A recent story published in the Mercury News covered the hottest trends in kitchen remodeling, according to the popular home design and architecture website Houzz.
Houzz compiled the results of a 60-question survey in which over 1,300 Houzz users answered questions about their recent or planned kitchen renovations.
The study found that the main reason that people renovate their kitchens is that they simply “Can no longer stand the old kitchen.” This reason trumped the goal of remodeling just to increase the value of the home.
While the study revealed some consistent findings, there were a few surprises. “We’re still seeing a steady trend toward open white kitchens, custom or semi-custom cabinetry, storage galore, and stainless-steel appliances,” said Nino Sitchinava, Houzz’s principal economist. But new color, materials, and usage preferences are emerging.
Kitchens Are No Longer Just About Food
A trend that has remained consistent is that kitchens have an open, airy feel. Over half of respondents said their kitchen renovations will be designed to open the kitchen to nearby rooms. “The kitchen isn’t just for cooking and dining,” said Sitchinava. “It’s the hub of the home.”
Kitchen designs now include work areas, office nooks, bars, and peninsulas. These additions make kitchens very much a functioning part of the home. “And it’s the most expensive room in the house, so people want to show off their investment,” added Sitchinava.
New Trends Emerge
A newer trend in kitchen design is that quartz countertops surpassed stone, like granite, in popularity for the very first time. Forty-eight percent of respondents chose quartz countertops compared to 45 percent who went with stone.
“Engineered quartz comes in every color, texture, and pattern imaginable, and it’s very versatile — from installation to durability,” said Sitchinava.
Another new trend revealed by the study was emergence of black stainless steel appliances, which now includes one in 10 new appliances.
Sitchinava said that the popularity of white cabinets has sparked a growing interest in black appliances, which offer a strong contrast to the white. Twenty year ago, new stainless steel appliances caught on “like wildfire,” said Sitchinava. “Now, some of us are ready for a more stark contrast to the white cabinetry, and manufacturers are meeting the demand in mid-tier and lower-end appliances.”
While white remains the most popular color for kitchen cabinets, at 43 percent, and wood comes in second at 25 percent, gray cabinets are becoming more popular, coming in third at 10 percent.
White is also a popular color for countertops. Nearly one in three countertops are done in shades of white. In fact, countertops are the No. 1 element that people replace in their kitchens, with 93 percent of respondents changing them. Second to countertops, 87 percent of remodelers replaced their backsplashes. The third most common upgrade was getting new appliances, at 54 percent.
Engineered Materials and Mixed Metals
In addition to engineered quartz surpassing natural stone for countertops, engineered flooring is also rising in popularity. Engineered wood, vinyl, and laminate flooring are now twice as popular as natural hardwood.
Kitchen remodelers are also moving away from strict matching of metals used in hardware and plumbing fixtures. Sitchinava said that homeowners now feel “more liberated.” They’re incorporating metals such as satin nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, and matte black into their hardware choices.
But when it comes to backsplashes, homeowners are sticking with the tried and true. Ceramic and porcelain tile are the most popular choices for backsplash materials, at 55 percent, with natural stone backsplashes coming in second at 34 percent.
Blended Styles and Shaker Cabinets Lead the Pack
The most popular style for new kitchens is a mix of contemporary and traditional, followed by a purely contemporary look, and then farmhouse.
Shaker cabinets, with their recessed panel doors, remain the most popular kitchen cabinet style, at 57 percent. The next favorite style is flat-panel cabinets, which trails shaker, at 19 percent.
As in so many other areas of our lives, technology is also transforming the way we use our kitchens. Fifty-seven percent of kitchen remodelers said they plan to include high-tech upgrades in their kitchen remodels, such as faucets with efficiency flow controls and touch-free activation. In addition, homeowners are installing wirelessly -control refrigerators, ovens, and other appliances.
Older adults are also upgrading their kitchens to fit their needs. Thirty-eight percent of baby boomers said they are doing kitchen renovations to make life easier as they get older, including making spaces larger and more open, adding brighter lighting, and touch-free faucets.
Average Remodeling Costs and Working with Pros
Over 80 percent of the homeowners who are remodeling their kitchens said they plan to hire professionals to help with the project. The top hires are general contractors, at 50 percent, followed by kitchen designers, interior designers, and then architects.
The cost of professionals plus materials and hardware, such as kitchen cabinets and appliances, will cost about $33,000. That’s the national median amount that remodelers spent to redo their kitchens.