WASHINGTON -- The troubled housing market has homeowners concerned about affordability with an increasing preference for functionality over extravagance in special function rooms and home features, according to the results of a the American Insitute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey.

Homeonwers also continues to demonstrate a strong willingness to invest in energy efficient products and systems to help reduce utility costs.

“As the overall economy has slowed in recent years, home offices have become the new home theaters,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Homeowners are placing a far greater priority on specialty rooms that get the most use, as well as incorporating outdoor living elements within their lifestyles.”

Among the highlights, the study found:
Home offices have increased in popularity by 34%;
Mud rooms have increased in popularity by 17%
Au pair / in-law suites have increased in popularity by 2%

On the flip side of the coin:
Home theaters have decreased in popularity by 38%.

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