Central Washington Homebuilders Association - Full Article: New Housing Trends

New Housing Trends

The largest American generation is either retired or quickly nearing retirement age.  Baby boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1964 and who count more than 76 million, may be getting older, but they are definitely not ready to head to the retirement home!

The boomer generation is more active than generations past, has a more sophisticated style and wants options and choices in their homes. Whether they are selling the homes where they raised their children and heading to sunnier pastures or staying put and redesigning to accommodate their retired lifestyle, boomers are making an impact on new housing trends. Some features that home builders and remodelers are seeing as they begin to cater to the boomers include:

Home OfficeHome Offices

Some boomers are choosing to work past the age of 65. As they transition from a traditional 9-to-5 job, however, they want home offices for flexibility. A second career or part-time employment often eliminates the hassle of commuting while keeping them active and bringing in supplementary income.

Tech/Media Centers

The tech-savvy boomer generation wants top-of-the-line amenities for their homes such as a media room with surround sound and central control systems, capable of managing all media sources in one location. The house may include a wireless home network (Wi-Fi), remote control lighting and security features.

Wider Doors and Hallways

As a person ages, there is a likelihood that use of a wheelchair might become a necessity. Designing a home that is livable now but can transition and be functional as the occupant ages is important in ensuring that the home will be a good long-term investment. Wider doors and hallways are useful for moving larger furniture today, and will also be wheelchair accessible tomorrow.

Better Lighting/Bigger Windows

The need for more lighting usually increases as we grow older. To accommodate this, builders are adding more windows and making them larger to let in more natural light. They are also adding more light fixtures in areas including under cabinets and in stairwells. Multiple switches to reduce the number of trips and dimmer controls to eliminate glare are other options.

First-Floor Bedrooms and Bathrooms

More than 40 percent of new homes have master suites downstairs, a 15 percent increase over a decade ago. Boomers not wishing to go up and down stairs with bad knees and aching backs have helped fuel this trend. The bedrooms are also bigger with larger walk-in closets and bathrooms that have a separate tub and shower and dual sinks.

Easy to Maintain Exteriors/Landscaping

Yard work, painting, and other landscaping chores may no longer be enjoyable to aging home owners. People who move to a new home when they retire may opt for a maintenance-free community. Those who choose to stay in their homes might make improvements to exterior surfaces such as installing stucco, brick or low-maintenance siding. Lawns are being replaced with living patios, decorative landscaping, or flower beds which can be a hobby for gardening enthusiasts.

Flex Space

"Flex space" has become more prevalent in both new homes and remodeling. Flex spaces are rooms that take on the purpose of the present home owner's needs but can adjust with changes as they occur. What may have once started out as a guest bedroom can be redecorated to serve as a hobby room or library. This allows home owners to stay in their homes longer as it continues to serve their needs throughout life's stages.


The legendary time has come, and design insiders from around the globe have gathered to reveal what is to come in 2012. The style spectrum ranges from classic to cutting edge with the Interior Design community responding to changes in the economy, our technology and demographics; here are the hottest looks and influences on-trend today. 

All Americana

With a salute to the stars and stripes the patriotic spirit is flying high. “Made in America” or an Americana theme is IN. American values and traditions are playing a proud part in our interior designs. We will see federalist details and historical references with simplicity and nostalgia being key. In support of our nation, manufacturers that produce American made items locally will be in high demand. Expect to see distinctive furnishings and décor incorporating red, white and blue.

Industrial on the Inside

The industrial trend has evolved with a look that is ‘right-off-the-factory-floor’, suggesting hard work and craftsmanship. Exposed bolts, repurposed goods, rough wood and steel support will be displayed purposefully. We will also see aged patina, burnished detail and a satin finish. Some of the biggest statements, literally, are dining tables; many of which have a practical bent despite their size, turned legs and raw detailing. Metal stools on natural floors with no stain will also be well-liked.

Growing Green

Sustainable design is here to stay, more widespread than ever, and the emphasis on ‘green’ is still very much alive and growing. The attentiveness continues to center around ways in which it can improve our built environment’s impact on our earth. Expect to see importance put on green design features and green manufacturing techniques that positively contribute to this worthy lifestyle commitment.

Cultural Movement

Tribal/cultural designs have been a hit on the fashion runways and now the influences of native and migratory cultures are heading home. African themes, beads and shells, bright colors, chevrons, flame stitching, intricate patterns, Moroccan influences and Native American designs will be in style in a variety of products and materials.

Naturally Inspired

This year nature-inspired elements have been taken to a whole new level! Gilding branches to create an elegant table base, designing an oversized antler-inspired floor lamp, and layering multiple cow-hide rugs are just a few examples. Clever and craftsmanship combine! From shell and dandelion-inspired pendants to decorative vine balls, naturally-inspired pieces are having a moment. We will see Sea Shell accessories (say that 5 times fast) and even insects; plus: loads of driftwood, crackled bark, twigs, reclaimed-wood, and the rustic yet refined live-edge furniture.

