Which home trends are out, according to recent consumer preference surveys?
1. Fireplaces: The fireplace skyrocketed in importance in homes in 1991 with 62 percent of new homes having one or more. But the number has steadily been decreasing ever since. In 2007, the number dropped to 51 percent.
eco-modpod says: Everyone loves a cozy fire when the temperatures drop but polluting the air with a wood burning fireplace is way out. Gas fireplaces are still popular and desired. Better yet, install an alternative and efficient fuel source–such as a modern pellet stove–to keep you warm when the power lines go down due to high winds, blizzards, or ice storms.
2. Carpet: While 54 percent of homes still have carpet floors, the number is decreasing and hardwood floors are taking the place. Vinyl and ceramic tile flooring also are being bypassed more by buyers. Seventeen percent of new homes contain hardwood floors throughout the entire house.
eco-modpod says: Most carpeting is far from earth friendly. Not only does it off-gas for several years, it collects dirt, dust, pollen and dust mites to inflame allergies and asthma. Reclaimed wood, bamboo, natural linoleum and cork floors are the way to go. Cork is especially great in kitchens to ease back pressure from long periods of standing. Ceramic or recycled glass tile in bathrooms is still ideal.
3. Living room: These once-decorative centerpieces of homes are slowly vanishing from newer homes. Thirty-four percent of consumers say they’re willing to buy a home without a living room.
eco-modpod says: Formal living and dining rooms, along with that special occasion china, are definitely going out and being replaced with “all occasion” rooms. If the TV is central in your lives then one room will do. If you prefer to keep the TV out of your main living and entertaining area then you may still want two distinct rooms.
4. Desks in the kitchen: These desks were once looked at as great storage areas but they’re often too small and quickly become clutter spaces in a home, said Gayle Butler, editor in chief of Better Homes and Gardens. Instead, more consumers say they prefer larger desks in or near the family room—equipped with a messaging center—where they can keep an eye on their kids as they work on the computer.
eco-modpod says: Agreed. Desks in the kitchen are clutter traps and very unattractive.
5. Skylights: The little windows that allow natural light to seep into a home from above are falling out of style. Only 10 percent of new homes will include them this year, a continuing downward spiral for skylights.
eco-modpod says: Skylights that are installed properly are always in style! Skylights allow natural light in and less need for turning on lamps. Skylights can range from $500-$2000 installed depending on the size and features. Light tubes are another great option.
6. Upscale kitchen finishes: Granite countertops are slowly becoming less desirable among buyers who are now moving toward affordable, low-maintenance laminate countertops—which tend to last longer and now come in various styles.
eco-modpod says: It seems that most homes on the market these days list “granite countertops”. As soon as it becomes common place it goes out of style. Laminite and granite are definitely out, out, out. Laminate is not at all eco-friendly and granite is mostly mined from China and can emit radon. Cork, recycled glass, and soapstone are hot new trends for eco countertops!
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey
Eco-mod pod says:
Trends change. Purchase or remodel in a way that makes sense for you, your family, your budget and the environment.
Many of the out going trends in new homes are to reduce the cost of the builders and pass those savings on to the consumer. Over extending ourselves through credit is out of favor with most Americans. The home trends on their way out reflect consumer decisions to purchase less expensive new housing.
Remember: Think neutral, simple, and natural to create lasting style.