Maximizing Moments

Home is where we raise our families, celebrate holidays and rest our head at the end of a long day. This can be easy to forget when your job is looking at blueprints and spreadsheets, but it’s important for building professionals to remember: When it comes to home buyers, what’s really for sale is the anticipation of memorable moments.

The question then becomes how you create a home that focuses on maximizing memorable and enjoyable moments. The key is to better understand the emotional connections home buyers have with various areas of the home, and then to understand how the design of those areas can increase a home’s appeal.

When evaluating the rooms in their current homes, home owners were much more likely to associate positive emotions with rooms that had fireplaces compared to the rooms that didn’t.

This was the goal when fireplace, grill and HVAC equipment manufacturer Napoleon embarked on the Hot Spots Research Study in January 2016. The company commissioned Hoffman York, a home-category marketing and research firm, to conduct the research. At the time the study had yet to be named, but it didn’t take long to appreciate the collective “warmth” research participants had for specific rooms and design features in the home. After days of interviews and about 900 surveys, the study presented three distinct takeaways: identifying hot spots, creating hot spots, and putting hot spots into action.

Identifying hot spots

Participants were asked which rooms they considered the most important, and which rooms were their favorites. They were also asked to rank the emotions they associated with the different rooms in their home. For example, rooms qualified as a “hot spot” when at least 50 percent of research respondents checked at least two of the following emotional categories to describe that room: social, relaxation or functionality. The more the emotional categories overlapped, the hotter the hot spot. Based on that criteria, the living room, bedroom and kitchen rose to the top. Each of these rooms had the highest percentage of positive emotions tied to them, confirming they should be a focus in home design, as they have great potential to boost the appeal of a home.

Creating hot spots

Just because the research identified the living room, bedroom and kitchen as hot spots, that doesn’t mean other rooms in the home can’t also earn the distinction. Hot spots don’t happen by accident; they can be created. In fact, the research suggests that a room’s ability to evoke positive emotions and memorable moments is directly related to the design and amenities of that room. For example, when participants were exposed to pictures of rooms with and without certain amenities, including fireplaces, desire for rooms with fireplaces increased 41 percent.

When research participants were asked to create poster boards representing what they wanted in their next home, expectedly they gravitated to living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens; however, outdoor spaces also stood out, demonstrating the potential for that space to reach hot spot status.

Research participants were asked where they currently have fireplaces in their home, and where they’d like to have them in their next home. The largest discrepancy was found in the bedroom and outdoor space, revealing an opportunity to impress home buyers by adding a fireplace to these spaces.

Putting hot spots in action

To help builders, architects and remodelers put hot spots to use, Napoleon collaborated with architect Wayne Visbeen to develop a 62-page design book and online design gallery. These resources cover traditional, contemporary, transitional and rustic/eclectic design and offer ideas on how to create hot spots throughout the home. The goal of the study, and the purpose of the hot spots design tools, was always to gain insights that could help building professionals sell more homes, differentiate themselves from the competition and strengthen home owner satisfaction. In fact, the research revealed that 52 percent of home buyers have a more positive perception of building professionals who integrate hot spots design insights into their homes.

For more information on how the Hot Spots Research Study can enhance the desirability of your projects, visit


—David Brown, partner at home-category marketing and research firm Hoffman York

This article was originally published in the summer, 2017 issue of Best in American Living™ magazine.

Thank you to our Supporters

Media Partner