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IFDA sees American home habits changing

The International Home Furnishings and Design Association's (IFDA) new "Vision for the Future" survey predicts Americans will live in smaller homes with some rooms gaining more prominence and others becoming less relevant to the way families live.

"The American home changed dramatically soon after we conducted our first survey in 2000," said Susan Hirsh, IFDA national president.

IFDA its nearly 2,000 members to look into the future. Some of the findings:

+ In the next 10 years, Americans will live in smaller spaces with fewer rooms.
+ Formal living rooms are disappearing.
+ Separate rooms are blending into multi-purpose rooms for home offices, study areas and entertainment.
+ Master bedrooms will remain about the same size, but they, too, will accommodate more activities, including home office, media viewing and exercise.
+ Dining rooms will give way to eat-in kitchens.
+ In the bathroom, interest in spa showers, high-tech fixtures and TVs is growing.
+ Furniture will become more modular, moveable and smaller in scale for more flexible use.
+ The home office trend is sufficiently strong that nearly 40% of IFDA members expect houses to accommodate more than one home office.
+ Remote control living will grow, including motorized window treatments as well as climate control, lighting and entertainment products activated by voice or sensor technology.
+ Outdoor living spaces will expand, but low-maintenance set-ups will be key.

The space findings tally with the results of a recent survey by the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders), which expects the floor area of new homes to shrink to an average of 2,152 sq. ft. by 2015. In 2007, the average floor area of a new home was 2,438 sq. ft.

Consumers are "seeking a smaller footprint but with a higher level of amenities," according to NAHB's Stephen Melman, director of economic services.

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