Adaptable design attempts to address the needs of the changing family unit and allow a home to serve its occupants over time without compromises or expensive renovations.
- Families with young children usually desire bedrooms that are grouped together. Young children may actually prefer sharing a bedroom or bathroom with a sibling.
- Pre-teen children may not yet require privacy, but have some specialized needs that include study space and entertaining their friends. Spaces shared by the family may not be suitable for activities that include video games and internet browsing.
- Teenagers desire privacy for themselves and their friends. The home where the teenagers prefer to hangout may (or may not) be conducive to healthy growth of the family.
- When children leave for college, the home may have an empty feeling, but parents are often reluctant to downsize too quickly in case of "rebound". The current economy and lifestyle of young working adults has contributed to more college graduates moving back in with their parents.
- The number of multi-generational households is also on the rise. As well as the above factors, increased lifespans may contribute to elderly parents moving into the family home. Add to that cultural preferences, and the number of households with three or even four generations under one roof is on the rise.
- Empty Nesters are frequently active and social, but not yet ready for retirement. Without the additional family members under the roof, they want to entertain or travel, and be free from maintenance or management of a large home. Their needs have evolved away from "family" but they might still want some space for family members when they come to visit.