contractor1Washington, D.C – March 14, 2013  With the housing market improving over the last year, households are concentrating more on kitchen and bathroom design in general as well as on emerging products used in these areas of the home.  There has been an increase in the size and number of kitchens and bathrooms in U.S. homes, after staying relatively flat in recent years.

Residential architects are reporting the best business conditions since 2005 for custom design projects, along with high demand for remodeling and renovation projects.  These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey for the fourth quarter of 2012, which focused specifically on kitchens and bathrooms.

“Kitchens have reclaimed their place as the true focal point of the home, with a growing emphasis on utilizing more technology,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA.  “There has also been renewed interest in integrating more household activities into this space.”


Popular kitchen products and features*

Computer area / recharging stations:47%   43%
Integration with family space:43%   42%
Recycling center:36%   35%
Adaptability / universal design:35%34%
Larger pantry space:31%   33%
Renewable countertop materials:25%   31%
Renewable flooring materials:23%   36%
Drinking water filtration systems:19%   29%
Upper-end appliances:         16%   11%

* Index score computed as % of respondents reporting increasing minus those reporting decreasing popularity

Baker added, “Along with a continued need for accessibility within bathrooms, the majority of products that are extremely popular promote energy-efficiency and sustainability, such as LED lighting and water saving toilets.”

Popular bathroom products and features*                         

LED lighting:68%57%
Doorless showers:57%44%
Accessibility / universal design:54%51%
Water saving toilets:43%53%
Dual flush toilets:41%47%
Radiant heated floors:33%41%
Hand showers:33%33%
Specialty upscale shower:21%26%

* Index score computed as % of respondents reporting increasing minus those reporting decreasing popularity

Housing market business conditions

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q4 2012 (any score above 50 is positive)

•             Billings: 54

•             Inquiries for new projects: 63

Specific construction segments (index score computed as % of respondents reporting improving minus those reporting weakening conditions)

•             Additions / alterations: 59

•             Kitchen and bath remodeling: 57

•             First-time buyer / affordable home market: 16

•             Move-up home market: 19

•             Custom / luxury home market: 14

•             Townhouse / condo market: -4

•             Second / vacation home market: -27

About the AIA Home Design Trends Survey

The AIA Home Design Trend Survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of more than 500 architecture firms that concentrate their practice in the residential sector.  Residential architects are design leaders in shaping how homes function, look, and integrate into communities and this survey helps to identify emerging trends in the housing marketplace.  Business conditions are also monitored on a quarterly basis.  Future surveys will focus on overall home layout and use (June 2013) specialty rooms and systems (September 2013) and community design trends (December 2013).

 reprinted from the American Institute of Architects, written by By Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, AIA Chief Economist