5 Design Trends to Maximize Space

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In today’s market, five trends have emerged to help home buyers maximize the space in their homes — whether it’s 1,000 square feet or 10,000 square feet. Joseph Atalla of Berkeley Building Company and Wayne Visbeen, AIA, IIDA, of Visbeen Architects explained these trends, including examples from their own projects, during their IBS educational session, "Floor Plan Solutions: Minimum Waste & Maximum Space." 1. Right sizing. "Right sizing is about giving you the spaces you need and you’ll enjoy living in, without putting money into the things you won't," Visbeen explained. That could include shrinking a master bedroom to create a nicer closet, enhancing technology features instead of creating an entire home theater area, or incorporating smaller touchdown spaces in lieu of a dedicated home office. One space in particular that has gone by the wayside is the formal dining room, in part because people rarely use it. "In 90% of our homes, we’ve taken the dining room out," Visbeen noted, adding that it’s usually more cost efficient for buyers to take their friends out to a nice restaurant three or four times a year (which is how often they’d likely use that dining room). 2. Outdoor living. Outdoor living spaces aren’t just for homes in California, Atalla joked. Instead, there are ways to add livable space — often more cost effectively for buyers. In Atalla’s Boise, Idaho-based market, for example, covered patios are a staple design feature, which can be enhanced with materials such as concrete and features such as shades. Sitting walls can create natural seating areas, and operable screens can help separate rooms when needed. 3. Fireplaces. "Think about how to use fire to add beauty to any area of your design," Visbeen encouraged. Linear fireplaces allow designers to get more creative with placement — including innovative spots such as the bathroom, garage or even an exercise room — and more flexibility for TV installation. Fireplaces can also be used to create transitional space between rooms, or enhance a room’s aesthetic with color and texture. 4. Storage space. "We all know no matter how big your house is, you never feel like you have enough storage," Atalla noted. "When you have a small footprint, you have to be smart about how you can create more of that storage." Examples include taking advantage of nooks for customized mudroom benches or shelving, expandable kitchen tables that nest within each other, and unique his-and-hers closet designs, like this 2018 BALA Game Changer. 5. Transitional/flex space. Similar to creating touchdown spaces over a home office, flex spaces utilize more space by providing additional functionality. This may be a TV room-turned-guestroom, courtesy of a Murphy bed, or a sitting room accessible from both the living room and the master bedroom as a relaxation space for anyone to use. Flex spaces may also allow buyers to plan ahead for future needs. Storage closets, for example, can be stacked to create the framework for an elevator at a later date. To view this presentation and other IBS educational seminars, visit the 2019 IBS Education On-Demand Library.

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