The Men’s Room

The grouping of masculine fabrics and western styling will be gallantly galloping IN. Flannels, leathers, tweeds, plaid buttoned-down and other menswear-encouraged fabrics paired with leather straps, nail heads and stirrup details will create a distinctly equestrian-theme.  Perfect for the mid-century room, traditional library or man-cave, calling to mind a sense of indulgence and elegance as well as comfort.

No Manor(s)

Today, design is about smaller, well planned spaces made with quality materials. The interest is on fewer, but higher end products. A custom, handcrafted sense will be the preference. The drop in square footage will lead to the living room disappearing altogether, and the kitchen and family room will form a single "great room." We will even start to see savvy furniture pieces designed specifically for small spaces. Other areas within the home that may become increasingly uncommon include dining and media rooms. The laundry area and walk-in closets will still play an important role in the floor-plan design, however, Americans are saying “no” to the mansion/manor and are ready to scale back and choose more mindful living arrangements.

Universal Design

Hooray! Cutting edge technology is enabling design oriented manufacturers to produce stylish products that are also durable and easy to use. Expect to see more attention put on products and home improvements that offer more style along with performance and comfort. The retirement of the Baby Boomers, in particular, has made Universal Design a significant area of focus. The concept of designing all products and environments to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible, without adaptation or specialized design, will be prevalent today and in the future. And, we will continue to see a trend in the use of resource-efficient features: dual flush toilets, low-flow faucets, low-E windows, powerful insulation, solar systems and Energy Star home ratings will all grow in popularity.

Swatch Watch

Look for eye-popping, unexpected color, bright punches, or black-and-white outlines. A flash back to the ‘60s is already being seen in the color spectrum, with intense orange, mustard, and teal returning to the spotlight. Reds are also center stage, including wine influences like merlot and cabernet.  

Blue and green are overflowing. Robin's egg blue and pale faded green are versatile and trendy. The colors will range from that of a deep blue sea to a rich, mossy forest.

Set against last season’s hot pink Pantone pick, the absence of color is startling, but present-day, making cream, vanilla, and white on white a must see-particularly in accessories.

My favorite today and possibly forever, is greige. The combination of gray and beige is the ultimate neutral and will be seen universally. Look for neutrals that are reminiscent of pebbles, weathered wood and raw organic materials.

Found GOLD

Metals have tended toward the cooler pewter’s, but now the GOLD RUSH is on! Gold is shining from accessories to furnishings. Brushed gold with a matte finish looks fresh everywhere!

Sheltered Slumber

Designers are taking “cocooning” to a whole new level! Shelter beds are back with the oh-so-cozy circling headboards. We will see sleek styling, modishness and a lot of snuggly upholstery. Storage, hidden or otherwise, will also be present and-look clossely-wall beds will make a return as well.

Luxurious Lacquer

Bare woods and grain-bearing finishes on our furnishings are making way for the sheen of heavily lacquered pieces in dramatic colors. This glossy finish will be showy in entryways, living rooms and bedrooms. Bold, deep color and strong hues will make this statement lavish!

Touch of Texture

Designers declare “texture, texture, texture” as the new bling. And this brings glamour galore with sophisticated colorways and stunning curves. Pillows and rugs with 3-D appliqué, metallic leather, pleated upholstery and loads of richly textured fabric, from natural linen to plush velvet, will be seen far and wide.

Lights Gone Wild

Big, beautiful, oversized lamps, generous multiform organic chandeliers and even textured, animal horn scones are scattered throughout showrooms. Lighting has gone wild with the WOW-factor; expect them to reach out and GRAB your attention.

Ta da Décor

Peacocks!!! You might see the blue ‘Peacock’ hues on walls and furniture, oversized peacock feather patterns on rugs, or peacock statues beautifying a shelf. This proud bird will be an admired motif for some time to come. 

Greek key motifs signal a return to neoclassic forms, but updated for a fresher look. Again, will we see this on furniture, pillows and drapery.  So elegant!

Basket weave for every room in the house:  dining room chairs, pillows, coffee tables and even wall art will have this charming, woven effect.

Sunburst mirrors are HOT and can be used equally well in all sorts of spaces from traditional to contemporary. They can look sophisticated or whimsical, retro-inspired or modern. And, we will see them in a plethora of shapes, sizes, and styles.

Billowing pillows-how fun! Felt pillows, tailored pillows, woven pillows, sequins pillows and even poufs!  Make room for these fashionable accents!

Silvery mercury… here, there, and everywhere! Vessels, candle holders and accessories: the tarnished and luxurious look just exudes all things lovely! Glitter, shimmer and shine… something unique for your home!

And, the most magical décor of all will be your personal touch or DIY project. Creative ways to use non-typical items is ON-TREND! Door-knocker pulls, tree branch coat hangers, wood stump night stands, wine barrel end tables and the list continues… make it your own!

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