By Clare Trapasso | Jan 12, 2021
Homeowners forced by the coronavirus pandemic to hole up in their homes for much of the past year are changing a few things about their homes.
For starters, COVID-19 exposed the flaws of the open floor plans touted on HGTV and other design shows—finding a quiet space to jump on that Zoom meeting with the boss while the kids are remote learning a few feet away can be a logistical nightmare. Fewer homeowners created an open-concept floor plan leading into 2021, according to a recent survey from design and remodeling site Houzz.
Less than half of kitchen remodelers, or 43%, opened up their kitchen to other interior spaces, according to the survey. That’s a big drop from the 53% of homeowners who did so in 2019.
(More than 2,000 homeowners responded to the survey conducted June 24 to July 9. They were all planning, working on, or had finished a kitchen remodel or addition in the past 12 months, or were expecting to begin one within three months.)
Kitchen storage has emerged as the must-do home renovation of 2021. About 94% of homeowners plan or did some work on their kitchen cabinets, with 63% replacing them. This may be because the pandemic made amateur chefs out of people more accustomed to dining out.
“Storage has really come into focus as people have spent more time at home during the pandemic,” Liza Hausman, Houzz vice president of industry marketing, said in a statement. “More homeowners are reaching out to professionals … for help making their kitchens work better, most often within the same layout and square footage.”
Despite the recession and economic hardships, homeowners spent a median $35,000 upgrading their kitchens, the same as last year.
What kinds of kitchen remodels are in vogue?
For the third year in a row, transitional remained the top kitchen interior design style, although it’s actually a hybrid of other styles, stealing a bit from here and a bit from there. Modern and contemporary rounded out the top three.
Homeowners are choosing Shaker-style cabinets, 57%, and white cabinet doors, 41%. Overall, neutral colors continued to reign supreme. Unobtrusive shades of gray, white, and beige were popular wall colors. More adventurous homeowners brightened them up with multicolor backsplashes; black, stainless appliances; and even blue walls.
Built-in specialty organizers, drawers, and trays are also popular with those trying to keep all of their stuff in its proper place. More than a third invested in a Lazy Susan, a revolving storage tray that became a staple in the 1950s and 1960s. Perhaps they’ve been bingeing Netflix’s “Get Organized With The Home Edit.”
High-tech kitchen islands also remained on trend. About 63% of remodels included an island, and more than half of those islands featured a new appliance, such as a dishwasher or microwave, or both.
In addition, more than half of those renovating their kitchens upgraded their pantries or created a walk-in one.
What kinds of kitchen remodels fell out of favor?
Homeowners weren’t as interested in upgrading light fixtures and appliances in 2021.
In addition, traditional hardwood flooring found itself on the outs.
Ceramic and porcelain tile, which looks like hardwood but is often more durable and water-resistant, were the top choice for kitchen flooring. Vinyl is also becoming popular, being used in about a fifth of remodels.
Clare Trapasso is the deputy news editor of realtor.com. She previously wrote for a Financial Times publication, the New York Daily News, and the Associated Press. She also taught journalism courses at several New York City colleges and obtained a real estate license. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow @claretrap