New Home Tips, Trends, and Ideas - Raleigh Custom Home Builders

Outdoor Living, Home Offices, Mudrooms, In-law Suites Top 4 Features

Posted by Penny Hull on Mon, Oct 27, 2014 @ 11:10 AM

What do Outdoor Living Areas, Home Offices, Mudrooms and In-law Suites have in common?

According to the latest Home Design Trends survey from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the demand for special function rooms - and specialty design features - is on the rise.

AIA's survey results reflect changing lifestyles and family structures: more people are working from home, combining family living spaces with a multi-generational home plan, and planning ahead with aging in place design.

Outdoor living areas

Outdoor living spaces are the most popular special function room, according to AIA's most recent survey.

Outdoor Living Spaces

In North Carolina, "indoor-outdoor" areas are a top request - including specialty sun rooms, outdoor living rooms, screen porches with a fireplace, and morning decks off the master suite. 

Get 7 tips on how to design your outdoor living space, here.


Multi-generational quarters

According to Kermit Baker, Ph.D., Hon. AIA, AIA chief economist, "Many households want to ensure that their homes can support the needs of aging parents who may be staying for an extended period of time and other visitors with accessibility needs."

Modern au pair and in-law suites can fill these needs - whether designed into a full basement with kitchenette or as an enlarged guest suite quarters.

Multi-Generational Home Plans | In Law Suite

High-demand aging in place design and accesssible living features include: ramps and elevators, first-floor bedrooms, on-grade home entry, and easy-to-use features.

10 Stanton Home tours with a first floor guest bedroom

Home offices

While many Raleigh new homes are incorporating a full size home office - typically ranging in size from a 10'x10' to 14'x14' room - we're also seeing rising requests for a pocket office plan.

Dedicated offices offer a way to work from home - outfitted with built-in storage and high speed internet connections.

Home Office | Floor Plans with a Home Office

See 8 home plans with a pocket office.


Large laundry rooms and mudrooms are very popular in new home designs, especially as a transition area between the garage and home space.

From drop zones and locker systems to tile flooring, sinks, and folding counter tops, a mudroom offers all the storage and utility space you'll need.

Mudroom Designs | Homes with a Mudroom

See the top 5 mudroom designs, here.


Exercise rooms are back on homebuyers' radar, with a small uptick in demand.

This exercise room - from a version of The Avontstone Manor - includes a large mirror, a must-have for workout enthusiasts.

Exercise Rooms | Homes with an Exercise Room

Home Automation and Sustainability

AIA's survey also released the post popular home automation and sustainability features. Here are some of their results: 

Popular home automation features: home security systems, wireless telecommunications systems, long-range electrical controls, smart-home systems, automated lighting controls, and central (distributed) audio/video controls. 

Home systems that promote sustainability: energy management systems, solar panels, electric docking stations for cars, and geothermal heating/cooling heat pumps.

Popular sustainable home products: LED lighting, energy efficient products like spray foam insulation, tankless water heaters, Energy Star–rated appliances, water-saving devices, and reclaimed or salvaged materials.

Read the full AIA survey results here.

Let us know the special features you're looking for in your next home.  You can also work with our design team to create a brand new plan with everything just the way you want it. Request floor plan ideas here.

Tags: outdoor living, home design trends, au pair suites, home offices, mudroom floor plans