By Karen Axelton

home building trendsThe recent InForum and Sphere Trending report Women in 2010: The New Mom has lots of useful information about moms and their key role in making household purchases and decisions. But one of the most interesting points the report brings up is a trend that could continue to grow: Men are taking an increasing role in the home.

With 82 percent of job losses in the recession affecting men rather than women, men are moving more into the home sphere—whether temporarily or permanently. Some of the trends InForum/Sphere Trending noted coming from this change include:

  • Kitchens designed for two cooks. With Mom and Dad more likely to be sharing meal prep duties, kitchens large enough to accommodate both of them are gaining popularity in new homes and remodels.
  • Dedicated home offices. Whether it’s for Dad to start a business or Mom to work in the evenings when she comes home from her job, home offices are in demand.
  • Family rooms for group activities. For a while, the trend was to add more and more bedrooms to new homes so every member of the family could have their own space. Now, the pendulum is swinging the other way. With more time on their hands and less disposable income to go out, families are rediscovering the joy of spending free time together. And moms are encouraging kids to do non-tech activities like board games or puzzles. Hence the desire for a family room where these get-togethers can happen.
  • Space to plant edible gardens. Continuing the “organic/local” trend, the popularity of home gardens has been spurred by the desire to save money. If Dad is unemployed, he can turn his hand to planting lettuce in the back yard.
  • “Sanctuary” master suites: With increasing pressures on both parents—whether from being the sole breadwinner, or being out of work—couples are seeking to make their master bed and bath into a retreat from the pressures of daily life.
  • Room for multiple generations: Another trend that’s growing: More adult children are moving home (58 percent of college grads move back home after graduating, and that’s not counting young adult children who have been employed, but lost their jobs). At the other end of the spectrum, Mom and Dad may also be caring for their own aging parents. With less money available to help seniors live independently, more are moving in with their children.