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New Home Trends for the New Year

After spending considerably more time at home over the past nearly two years, homeowners have certainly taken note of changes and improvements that they want to see in their residences. Whether a true necessity or simply a convenience, many of today’s newer home trends are a direct result of the pandemic. Orlando Family Magazine spoke to several members of the Greater Orlando Builders Association to learn more about popular improvements.


With fewer and fewer people heading out to stores, e-commerce sales have skyrocketed.  According to U.S. Census Bureau data, online shopping saw an increase of 32% in 2020 compared to the previous year. Given the immense convenience this affords consumers, it’s no surprise that even today, as many people have returned to their pre-pandemic lifestyles, online ordering continues to boom. Tony Weremeichik, principal of the Architectural Design Studio at Canin Associates, points out that there is a key downside to this.

Home delivery is standard now, but so are porch pirates,” he says. This unfortunate factor has led to an increase in home video monitoring systems, which can vary in cost, size and efficiency depending on the homeowners’ needs and budget. Bob Levy, president of Electronic Creations, says,Surveillance cameras can be as simple as a doorbell video camera or it can be security systems all the way around the homeowner’s property so they can keep an eye on what’s happening in their backyard or pool area.”

Home Offices

Another popular trend that really boomed during the pandemic involves working remotely. When many companies switched to a work-from-home model, employees were tasked with finding a quiet space in their homes, free of distractions, in an effort to create a work environment that suited them best. The overall look of a home office has transformed greatly over time as technology has advanced.

“We have seen home offices grow over the years from a spare bedroom into a dedicated office,” Weremeichik says. “Home offices in older floor plans used to need to be closed off for sound and visual privacy and to accommodate bookshelves, tower PCs, printers, printer paper storage, etc. Now with advancing technology, those working from home have less need for this equipment and furnishings. With less square footage needs, they can work just as productively working from home on laptops and tablets, anywhere in the home or back patio.”

He adds, “In most new homes now, the use of laptops, tablets or hand-held devices to video conference with others in the office or with coworkers (who may be also working remotely) is becoming the norm. So, we see now the home offices adapting and exchanging square footage and floor area for digital and cloud storage in megabytes, resulting in a need for a smaller workspace, but yet still having a need for quiet spaces that offers sound privacy to insulate Zoom call interruptions from a dog barking at the Amazon delivery person.”

Thinking Outside the Box

More time cooped up inside helped propel trends that aim to bring the outside into the home. Weremeichik says the use of “stronger and seamless indoor/outdoor connections, with larger and more windows, transom windows, large sliding glass doors and windows that open living spaces to the outdoor spaces … allow us to reconnect with nature, plants, trees, water features, the sky, radiant sunlight and fresh air. Creating rooms that live and feel great inspires our spirits and brightens our daily lives.”

He adds, “The advent of flex rooms (or ‘whatever’ rooms) are desirable for home crafters, DIY projects, hobby rooms, guest rooms, game rooms, etc.”

Levy says his company saw a significant increase in homeowners wanting to upgrade their home entertainment systems. “Whether it is a theater room or a large screen television with surround sound, many customers continue to seek that at-home, movie theater-like experience.”

Smart Home Technology

The demand for home automation continues to accelerate. With smart home technology, homeowners are able to control most of their devices such as thermostats, security systems, garage door openers, tankless water heaters, lighting, small appliances and doorbells remotely with the mere touch of a button on a hand-held device. This type of technology offers not only convenience but much-needed peace of mind for those on the go or those needing a little extra assistance in their daily life.

Of this dynamic technological trend, Levy says, “Voice controls like Alexa and Siri can be found in most homes these days. And it is no longer just for automation products but for daily life as well. We now have artificial intelligence (A.I.) that is very responsive. The technology keeps getting better and is going to be more involved in our everyday routines. You no longer need to check the thermostat to know the temperature, you can simply ask Alexa.”

He adds, Lighting control is particularly popular among homeowners. No one wants to come home to a dark house and now you don’t have to. You can adjust your settings so that the interior lights go on as soon as the garage door opens.” 

Long-Term Cost Savings

While some of the newer smart home automation still comes with a high price tag, Levy says that many of these features can actually save homeowners money in the long run. “Motorized window coverings can be set so that when you have the highest heat load during the day the window coverings will come down and prevent the sunlight from bleaching out furniture or carpeting and get rid of the extra heat that would normally be coming through those windows, saving homeowners a significant amount of money on their electric bills.”

In addition to the long-term savings that smart home technology brings, Levy says, “One of the biggest trends we are seeing now is the reduction in price of the technology that allows home automation to come to virtually anyone who is interested in it. Whereas it used to be strictly a luxury item, things like lighting control, motorized window coverings and intercoms are now available at entry level price ranges.”

Overall, as technology becomes more advanced and sophisticated, trends will continue to emerge and help create new ways to meet the wants and needs of homeowners.