In the 1950s and 1960s, people could only imagine what homes would look like fifty to sixty years from then in the future. Perhaps you could talk to your home, or the kitchen could cook for you, or the homes would be made out of futuristic looking materials.
While homes may not quite be that fancy to the average home owner, the homes of today are still certainly more advanced than the homes of a few decades ago. Floor plans have become more open, the bedrooms and kitchens have become more spacious, and there are more outlets to plug in devices to watch or listen to media. But one trend that is often overlooked is the energy efficiency of homes especially in regards to heating houses in colder climates like Churchill Manitoba which can be very expensive over the seasons. That’s what we’re going to look at next.
- You’d be surprised to learn how new homeowners on the market are consistently asking for energy efficient homes. One such example is an efficient laundry room that is located on the main floor. Another example is having a more open kitchen. No longer are kitchens being limited to a small room with only one entry point. Instead, many of the cabinets and counters in kitchens are ‘islands’ in a larger floor space, and there are significantly more entry points leading into the kitchen as well. In addition, the kitchen appliances themselves are significantly more energy efficient and use up less energy.
- Previously, having energy efficient or ‘green’ homes was seen as a fancy edition to homes. Now, it’s being increasingly seen as the norm. It’s now gotten to the point where energy efficiency is one of the top qualities new homeowners look for in homes on the market. Programmable thermostats, energy efficient appliance, and energy star rated windows are just a handful of examples that people look for in homes.
Why Go Energy Efficient?
- Are people looking for energy efficient homes just because they care about the environment. Some homeowners are that way no doubt, but for most people, it’s because the utility expenses in energy efficient homes are cheaper. When you market homes that are more affordable to maintain to people, their interest in those homes skyrockets dramatically.
Here are some more flooring trends that have gained a foothold in the housing market in 2013 and 2014 and will continue on into 2015:
- Wooden floors are still popular in homes, particularly in kitchens. These are not to be confused with the tiled floors that look like wood. The most popular kinds of wood floors out right now are laminated wood, which is significantly less expensive than hardwood, and many would say actually looks better. For those homes that do use hardwood, homeowners and builders are drifting over to dark stains and tones, such as walnut or cherry. In addition, while the floors are all perfectly new, homeowners are preferring that the wooden floors look old and mid century.
- Another type of wood that has really taken off is bamboo wood. Bamboo is becoming popular because it comes from a renewable resource, and many of the cons previously associated with it have since been remedied, such as shrinkage issues. Bamboo is also popular as it comes in a variety of different colors.
- Luxury vinyl may not be near as popular in homes as carpet or wood is, but it is making headway on its own. To make the luxury vinyl more affordable that we see today, the color and look of wood can be printed into squares. In other words, you can practically take a picture of anything and then turn it into a vinyl tile, and it can be placed into any room. Most vinyl flooring is found in the bathrooms of homes.
- Finally, tile is also becoming a more prominent part in the housing world. Notably, the actual tiles themselves are becoming larger than the typical foot by foot long tiles that older houses have. It’s not uncommon for ceramic tiles today to have dimensions of one foot by two feet. Many of the digital prints that are used on vinyl tile are also used on ceramic tiles, which can give tiles either a marble, concrete, or a hardwood look and feel.
What is the fastest growing part of the housing industry? It may depend on who you ask, but many would say it’s the flooring industry. Since there are so many new materials and options available for homeowners today, there are an abundance of new flooring trends. For example, many housing amenities that were previously only found in upper class homes have found their way into lower cost and more middle class homes as well. We’ll take a look at just a handful of the flooring trends that have developed over the last couple of years:
- The new carpets in homes are both softer than before and friendlier to the environment. This is because the carpets of today are being made with different combinations of fibers. They can do this by taking old polyester and melting it down to make new fibers. This makes the fiber significantly more soft and eco-friendly. Previously, these kinds of carpets were only known as luxury carpets and were mainly installed in upper class homes.
- Many of those in the housing industry have been surprised by the emergence of luxury carpets into middle class homes. The main reason for this is because luxury carpet is well known for how soft it is; many homeowners and builders after the Great Recession has simply decided that the softness of the carpet is well worth the extra cost.
- For the actual style of the carpet, people prefer a patterned carpet with a clean finish that fits in well with the design of the hope. Some carpets are also cut and then pieced together like a puzzle to create more unique patterns, and significantly adding on to the personality of a home.
- Do all areas of floors in homes use luxury carpets? Usually not. Typically, in the modern homes we’ve been seeing over the last couple of years and into 2015, the luxury carpets are located primarily in the bedrooms and on the stairs, no doubt because these are two places where homeowners do a lot of walking.
In 2013 and 2014, we saw that homeowners increasingly have accepted larger homes with more living space. As a result, the flooring plans in general have trended in a new direction as well.
More Living Space
- In order to create greater living space, homeowners and builders have begun to build homes with open floor plans. This means less rooms in a home but with more space in each room, in contrast to a greater number of smaller rooms that were the trend previously. Why are people seeing more open floor plans? Because since the Great Recession hit, people have been spending more time at home due to having less money to spend on things in town. Those same people would also need to earn extra money to pay the bills, and working online from home is a great way to earn extra cash. As a result, open flooring allows an individual or a family to multitask without being cramped in a small space. Consequently, many of these open floor plans will also be modernized. We’ll start seeing more USB hookups in homes and other ways to control your smart phone or tablet (source: forklift rentals Winnipeg)
The Actual Flooring
- While the size and shape of floor plans have evolved in recent years, so has the actual type of flooring that’s used. For carpets, people are seeking out eco-friendly carpets in contrast to the more traditional carpets that we’ve seen before. These new carpets can be dissolved with non-toxic solutions when they are pulled from the floor. In comparison, traditional carpets would have to be dumped at a landfill.
- Not all floors are made out of carpets. For wooden floors, people are also seeking out eco-friendly materials as well. Bamboo and cork are two prime examples. Previously, for wooden floors homeowners would be more likely to select wood made out of hardwood trees. Regardless of the wood you choose, be sure to make sure that the floor is free of VOC’s, which are toxic and can be present in hardwood tree wood or bamboo wood alike.
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Almost immediately following the Great Recession, the number of homes being built fell dramatically. But not only did new homes become less numerable, they became smaller too. Before the Great Recession, the average home was approximately two and a half thousand square feet; after the Recession, the average home fell several hundred square feet in size. But today, the average home size is much greater than it was previously. In fact, homes today are actually larger than they were before the Great Recession. It’s not uncommon for new homes to be around two thousand and seven hundred square feet in total size.
Why are new homes larger than they were before the Great Recession? Part of it is because the economy has technically gotten better, but another part of it is because people are trying to put more money down for bigger homes to receive a higher credit score. This isn’t true for all people; families who don’t have the money obviously won’t put the money down and pay the monthly payments for a big home.
However, if homes can become more accessible to middle income Americans and more people decide to buy homes, it’s likely that the average square footage in homes will fall back again but the need for Heating and cooling in your home will always be relevant. After all, numerous surveys have revealed that a majority of Americans (nearly three out of every five) prefer a single story home to homes that have multiple levels. In that regard, the increase in square footage we have seen in homes is largely temporary.
Another reason why average square footage will likely fall in the future is because people want their homes to be more accessible and versatile, with the ability to multitask in the same rooms. To this end, perhaps storage rooms and utility rooms will no longer be kept separate from one another, but instead merge in the same room with a slightly larger floor space in that room (Also if you’re looking for more space or need storage Winnipeg give our friends at Riverbend a call!). Another example would be closets and basements no longer being separated; they may be merged into the same room and placed on the main level.
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There are quite a few additional trends that have developed in new homes in the last couple of years, and that likely will continue into the next few years to come.
- The first trend that we’ll take a look at is E-windows. E-windows stand for low-emissivity windows, and are notable for having a transparent coating to minimize the ultraviolet and infrared light that passes through. Ultraviolet light can cause some furniture to fade so e-windows can help protect furniture in the home and make them more long lasting. While that’s probably not the same kind of technological advancement that someone from the 1950s or 60s may have expected, it’s still pretty cool to us today. What’s more, is that E-windows do not cost much more than standard windows.
- The kitchen has grown in modern homes. People are looking for more space to eat and prepare meals, to store food, and to socialize with each other. The days of small kitchens where there was only one entry point are long gone. Today, most modern day kitchen design plans are very spacious and have more than one entry point with plumbers making sure that every facet in sight is up to code. In addition, less and less homes are having dining rooms installed, and people are instead eating over bars or countertops in the kitchen, necessitating more space. People also use their kitchen to do homework or work on their computers.
The Future of the Living Room
- No one can say with any certainty what the future for the living room holds. What is true is that living rooms are far less popular today than they were in years previously, but they aren’t unpopular enough for them to be considered out of date. Some people don’t see a need for a living room when they can simply hang out and spend time with each other in the kitchen, a family room, or a game/media room. To many people, a living room is just unwarranted extra space that they’ll never use and will just increase the cost of their home. For now, only time will tell if the living room stays in fashion.