Don’t Know What You Want For Your Home? These Surveys Do.

Real Estate

No offense to whoever came up with the phrase, “The eyes are the window into the soul,” but it’s forecasts and trends that are the real windows (preferably oversized ones). Halfway through 2019 and there are plenty of studies showing us the things we want or the things we will want to spend our money on when it comes to our living situations — trends become self-perpetuating in the age of FOMO. Here’s a bit about what’s in store:

Kitchen Confidence

The big news from the 2019 U.S. Houzz & Home Study: Annual Renovation Trends is the 27% uptick in spending on a typical (median) kitchen renovation ($14,000) in 2018, up from a 10% increase in 2017 ($11,000). “That surge in investment on kitchen spaces is phenomenal,” says Nino Sitchinava, Houzz principal economist. “The growth in homeowner spend moderated in 2018, but when it comes to kitchens and baths homeowners continue to double down.” (It’s true, the most recent Joint Center for Housing Studies findings does show remodeling trending slightly downward. And Houzz’s report showed that half of the largest 50 U.S. metro areas [by population] saw a decrease in the amount spent on renovations in 2018.)

But, hey, what’s going on in those kitchens? Earlier this year, in its kitchen reno study, Houzz discovered that we’re spending our money on upgraded faucets that boost water efficiency, have coatings to ward off fingerprints and are touch-free activated. Black stainless appliances now appear in 1 in 10 upgraded kitchens. Respondents were excited about transitional style (21%), but farmhouse (14%) and contemporary (15%) have seen gains. And over one-third of boomers (over age 55) are addressing their age-appropriate needs by enlarging their kitchens to make them more open (easier to maneuver in) and equip them with better lighting, cooktops, wall ovens, touch-free faucets and flooring.

And, the all-white kitchen, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, may be disappearing — sort of. There’s still a lot of black and white and gray and white, but bursts of color, blue in particular, are showing themselves — in cabinets and appliances.

How are we paying for all this? Houzz says 37% of homeowners put their renovation on a credit card.

Tuck It Away

Oddly enough, even with Marie Kondo encouraging us to purge our drawers and closets, we still need and want more storage as seen in a recent tends presentation sponsored by Hanley Wood Metrostudy. Host Mollie Carmichael, principal, Meyers Research, shared the information gleaned from 27,000 new home shoppers. Turns out when it comes to storage almost 80% of consumers are more interested in function versus size.

“Well planned storage can make a 2,000 square foot home live like a 2,500 square foot home. And, she suggests, if homeowners are following yet another trend of removing upper cabinets to gain more light, then builder could put any savings (maybe $500 to $1,200) toward other storage. She calls that “gourmet storage” shallow shelving built up on a counter —between large windows, of course — thin roll-out cabinets at the end of a cabinet run to store things like spices, vinegars, and oils and an appliance garage/smart bar with pull-out shelving.  

We also want what Carmichael refers to as “back office” storage, i.e., the place to drop all the stuff you’re carrying when you come in the door, including your electronic devices. “We want utility that counts,” Carmichael says. “The laundry room is the organization and management hub of the home. That’s your ‘back office.’” In there is the washer and dry, large sink, cubbies, pet station — all tucked away near the garage or kitchen on the main floor. The large laundry room (51% of respondents) and drop zones (35%) are the most preferred utility spaces, she says. And, builders take note, she says consumers are willing to invest: 60% said they’d pay more for a large laundry room.


We have to have all this great stuff in our homes, apparently, because we are spending 90% of our time there according to the EPA (and breathing bad air, apparently, but that’s another story). Maybe that’s the reason we want a good indoor-outdoor connection in our homes.

That translates into large windows to bring in natural light and bi-fold doors that lead to our California rooms (a hot trend says, lanais, patios and decks, and our outdoor kitchens (which top AIA’s Home Design trends survey for the second year in a row.)

The outdoor living trend has been around for several years and is, ahem, bearing fruit when it comes to resale: According to Zillow’s Home Features That Sell, outdoor kitchens were a selling point, especially in warm weather markets, and listings touting outdoor lighting saw homes selling for 19 % more than expected.  

All this “outdoorsy-ness” means we’ll be spending more on grills and patio furniture, predicts The Fredonia Group.   

So be prepared to open your wallet, even if you don’t think you want to. The trends have spoken.  

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