Making home changes that are simple, less expensive The remodeling trend today focuses on a move to informal living. Home owners want a comfortable and functional place in which to live. About 61 percent of consumers say they work to get the most from their remodeling dollar, according to a survey by Better Homes and Gardens. One reason: home equity loans are not as easy to get, so more remodelers are paying with cash savings. Duo Dickinson, author of Remodel your Home to Get the Home You Want, says these are the most popular projects now. * Remodelers want to connect with the outdoors with larger windows and with decks and porches. * The livable kitchen is the new living room. People want to enjoy a lot of different activities there so chairs are being made comfy for lounging. Walk-in pantries replace cabinets, which can block views. * They want more-open floor plans that connect the kitchen to more than one other room. * Smaller master baths are a trend. To save space, skip the spa tubs in favor of larger showers and vanities. Focus more on finishes than cabinet size. * Mudrooms or "drop zones" are popular as Americans work to reduce clutter and make their homes more orderly. If there's no room for a mudroom, creating a "drop zone" for shoes and boots will do. * Universal design. Baby boomers are building wider doors, which can accommodate wheel chairs, and step-free showers. Because they don't know what their physical conditions will be later in life, they may also widen hallways. Universal design is the fifth-most-popular feature in kitchen remodels and the third-most-popular feature in bathroom remodels.