveringÂ built-in storage in unlikely spaces--under
stairs, over doors, beneath floors.
Under-appreciated nooks that
once displayed antique desks are growing into built-ins for books and
collections. Slap on some doors, and you can hide office supplies and
buckets of Legos.
Giant master suites, with floor space to land a 747, are being divided to conquer clutter with more walk-in closets.
Trend #7: Home offices come out of the closet
Flexible work schedules, mobile communications, and entrepreneurial zeal are relocating us from the office downtown to home.
and wireless connections let us telecommute from anywhere in the house,
but we still want a dedicated space (preferably with a door) for files,
supplies, and printers.
Spare bedrooms are becoming home offices
and family room niches are morphing into working nooks. After a weekend
of de-cluttering,Â basementsÂ andÂ atticsÂ are reborn as work centers.