A poor housing market has left little love for special function rooms and space in homes. Aside from home offices and mud rooms, few extra living spaces and products attract attention, according to a survey by the American Institute of Architects.

Outdoor living areas generate the most interest now. "Trends toward informal lifestyles, as well as more home-centered activities, have helped maintain interest in outdoor living areas," writes the AIA. They also can make a home seem bigger without adding substantial cost. (See "Big Transition")

Game rooms and in-law apartments have become relics of the past as people have fewer dollars to spend on such amenities. Instead, the survey indicates homeowners have invested in accessibility products and energy efficiency, trends that show consumer interest in both sustainability and aging-in-place.