ORLANDO, Fla. (MarketWatch) — When homeowners plan for their next house, or plan the remodeling projects that they want to undertake on their current home, there are seven priority spaces that they are focusing on, according to a survey of Better Homes and Gardens readers.
If you’re dreaming of a new space this year, here are the top areas you might want to consider:
1. Separate laundry room
Convenience and practicality are the big watchwords in home improvement in 2012. And for many folks that means lifting the laundry room out of the basement and integrating it into other spaces of the home that will allow for more multitasking, said Jill Waage, editorial director/home for Better Homes and Gardens magazine. But the laundry space doesn’t have to be deluxe; moderately sized will do today.
2. Additional storage space, walk-in closets and built-ins
Homeowners are not as willing to bump up their mortgages to buy more storage square footage these days, but they are seeking smarter spaces that can aid in home organization, Waage said. “The idea is to maximize every inch of the home,” she said.
3. Outdoor living area
While big outdoor kitchens and gaudy outside fireplaces are out, smaller spaces that provide some outdoor living space and a connection to the home itself are gaining in popularity, Waage said. Just a simple gathering space for family and friends will do. “Curb-appeal projects are also gaining,” she said.
4. An additional bedroom with private bath
There are plenty of reasons why homeowners would pay up for this added space when they might not for something else — the need to provide for an aging parent, a guest suite or a teen retreat. But the space needs to be ”just the right size,” Waage said.
5. Home office, workspace, family computing
Everyone in the household today needs somewhere to dock their electronics, and more home builders are incorporating that space into the core of their new houses. But homeowners can create that space as well within their existing kitchen or family room, in many case, Waage said. “Family time these days is being in the same room together but not necessarily doing the same activity,” she said.
6. Everyday eating space in or close to the kitchen
Several of the show homes at the International Builders Show in Orlando, Fla., in February featured not one or two but three or four eating areas/eating bars within the extended kitchen/family room area. The trend seeks to capitalize on our need to multitask and to gather, Waage said.
7. Upgraded bathrooms
Kitchens and baths have always been the most popular remodeling targets, with the kitchen being the focal point of most projects in the recent past. But this year the baths are getting more attention, Waage said, as homeowners seek a better, more personalized fit and finish to the rooms. “Baths are outpacing kitchens as far as the choice for remodeling about 31% to 25%,” she said.