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Top 2012 design trends all about maximizing space and functionality of home


While the year hasn’t closed out just yet, evidence both actual and anecdotal suggests 2012 was a comeback year for a housing industry that sorely needed, leaving many to wonder if — a big “if,” to be sure — the housing recession is really over.

Numbers aside, it was a great year for design. Architects, builders and interior designers were clearly inspired by improving business conditions, and that’s apparent in Builder Magazine’s list of the 10 top design trends of 2012. Here’s a few of our favorite, but you can catch the full list from senior editor Amy Albert on

Corner windows. A bold and rare feature not so long ago, corner windows now come in many shapes and forms for homes of all styles. Albert writes, “Sometimes it’s a second-story bump-out; other times, clerestory. Often the windows are framed, but in more and more instances, they’re not … Modern-home designs include corner windows with deftly finished joints that are barely visible, giving the appearance of glazing bent at a 90-degree angle.”

Pocket offices. Homeowners are more concerned than ever with utilizing every last square foot. Thankfully, computers are smaller than ever. Albert writes, “Pocket offices are a great way for busy parents to stay at the center of the ac­tion while paying bills or getting work done, and can make smart use of transitional spaces, too. Laptop and hand-held devices enable an office to be anywhere you want, provided there’s decent light, a flat surface, and a place to sit.”

(Really) open floor plans. Single-purpose rooms are going the way of the dinosaur as more homeowners seek open, multifunctional spaces to convene. “open plans have become more evolved and refined. Living-dining-cooking areas feel more organized, with cleaner lines and subtly but clearly delineated zones that underscore differences in function. Design strategies include freestanding built-ins and ceilings of differing heights.”

What’s your favorite design trend of 2012?

[photo by Rodrigo J. Morales via Builder Online]