The Biggest House Plan Trends of 2021

SL-1921 House Plan
Photo: Southern Living House Plans

We learned a lot about our homes in 2020. Mostly, what it's like to be inside them for months and months… and months. So, it's no surprise that the trending house plan features for 2021 are motivated by our desire for more workspace, more kitchen space, and a better connection to the outdoors. (Not that sprawling porches are anything new to Southerners!) From dedicated spaces for fitness to–you guessed it–home offices (keep reading to learn more about the "cloffice"), these features result in homes that make us happier, healthier, and more productive. The best part? Timeless elements like these last far longer than a fad. Whether you want to build a quaint cottage or sprawling farmhouse, these ideas are easily incorporated into any plan, regardless of style. If you're planning a new home or just dreaming for the future, try a few of these designs on for size. Here are six house plan trends to expect in 2021.

01 of 06

The Home Office

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Southern Living House Plans

This year, many families quickly learned just how small a dining room can be when it has to double as both work headquarters and a virtual classroom. Suzanne Stern, president of Our Town Plans, reports homeowners getting creative with their work spaces. "Our clients seem to be thinking more about how they can work from home in a space that feels like a dedicated office," she says. "One client changed a large closet in a guest bedroom into a desk nook that opened into the hallway but could be hidden by barn doors." Her clever client is not alone. Pinterest predicts the closet-turned-office trend to continue to rise in popularity, noting that users searching for "cloffice ideas" has doubled.

Try this plan: SL-1909 "Benning" Plus! See even more plans that feature a home office.

02 of 06

Recreational Space

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Southern Living House Plans

Whether it's space for creative hobbies or exercise, homeowners are looking to build their interests into their homes. Another trend we can thank 2020 for. "Over the past year, one of the most requested spaces for all new projects has to be a large playroom/family recreation room," reports Joe Ellis of DWELL ING Architecture. "Whether in a second-floor addition, or within an existing basement space, owners are seeking a spacious room which can creatively accommodate all the additional time being spent at home." Houzz research can attest, noting the search terms "home gym" and "garden gym" have both risen "dramatically" in popularity this year.

Try this plan: SL-1267 "Mitchell Cottage"

03 of 06

Outdoor Living

SL-1921 House Plan
Southern Living House Plans

Next on the list is something Southerners have known all along. Outdoor entertaining can't be beat. "The rear porch is becoming more and more an integral part of home design. This space is a 'must have' in the South, and homeowners want a large, functional space for everyday use as well as for entertaining," says Mitch Ginn of L. Mitchell Ginn and Associates, Inc. For the ultimate outdoor living experience, Ginn suggests a wood-burning fireplace, a TV above the mantel, and a kitchen or bar for al fresco dining.

Try this plan: SL-1921 "Southern Gothic"

04 of 06

Efficient, Multifunctional Living

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Southern Living House Plans

This trend is all about having what you need–and only what you need. "We all talk about clients wanting to downsize and the 'tiny house' movement, but what I see most often is that clients want to build only what they need and will use," reports Bill Harris of Allison Ramsey Architects, Inc. "This may mean a 1,200-square-foot cottage for some or a 4,500-square-foot house for others, but all are very sensitive to honing down the unneeded and unused where possible." Harris notes being selective with your size may also allow room in the budget for higher-quality materials and finishes. Houzz also reports an uptick in search for multifunctional spaces, and Pinterest notes searches for "minimalist bathroom design" and "modern minimalist kitchen" are on the rise.

Try this plan: SL-1024 "Greer Lane"

05 of 06

Multigenerational Living

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Southern Living House Plans

For many American families, a happy, healthy home now means having everyone under one roof. According to Pew Research Center, in 2016, more than 64 million people, or 20% of the U.S. population, resided in multigenerational households––a record-setting amount. The reasons are practical: built-in senior care, lower living costs, and simply, more hands on deck. Lauren Kelly, of Moser Design Group, Inc says accessory dwelling units are often the method of choice for these multigenerational households. "We've worked on many projects involving new, detached guest cottages or garages with living/office spaces above," she says. Whatever you call it, granny pod, carriage house, in-law cottage or ADU, these separate-but-together spaces are just the fix for modern families.

Try this plan: SL-1830 "Garden Cottage"
Plus! Peruse our entire Multigenerational House Plan Collection

06 of 06

Hardworking Kitchens

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Southern Living House Plans

Another 2021 trend nearly every expert mentioned is kitchens that are not just pretty, but practical. Think: large pantries, the return of the scullery, and more work spaces. The National Kitchen and Bath Association forecasts massive impact from the pandemic on our kitchens for years to come. They predict not just larger islands for food prep but also "landing counters" for groceries and food delivery. On-trend with, well, the aforementioned trends: The NKBA survey also found homeowners wanted multifunctional kitchens, minimal clutter, and greater connection to other rooms and the outdoors.

Try this plan: SL-2057 "The Cottonwood"

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