Illustration: Michael Kirkham

Homeowners have showed a renewed interest in larger homes as the trend for open floor plans with blended indoor/outdoor space remains in high demand.

Informal space, open space layouts, and access in and out of the home topped the list of home design elements that are increasing in demand according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey for the first quarter of 2016, released today.

The study, which surveys 500 residential architecture firms about home layouts and use of interior and exterior space, had 55% of firms report an increase in activity for informal spaces, 53% reported an increase for open space layouts, and 49% reported an increase in interest for access in and out of the home.

There was also high demand for outdoor living space, which 69% of firms reported seeing increased interest in, as well as blended indoor/outdoor living (61%).

“Homeowners interest in utilizing more of their property as a livable space while giving them a sense of connection to the outdoors remains very popular,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA in a news release.

The interest in utilizing exterior space has led to increasing demand for square footage (21%, up from 5% in 2011), and lot size (6%). But, upper-end homes are responsible for the size increase, and while 29% of firms indicated an increase in interest for the upper-end of the market, only 8% of firms said they’ve seen an increase in entry-level homes.

Universal design also saw a notable increase in activity, topping the list of interior features at 64% of firms. This is down from 70% of firms last year, but the decrease could signal that accessibility features have become a more common feature in the existing housing stock.

More information about the Q1 2016 "Home and Property Design” AIA survey can be found at