SALES CENTERS AND model home complexes will increasingly become places where prospective homeowners will go for decorating tips, an easy but elegant gourmet recipe, or instructions on how to plant a container garden. They saw it on HGTV or the DIY channel last week; now they want to see how it plays out in real life. It will be a comfortable, non-threatening place to hang out, stocked with beverages, newspapers, and the latest design magazines.

“It can be a showcase and an icon of information,” says Kathleen Cecilian, a brand strategy consultant to master plan community developers. “It can be home to a lecture series. ... We're still patting ourselves on the back for having a coffee bar. It's archaic.”

The last thing you want is for someone who came in last weekend to come back this weekend and have everything exactly the same.

“It's time to say [that] the way we sell things in America needs to be adjusted to reflect a more modern viewpoint,” Cecilian says.