Viewpoint: 2020 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study

Houzz recently posted the results of their 2020 Kitchen Trends Study.  2600 U.S. homeowners in some phase of a kitchen renovation were surveyed. The findings are consistent with current trends that we are seeing in today’s kitchen remodels.

Let’s take a deeper look into the results by starting with the kitchen island. Houzz found that “nearly two-thirds of renovated kitchens feature an island (61%).” And why not? It’s a great place to relax and socialize whether one is food prepping or simply enjoying time with family and friends.  The size of islands is increasing as well, with 71% at seven feet or longer. It’s no surprise as homes are becoming less formal and more structured towards a casual and comfortable feel.  The kitchen island cabinets can be the same color as the perimeter cabinets, or they can be the place for added color and texture.  The survey found that “two in five homeowners adding or upgrading their island cabinets opt for an island cabinet color that contrasts with their main cabinets (39%), led by gray (26%), blue (19%) and black (11%).” Along with the contrasting cabinets, homeowners opted to also contrast their countertops.  Butcher block is the most common island countertop with a whopping 41% of homeowners choosing this material. Quartz and natural stone countertops follow.  Finally, the larger islands are housing all the modern conveniences.  Houzz concluded that, “nearly all new islands have storage features (98%), and over half (52%) have built-in appliances including microwaves (32%), dishwashers (31%), garbage disposals (24%), cooktops (21%) and beverage refrigerators (9%).

The financial investment continues to climb for homeowners who are at a minimum replacing all cabinets and appliances in their kitchens. Some changes are taking place though.  The survey numbers show that, “the breadth of kitchen renovations has been scaled back for the second year in a row.” The big push to renovate on a larger scale is diminishing overall in the U.S by about 8%.  Nino Sitchinava, Houzz principal economist says, “Homeowners are dealing with increasing product prices by substituting materials, as indicated by slower growth in the use of engineered quartz and a decline in the popularity of engineered flooring materials, highly impacted by tariffs on imported materials from China.”  Product availability in many materials may become an issue as manufactures look for alternative suppliers.  In the meantime, check stock before you purchase. 

On the lighter side, here is what’s hot and what’s not according to the survey.

  • Transitional Styles Wins!  The farmhouse look is losing traction down 3% year over year at 11%. So, what are the winners?  Most renovating homeowners who want a style change are attracted to these top three: transitional (21%), contemporary (16%), and modern (15%).  
  • Tech-NO:  Technology in kitchens has slowed.  Popular still are the high-tech features of some faucets and appliances. The Houzz survey showed that “half of upgraded faucets are high tech (51% versus 57% in 2019), boasting water efficiency, no-fingerprint coating or touch-free activation. Similarly, a quarter of major appliances feature high-tech features (25% versus 30% in 2019), with wireless controls leading the pack.”
  • Shaker-style cabinets + White = Popular:  It’s no surprise that white colored cabinets still dominate at 45% of the color choices.  Next, 11% prefer a medium wood stain color with gray a close third at 10%. 61% of renovating homeowners chose Shaker cabinet door styles following by flat-panel (21%) and raised-panel (18%) cabinets.
  • Lighting-Recessed Rules: Recessed (or canned) lights dominate when remodelers choose their lighting at 69%.  Under-cabinet lights follow at 65% and rounding out the top three are pendant lights at 56% of the lighting choices. The survey found that “92% of homeowners upgrading their islands choose new lighting above the island, with pendants being the most common option (66%).”
  • Bold Backsplashes: Wow! What a statement a bold backsplash makes. Eleven percent of renovating homeowners must agree as they are installing their backsplashes all the way to the ceiling. The most popular and more traditional way to place backsplash tile from the counter to upper cabinets reigns king at 63%.  The Houzz survey concluded that, “when it comes to color, white is the most popular (35%), followed by multi-colored (20%) and gray (15%).”
  • Kitchen Flooring: Remodelers upgrading their kitchen flooring favor wood 29% of the time, followed by ceramic or porcelain tile at 23%.  “Vinyl flooring, the third overall choice in renovated kitchens, continues a three-year climb from 10% in 2018 and 12% in 2019 to 14% in 2020, says the Houzz survey.”  We are seeing this trend as well.  Vinyl is waterproof, scratch resistant, easy to install, and soft underfoot.  It will be interesting to see if Vinyl train continues its upward climb in the coming years.

When it comes to the planning and execution of the renovation project, 85% of homeowners are hiring professional help when they remodel their kitchens.  Rightly so, there are a lot of moving parts.  Having a go-to professional saves you time, money and takes most of the stress off you. Yes, you’ll still have stressful moments throughout the project, but you will be able to maneuver past them with the professional’s help.

The Houzz survey captures the remodel mood now.  Trends are just that…trends.  If you are considering a kitchen remodel, take the time to look at how you live in the current space.  What can be better? Stay the same? How do you want the space to feel? From there, you can determine the specifics, resulting in the perfect kitchen for your family and you.

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