The multifamily housing sector is currently facing a split between consumer demand shaped by the post-pandemic market and a need for more multifamily housing. The need for multifamily housing inventory has led to an increase in the number of studios and one-bedroom apartments on the market today.
However, while the demand for more space has led to a slight increase in the average size of new apartments from 2020 to 2021, apartment size is now on a downward swing. According to a recent RentCafe study, the largest year-over-year decrease in average apartment size took place in 2022. Last year, the average size of new apartments across the U.S. was 887 square feet, down 30 square feet from 2021.
Despite this decrease in the average size of apartments, storage space continues to be among the highest-valued feature for owners and renters alike. In fact, we’ve seen various studies over the years that show renters are willing to pay a premium for features like walk-in closets. With apartment sizes decreasing, the design must get smarter. It’s vitally important that storage in multifamily housing is optimized with closet systems to meet consumer demand and stay competitive in the market. Today, more builders and designers are aware that a single shelf or a single rod in a closet is not sufficient storage for residents. In response, builders are integrating flexible closet systems, which can be used as a selling point in addition to separating them from others in the market.
On the higher end of the rental market, we are seeing storage upgrades increase premium value. Designers and builders are offering more custom upgrades for wood and wire closet systems to provide a more refined and tailored look. The most in-demand storage spaces are walk-in closets, pantry-style storage in the kitchen and entryway, and linen closets. In bedrooms, some of the more popular closet accessories include shoe shelving, corner hang rods, belt racks, and hamper or laundry organizers.
When it comes to closet design and finishes, we’ve seen a return of deep natural wood tones and wood-grain style finishes. This trends with the consumer demand for connection to natural elements in the home space and the desire to add personalization to the space. To contrast these natural tones, consumers favor bold accents like modern hardware in black, chrome, or even gold. Both modern and shaker drawer fronts are among the most popular styles today. Another closet design trend on the market, applied more often in luxury or loft-style units, is black cabinetry adding a bold, modern, and sophisticated look to the space.
Regardless of the amount of space or location, people want to make the most of their living space, and this isn’t going to change anytime soon. That means simplifying use and maximizing storage space with flexible storage systems to give multifamily residents the ability to make the changes they need.