Editor’s note: The following item is republished with permission of houzz.com. See the original article: 8 Influential Home Design Trends for 2012.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) annually conducts its Best in American Living Awards (BALA). These awards, open to builders and design professionals, acknowledge that good design "is not and should not be limited to high-priced and custom homes."

The NAHB uses these design awards to look for upcoming trends for new home design. This year the jurors identified eight design trends that will have an influence on new home designs in 2012 and into the future.

When speaking about these trends at the International Builders Show, held in February in Orlando, Fla., BALA jurors Heather McCune, Mark Kiner and Victor Mirontshuk all noted that new home design is significantly better now than just a few years ago. Unlike in the recent boom years, when just about anything built was sold, strong competition in the current market is forcing all builders to improve home design.

A better home with an eye to the future. Now that’s what I call better living.

Design trend No. 1: classic, yet contemporary

The new houses with strong sales now are those that blend modern and traditional elements to create cleaner and simpler elevations. Interior spaces are clean, bright and simple. Gone are the heavy detailing and generous ornamentation of the recent past.

Photo by Herbie Rooprai

This project: Gold Award, One-of-a-Kind Home, 4,001–6,500 square feet; Private residence, Chicago

Project Team:

  • Architect/Designer: Kenneth Brinkman, Chicago
  • Builder/Developer: Environs Development Inc., Chicago
  • Interior Designer: Amy May, Environs Development, Chicago

Design trend No. 2: outdoor spaces as an extension of living space

Whether for a single-family house or a multifamily building, homebuyers are looking for private outdoor spaces that blend seamlessly with the indoors. This trend cuts across geographic regions, being as true in the colder sections of the country as in the warmer, milder areas.

Photo by Eric Figge

This project: Platinum Award, Detached Home up to 2,000 square feet; Siena at Laguna Altura, Irvine, Calif.

Project Team:

  • Architect/Designer: Bassenian | Lagoni, Newport Beach, Calif.
  • Builder: Irvine Pacific, Irvine, Calif.
  • Interior Designer: Austin Johnson Interiors, Irvine, Calif.
  • Developer: Irvine Company, Irvine, Calif.
  • Land Planner: Irvine Company, Irvine, Calif.

Design trend No. 3: the family triangle

It used to be that open floor plans were limited to certain geographic regions and buyer profiles. Now the open floor plan is desired throughout the country and by every market segment. The old living room has been replaced by a flexible space that can be used as needed while still being close to the family triangle.

The jurors noted that these new open plans rely on light and detail to give a feeling of spaciousness rather than simply being large.

Photo by Jim Kirby Photography

This project: Platinum Award, Interior Design, Kitchen; Brownstones of Brambleton, Ashburn, Va.

Project Team:

  • Architect/Designer: Lessard Design Inc., Reston, Va.
  • Builder: Miller and Smith, Mclean, Va.
  • Interior Designer: Carlyn and Company, Great Falls, Va.
  • Developer: Brambleton Group LLC, Brambleton, Va.
  • Land Planner: Parker Rodriguez, Alexandria, Va.

More from Houzz.com:

Copyright houzz.com 2012

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Real estate news and analysis that gives you the inside track. Subscribe to Inman Select for 50% off.SUBSCRIBE NOW×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription