Trends can be a tricky thing. Is something a trend because a manufacturer decides to unveil it as a new product? Is something a trend if you see a photo of it in a magazine? One expert might say a certain style has had its day while another says it’s what everyone will be asking for this year. The truth is, trends can take time to catch on, and something that is all the rage in one part of the country might not be so popular in another.
One thing everyone seems to agree on is that when people make changes to their homes, they want the result to make their lives easier and to make their homes a little more luxurious. Kitchens and bathrooms continue to be the most sought-after renovations nationwide, with basements, mudrooms and additions close behind. Here, we take a look at 10 of the most popular home remodeling trends in our area.
White persists as the most popular color for kitchen cabinets, but homeowners also are opting for two-toned kitchens featuring white or light-colored upper cabinets and painted or darker wood-grained lower cabinets or islands. Amy Bryan, design consultant for Rendon Remodeling & Design, says several of her recent clients chose navy blue for their lower cabinets.
Islands do more than just offer extra counter or cabinet space these days. They have become kitchen workhorses with prep sinks, open shelving, seating, drawer-style dishwashers, wine chilling cabinets or small snack or beverage refrigerators built in.
Earth-conscious homeowners want products that are kind to the planet. They’re cutting back on artificial light and taking advantage of natural light with windows and skylights. They’re also installing tankless water heaters, which use less energy by delivering hot water on demand instead of maintaining a storage tank full of hot water. Several newer models even let you set the temperature over Wi-Fi. Water-saving appliances and fixtures like dual-flush toilets that let you control the amount of water used are seeing a rise in popularity. Reclaimed wood and renewable bamboo and cork also fall into the earth-friendly products trend.
Pantries, mudrooms and customized closets are just some of the ways storage and organization are playing a role in home remodeling. Mudrooms don’t have to be dedicated rooms. A nook with some creative storage solutions or cubbies in a hallway create an organized entryway. “Many of the older homes in our area were not designed with any kind of mudrooms or ‘drop zones,’ so we’re often trying to carve some space out somewhere to accommodate this,” said Bryan.
Closet makeovers not only organize your belongings but make your home more attractive to buyers when it’s time to sell. Pull-out waste and recycling bins, cookie and sheet tray organizers, built-in hampers and garage storage systems all aim to add order to busy lives by giving everything a place.
When it comes to tubs and showers, if homeowners have the space, they’re keeping these elements separate, opting for deep, freestanding, architecturally interesting tubs in their master bathrooms. Some people do away with the tub all together and just focus on building a spa-like shower. Walk-in showers with frameless or semi-frameless glass doors or no doors at all add elegance to the room and show off the beautiful tile work in today’s bathrooms. Walk-in showers also make it easier for older homeowners to stay in their homes longer even if they have mobility issues as they age. Today’s showers feature benches, multiple shower heads and recessed nooks. Shower heads that imitate rainfall remain popular. At the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in January, Kohler introduced its Real Rain shower head, a 19-square-inch ceiling-mounted shower head that uses gravity instead of pressure to send water cascading through 700 nozzles.
In addition to setting the temperature of your hot water heater remotely, smart home features include controlling your home’s temperature, lights, security systems and entertainment systems from your phone or tablet. Smart house technology can also monitor your energy use and turn off the water if you have a leak. Refrigerators that tell you when to buy milk have been around for some time, but more and more manufacturers are developing smart features for their other appliances as well.
Homeowners, particularly Millennials who are entering the market, want low maintenance, high design features. As a result, they are turning away from granite and marble and opting for quartz, which maintains its sleek, like-new look years after installation without the maintenance. Engineered quartz, like Silestone and Caesarstone, comes in a wide variety of patterns and colors, and newer designs look more like natural stone. Note, however, that quartz and quartzite are not the same thing. Quartzite is a natural stone that requires maintenance similar to granite and marble and is prone to chipping and denting. According to Bryan, butcher block, soapstone and concrete countertops also are gaining traction in our area.
When it comes to indoor paint colors, neutrals reign supreme, with gray tones leading the way in both cool and warm variations. According to the Houzz Kitchen Trends Study for 2017, 26 percent of renovators choose gray for their walls. Expect to see pops of jewel tones cropping up in furniture and home accents.
Tile remains a major design feature in both kitchens and bathrooms. According to Bryan, “Most people are opting for porcelains or ceramics in kitchens, with fresh updates on classics like subway tiles and herringbone patterns. Cement tile, which comes in beautiful patterns, is gaining in popularity.” Elongated, beveled and larger format subway tiles are extremely popular in our area.
The choice of colorful backsplashes and decorative bands of tile in kitchen and bathrooms is giving way to backsplashes that focus on more monochromatic patterns and decorative, framed tile features used as an accent on a shower wall or in a niche.
Large 12 x 24-inch tiles have become a new standard on both floors and walls in bathrooms, but expect to see even larger formats in newer remodels. Larger tiles also mean less grout, giving bathrooms a smoother, cleaner look. “The technology of tile has come a long way in recent years with inkjet printing,” Bryan said. “Very large areas can be printed, and then the tile is cut in various directions, which allows for a very large repeat. You can conceivably tile an entire bathroom without using two identical tiles. This provides a much more natural look when using tiles that are meant to look like stone.”
Other homeowners are turning to classic penny round, hexagonal and retro basketweave patterns on floors, walls or even ceilings. Wood-look porcelains are also popular in flooring.
In the Houzz survey, 72 percent of respondents listed classic stainless steel as their top choice for appliances. Black stainless also had a solid showing, and is catching on in our area as well. KitchenAid’s black stainless provides a soft, warm finish that resists fingerprints even better than traditional stainless. Preferences for cabinet-front appliances reflect a growing trend toward a seamless kitchen, where the function disappears and the style blends into the home’s aesthetics.
The most popular finishes for bathroom fixtures these days are chrome and polished nickel. “In traditional spaces, it’s a very retro look and gives a bright pop on sleek contemporary fixtures in more modern rooms. People also like that polished fixtures are easier to keep looking clean than satin ones,” said Bryan. In very high-end baths, she sees homeowners choosing more specialty metals like aged and oxidized finishes.
All Photos by Robert Merhaut for Rendon Remodeling