Gone is the era of the gigantic home. The desire for a relaxed retreat is real.

Smaller square footage does not mean that 55-plus buyers are compromising on floor plans. Wasted space is eliminated and function is maximized in every area of the house. This is the arena in which design finds itself a major player in new-home marketing. Buyers are shown the flexibility any floor plan can offer through merchandising, encouraging a buyer with the realization that they have the ability to tailor their home to their needs through thoughtful planning—not sheer dimension. It’s simple: Provide quality over quantity.

Maximizing space with a shotgun work area
Space-efficient floor plans

With a smaller home you need to prove that furniture will work. Space for conversation and gathering activities must be demonstrated, even if there is less area for the activity. Rooms should interact to demonstrate the convenience of a smaller space. With more open area the space should be more flexible. Smaller rooms merchandise best with fewer furniture pieces and a proper balance of art and accessories, which make the space look and feel larger. The goal should be to encourage multiple uses to optimize space.

Remember, today’s dream is for a relaxed sanctuary that speaks to efficiency of space and livability. Downsizing is not about sacrifice, it’s about living a simpler, more fulfilling life.

Be sure to visit the BUILDER Taylor Morrison NEXTadventure Home from Jan. 10-12 during the International Builders' Show in Orlando, Fla., for more inspiration for sensational design within a smaller footprint. Sign up now for a tour.