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Why Size Doesn't Matter in the Bathroom Anymore

Say it ain't so.

Bathroom
John A. Rizzo | Photodisc | Getty Images
Bathroom

Apparently way too many Americans getting canned means more Americans are now spending less on, well, the can.

The American Institute of Architects reports that, "functionality is now preferred to more and larger bathrooms within U.S. homes."

Functionality.

How banal.

"The general consensus is that homes will continue to be smaller on average than they were in the past decade," writes AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker in the press release.

And they've got the numbers to prove it:

Popular Bathroom Products and Features*

TYPE
2009
2008
Water saving toilets 63% 57%
Radiant heated floors 52% 50%
Accessibility / universal design 50% 52%
ED lighting 49% 41%
Doorless showers 47% 50%
Hand showers 36% 45%
Linen closet / storage 29% 25%
*Index score computed as % of respondents reporting increasing minus those reporting decreasing popularity

* Index score computed as % of respondents reporting increasing minus those reporting decreasing popularity

The National Association of Home Builders also reports a decrease in remodeling activity, not necessarily bathroom-specific.

“We’re hearing many remodelers have laid off workers because they have no jobs coming in and are struggling to survive,” said NAHB Remodelers Chairman Donna Shirey, CGR, CAPS, CGP, a remodeler from Issaquah, Wash. “Remodelers are pounding the pavement to find work and stay open, including taking on smaller jobs and competing with unqualified contractors.”

Just a personal aside: Since my husband and I are now resigned to stay in our home for the foreseeable future, we decided to take a look at finally fixing the kitchen.

I called two remodelers just to get competing bids, and they both called back within about 6 minutes of my calls. When I said we were just "thinking" about it, they both volunteered to meet with us that very weekend, free of charge, to go over our ideas. Back in 2004 we did a renovation and had trouble finding a contractor who could fit us into their work schedules within 6 months.

Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.com

  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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