6 Trends in Contemporary House Plans 6 Trends in Contemporary House Plans

Among the design trends in contemporary house plans are several that have taken off with our increased concern about climate change. Others stem from the gradual aging of populations in North America, Europe and northern Asia. Still others show respect for early methods of home construction. Learn about 6 of these trends in contemporary housing below.

Self-Sustaining Housing

Every day more people are finding better ways to meet their home infrastructure needs at lower cost. These changes include solar panels whose electrical energy heats water, and keeps the lights and home computer on. Drawing energy from the earth itself, geothermal heating systems will pay for themselves in less than 15 years. Filtering of collected rainwater for toilet flushing and laundry is becoming common in areas with abundant rainfall.

Ancient Construction Techniques Are New

Straw bale houses and adobe pueblos sound like ideas long past their prime, but both have been revived. New ways to compress and clean straw of contaminants enable straw bales to serve both as insulation and as exterior building material. The rounded curves of the walls evoke a whole new aesthetic in home design. Adobe is a material that has long proven itself to be weather-resistant, keeping interiors cool in summer and warm in winter. These homes are easy to build in areas where wood is scarce, but clay soils are abundant.

Reclaimed Buildings

The revival of old buildings for new purposes began when condominium architecture arrived in North America. Inner-city factories, warehouses, and even old churches and schools have been converted into splendid loft-style condominium apartments. Their high ceilings and huge windows are popular across the continent.

Accessibility and "Aging in Place"

The desire of many seniors and younger people to remain in their homes as they age has triggered a new architectural phenomenon of making homes accessible. Wider hallways, low countertops, raised bathroom fixtures, step-in tubs and showers are all features of many contemporary homes that help people with mobility concerns, along with visual and aural problems.

Outdoor Living Spaces

From tall towers to duplexes, homes with easy access to the outdoors are the big sellers today. Apartment condominiums include large terraces off more than one room, not just tiny balconies. The backyard of many single-family homes now has a complete outdoor kitchen with a refrigerator, plumbed-in sink, counters and storage cupboards, and a barbecue grill larger than the kitchen cooktop.

Flexibility of Purpose

Open floor plans have been a hallmark of residential spaces since the late 1970s. But the 21st century adds a new twist—spaces that can be converted from one purpose to another without tearing out walls. Flexible sliding panels, storage that converts to a closet or to a home office, and many other innovations make a home suit a family from toddlers to postgraduates. A basement bedroom evolves into a games or exercise room for parents after the children have moved out. A second floor master suite can become a home theater or library. Contemporary homes are evolving to meet the needs of their inhabitants at every stage of their lives.


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