Home Fads That Are Falling Out of Style

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey

LAS VEGAS – Some home features don’t stay popular forever. More homes are inching away from incorporating the following home features, according to recent consumer preference surveys from the National Association of Home Builders.

1. Fireplaces: The fireplace skyrocketed in importance in homes in 1991 with 62 percent of new homes having one or more. But the number has steadily been decreasing ever since. In 2007, the number dropped to 51 percent.

2. Carpet: While 54 percent of homes still have carpet floors, the number is decreasing and hardwood floors are taking the place. Vinyl and ceramic tile flooring also are being bypassed more by buyers. Seventeen percent of new homes contain hardwood floors throughout the entire house.

3. Living room: These once-decorative centerpieces of homes are slowly vanishing from newer homes. Thirty-four percent of consumers say they’re willing to buy a home without a living room.

4. Desks in the kitchen: These desks were once looked at as great storage areas but they’re often too small and quickly become clutter spaces in a home, said Gayle Butler, editor in chief of Better Homes and Gardens. Instead, more consumers say they prefer larger desks in or near the family room—equipped with a messaging center—where they can keep an eye on their kids as they work on the computer.

5. Skylights: The little windows that allow natural light to seep into a home from above are falling out of style. Only 10 percent of new homes will include them this year, a continuing downward spiral for skylights.

6. Upscale kitchen finishes: Granite countertops are slowly becoming less desirable among buyers who are now moving toward affordable, low-maintenance laminate countertops—which tend to last longer and now come in various styles.

What trends are you noticing are falling out of favor with your buyers?

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

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  1. Jesse Bahraini

    Wait till your furnace dies in the middle of a Chicago blizzard, then you’ll see what a life saver a wood burning fireplace is. And no artsy gas log show fireplace is going to save you either. I am in favor of energy efficiency, but not to the point of insanity. No one wants to live in a house that looks like a “biosphere” on Mars, and honestly, I think these green home designs are some of the coldest, ugliest home designs I’ve ever seen. Architects! please come up with a decent design, these homes look like the 70′s homes minus the avocado appliances. Some of these design trend generalizations are bogus since they are more location specific. For instance, carpeting will never go out in cold miswest. Although tiled family room floors might be wonderfully cool in Palm Springs, it won’t work in Chicago, unless of course you use more energy to heat it from beneath, and maybe a large “area rug” over it so people can strech on the floor. Although some people opt for hardwood for value or allergy purposes, carpeting is not going out. I wonder if oil becomes $10 a barrel again and when the economy recovers, or republicans are back in office, all of this downsizing and talk of efficiency continues

  2. Myronda

    i am old enough to have seen fads come and go. I can picture future young marrieds when the present young marrieds are at age 55 saying, “Stainless steel appliances? Those are so outdated!”

  3. Hi Melissa.

    Consumers today are becoming more and more practical with their purchases. Functionality over aesthetics has been a growing trend in the American homemaking industry. I agree with your post that fads before are slowly diminishing in the market like carpets etc. More practical materials are being prioritized like hardwood flooring since they require lesser maintenance.

    Last year, I used flooring Sarasota for my then being constructed house. I actually researched and found out that they are very durable and if the finishing is good, even cleaning would not be troublesome. Homeowners can also try hardwood flooring St Pete or any other local provider of hardwood flooring. This will be very convenient for them in the long run since wood is a very durable material.

  4. Fireplace, carpet, skylight everything is the mark of luxury, status and lavish livelihood. So all the backdated structure should be eliminated to promote the newer lifestyle.

  5. Fireplace: A useless necessity that takes up wall space… widescreen TV’s are more important…

  6. Stainless steel appliances are awful! Who wants their home to look like an industrial space? Plus they showcase fingerprints. But buyers still seem to want them!

  7. Hi, Neat post. There’s an issue together with your web site in web explorer, could test this? IE still is the market chief and a good section of other folks will pass over your excellent writing because of this problem.

  8. I have lived in my home for 41 years and we have a fireplace the we converted to a gas conversion in the 90′s. I don’t believe we have used it for 20 years. Skylights were very popular in the 80′s and the 90′s , but have lost their appeal. . I have been real estate for 48 years. I found many of the tips you offered as very good..