The new trend toward smaller homes is a reversal of two decades’ worth of expanding floor plans, a time when, according to Associated Press statistics, the median-sized single-family home went from just under 1,600 square feet to over 2,200 square feet. As the size of homes retreats, how can technology help builders offset the perception of a smaller home?

“Luxury can compensate for size,” notes Jeff Singer, marketing communications director at Crestron. “The last thing you want in a smaller space is lots of wall clutter, which makes a space feel even smaller. An integrated home control solution provides a sleek, minimalist installation.”

Michael Carter, director of technical sales at AMX, further notes that even if square footage is decreasing, automation can increase the value of the space. “A smart, energy-efficient home should provide pricing support to enable home builders to leverage these technologies to increase value per square foot,” he says.

“With the new trend of smaller, more efficient homes coming about, we find ourselves challenged with trying to maximize space and still keep all the necessary toys for our customers,” says Gabe Karlis, president of JD Audio & Video Design in Ft. Lee, N.J. “The most obvious way is by centralizing our control systems and avoiding local components, such as DVD players and cable boxes, stealing space from each room. Not only does it offer some great functional options, but it also frees the homeowner or designer from adding extra furniture to house these components. We also like to ­reinforce to our customers who may want to integrate their ­lighting, HVAC, and alarm ­control into one system that by doing this, they will free up precious wall space and give the house a very clean and larger appearance.”