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This article first appeared in the October 2017 issue of Pro Builder.

Any builder, architect, or real estate agent knows that the kitchen and bathroom are where clients devote most of their design attention and dollars. The least important spaces for new-construction homes were the entry and outdoors, according to Professional Builder’s Design Innovation survey.

More than 46 percent of respondents also noted that their kitchens are bigger than what they designed and built two years ago. High-end bathroom amenities, such as wall-mounted commodes, are only catching on in a smattering of luxury homes, but more than half of respondents—which also includes members of Builder Partnerships—have used innovations such as dual-flush toilets, radiant floor heating, and tankless water heaters in most or some of their projects. Despite telecommuting and the flexible office making inroads, the home office, and even the informal office/computer nook, ended at the bottom of a list of 25 possible living spaces ranked for level of importance.

Adding more grab bars, zero-threshold showers, accessible drawers, or other aging-in-place and universal design features was mentioned most often as being the biggest design change respondents intend to make. Home automation also was mentioned multiple times. A Colorado custom home builder noted that his struggle is keeping up with the more contemporary, clean design aesthetic while executing that look and feel with warmth.

For more Design Innovation survey results, see the charts that follow:

Ranking popular kitchen features

Chart of top kitchen features

Most Popular Kitchen Upgrade Chart.pngChart_ranking_bath_features.png

Top Bath FeaturesMost_popular_bath_feature.png

Ranking of top living space features


House design preferences by buyer groups