Transitional style rules in new kitchen survey
Our kitchens are going more transitional in style and we’re mixing it up a lot more in our choice of materials, according to Houzz’s annual kitchen trends study.
Based on its online survey of people who remodeled kitchens in the second half of 2020 or were planning to tackle the project in the first half of 2021, homeowners clearly want more function, more color and more style in the room we call the heart of the home.
2020 may be remembered as a year of sudden, mass unemployment, but for those taking on home remodeling projects — contractors everywhere say they’re busier than ever — even more (40 percent, up from last year’s 37 percent) said they started renovations because they can finally afford it. Some 35 percent said they simply “couldn’t stand” the old kitchen; 30 percent said their old kitchens had just deteriorated and 28 percent were updating or personalizing a home they’d just purchased. Transitional is a blend of traditional and contemporary styles with simple classic lines.
The most popular upgrades — in both large and small projects — were
adding new counters (88 percent) and backsplash tile (83 percent). Sinks (80 percent), plumbing fixtures (79 percent), lighting (74 percent) and flooring (65 percent) were also popular.
Cost savings were evident, though, with more people opting to paint existing cabinets and replace their doors instead of installing all new cabinets.
Here’s a breakdown of popular changes:
Most home remodeling projects start with a budget, and the national median cost for major kitchen remodels remained the same as last year, at around $35,000, with minor remodels at $8,000.
The median price tag for large kitchens — those 250 square feet or larger — was $45,000, and the median cost for smaller kitchens was $30,000. Minor remodels — sometimes called “refreshing” them — had a median price of $12,000 for a large kitchen and $5,000 for a small one.
Perhaps in line with more stable costs, fewer people opted to remove walls to create open floor plans — a common change in older homes to combine kitchen, living and dining areas. Last year, 53 percent of kitchen remodels involved that level of construction; for the current survey, it dropped 10 percentage points.
Some 85 percent of the kitchen remodeling projects included changing the design style. Transitional style has been the top choice now three years in a row, holding steady at 21 percent, followed by modern (15 percent), contemporary (14 percent), farmhouse (12 percent) and traditional (11 percent).
3. Cabinets and islands
These both got a lot of attention, not only in their style but also in their function. Two-thirds of kitchen projects included replacing all of the cabinets, with one-third simply painting them or adding new doors to existing cabinets. Those adding more cabinets increased by 20 percentage points and those replacing doors (instead of new cabinets) increased by 7 percentage points.
Shaker-style cabinet fronts remain the top choice, with 57 percent (down 5 percent) of homeowners choosing this style of doors. Next was flatpanel doors (21 percent), raised panel (17 percent), glass front (2 percent) and other (3 percent). Some 76 percent of new cabinets were either custom or semi custom made.
Adding storage and organization was key for many homeowners, who added specialty drawers for pots and pans (30 percent), spice drawers (39 percent), trash and/or recycling (60 percent) and even some with partitions for cookie sheets (48 percent).
About 55 percent of respondents added an island to their kitchen, and it was increasingly popular to choose a different paint color (41 percent) or counter surface (25 percent). Of those choosing to paint the island a different color, 47 percent chose blue (27 percent) or gray (20 percent).
For cabinets, though, the overwhelming choice is still white (41 percent) with the second choice being natural or stained wood (23 percent).
4. Counters, tile and flooring
Durable engineered quartz (48 percent) remains the top choice for kitchen counters, but it dropped in popularity 3 percentage points, and Houzz experts say they believe it’s due to the material’s rising cost, which is related to tariffs on Chinese imports. Granite accounted for 30 percent, with butcher block/wood slabs 12 percent, quartzite 7 percent and marble just 5 percent in kitchens.
Among those who chose a contrasting counter material for the island, the top choice was butcher block or wood (41 percent), followed by granite (16 percent), quartz (15 percent), marble (8 percent), quartzite (5 percent) and soapstone (3 percent).
One big trend in backsplash is for homeowners to use more of it. Instead of a short surface up the wall, it’s reaching all the way up to cabinets, a range hood or even to the ceiling. Though it dropped slightly in popularity, ceramic or porcelain backsplash tile (54 percent) is still tops.
Houzz counts hardwood floors and engineered wood floors in different flooring categories. Combined, though, they account for 37 percent of kitchen flooring choices.
Separated, they both come in behind ceramic or porcelain tile, which this year became the top choice at 24 percent. Hardwood accounts for 23 percent, vinyl tile 19 percent (that’s a 5 percent jump), engineered wood 14 percent, laminate 10 percent and natural stone 5 percent.
The dishwasher was the most-replaced kitchen appliance (75 percent), followed by refrigerator (73 percent), microwave (72 percent), range (62 percent) and range hood (55 percent). Cooktops (39 percent), wall ovens (30 percent) and beverage or wine refrigerators (14 percent each) fall into the least replaced category.
More than half of new or upgraded islands included at least one appliance, with the dishwasher (34 percent) and microwave (33 percent) most common.
Those buying high-tech appliances increased by 5 percentage points to 19 percent. Plumbing fixtures were another high-tech option, with many wanting faucets with touch only or touch-free activation (21 percent).