Customization is key for kitchen remodels in 2019

In kitchen renovations, homeowners want to leave their mark
Open kitchens and transitional styles top homeowners' kitchen wish lists. (Photo: Danny Raustadt, Dreamstime)

Whether they like it or not, homeowners spend an inordinate amount of their time in the kitchen. Hives of activity from dusk to dawn, kitchens are opening—and cleaning—up in 2019.

As Americans collectively lead more demanding, higher-stress lives, a comfortable kitchen that makes the most of every space is a key ingredient to the modern home. When customers turn to you for expertise, it helps to be on the ball vis-à-vis the leading kitchen trends.

Most homeowners are looking to open up their cooking spaces, to keep them clean and clutter-free, and to afford opportunities to age in place. Consequently, builders, designers, decorators and renovators alike can leverage these trends to show off their creativity and expertise—as well as their handiwork, in many cases. In their quest to blend form and function seamlessly into what is arguably the most important room in the house, you’ll find an eagerness to personalize, customize and socialize, along with a willingness to explore aging-in-place options when working with 2019’s homeowners.

A personal space to age in place                                                                                                              

One of the more interesting trends taking hold in 2019 can be attributed to an aging and more forward-thinking population. To wit, the overwhelming majority (52%) of Americans overhauling their homes belong the 55 and older baby boomer generation, and a full 69% of them expect to remain in their homes for a decade or more, according to the 2019 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Survey. Kitchen renovations to meet aging-in-place needs don’t quite match the opportunities available for master bathroom renovations, as 37% of baby boomers address aging-related issues when renovating their kitchens compared to the impressive 56% who do so in master bathroom upgrades, but that’s still a sizeable market. Even some younger homeowners and buyers are thinking ahead to their golden years, with 21% of those between the ages of 25 and 54 thinking about aging when updating their kitchens.

[Related: The housing market for 55+ Americans stays strong, say builders]

Homeowners are willing to shell out a lot of clams to create the kitchen of their dreams, too. Of all the rooms tackled in home renovations nationwide, kitchens consume the greatest median spend, at $11,000 for all types. When performing a major remodel (which Houzz characterizes as one including replacing all appliances and cabinets, among other things) for a large (200-plus square feet) kitchen, the national median spend is $33,000, so the opportunities are almost endless.

Open sesame

Not surprisingly, homeowners are eager to knock down walls if it means a seamless transition from the cooking to living space. Open-concept kitchens are all the rage regardless of demographic, and it’s a fad unlikely to fade anytime soon. Indeed, more than half the nation’s renovators (56%) are opening the kitchen to the interior of the home, and another 35% opt to enlarge the room. Although kitchens that open to the outdoors are nowhere near as popular as those open to interior rooms, almost a quarter (22%) of homeowners embrace outdoor living by making this upgrade.

From the perspectives of both form and function, open-concept kitchens offer many advantages. Lending itself nicely to almost every style, this layout has broad appeal. Older and disabled people (37% of whom make the kitchen bigger) appreciate the broad access points to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs, and there are fewer corners to knock knees and elbows. However, these same features are equally appealing to parents of young children and homeowners looking to create a more inviting social space.

Shifting styles

Indeed, when Americans do remodel the kitchen, the overwhelming majority (82%, according to Houzz) want to transform its style completely. The most popular style? Twenty-one percent go with transitional. This year, contemporary and farmhouse styles attracted 15% and 14%, respectively; however, farmhouse style appears poised for a comeback. Demand for farmhouse kitchens has been on a three-year uptick, with 11% making this choice in 2017 and 12% in 2018. On the opposite end of the trajectory, contemporary style has been flagging for the past three years—dropping from 21% in 2017 to 16% in 2018 to the present figure of 15%.

 

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