Americans are spending more on smaller kitchen renovations, a study by Houzz found. The “2020 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study” found that as of mid-2019, homeowners spent a median $35,000 on major kitchen renovations, up 17% from the year before. Countertops, backsplashes and sinks are still the top three upgrades in kitchens, but Houzz found the percentage of homeowners who make those upgrades fell by two to four percentage points.
Most homeowners have always wanted to remodel their kitchens, but finally have the means to do so, the study found. However, the motivator that saw the biggest increase between the 2019 survey and 2020 was that the old kitchen needed repairs.
“As with master bathroom renovations, the decision to remodel is increasingly triggered by old kitchens that have deteriorated or broken down (27%),” according to the report. “In fact, kitchen deterioration is at the highest level seen in Houzz’s five-year history of tracking kitchen project motivators and is a testament to the aging housing stock in the U.S.”
Here are five trends to watch in 2020, according to Houzz.
Farmhouse falters. Most homeowners who renovated their kitchen changed the overall style of the room (85%), the study found. Farmhouse and traditional styles slipped in popularity, while modern saw the biggest increase, from 11% of renovations in 2019 to 15% in 2020.
The most popular style, though, is transitional, with 21% of homeowners opting for this style, unchanged from last year.
Island life. Over half of renovations involve adding or upgrading a kitchen island, mostly to increase storage options. Most owners kept islands simple with a rectangular or square island, but 11% chose an L- or U-shaped island.
Although engineered quartz was the most popular choice for countertops (51%, compared to 29% for granite), when it came to island counters, more homeowners chose butcher block.
Color-shy kitchens. Most homeowners are generally sticking to neutral palettes in the kitchen. Standard stainless is the overwhelming choice for appliances, and gaining ground, while wood is the leader in flooring.
Walls and backsplashes are seeing more variation in color choices, though. Gray, white and beige are the top choices for wall colors, but blue and green round out the top five, with blue seeing an increase over last year. “Multicolored” was the No. 2 choice for backsplashes, after white.
Walls that talk. Homeowners are increasingly adopting statement walls in the kitchen. Three-quarters of owners who renovated the backsplash chose to take it all the way to the ceiling or upper cabinets.
Smart tech slows. Although homeowners still want charging stations and home assistants in their kitchen, the study found other high-tech features are losing ground. Fewer homeowners opted for fancy faucets with touch- or fingerprint-free capabilities. Even water efficiency is less popular, dropping three percentage points to 27%. Feature-heavy appliances are also less interesting to homeowners, although touchscreens and built-in apps still carry some weight.