The Plan Collection Announces Top Design Trends in House Plans for 2016

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From smart home technology to changes that open floor plan living brings, the 2016 home is adapting to on-the-go families and Millennials

Luxury white-on-white kitchen with over-sized island

Expect to see white-on-white kitchens and double islands in 2016 home design.

Tech-savvy homeowners want smaller, smart homes...

Top trends in American housing for 2016 include smaller, smarter and more tech-savvy homes that appeal to on-the-go families and younger home buyers, according to The Plan Collection, a leading online provider of ready-to-use home construction plans.

“Our research indicates that online house plan buyers today are more active than ever, so they are choosing house plans designed with open space and family relaxation in mind. Tech-savvy homeowners want smaller, smart homes, and they also have more respect for conserving energy, nature, and our environment,” said Brian Toolan, chief executive officer, The Plan Collection (TPC).

According to a survey by by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), expect 2016’s homes to be about 10 percent smaller. The average size of a new, single-family home is around 2,152 square feet, which is 10 percent smaller than it was in 2010. The benefits to a smaller house plan include lower heating and cooling bills, and also cost less to furnish and decorate.

Trends in home design forecasted for 2016 by TPC include:

1. Smartphones Make Smart Homes Affordable – Consumers are turning to easy-to-use apps on their smartphones to manage network-enabled lights, thermostats, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and even video surveillance. Think Google’s Nest, iPhone and Android technology, and the “Internet of Things.” These apps and smart devices make daily chores less time-consuming while also helping homeowners to “go green” by reducing energy consumption.

2. White-on-White Double-Island Kitchens – Open floor plan living, in which the kitchen, dining, and living (or great room) areas of the home flow into one another freely without walls or barriers, has resulted in generally larger kitchen spaces. Expect designers to respond with back-to-back or side-by-side kitchen islands, one for preparing and cooking food, the other for serving, dining, and socializing. Kitchen design is taking neutral design to extremes with white-on-white décor: clean, sleek, and very modern.

3. Get-away Rooms – Open-plan living certainly has its advantages, but everyone needs some alone time too. Designers are incorporating spaces into their floor plans, such as reading nooks or game rooms, designed to encourage relaxation or recreation in smaller groups.

4. Farewell, Foyer – Open-plan living strikes again. Designers are starting to do away with grand, formal entrances to homes that are separate from the rest of the living area. Instead, they will use oversize doors with sidelights or double doors to make a statement, but the doors open directly into the open living area of the home to immediately welcome guests.

5. Wine Rooms and Bars – Wine is more popular than ever as a staple in social circles, and combined with the popularity of entertainment like Mad Men and actors enjoying wine on TV shows from Scandal to The Good Wife, designers have been inspired. Wine centers – even rooms – are sprouting up in home designs, and even bars, complete with sophisticated cocktails, are making a comeback.

6. His and Her Master Bathrooms – His and her vanities have been common for years. Now it is going a step further. It seems we are no longer satisfied with double vanities in a large, luxurious bathroom: now each of us needs our own bathroom. Designers are responding with essentially separate bathrooms for him and her – a truly private, spa-like environment.

7. Native-Plant Landscaping – Homeowners in drought affected regions of the Western United States are being asked to cut their water consumption. In other areas of the country, non-native plants like bamboo become invasive and cause a lot of problems. Expect a nationwide trend towards landscaping with native, environmentally-friendly plants.

8. More Than a Luxury: Home Offices – Advances in communication and information technologies have enabled a more mobile workforce—reflected in the growing number of Americans working from home, which has grown 1.5 times faster over the past decade according to the Census Bureau. House plans reflect work spaces, offices, and multiple work stations as opposed to guest bedrooms or hobby/game rooms.

9. “Barkitecture” – Livability research from The American Pet Products Association (APPA) reveals that the profile of pet ownership is shifting towards younger, millennial owners who pamper their animals more than prior generations. Pet owners in new homes will seek everything from outdoor drinking fountains and play areas with pet hammocks to indoor feeding and grooming parlors with canine showers.

10. Connecting with Nature: Indoor/Outdoor Living – Perhaps linked to the desire for open-floor-plan living, designers are providing spaces that blur the line between indoors and outdoors. Think living areas with expanses of glass that open onto patios or decks, which become extended living areas. Outdoor kitchens, outdoor “living rooms” with fireplaces or firepits all play into designing living spaces that connect with nature.

About The Plan Collection

The Plan Collection is driven by the simple idea that great house design should be affordable and readily accessible to everyone. The company provides homeowners, prospective homeowners, and builders with more than 20,000 house plans selected from the nation’s leading designers and architects along with tens of thousands of instructional images and inspirational photos. Their team is dedicated to offering customers a better, more convenient and more valuable home-building experience. More information on the company can be found at

Sources: National Association of Home Builders (NAHB); The United States Census; The Survey of Construction (SOC), which is partially funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey.

Note to Editors: Higher-resolution images are available for each of these trends here.

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