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This article first appeared in the December 2016 issue of Pro Builder.

Mudrooms and home offices may have less-than-glamorous sounding names, but they’re red hot right now, according to the American Institute of Architects’ Home Design Trends Survey, which gathered responses from 500 residential architecture firms during the second quarter of 2016.

The survey found that outdoor living rooms, mudrooms, and home offices were the most popular spaces, based on the percentage of respondents who indicated that a room’s popularity was “increasing,” minus the percentage of those who responded that it was “decreasing.”

Outdoor living rooms snagged the top spot. Fifty-eight percent more respondents said that the popularity of the room was “increasing” as opposed to “decreasing,” a rate that was actually down four percentage points from last year.

In terms of overall popularity, 29 percent of respondents said that outdoor living rooms were the most popular special-function room. Mudrooms (23 percent), home offices (20 percent), and au pair/in-law rooms (11 percent) followed. Less than 10 percent of respondents said that home theaters, sunrooms, and roof decks were most popular.

“Heavy investment in outdoor living spaces, mudrooms, and home offices indicates that consumers are placing a premium on practicality and functionality,” AIA chief economist Kermit Baker said in a statement. “Things have changed a lot from a decade ago when home theaters and exercise rooms were some of the most popular special-function rooms in homes.”

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