Modern Health Talk founder Wayne Caswell is an eLocal.com home improvement expert and contributes to their industry surveys. Their first survey for 2012 is the same as for 2011 – What are the top Home Improvement Trends. Below is an infographic that summarizes answers from 50 eLocal experts, followed by what I submitted for this year’s survey.
Wayne’s Response for 2012
I think home improvement trends will be driven more by economics and demographics than by color and materials. On one hand, younger adults are staying or returning home due to low employment prospects. On the other hand, seniors are moving in with their adult children or accepting roommates to conserve expenses and address health needs.
Whether building a new home, trending toward smaller ones, or modifying an existing home for aging-in-place, Universal Design principles can serve the needs of anyone regardless of age or ability and thus enhance the home’s value. Young couples with baby strollers and wheeled luggage, for example, appreciate a zero-step entry just as much as a senior with a walker or disabled person in a wheelchair, and it makes the home visitor-friendly for all.
High land costs may still encourage the building of two-story homes, but the home can still be made accessible with stair lifts and elevators. Forward-thinking designs will accommodate future elevators by allotting space for them from the beginning.
The same goes for bathroom accessibility. Every home should have at least one bedroom and full bathroom downstairs, especially if there’s no elevator or space to add one. And that bathroom should have grab-bars or at least be blocked so they can be installed later, because it’s a lot cheaper to design-in accessibility from the start than to retrofit later.
Other universal design trends include varied counter heights for a man standing or a woman sitting, with knee space underneath, lever-style door & faucet handles, and home automation features that integrate lighting, HVAC and security for comfort, convenience, energy conservation, and better health.
With the aging population and rising healthcare costs, more emphasis is being placed on prevention and healthy living through diet, exercise, and technology. So consider how a smart bedroom with the right bed & mattress, lighting, air conditioning, and sleep monitoring technology can improve sleep quality, work productivity and health. Consumers are starting to realize that there’s real value in good health, and they’re investing in it. For more on the smart bedroom concept, see Your Path to Better Sleep.