Feature Article /
Jan 12, 2020

Top 5 Takeaways from the 2020 Houzz Kitchen Trends Report

Kitchen islands are must-haves and high-tech growth slows
2020 Kitchen Trends Houzz Study

Houzz’s 2020 Kitchen Trends Report revealed that although the scope of remodeling projects is diminishing, homeowners are spending more money to enhance a kitchen’s aesthetic and features.

Houzz’s 2020 Kitchen Trends Report revealed that although the scope of remodeling projects is diminishing, homeowners are spending more money to enhance a kitchen’s aesthetic and features. 

“It is remarkable to see median spend on kitchen remodels grow by double digits for the third year in a row,”  says Nino Sitchinava, Houzz principal economist. “Combined with a two-year decline in the scope of kitchen remodels, spend increases confirm our findings of significant price inflation in the home remodeling industry due to changes in international trade policy.”

[Related: 5 THINGS TO KNOW FROM THE 2019 HOUZZ BATHROOM TRENDS REPORT]

The median spend on kitchen remodels for 2019 sat at $35,000, a 17 percent increase from the year prior. With renovations being such a pricey undertaking, many Americans are waiting until the right time to renovate, which the report says “is a testament to the aging housing stock in America.” When homeowners do remodel, they make it count by updating cabinets, upgrading materials, and adding luxury touches such as a modern kitchen island to the mix. 

“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,” Sitchinava says. 

[Related: 5 DESIGN, PRODUCT RESOLUTIONS YOU SHOULD MAKE FOR 2020]

Despite the high cost, however, renovated kitchens added value to homeowners’ lives, with more than half of respondents using the new space to entertain, while 94 percent use their new kitchen to cook. The renovation even changed some homeowner’s lifestyles, with one-third saying they led healthier lives once the project completed. 

Houzz analyzed the data from a 76-question survey taken by over 2,500 homeowners who had recently completed a kitchen remodel, were currently remodeling, or would start a remodel within three months. 

Here are 5 takeaways from the 2020 Houzz Kitchen Trends Report: 

Kitchen Islands Reign Supreme

Nearly two-thirds of renovators choose to add an island or upgrade their existing one, according to the survey. Added features included extra storage space, overhead lighting, and appliances such as microwaves and dishwashers. L-shaped islands are the most popular kind of island, followed by U-shaped and galley styles. These new or updated islands become centers of activity, serving as a dining location (58 percent), a place to entertain (49 percent) and socialize  (45 percent). 

[Related: 12 KITCHEN, BATH PRODUCTS THAT MAKE OUR 2019 BEST OF THE YEAR LIST]

Farmhouse Is Out, Contemporary and Transitional Hold Steady

After a spike last year, farmhouse-style kitchens have declined in popularity, following the trend seen in master bathrooms in 2019. Instead, modern is getting its time to shine, jumping to 15 percent from 11 percent the previous year. Meanwhile, use of contemporary and transitional styles remain almost unchanged from last year, with transitional a clear favorite and contemporary holding on to its second place by just one percent over modern. 

Cabinets Are on the Top of Renovator’s Lists

Whether they replace cabinets with new installations or update their current ones, nearly every homeowner will include cabinet renovations in their project: 94 percent, to be exact. While over half chose to replace all their cabinets, those who choose to do work on existing ones will refinish the cabinet’s exteriors. If replacing the cabinets, homeowners are most likely to install white cabinets, followed further behind by wood and gray. Colors for the cabinets on the kitchen island, however, get a bit spicier with blue—hello, color of the year—coming in as the second most popular choice. 

[Related: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CUSTOM, SEMI-CUSTOM CABINETS?]

While Colors Are Still Neutral, Boldness Comes Out Backsplashes

For renovated kitchens, one neutral color tends to dominate different categories: nearly one-third of walls and 45 percent of cabinets are white; over half of floors are wood; and a whopping 73 percent of appliances installed are a standard stainless steel. But just because the walls are understated does not mean homeowners aren’t taking risks in other places—backslashes, for example, are going way up with over half reaching the tops of cabinets or a range hood and 11 percent going all the way up to the ceiling. 

High-Tech Growth Slows

Voice-controlled faucets may be all the rage at trade shows, but builders may want to pause before including one standard in their designs. Smart products may be on the rise in bathrooms, but interest in high-tech appliances and faucets for the kitchen is waning, with the number of renovators incorporating smart appliances dropping by five percent and the ones including smart faucets dropping by seven percent from last year. Still, smart technology shouldn’t be discounted: Over half of renovators included a high-tech faucet of some kind, whether it featured water efficiency or a fingerprintless finish, and one-fourth of respondents included a smart appliance. 

[Related: 9 CUTTING-EDGE PRODUCTS THAT EMERGED FROM THE 2020 CONSUMER ELECTRONIC SHOW]

Overlay Init