Everyone in the home building industry knows that homebuyers really prefer traditional home design … or do they? That really depends on whether you’re thinking about exterior design and architecture, or interior design, layouts, and features. Earlier this year, Home Innovation Research Labs included questions on home design in a survey of 260 home builders across the country. While the results themselves weren't all that surprising, further analysis reveals some real opportunities for innovation in this area.
Builders were far more likely to describe their Exterior Architecture as traditional (56%) than as modern (15%). The reverse was true for Interiors and Floor Plans—builders were more likely to describe them as being modern (40%) than traditional (30%). The remaining respondents considered both interior and exterior styles as a blend of modern and traditional.
When it comes to our homes, we tend to give up traditions very slowly, and even then, only with some powerful prompting. The recent and fairly rapid modernization of the home interior is a direct reflection the rapid pace of societal change — faster-paced lifestyles, tremendously varied household make-up, and a bombardment of innovations in home communications and personal technologies — which has been a powerful force in overcoming the "traditional" mindset of what defines our homes on the inside. Home exterior design, on the other hand, has been more static; remained more traditional. That’s because exterior architecture has its basis in geographic and cultural histories blended with the surrounding landscape. Our houses reflect the look of our neighbors’ houses, which tend to be traditional. History, geography, and landscapes change slowly. Despite the past half century of new architectural styles, such as domes, boxes, glassy, and even earth sheltered, no market force has been strong enough to draw these into the mainstream.
My predictions on future home design? Incremental changes for exterior architecture are in the foreseeable future — similar but simpler lines and more natural-looking materials. For interiors, I think the future has yet to be discovered and is rife with opportunities to constantly innovate. With the pace of societal and technological changes still blinding, I don’t believe interior design is currently keeping pace with our evolving consumer needs. There is plenty of room for innovators — modern-day Frank Lloyd Wrights — to step out ahead of the design curve to create the new home interior through experimentation and in-depth study with how people interact with each other and their living spaces.
This is just a snapshot of one small piece of our available survey data. If you're interested in looking at the data we have more in depth or feel that some custom information would suit your needs better, let me know. We aim to help our clients find their niche in the world of home innovation and be successful in the market.