Top three special function rooms homeowners prefer

Business conditions weaken but remain positive at residential firms

For immediate release:

Washington, D.C. – September 27, 2016 – Outdoor living space, mud rooms, and home offices top the list of special function rooms in the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey covering activity during the second quarter of 2016 that focused on emerging home features, systems and technologies.

“Heavy investment in outdoor living spaces, mud rooms, and home offices indicate that consumers are placing a premium on practicality and functionality,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA.  “Things have changed a lot from a decade ago when home theaters and exercise rooms were some of the most popular special function rooms in homes.”  

All of the data from this survey can be access in this infographic.

“Although accessibility features remain an important issue to homeowners, demand for some of these features has leveled off in the custom residential arena,” Baker said.  “As more homes become equipped to handle an aging population of homeowners, less custom work needs to be done to address specific accessibility issues.”

“As more automation products become available, homeowners continue to explore new ways to maintain their spaces with greater ease,” said Baker.

Housing market business conditions

“Though billings remain positive, demand for design services has leveled off to figures not seen since the early months of recovery from the Great Recession,” Baker said. “The same can be said for inquiries, which usually track several points higher than billings.”

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q2 2016 (any score above 50 is positive)

  • Billings: 54
  • Inquiries for new projects: 56
  • Regional averages: Midwest (62.5), South (47.9), West (56.3) Northeast (50)

“Activity in the additions and remodeling segments are leveling off as well, but remain positive. Conditions in these sectors in the coming months will serve as a barometer for the housing market in 2017,” Baker concluded.  

About the AIA Home Design Trends Survey

The AIA Home Design Trend Survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of over 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 community design trends (December 2016), and kitchen and bath trends (April 2017).

About The American Institute of Architects

Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit


Matt Tinder
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