Wireless features, automated lighting controls, and home automation are becoming more popular in residential projects; the most popular home products demonstrate energy management features. These are just some of the findings from The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey covering activity during the second quarter of 2017 that focused on emerging home features, systems and technologies.

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

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 2017), and kitchen and bath trends (April 2018).

Most popular spaces

For the sixth consecutive year, outdoor living rooms have taken the top spot in terms of growing consumer interest among special function rooms. Following in second and third for special function rooms are mud rooms and home offices, respectively, as interest in these spaces has seemingly plateaued.

“Prior to the housing downturn, home offices maintained a solid hold as the most requested special function room,” said Baker. “Obviously new home technology offerings have influenced residential design trends, but the impact of the Great Recession can still be seen through homeowner interest in better use of existing space.”

“Not surprisingly demand for greater accessibility features continues to be strong,” Baker added. “Whether it’s a result of generally lower mobility or the aging baby-boomer population, homeowners are preparing for the future.”

Housing market business conditions

  • AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q2 2017 (any score above 50 is positive)
  • Billings: 60
  • Inquiries for new projects: 66 Regional averages: South (64.7), West (63.1), Midwest (58.8), Northeast (48.7)


“Activity in the additions and remodeling segments are picking up pace. This is a positive sign for the greater housing market in 2018,” Baker concluded.